Skateboarding is a lot of fun, and if you’re just starting out, it can be hard to know what board you need. If you want to buy one from Walmart, then the answer is no. Save your money for something better! A Walmart version will most likely not last as long as a more expensive one would because it is made with cheaper materials and manufacturing processes. You’ll spend more on repairs than if you had bought a higher quality board in the first place.
The only time when purchasing a skateboard at Walmart is acceptable is if you’re a completely new beginner who isn’t sure about the sport. If you are serious about your skateboarding education, don’t even bother with a Walmart board to learn. Get a quality first board from a local skate shop instead.
However, if you’re not sure if you even like the sport yet, it might be okay to purchase a Walmart board for practice. They’re cheaper, and you won’t invest larger amounts of money in a quality board if you decide to ditch the sport.
Perhaps one other reason it would be okay for a skater to purchase a Walmart board is if a backup is needed. If your primary skateboard is broken and you’re waiting for repairs, the Walmart board will get you by until your main board is fixed. Other than these two scenarios, you should stay away from Walmart decks. Honestly, even if you’re practicing, blank decks from a shop are a better alternative.
With all this being said, the quality of a good board goes a long way. The life of your board will be much longer, and your disciplines are much easier learned on a high-quality board. The moves are more fluid, they are easier to use, and they’re just overall better, especially for a newcomer.
The problem is that many newcomers don’t understand what it takes to produce a good board, so they don’t understand what a good board is when they’re looking at one. A rookie skater might have issues examining the proper elements on a skateboard to influence their decision.
In this guide, we’ll break down the things you should look for in a quality skateboard.
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What Makes a Wal Mart Board So Bad?
Let’s be honest, Walmart isn’t exactly known for quality. Everything that is sold at Walmart comes off an assembly line. A skateboard isn’t something you want to be assembled without proper attention.
Quality skateboards are hand-fashioned, with attention paid to every minor detail of that specific board. Someone took the time to personally tighten every nut and bolt and manually inspect every element of that skateboard.
It isn’t just the process that makes Walmart skateboards particularly bad; it’s also the materials used to create them. Lower quality wood is used to make the deck, and there aren’t as many actual layers to the deck itself. Usually, this will lead to splintering or the deck being fractured sooner than it should.
Having low-quality parts means that a wheel or a bushing could come flying off the skateboard at any time. This could spell disaster for the rider. The worst thing that can happen on a skateboard is a malfunction during use for no apparent reason. This is unexpected and can lead to a serious injury.
What you want is a professional skateboard. A Walmart board is essentially just a toy skateboard. Imagine showing up to the skate park with a gem like that.
Are All Toy Skateboards and Walmart Decks Low Quality?
Generally speaking, you don’t want to perform at a high level on a toy skateboard or a name brand of low quality. Maybe if you’re just cruising at low speeds, it wouldn’t be a problem. However, any increased demand or airborne tricks, and these boards will not hold up. It’s not a question of if they will break, but a question of when.
If you venture out to a skate park and attempt to vert or grind with a toy skateboard or low-quality alternative, you’re riding a ticking time bomb. If you’re jumping right into skateboarding and giving it all your efforts, do yourself a favor and spend the money on a good skateboard at a skate shop. If you want a practice board, get a blank deck.
What Parts are Specifically Bad On Wal Mart Skateboards?
If you’re still not convinced, use this list as a reminder of all the negative elements of a Walmart toy skateboard.
· The deck will chip, crack, and the layers will peel apart without much use. We’ve seen Walmart boards completely fail after one grind attempt.
· Walmart trucks are made from low-quality materials and can malfunction without warning.
· The wheels are often made from plastic instead of polyurethane.
· The bearings barely spin, leaving you laboring just to get decent momentum going.
Skating with a toy deck or cheap skateboard can be very frustrating, especially for a new skater. A cheap skateboard can make you feel like you suck, even though more of the blame should be placed on the skateboard itself. However, you wouldn’t know that without reading this guide, so let’s get into what makes a quality skateboard so you can be redeemed.
What Elements Make Up a Good Skateboard?
Skateboards consist of multiple working parts that work in a cohesive manner and lead to an efficient ride. The deck, wheels, trucks, bearings, bushings, and other parts need to be made of the best materials, ensuring you enjoy a smooth ride.
The deck of a quality skateboard should be made of seven layers of high-quality bamboo or maple wood. The wood is pressed into a specific shape, and the deck’s nose should be slightly longer than the tail.
A quality deck will also have what is known as concave. This is when there is an almost unnoticeable curve in the length of the board. These subtle curves give the board what is known as flex. This helps lead to increased stability and balance and helps a board give the pop that you hear when a trick is performed.
Try to perform a trick on a Walmart skateboard. You will hear no pop whatsoever from these skateboards. If you ever get a chance, try this as an experiment.
Mellow concave is used to describe more subtle curves in a board, and these are used for higher levels of balance. High concave means the board is flipped easier, making it easier to perform tricks like a Pop Shuv it or a Kickflip.
Before we get into what makes up a quality set of trucks, it serves as a good reminder that high-quality skateboards will be pieced together by the rider. This leads to a more personal experience that feels better for the individual skater.
Already assembled boards can be purchased at skate shops. These boards are known as completes. However, it’s still a better idea to select each part yourself. That way, you know what went into assembling the board.
Now, for quality trucks, size is important. The outside edges of the wheel should be aligned with the edges of the skateboard. Your truck size and wheel size should be in sync.
Never buy plastic trucks. If you’re going to make this decision, you might as well have gotten a toy board. You also never want to buy trucks made of cheap metal, but this can be harder to spot. As a general rule, you should usually spend $35 or more on a decent set of trucks.
Good truck manufacturing brands are Grindking, Tensor, and Autobahn. Depending on how hard you ride, trucks can last up to three and four years at a time.
Like we mentioned before, cheap skateboards come with plastic wheels, and this is hardly what you want. You need a skateboard wheel made from polyurethane. Make sure you check to ensure there aren’t any additives blended into the wheel materials.
A quality set of skateboard wheels will spin for a long time before they stop. Normally, the manufacturer will print their name on the side of the wheel.
Bones, Spitfire, Ricta, and Wayward are all safe bets when it comes to skateboard wheels. These companies make bearings also, which brings us to our next component.
Bearings go hand in hand with the wheels. The bearings are actually a form of inserts for the wheels and help them spin more efficiently.
Without quality bearings, the board will do more sliding than rolling. Bearings give skateboard wheels their trademark spin time.
Make sure you take the time to clean your bearings each time you use your skateboard. Dirt and other debris can get inside the bearings and ruin them very quickly. Never leave water inside the bearings either, they will rust, and you’ll need to replace them.
Any skate shop will have a quality brand of grip tape to offer. The manufacturer isn’t so much what you need to worry about here.
Since you’re a beginner, using grip tape period will assist you with your stability and balance. Make sure you line the board evenly with grip tape and don’t leave any pieces hanging off the edges of the board.
Using these tips should assist you in compiling the quality deck you deserve. There are other components involved with a skateboard, but you don’t need to concern yourself with things like bushings and other parts just yet. There’s no need to overwhelm yourself.
Pay attention to the quality of the basic components we’ve listed, and learn the ropes first. Remember to take care of your board, and your board will take care of you.