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A Comprehensive Guide to Skateboard Sizing

A Comprehensive Guide to Skateboard Sizing

Matthew Jantz |

Choosing Your Perfect Ride: A Comprehensive Guide to Skateboard Sizing


Every skateboarder, whether a rookie just starting their journey or a seasoned pro, knows that skateboarding is much more than a sport—it's an art, a lifestyle, a dance if you will. Now, imagine yourself preparing for a dance performance. Would you pick a partner that steps on your toes or one that flows in harmony with your moves? Similar to finding the perfect dance partner, choosing the right skateboard can be the key to unlocking your full potential. It can spell the difference between a smooth, exhilarating ride and a troublesome, unenjoyable one.

Choosing the right skateboard size goes beyond just ensuring your feet fit on the board—it's about how well the board complements your physique, your riding style, and the goals you aspire to achieve in skateboarding. Factors like deck width, deck length, and wheelbase play significant roles in determining how a skateboard handles and feels under your feet, and they can affect everything from your ability to pull off tricks to the comfort and smoothness of your ride.

Understanding Skateboard Dimensions

Now, you might think skateboard dimensions sound like a lot of technical jargon, but we can break it down into more straightforward terms. The deck width of a skateboard refers to the horizontal measure across the skateboard deck, from one edge to the other. The width of the deck can have a dramatic impact on your ability to control the skateboard because it's the primary area where your body interacts with the board. Factors such as your shoe size, body size, and the type of skateboarding you engage in can dictate the ideal deck width for you.

The deck length, as its name implies, is the distance from the nose (front) to the tail (back) of the skateboard. Although not as frequently discussed as deck width, deck length can significantly impact your skateboarding experience by influencing the board's balance, its maneuverability, and the amount of foot space available to you.

Lastly, we have the wheelbase. This refers to the distance between the two sets of mounting holes drilled into the deck where the trucks are attached. While it might not seem as crucial as deck width or length, the wheelbase can profoundly influence the turning radius of your skateboard and its stability, especially when you're reaching high speeds.

To demonstrate why these dimensions matter so much, let's take a trip down memory lane to when I first picked up skateboarding. Back then, I saw my skateboard more as a tool for fun rather than the finely tuned piece of equipment it truly was. I chose my first board based on its eye-catching vintage design, completely oblivious to the importance of its dimensions.

Once I started to ride, however, I quickly realized that my beautiful board was not the ideal size for me. It was wider than I needed it to be, which made it harder for me to maneuver and do tricks. Its long deck length made it cumbersome and unresponsive. I remember trying to master the Ollie for weeks with little success, feeling incredibly frustrated. But once I switched to a board with a smaller deck width and length, I finally managed to land my first Ollie.

Importance of Deck Width

Deck width plays a crucial role in how a skateboard performs. A wider deck provides a larger area for your feet, which can be beneficial if you have a larger shoe size, are a taller individual, or prefer a more stable ride. A wider deck also offers more control during tricks and is often favored by skaters who perform ramp, pool, or park skateboarding.

On the other hand, a narrower deck is lighter and easier to manipulate, which can be advantageous for street and technical skateboarding, where intricate maneuvers and tricks are common. Younger skaters or those with smaller shoe sizes may find narrower decks more comfortable and easier to handle.

Remember, there's no "one size fits all" deck width—what works best for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your height, shoe size, and skating style.

Choosing Deck Width Based on Shoe Size

One of the simplest ways to determine your ideal deck width is by considering your shoe size. Generally, a larger shoe size will require a wider deck, and vice versa. Here's a quick guide:

  • If your shoe size is 6.5 or smaller, a deck width of 7.0" – 7.5" could be a good fit.
  • If your shoe size is 7.5 – 9, you might find a deck width of 7.5" – 8.0" more comfortable.
  • If your shoe size is 9 – 11.5, a deck width of 8.0" – 8.5" might be your sweet spot.
  • If your shoe size is 11.5 or larger, a deck width of 8.5" or larger will likely be a better fit.

Please note that these are just general guidelines. What feels best for you could be different, so don't be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you.

Skateboarding Styles and Their Influence on Skateboard Size

Just as a ballet dancer wouldn't wear tap shoes, your skateboarding style can influence the size of the skateboard you should choose. Here are some general considerations:

  • Street Skateboarding: Street skaters often prefer narrower decks (around 7.5" to 8.0"). These decks are lighter and more maneuverable, which makes them ideal for technical tricks.
  • Transition or Ramp Skateboarding: These styles often require a wider deck (around 8.0" to 8.5") to provide more stability and control during high-speed rides and aerial tricks.
  • Cruising or Longboarding: Cruisers and longboarders generally prefer even wider and longer decks to provide maximum stability and comfort during long rides.

Again, these are just guidelines. Always choose what feels best for you.