Carving longboards have been designed to imitate the feel of surfing or snowboarding. Involving frequent turning from heel side to toe side, this style of skating can be performed on mild hills or flatland. A rider's personal preference will determine which characteristics they choose in a deck.
The wheelbase in these board are commonly closer together for responsive turns. To keep the turns lively, these board will range from 36" to 44" in length. Most decks will be around 1/2" thick, differentiating by design and material.
Carving boards can be made with different materials including maple and bamboo. The repeating factor in these boards is a fiberglass top and bottom sheet on the deck, adding strength and flex. The flex of the board, or flexibility, gives the board a bouncy feel. This feature helps generate additional speed through pumping. The board builds energy when pushed into a turn, and is then released while exiting. With practice, a rider can travel long distances without the need to push with their feet.
Carving boards may also have concave and/or camber. The concave will help a rider's feet leverage to turn the deck during hard carves. The camber will add additional spring and energy.
Top mount and drop through mounts are both seen on carving decks. A top mount deck will give tighter turns due to the height but are more susceptible to speed wobbles. Drop through mounts bring the deck lower to the pavement, adding stability, but increasing the chance of wheel bite. Boards have adapted to avoid this problem with wheel cut outs and wheel wells.
Wheel shapes and durometer in carving decks depend on the board the rider chooses. While sharp lips give the rider a grippy ride, rounded lips are recommended for sliding. Softer durometer wheels are more frequently used for carving due to the extra grip it provides. Use recommended wheel sizes for each board to avoid wheel bite.
Trucks with hangers set at 50 degrees give carving decks the quickest turning ratio. Trucks are built with a standard bushing durometer, but turns can be intensified by using a softer durometer or cone bushings. For more stability, double barrel bushing can also be used.
Cruising is the most common style of longboarding, and generally refers to a board that is used as a form of transportation. Cruising boards are great for commuting to the office in big cities where traffic is congested. Cruising boards are great for trips to the coffee shop, supermarket, or shopping mall.
The length of a cruising board is determined by the riding environment. A longer board will have a larger turning radius and is great for long distance commutes where there are few turns. A shorter board will have a shorter turning radius and will be more responsive.
Since cruising boards are not designed for one specific riding style, they can also be used to experiment with other riding styles like carving, sliding, and downhill. Take caution that cruising boards are not designed for high speeds, and could suffer speed wobbles. Since they do have trucks designed for turning, riders may enjoy carving down mild hills. Having softer wheels with sharp edges will help the board stick while carving. Having harder wheels with round edges will work better for sliding.
Cruising boards will have a thickness from 1/2” to 5/8” and may have a slight amount of flex for comfort. Too much flex in a cruising board may cause fatigue, robbing energy when the rider pushes. Top mount trucks are the most common, but drop through trucks will lower the overall height of the deck. This reduces the amount of energy it takes to reach the ground with every push. Common shapes for cruising boards are pintails, round tails, and square tails. Cruising boards will typically be made entirely from maple and don’t necessarily need additional materials for strength. They may have top or bottom sheets made from exotic woods and could have clear or black grip applied to the top sheet.
Dance or Freestyle is the most creative form of longboarding. Originating from board-walking in surfing, dancing involves tricks that require balance, foot placement, and precision.
Dancing boards are longer for the skater to move up and down the deck during tricks. They range from 42" and up. They are dominantly symmetrical boards, meaning they are the same on both ends. The width of the board is also wider to give the rider foot room. Moderate flex is the ideal form for dancing, with bounce for carving, but firm enough to be steady. In general, dancing boards are flat with slight camber or concave. These features are rarely extreme and are added to assist tricks and/or provide comfort. These decks can come with or without kick tails. Beneficial for tricks, kick tails can add more dynamic to the rider's style.
For this style of longboarding, trucks and wheels dominantly revolve around the rider's style. 180mm trucks are both stable with responsive turns. Changing bushing size or duormeter will give the board a custom ride that specifically fits the skater. Grip or slide wheels can be set up on dancing decks. Grippy wheels will be softer, have sharp lips, and have less speed. Slide wheels will be harder and faster with rounded lips to make slides easier.
Downhill longboarding is becoming increasingly popular. Downhill boards are used for skating hills at high speeds, sliding, and freeriding. This style of skating is great for those who live in or near mountain roads or steep city streets. Skaters can reach speeds from 60 to 80 miles an hour while navigating roads. Due to these high speeds, riders wear leather motorcycle suits, full face helmets, knee pads, and sliding gloves to protect them from road rash.
