Buying a new deck is one of the great joys of any skateboarder’s life. Fresh wood means fresh pop, after all, and a clean deck just has that solid feel everyone is looking for. There are so many different options to sift through, it is easy to get lost in all of it – especially when it comes to settling on a board width.
Before we dive into the nerdy details...quick visual guide of what size decks are suited or various age/stages and height. From there, you can gauge what works best for you as it pertains to different body types and preferences.
Now let's continue with each specific deck sizes and why or how it'll work for you....
To a certain extent, board width is a matter of personal preference. Skate what you like and all that. However, there are a few things you might consider when comparing decks that catch your eye. More than anything else, the width of a deck will affect the way the board does certain things. Let’s look at the different available options and see what each one does well.
7.5 to 7.875
These decks are the smallest in the Yocaher lineup. There are two groups of skaters who benefit from these thinner planks: small kids and tech skaters. The reason they work well for young ones is obvious. Their smaller size is just right for smaller feet. Technical skaters have their own reasons for riding these boards.
Imagine yourself riding up to an obstacles, set on kickflipping into a 5-0 grind then kickflipping out again. Thinner boards are well-suited for this type of technical skateboarding. They are easier to flip and spin because there is less mass to the board. Boards of this size were super popular during the tech craze of the 90s for exactly that reason.
Skinnier boards such as these are also perfect for flat-ground skating. They are not really that much bigger than the old freestyle boards, on which most of the modern flip tricks were first invented. If you are used to a bigger deck, these boards may seem small at first. But you’ll understand their purpose once you start learning tricks like tre flips on one. They really are the best decks for tech skating.
8 to 8.125
You might think there isn’t much difference between a 7.75-inch board and an 8-inch board, but the contrast can be striking. Decks of this size are sort of the all-terrain decks in skateboarding. Though they’re a bit wider than the sub-8-inch technical decks, they are still thin enough to flip with just a flick of the foot. However, they have a couple things going for them that make them the deck-of-choice for many street skaters.
At 8 inches, decks begin to feel more like a platform than a popsicle stick under your feet. They may not actually be any more stable than their slightly smaller cousins, but they feel considerably more solid. That perceived extra strength becomes important as gaps start getting bigger and the stair count grows. Jumping down an eight set, anything that instills trust in your setup should be welcome.
Boards of this size are also suitable for street-style skateparks, though they may lack some of the stability on transition that their bigger brothers have (more on that in a moment). They provide just enough stability on handrails and ledges, while still being thin enough for simple flip tricks. If you’re an all-around skater who loves multiple terrains, this may be the size for you.
8.25 to 8.38
When gaps and obstacles start to get truly large, the riding platform should get bigger as well. That is where an 8-and-a-quarter deck shines. These are typically the preferred sizes of skateboarders who like to throw themselves down the biggest stair sets and handrails. The added width gives them a solid foundation on which to land, without the fear of snapping the deck that they might have on a thinner board.
The beauty of riding a deck this size on gaps and rails is that it still isn’t too big for flip tricks. Sure, it may take a little extra oomph to get the board to flip or spin, but it isn’t impossible. And the added strength of the wider plank breeds confidence when you have a little too much time to think during a gap trick.
Boards of this size are also at home on all types of skatepark terrain. You can conquer your local street plaza or bowl with confidence, knowing your deck will remain a solid platform underfoot. And, when the going gets more technical, the occasional flip-to-lip trick is still doable. If you like to skate a little bit of everything, but you still want to win a game of S.K.A.T.E., this is your size.
8.5 inches and up
When you’re heading out to rip some vert, only a wide deck will do. Of course, you can skate big transition on as thin of a board as you like, but only at the cost of stability. In skateboarding, rarely does a skater reach the speeds and heights of someone skating those big transitions. We’re talking ramps 10 feet or more in height, with at least a foot of vert. At those heights, skaters really appreciate having a platform that approximates the length of the adult human foot.
When boards get this wide, you will definitely be sacrificing flipability for stability. It’s not that kickflips are out of the question, but they are by no means easy on these big, old-school sizes. A backside kickflip to disaster is truly impressive on a deck this size, but skaters do it all the time.
Truthfully, once you get accustomed to the added heft, flip tricks just take a bit more effort.
At transition-dominant skateparks, though, a board of this size comes into its own. Once locked into a lip trick, the wide platform adds an element of stability to transition skating that smaller boards noticeably lack. If you are the type of skater who prefers gnarly transitions to tech, you should consider upping your board sizes to the 8.5-plus category. Your airs will never be the same.
Choosing the right board for you depends as much on your taste as it does your skill level and preferred terrain. Board widths were trending wider for years, but the pendulum is swinging back the other way. Rather than concern yourself with whatever the popular shape or size for a deck is, think about what you want to do with your board instead. That way, you won’t have to go through as much trial and error. There are few things worse than realizing too late that your brand-new deck was designed for someone else.
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