Ever since the sports’ conception in the 1950s, skateboards have been evolving drastically to meet the ever-growing needs of skaters worldwide. In the beginning, skateboards were used as a form of expression that could be utilized on roads and sidewalks when the waves were bad; hence why surfers were the first skateboarders. Competitive skateboarding was only practiced on large man-made ramps and open flat areas such as parking lots or basketball courts.
Now, skateboarding is a massive worldwide phenomenon that has opened many people’s minds to new ways of participating. From using it as a way to get from one place to another, to perfecting intricate maneuvers through hours of dedication; there’s a skateboard option for everyone. In this article, we are going to talk about the different types of skateboards along with their practical uses in the skate world.
 “Trick” Skateboard
The most common type of skateboard you will find in big chain stores and under the feet of many enthusiasts is the classic raised nose and tail skateboard commonly referred to as a “trick” skateboard or “regular” skateboard. These skateboards are specifically designed to perform tricks by snapping the tail section downwards with the back foot while sliding the front foot forward to the nose section, a maneuver known as the ollie.
There are factions of skaters that prefer to skate the open streets, using obstacles that, although not intentionally made for skateboarding, challenge the user to think about the spot in a new way. These types of skaters see “spots” everywhere they look. That curb in front of the local store, a nice stair set at the high school, crusty ledges over by the courthouse, or even cracked pavement can be the location for countless hours of fun. While there are still countless skaters that prefer to stick to skateparks, the community has expanded to new possibilities.
Street skateboards usually have small wheels (53mm-59mm) and short trucks. This helps with flipping the board during tricks or keeping steady when locked into a grind. Street skateboards are often smaller in size to reduce overall weight. Check out our recommended street skateboard below:
Vert & Park Skateboards
For skaters who rather carve bowls, shred a mini ramp, or catch air on a vert ramp, you’re going to want a bit larger type of skateboard! Vert boards are often wider than street skateboards with wider trucks to maintain stability at high speeds. Vert skaters usually prefer softer wheels for improved traction on slippery concrete or wood. Check out our recommended vert board:
 Cruiser Board
If you’ve decided tricks and the skatepark scene isn’t for you, a cruiser board is a great alternative! Cruiser skateboards are a phenomenal way to navigate a college campus with ease or “cruise” on down to the store for a bottle of water. Because they are about the same size as a trick skateboard, they can easily be stored in the trunk of a car or rested against your chair during class.
Cruiser boards typically have large polyurethane wheels that are specially designed to effortlessly roll over cracks in the road and small debris. The larger skateboard wheels coupled with high-speed bearings will quickly get you anywhere you need to go. Although cruiser boards only have one raised section, the tail, with a flat nose, riders can still manage to pop an ollie up curbs or make quick adjustments by lifting the front end of the board.
The longboard is a much larger cousin of the cruiser board and trick skateboard. Designed with speed and agility in mind, longboards are the preferred type of skateboard for people that prefer a smooth comfortable ride. Longboards are arguably the easiest type of skateboard to perfect the basics of riding on a flat surface, although many choose to transition to high-speed downhill bombs or obstacle course racing. Skateboards and longboards have their similarities and differences which we’ve already covered in our longboard vs skateboard post.
Downhill or obstacle course racing both require their own specific type of longboard built for those mediums. Extra-wide trucks and big soft wheels make the perfect combination for minimal effort cruises while greatly improving the overall balance of the board itself. While a trick or cruiser skateboard can be easily flipped over while riding, a longboard will almost always stay on all four wheels.
 Penny Board
Penny boards are a timeless piece of skateboarding history that has, in more recent years, quickly become a beloved type for skaters of all ages. First produced in the 1970s’, penny boards are entirely plastic and most resemble cruiser boards with one catch; they are tiny! Most penny boards come in with a length of just over 20 inches and, due to their waffle-like design, do not require griptape. The shape of a penny board is more or less identical to a cruiser board and is designed with the same purpose in mind, cruising!