Downhill decks are designed to be stable and fast. They are built stiff to reduce the chance of speed wobbles and have a longer wheelbase for security. They can be made from maple, bamboo, or carbon fiber. Recently, more boards are being produced with a W concave, deep rocker, drop mounts, and wheel wells. All or a mixture of these components allow different comfort and safety options suited for the rider. Downhill boards can be symmetrical or asymmetrical, meaning they either have a front and back or be ridden either direction. A benefit of symmetrical boards is that the rider can ride switch. However, an asymmetrical board can have a larger width in the from to allow stability and smaller width in the back for control.
Downhill wheels are generally harder and larger to add speed, stability, and the ability to slide. Downhill trucks have a longer hanger and 40 to 44 degree base plate to keep the board stable at high speeds.
Downhill racing has become common among the downhill community. Documentary movies like “Drop” have increased visibility about the sport. The best racers from around the world compete against each other to be named the fastest rider.
Freeriding joins downhill speed with sliding. While sliding is greatly used to control speed, it is being used by riders to grow into a style of its own. Riders perform technical slide combinations and maneuvers while moving at high speeds.
These decks closely resemble downhill longboards. They are meant to be stable at high speeds but agile enough for technical slides. Freeride boards can be asymmetrical or symmetrical. Asymmetrical boards have a larger width for the front foot and smaller width for the back foot, allowing stability and handling. These decks can come with various concaves, including W concave, radial concave, and elliptical concave. Each type creates different ways a rider prefers their foot to be locked into the board. These boards can also be shaped with a rocker. This is less extreme then the concave shape, but still gives the skater the security in their stance. Freeride decks can be top or drop mount. To lessen the chance of wheel bite the deck can have wheel wells or wheel cut outs.
Skaters that free ride tend to use smaller wheels with less contact patch to slide easier. Round lips and harder durometer also contribute to smoother slides.
Trucks are usually 180mm for freeriding for security at high speeds and quick turns for sliding. Bushings can be a mix of cone and barrel for turn and stability. They can also be set up with double barrels to fight speed wobbles.
Slide gloves protect the skater's hands during hand down slides. Pads, helmet, and slide gloves are recommended.
Slalom is closely related to carving. Riders race down an obstacle course of cones, carving in and out while finding the fasted line.
To maximize speed and responsiveness to quick turns, typical slalom boards are smaller in length with a closer wheelbase. Trucks with a high degree angle and shorter hanger give the rider more carving control. Slalom riders also prefer soft bushings for maximum turn ability. Soft wheels with a wide contact patch give extra grip, helping avoid sliding out in a turn. Smaller wheels are better for quick acceleration while exiting turns. Larger wheels are beneficial in longer, faster courses to achieve higher speeds.
Pumping is a form of commuting that skateboarders use to avoid pushing with their feet. The board builds energy into a turn and is released while exiting, moving the deck forward. With practice, a rider can travel long distances without the need to push.
Directional shape decks are ridden in a specific direction. They have a "front" and a "back".
The fish/swallow tail shape mimics the tail end of a fish or swallow bird, which has a "V" notch removed creating a twin tipped tail. This shape can come with or without a kicktail and comes in various different lengths.
The Pintail shape is an asymmetrical board with a wider at the nose and the tail being sharply angled to a point. The width of the Pintail shape is larger between the trucks to provide a large platform for a riders feet and avoid wheel bite.
The round tall has a more gradual slope than the pintail and ends with a large diameter radius. To avoid wheelbite on a round tail board, they will usually require a smaller wheel, wheel wells, and/or a larger riser.
The square tail ends abruptly and has a flat width running perpendicular to the board, forming a "square tail". A square tail usually has a kick tail to be used for during maneuverability or tricks. With a constant width in every inch of the board, these decks provide maximum traction and control when the riders foot is at the very tail of the board.
There are multiple shapes that do not have a formal name, but are made up of different characteristics and features.
Symmetrical shape boards can be ridden either way. They do not have a specific "front" or "back" or the deck.
Commonly seen in downhill boards, adjustable wheel base is a board that has multiple distance options for mounting trucks. This allows a skater more freedom to customize their set up. A longer wheel base will give the rider more stability and a larger turn radius. A shorter wheel base will turn sharper, but is less stable at high speeds.
The camber of a board is the slight curve upwards from the center instead of the board sitting flat. This upward curve creates a spring and provides an extra amount of flex giving the rider a bouncier feel. This feature is mostly found in cruising and carving boards.
