The deck is the glue that holds all of the pieces of your skateboard together.
It can be constructed with many different specs that will change your ability to skate.
There are many brands out there that claim they have the best decks, which makes it tricky to decipher which one you should go for. We’ve compiled all the information you need to make the best decision.
Is There Really A Difference Between Deck Brands?
A best-kept secret is that although many skateboard deck brands are positioned to consumers quite differently, many of them are built in the same factories. While, this doesn’t mean that all are necessarily created equal, there are a lot of similarities between different brands.
When choosing a skateboard deck, you’ll want to consider the quality, price, and reputation of the brand. If you get a deck from a decent brand or woodshop, you can rely on it being a good combination of these three factors. Learn more below.
What Makes A Good Skateboard Deck?
A high-quality skateboard deck will be composed of many thin layers of bamboo or maple and/or other materials.
It’s symmetrical in shape, concave, and has an upward-angled tail. This construction makes it cling to the skater’s feet when traveling or performing tricks. It’s lightweight yet durable enough to respond to your cues.
It can be tricky to spot a poorly made deck because there are a few main areas where it can be lackluster: the concave, cheap wood or fillers, a poorly constructed nose, too heavy, prone to falling apart. We’ve vetted both brands and woodshops to give you direction on exactly where you should shop.
Top Deck Brands
If you’re shopping by brand, you’re going to be pleased with your purchase from any of the following.
- Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz has proven the quality of their skateboards for over four decades. They were one of the first brands to be founded in the early 70s when the sport of skateboarding started to grow, and have held a spot at the top of the industry ever since. Though the decks they sell may be pricier than the others you’ve shopped for, you do get more out of them. A few of their skateboards have been ranked number one by riders.
Just because they are old, doesn’t mean they aren’t releasing new technology—they are always innovating.
One way they differentiate their decks is with “everslick” technology that places the graphic underneath slide-friendly plastic, enabling better rides of ramps, curbs, and any other terrain. Another technological advancement they flaunt is called Quad X; it holds the shape of the board while giving riders better responsiveness.
When it comes to street skating, Baker is a world-renowned brand. This brand was founded by pro skater Andrew Reynolds in 2000 and continued to gain traction over the years as it partnered with Tony Hawk’s son, Riley, when he went pro in 2014.
The brand offers a big selection of decks in many different designs and sizes. All of them are known for being durable and constructed of 100% Canadian maple. Their flat stepping surfaces give riders an incredible platform for tricks. If there’s a specific model you’re after, this brand has a great selection—from mellow to steeper concave, and from shorter to longer boards.
In addition to being great boards for street skating, this will be one of your favorites to bring to the park. Their specs are great for flips, carving, rails/ledges, and even transitions.
Antihero was founded in ‘95 by Julien Stranger, another professional skater.
This brand has strong advocates that love the brand for its consistency and high-quality boards. They’re known to excel in performing carves and technical skating maneuvers. Antihero welcomes all types of skaters and all styles of skateboarding. Beyond skating, it voices the importance of social change and equality.
Many different lines of skateboards have been released to reflect diverse riders. Two things are consistent with these boards—the top-tier quality and awesome graphics. Compared to other brands, the decks tend to be wider which allows for more comfort and control. If you want a board that looks and feels awesome, this brand is for you.
Real was founded in the early 1990s by Tommy Guerrero and Jim Thiebaud. It was founded on a mission of sustainability and giving back to the community and non-profit foundations. The brand offers boards that are both affordable and friendly to the planet.
A key differentiator between these boards and the ones other brands manufacture is their durable decks. They’ll last a long time, but you may notice they’re a bit heavier, too. If you want a board that contributes to a greater mission and is sure to go the mile, look no further.
Element is a well-known brand to both those who have been into skateboarding for a while and those who haven’t. Professional skater Johnny Schillereff, founded this company in 1992. These boards have it all—they’re cost-conscious, environmentally friendly, and artistic.
The boards Element puts out are awesome because of their “Featherlight” technology. They’re thinner and lighter than other boards on the market, yet always high quality and durable.
Close attention to detail is paid to manufacturing these decks, as they seek to avoid unnecessary chemicals. It’s not just their skateboards that give you the full package—the brand has also been successful in other product lines they’ve ventured into including clothing, footwear, and skateboard accessories.
Top Deck Wood Shops
If you don’t have a brand you’re loyal to, it’s worth considering what woodshop it came from.
As mentioned before, many of the high-quality skateboard decks come from the same few factories. If you choose a board from one of the following factories, you can expect it to be high quality.
- Skate One
This reputable factory was founded by two of the most recognizable names in the skateboarding industry—Stacy Peralta and George Powell. It operates here in the United States, California. The Powell-Peralta skateboard line comes from this manufacturer.
- BBS / Generator
This factory operates in Mexico and creates some of the most well-known skateboards in the industry. This manufacturer serves brands including Real, Antihero, and DGK, among many others.
- Dwindle / DSM
This manufacturer is in China and owned by two of the biggest legends in the pro skating world; Rodney Mullen and Steve Rocco. It’s responsible for the creation of many well-known skateboard brands too, including Enjoi, Santa Cruz, and Globe.
- PS Stix
Like BBS / Generator, this manufacturer is also in Mexico. Professor Paul Schmitt founded this factory and creates skateboards for several brands, including Habitat Skateboards, Hockey Skateboards, and Pizza Skateboards.