The convenient size of penny boards allows them to be kept virtually anywhere and can be taken on busses, trains, subways, or in restaurants with ease. If you are looking for a transportation option without wanting to break the bank or take up an excessive amount of space, a penny board may be the best option for you!
 Electric Skateboard
The ultimate form of using a skateboard for transportation is an electric skateboard. Powered by an internal motor that controls all four wheels, electric skateboards are becoming just as common as bicycles in some cities with an added bonus; you just have to stand on it! A handheld remote allows the user to control the speed and direction of the electric skateboard but be warned, these back-to-the-future-like devices can reach very high speeds!
Electric skateboards take all of the hassles of learning how to balance, push, and turn the board and throws it right out the door. Electric skateboards are an environmentally friendly form of transportation and can be recharged in the comfort of your own home. Most electric skateboards come with the deck shape of a cruiser-style or longboard-style for added stability while attempting to blend in with the lesser-advanced foot-powered skateboards in public.
While seemingly close to the skateboard in shape, mountainboards take the sport to a whole new level. Mountainboards are specifically designed to be used in rough terrain such as gravel roads, hiking trails, hills, and yes, even mountains! Large all-terrain wheels easily roll over sticks and other debris without compromising speed or the rider’s safety. Similar to snowboards, mountainboards feature bindings that securely hold the skater’s feet in place so that they do not get thrown off or slip off the board when riding.
How do I choose the right type of skateboard for me?
When deciding the right type of skateboard for you it’s important to begin with what you are planning to use the skateboard for. If you are planning to use it strictly for transportation, a cruiser board, penny board, or even longboard are all great options. An electric skateboard is arguably the best option when it comes to transportation although the cost of equipment deters many people from giving it a go.
If you are unsure about your abilities to perform tricks but want to keep that option open, go for a trick board! Classic style skateboards are great for transportation with the added bonus of already being designed for tricks.
What’s the difference between a cruiser board and a longboard?
Because there are so many types of both longboards and cruiser boards, it’s to pinpoint exact differences between the two. However, the size difference between the two is hard to go unnoticed. Cruiser boards are much smaller than longboards with their own truck and wheel requirements. The typical cruiser board is about 28 inches long with an average width of 8 inches while longboards can be up to 59 inches averaging about 9 inches wide.
Longboards have wider trucks for stability purposes with a more uniform shape. Longboards are completely flat with identical proportions all the way around while cruiser boards, as we have mentioned before, have a raised tail section and a flat pointed nose section. Whether you choose a cruiser board or a longboard, there are many fun times to be had.
How do I start skateboarding?
Visiting your local skate shop will give you an accurate idea of what sort of skateboard will work best for you. Price plays a big role for many people looking to get into new sports or hobbies, and skateboarding is no exception. Purchasing a complete skateboard of any sort will typically always be cheaper than buying an entire setup piece by piece. Many skateboard retailers, online or in-person, will offer complete skateboards of all shapes and styles.
All skateboards, no matter what you are using them for, require the same basic components: the board itself, griptape, trucks, wheels, bearings, and hardware to hold it all together. Skateshops will carry all of these parts separately while complete skateboards will come with everything and often times arrives at your home already assembled.
Is skateboarding dangerous?
As with all extreme sports, skateboarding poses its own unique injury risks. Skateboarding is a very vast sport with many different mediums within it. Skaters who strive to learn new tricks or maneuvers beat their personal best speed trial time, or hold that manual just a little longer will inevitably fall off their skateboard. Knowing your own personal limits and capabilities is the best way to prevent injury, especially when trying a new sport for the first time. Proper safety equipment is undoubtedly the most important part of maintaining personal safety.
Helmets, knee pads and elbow pads, and wrist guards are all great options to consider when hitting the streets or skatepark. Purchasing these items in advance will save you many headaches and annoying injuries that could have been easily avoided. Skateboarding is unique in the way it is practiced. Pavement is a skateboarder’s best friend but can be pretty rough on the skin when hitting the tiny pebble you didn’t see coming. When it comes to skateboarding, everyone falls down. The important part is to get back up and keep trying!