Clear grip tape is similar to regular grip tape, but is transparent. Riders can find it in regular rolls or sprays. It's ideal for boards that have graphics on the top of the deck. Keep in mind that it easily gets dirty and wears away sooner than regular grip tape.
Concave is the upturned sides on the deck. The purpose of the concave is to make the rider feel secure in their footing, helping the rider's feet stay in place and feel the edge of the board without looking down. These downward curves provide more stability by lowering the riders center of gravity and does not allow flex. There are different types of concave for different comfort.
Radial concave is the most common style. If looking from the nose of the deck, the shape makes a light "U" in the board.
Elliptical concave, also referred at "tub concave" or "3 way concave", is flat along the center with the outside of the deck forming a dramatic incline.
W Concave refers to a double radial concave the runs lengthwise down the center line of the deck. This creates a ridge that runs down the middle of the board, which acts like arch support for your feet. The center ridge, along with the concave on the sides, forms the "W" shape.
360 Degree concave is a deck with concave surrounding the entire deck, including kicktails and raised noses.
A 3D multi radius concave combines W, 360 Degree, and Radial concaves together.
Bowl concave has a surrounding slope around the platform forming a "bowl". This design is also referred to as concave with internal gas pedals.
A double kicktail refers to both the nose and the tail of a deck that is curved upwards into kick tails. This allows the rider to get leverage from either side of the board. Double kick decks come in multiple sizes, shapes, and styles for riding.
Drop through boards have the baseplate of the truck sit on the top of the deck while the hanger "drops through" the bottom. This lowers the board closer to the ground, increasing stability for speed and efficiency for pushing. However, this reduces the board's carving ability. Drop through decks give leverage and weight over the inside of the wheels for sliding.
A drop down deck refers to a deck that has a lowered foot platform, lower than where the trucks are mounted on the nose and tail. This brings down the center of gravity for improved stability, aerodynamics, push, and increases grip by putting leverage over the top of the wheels. The curve in the deck construction from the trucks to the board platform creates a natural pocket that secures the rider's feet in place. These boards are great for downhill and some freeride.
Flex refers to how soft or rigid the the deck is. A soft board will have more flex, and is better for riders and/or cruising, carving, and dancing. A stiff board will have little to no flex, and is great for heavier riders and/or downhill, freeride, and stability.
Gas pedals are manufactured or cut away in the board design to create an angled platform for the skaters foot. These can be used for extra grip when the rider wraps over the edge of the deck. They are great for getting the position needed to take turns at high speeds.
Grip tape is what helps keep a riders feet on the deck. Similar to sandpaper, it has an adhesive backing that "tapes" to the riders board. It comes in different textures from a fine grit to extremely rough and grippy. It also comes in different colors and materials.
Kick tails are usually at the tail end or front of the deck, angling upwards for tricks and foot placement.
Micro drop decks have a dropped platform that is less extreme than a "drop down". These provide pockets for riders feet, without sacrificing carving control. Some micro drops only drop behind the front truck then level out to the back.
As skateboarding evolved, new styles of skating created issues with the "old school" hole pattern. Pool skating was becoming increasingly popular, and skaters started using every part of the terrain for tricks, including the rim around the top of the pool, or "pool coping". While doing coping tricks, the riders would get get hung up or break their outside hardware. To prevent damage, the bolds were moved 3/8th of an inch inward, away from the nose and tail. This design uses the outside presence of the truck to protect the bolts as well as prevent hang ups.
Old School mounts are four holes in a rectangular shape measuring 2.5" x 1.625. This design uses the full size and shape of the standard skate truck.
New school mounting has four holes, in trucks or boards, in a rectangular shape at the size 2.125" x 1.625". When comparing to Old School mounts, the New School patterns are the closer set. It is common to find both New School and Old School mounts on trucks and decks.
PRE-DRILLED MOUNTING HOLES
Skateboards and longboards come with a series of pre-drilled holes needed for mounting trucks to the board. Decks have at least eight holes, 4 for each truck, and may have 12 for adjustable wheelbase. These holes have two measurement styles, oldschool and newschool.Most trucks come equipped to fit both styles.
Recessed truck mounts are when the trucks are mounted into a pocket on the bottom of the board. This keeps the board a top mount, but lowers the center of gravity for stability at high speeds.
Risers can be mounted between the deck and the trucks to raise the board, helping avoid wheel bite and pressure cracks. Soft, hard, and wedge risers can only be used on top mount boards.
