What's a good skateboard for a teenager?

My son wants a new skateboard. He broke his old one trying to do an Olly (Ollie?). His old one was a cheap Toys R Us one bought when he was in maybe third grade. His birthday is coming up so that’s what he’s getting.

He’s been visiting a local skateboard/snowboard/wakeboard store. He wants one by Plan B or Zero, which my wife was looking at online, and apparently they got good reviews. I don’t know why he wants those, but probably more for the bottom art than anything else.

Is there anything we should particularly look for in a skateboard? He doesn’t know tricks, but wants to learn them, so it should be good for a beginner.

I don’t remember enough from my skating days to give you specific advice but I do remember the big divide between the low end boards you get at Toys R Us or Big 5 and the high end ones from dedicated skate shops.

I don’t think there was anything in between the crappy ones and the expensive ones though.

Since it sounds like the design is important, give him a budget and take him to the store to pick it out himself.


When you are looking at the better skate boards you can mix the boards, trucks and wheels to meet your own needs.

I would suggest a little research of your own at the store. Than you will have a better feel for the prices and why.

When it comes to the major brands of skateboards there’s no real difference in quality, they’re all pretty much identical from a manufacturing standpoint. Skateboarding has been all about brands since the mid 80’s or so, so the important thing is graphics and brand at your kid’s age. Both Plan B and Zero make cool looking skates and have really good pro teams.

Also as mentioned most parts are interchangeable between decks, wheels, and trucks. Don’t let them talk you into Swiss Bearings or anything like that, normal cheap ones are just fine. All in all just let the kid have fun in the shop and know that pretty much no matter what you’ll be looking at around $130-$150 for a complete skate and they’ll all be just fine.

I am not a skater but my son has done it for years, so I’ve bought a few boards. The first board was crappy. Then we spent way too much on a fancy board with a cool design, which quickly got torn up. These days my son gets the store brand board and components, maybe some fancy wheels at Christmas.

Skateboards are pretty standard these days with minor variations in the width of the board, unless you are looking for something special which it doesn’t sound like. Go to the skate store, get a recommendation on the size and get the generic board, trucks and wheels and let them put it together for you. Don’t worry about the design, it won’t last long. Depending on where you are I think it should come in under $100.

All skateboards are plywood (though high end ones have carbon fiber or kevlar weave). Other than size, they’re all pretty much the same.

Trucks and wheels are important. The deck really isn’t (except as far as the design goes).

True story. My last 5 or 6 boards were made by a company in Milwaukee called Beer City and they were blank except for color. No graphics, no nonsense and an accordingly smaller price tag. The ride was the same, but at the rate that I used to go through boards the difference made it possible for me to skate much harder.

But seeing my nephews starting to skate I see that brand is much more important these days since skating has gone mainstream. Back in my day there was really one brand anyone skated, Powell Peralta, and a few others that were odd. These days the kids I see are all decked out in company branded hoodies and jeans and shirts and wrist bands and whatever. Generic is good for the person who skates a lot and is deep into the sport, but for most kids these days I’d say that the brand is just as important for fitting in with ones peers as anything else.