Soft risers, also know as shock risers, absorb bumps and vibration caused by rough terrain.
Hard risers lift the board higher from the wheels. This allows the rider to make harder carves.
Wedge risers put the trucks at a steeper angle, raising the board and making the turn radius smaller.
Drop through risers are specifically for drop through decks. The riser fits between the truck's baseplate and top of the deck. These help hardware from coming lose and making a rattle sound. All drop through risers are soft and rubbery.
Inspired by snowboarding, decks with rocker turn upwards. The creates a responsive ride and supports your feet. If the deck is laid flat, the board will "rock" from nose to tail.
The thickness of a deck depends on the materials used in the building process and how many plies the board has. Plies are thin sheets of material, usually laminated wood, that are pressed firmly together to create a longboard deck. The average wood deck is 7 to 9 plies thick. Manufactures have been experimenting with mixing different materials together, such as fiberglass and bamboo, forming a stiff and lighter board with less plies.
Top mount refers to the placement of the trucks on the board. If a board is top mounted, the trucks are attached directly to the bottom of the deck. This gives the rider more turn capability for aggressive, sharper turns. Because top mount boards are higher off the ground, stability may become an issue. Riders add more stability in their boards using different bushings, trucks, and wheels.
Flared wheel wells sit directly over the wheels. Unlike standard wheel wheels, these form an arch in the deck to prevent wheel bite and create foot pockets for grip.
The wheelbase is the distance between the inside hole mounts on a deck.
A wheel cutout is when the section above the wheels are completely "cut out". This gives room for bigger wheels and helps prevent the dreaded wheel bite.
Wheel wells are areas on the underside of the deck, directly above the wheels, that have been shaved out or formed to give more clearance. This extra space gives the rider more room to turn without getting wheel bite.
The axle attaches the wheels to the hanger. To secure the wheel, the end of the axle is threaded for hardware. Axle lengths may vary from company to company.
The baseplate is the part of the truck that is physically attached to the deck. A higher angle on the baseplate gives the rider more leverage over their trucks, which is great for carving. A lower baseplate angle increases stability, making it ideal for downhill. The angle of the baseplate also effects the angle of the hanger.
Bushings are urethane components that sit on the kingpin and sandwich the hanger, allowing the truck to carve. Bushings come in different shapes, sizes, durometers, and colors.
Cone bushings allow the truck to turn extremely sharp, making them great for carving/cruising.
Barrel bushings give additional support and are used in freestyle and downhill.
Stepped cone and double stepped cone bushings are ideal for extreme speeds. Their shape gives the rider control while maintaining stability.
Bushing durometer is the amount of resistance a bushing will give. The higher the durometer number, the stiffer the bushing. The weight of a rider will influence which durometer will work best. The more force there is over the bushings the quicker they will
respond. Standard bushings have a durometer of 90a.
High durometer bushings create stability, making them great for downhill and some freeride.
If the bushing is soft, it has a lower durometer number. These bushings give little resistance and are great for carving and cruising.
Riders can pair different bushing shapes and durometers to make the exact feel they are looking for.
Hangers are the part of the truck that controls the wheel track.
Shorter hangers are between 130mm to 155mm, giving the board a sharper turn radius and making it great for carving. Longer hangers have more stability, making them beneficial when skating downhill and measure between 170m to 190mm.
Some truck designs allow the hanger to be flipped to change the rake. Rake is the difference in degrees when a hanger is flipped. If a hanger is 50 degrees with a -3/+3 rake, then the true degree of the truck can be 53 or 47 degrees. The higher the degree, the more it can carve. The lower the degree, the more secure it is at high speeds.
The width of the hanger affects the leverage a rider has over their bushings. A smaller width gives more leverage, making the board very responsive. A wider hanger will be secure at higher speeds.
The pivot cup sits in the baseplate of the truck and holds the base of the hanger. This works with the bushings to allow the hanger to turn or "pivot". Pivot cups will need to be replaced after wear and tear. Pivot cups come in different durometers to hold the hanger base tight or relaxed.
A tighter and harder pivot cup will be more stable, but be harder to turn. A loose and soft pivot cup will respond quickly, but is not recommended for high speeds.
REVERSE KINGPIN TRUCKS
Reverse Kingpin Trucks have both kingpins facing away from one another. The kingpin is angled through the hanger, with the nut and pivot cup on the same side of the hanger. This gives the rider more control for carving and stability. Reverse kingpin trucks are slightly taller than standard trucks.
The standard style truck has the kingpin facing the opposite kingpin on the opposing truck. This is most commonly seen on skateboards because of their sharp response. This make it ideal for pools, parks, and half pipes.
Hardware are the nuts, bolts, and washers that attach the baseplate to the deck, and the wheels to the axle. Hardware varies in sizes depending on the thickness of the deck and if it is equipped with risers. Be sure to check for loose hardware before every skate session. Specialized hardware, such as System Hardware, include seating washers. These set into the grip tape and keep the screw's button head from tearing the grip tape.
The contact patch is the surface of the wheel that comes into contact with the road. The larger the contact patch the more stable the wheel is. If the contact patch is smaller, the wheel will have a smaller turn radius.
The diameter of a wheel refers to the hight of the wheel. Wheels with smaller diameters are used for cruising or freeriding due to its agility. Larger diameter wheels are more commonly seen on longboards and downhill decks. These wheels have more speed and ability to roll over gravel or sidewalk cracks.
ROUND LIPPED WHEELS
Wheels with rounded edges are called round lipped wheels. These are intended for sliding during free riding. The rounded edges do not grip the road, allowing the rider to break into a slide with less effort.
SHARP LIPPED WHEELS
Sharp Lipped Wheels have a square lip designed for cruising, carving, and high speed downhill. The sharp edge creates more grip when taking hard corners and gives the rider more stability.
Durometer is the measurement of how soft or hard a wheel is. All wheels are placed on a scale ranging from 75a to 101a. The lower numbers are the softer wheels ranging from 75a to 80a. These roll slower, but allow more grip, making them popular in cruising and carving.
Wheels rated between 81a to 86a are balanced between soft and hard, giving the rider the freedom of control and grip.
Harder wheels are faster, rating from 87a to 101a, and slide easily. These wheel are used for park, vert terrain, downhill, and some free riding.
The wheel hub is the core of the wheel where the bearings sit. Hubs are placed in different core sections of the wheel to accommodate different riding styles.
A center set hub is placed directly in the middle of the wheel. This allows the wheels to be rotated when the edges begin to wear down, lengthening their life span. These wheels provide grip, making them more difficult to slide on.
Offset hubs are positioned between the inner edge and center of the wheel. This hub placement provides the most grip, making sliding more difficult and less controllable. Most downhill and cruising boards are set up with offset hubs.
Side set hubs sit on the inside of the outer edge of the wheel. These give very little traction and are preferred for sliding and free riding. Due to the pressure and demand needed for freeriding, these wheels wear down faster.
Wheels have two types of finishing across the contact patch, smooth and stone ground.
Wheels with a smooth surface are not broken in. They provide the most grip, making it popular for cruising, downhill, and aggressive carving.
Stone ground wheels are designed for sliding and free riding. This style of wheel is pre-broken and slides with ease.
Wheel bite occurs when a wheel comes into contact with the deck during a turn, stopping the forward motion. This causes a rider to loose balance and/or fall off the board. This issue can be avoided by adding risers or changing wheels. Using a deck with cutouts or wheel wells will also help.
When repeatedly executing slides and heavy carving, wheels begin to take a cone shape. These appear on the areas that receive the most pressure. To avoid coned wheels, rotate them to different axles to wear down the wheels evenly.
Flat spots on a wheel are the result of a wheel stopping during a power slide. Flat spots slow down the board and cause a vibrating chatter while riding. Rotate your wheels or change wheel styles to avoid flat spots.
Chunking wheels happen to sharp edge wheels when sliding. The square edged catches the pavement and breaks into chunks. Take some time carving and cruising to break the wheels in, reducing the chance of wheel chunking.
An ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineers Committee) rating is used to measure the tolerance of a bearing. The system is set up by odd numbers; 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. They look at the dimensions of each ball bearing, measuring width, shape, and surface texture. Keep in mind that ABEC originally measured bearings used in machinery and do not include some details specific to skating. The highest rated bearing may not be the best choice for skateboarding.
ABEC 3 is the slower, rougher, but very durable. These are very uncommon in skateboarding.
ABEC 5 is a standard rate for skate bearings. They are durable, a little rocky, and moderately fast.
ABEC 7 is a higher quality bearing for skating. It is fast, smooth, but less durable.
ABEC 9 is used by some downhill skaters. The ball bearings are ground or polished to a higher tolerance, making them faster and smoother, but require more matinance.
A very precise bearing will have reduced friction, friction caused heat, and heat will cause the bearings to fail. Riders clean and lubricate their bearings regularly. A well maintained ABEC 5 will outlast a neglected ABEC 7.
Not all bearings are ABEC rated. Some companies test and rate their own products while others use skate rating.
Bearings are donut shaped objects that incircle the axle and cause the wheels to rolls. Placed inside the wheel hub, they need to be kept clean for speed and longevity. Bearings consist of an inner and outer race with ball bearings in between.
The outside diameter of a bearing is universal to all skateboard wheels. The inner diameter comes in two sizes, with the most common being 8mm. A 10mm inner diameter usually applies to precision downhill trucks with thicker axles.
Bearing Shields are on the outside of the ball bearings for protection. Made from rubber or metal, these keep dirt and grime out of the bearings, helping them stay fast and clean. Shields can be removed for deep cleaning or lubricating the ball bearings.
Bearing spacers are used to align and maintain the bearing position. Spacers are installed between 2 bearings on the truck axle, laying in the middle of the wheel hub.
Ceramic bearings are an alternative to steel bearings. They are lighter, harder, and stronger than steel bearings. They are designed to handle more friction, keeping the bearings cooler, which allows them to roll faster longer. Ceramic bearings are waterproof, turning a rainy day into a skate session.
Precision bearings are created with smoother surfaces and tighter moving parts. This results in less friction, creating a faster spinning bearing.
The retainer is a crown shaped piece inside of a bearing to keep the balls in place.
Skate Rating doesn't rate bearings, but tests and builds them strictly for skateboard use. Used by Bone Bearings, this rating tests impact strength, durability, turn force, and tolerance. These bearing are not ranked with an ABEC Rating.
Swiss bearings are manufactured and engineered in Switzerland using swiss steel.
MATERIALS / CONSTRUCTION
Bamboo is found in multiple board styles from various companies. It is naturally stronger, lighter, and more flexible than maple. Bamboo can be the dominate wood in a deck or be combined with other materials for a mixture of stability and flex. Bamboo plys may be laminated horizontally or vertically.
Carbon fiber boards are the strongest, stiffest, and lightest compared to all other common longboard materials. Originally made for high speed downhill, it has expanded into freestyle. Carbon fiber can be paired with other materials to add a punch of hard stability and reinforcement in vulnerable places on a board. Wheel wells and outer rail can be protected with carbon fiber to prevent chipping and splitting.
Fiberglass is used in addition with other materials like bamboo and maple. Fiberglass is commonly used as the top and bottom sheet of a deck, known as "sandwiching". This strengthens and protects a deck from natural wear and tear. When used on flexible boards, fiberglass dampens vibrations from rough surfaces and speed.
Honey-Comb construction is inspired from honey bee hives. Hollowed chambers in a hexagonal layout are spaced evenly to reduces weight, while adding strength and stiffness.
Maple is commonly used in longboard decks. The stiff characteristic it possesses makes maple great for riders looking for stability. Maple can be joined with other materials to add flex or strength. It is harvested locally in North America, making it a premium product that supports Northern American industries.
Bustin's Thermo-Glass construction is 4 layers of recycled fiberglass that is heat melded with sustainable Great Lakes Maple using proprietary thermo-active formula. This makes a strong deck made without harmful glues or resins that can only be taken apart using the same degree of heat used to form it.
ELBOW AND KNEE PADS
Elbow and knee pads protect skaters from road rash and other impact injuries. Hard pads have stiff shells on the outside and are made for high impact falls. Soft pads are flexible, allowing for more movement, but are designed for low impact crashes. Soft pads are machine washable, breathable, and low profile.
Helmets are the most important piece of safety equipment a skater can own. They come in different colors, textures, and designs.
Half shell helmets are most commonly seen. They cover a riders full head and leave the face open for visibility and comfort. Some have bills formed below the forehead to keep the sun out of a riders eyes. Holes are carved into the design of the helmet which allow for ventilation. Half shell helmets are great for cruising and carving.
Used dominantly in downhill, full face helmets cover the entire head and chin. Visors keep wind and debris out of the riders face. Full face helmets without visors can add visibility and ventilation.
Keep you're brain where it belongs. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET.
Slide gloves assist and protect riders during slides. All gloves have a plastic or urethane puck that is velcroed to the palm. Some feature small pucks that attach to the thumb and fingers. Similar to wheels, pucks eventually need to be replaced after they have been worn down from sliding friction. Gloves come in many different materials to accommodate a riders needs.
Wrist guards are designed to protect the wrist from injury.