the skateboard deck
Of all skateboard parts the deck (or board) usually receives the most attention and is probably also the part being replaced the most often.



  • Nose: This is the front part of the skate deck, above the front mounting holes.
  • Tail: This is the section behind the rear mounting holes. Usually the tail is a bit shorter and thinner than the nose.
  • Mounting Holes: 8 pre-drilled holes to attach the trucks to the deck.
  • Wheelbase: The distance between the both inner mounting hole pairs.
  • Ply: Each professional skateboard deck consists of several (usually 7) thin layers of wood (see MATERIAL section).
  • Concave: To increase the deck’s strength and skateboarder’s control over the skateboard the deck curves up slightly between the nose and tail.



  • OLD SCHOOL: All decks made in the 1970s and 1980s (or modern boards that imitate their shape) are considered as “old school” boards. Decks of the 1970s are often quite small and have no concavity, whereas skate deck models of the 1980s have a larger width and steeper kicktails.
  • LONGBOARD: Longboard decks are usually over 35 inches (about 90 centimeters) long, with a bigger wheelbase and are rather designed for cruising, carving or downhill than performing tricks. The longer wheelbase increases the stability and helps making long, fluid carves when turning.
  • NEW SCHOOL: The shape of the current professional decks is called “new school” and was developed in the early 1990s when skateboarding tricks became very technical. It hasn’t changed much since.

This article will deal only with the so called “new school decks”.

The majority of today’s skateboarding decks are made of seven thin sheets of Canadian maple wood, laminated together with glue. Because a skateboard deck receives most impact on his longitudinal axis the (sometimes coloured) sheets are usually laminated in the following alternating directions: 2 longitudinal, 1 lateral, 1 longitudinal in the middle, 1 lateral, 2 longitudinal. Consequently the skate deck does not split along the natural grain of the wood.
Skateboard companies keep experimenting with 6 to 9 layers: 6-ply decks are lighter than the good ol’ 7-ply and hence better for fliptricks – but they tend to break faster. Whereas skateboard decks with 8 or 9 layers are only slightly heavier (the layers are thinner than in a 7-ply) but also more durable. However the lack of durability remains the major drawback of wooden skating decks: They can warp because of heat or humidity and break or splinter on high impact.
After being laminated the wood is pressed and shaped into a skate deck, the holes for the mounting bolts are drilled, and the board gets painted.

In the past years skateboard deck companies have started to experiment with all kinds of wood composites and materials such as nylon, fiberglass, resin, hemp, carbon fiber or plastic to increase the rigidity, durability and/or pop of a skate deck. The main problem with these materials is that they either make the deck less flexible, too heavy or simply too expensive. Hence none of these experimental deck designs has been yet established.


  • BRAND DECK: A deck with a graphic and usually a brand name on the bottom, made by one of the countless skateboard deck companies or sometimes a skateshop. The truth is that about 90% of all professional skateboard decks worldwide are produced in only less than 10 factories (so called woodshops). Therefore most brand/pro decks differ only in shape and graphic, not in quality!
  • PRO DECK: A brand sk8 deck with the name and graphic of one of the company’s sponsored professional riders. The pro skater earns a share of the boards’ sales.
  • BLANK DECK: A blank deck has no graphic painted on the bottom. Sometimes a blank deck can be as good as a pro deck, sometimes a blank deck is made of inferior wood!

Size matters: The right size of a skateboard deck is dependent on the rider’s skatestyle: Are you a technical skater who does a lot of flip tricks, manuals or ledge tricks? Or do you want to shred mainly pools and vert ramps? Maybe you just need a skateboard for transportation and surfer style cruising?

A skateboard deck’s length is measured from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Most decks are between 28 and 32 inches long (ca. 71-81 centimeters – skateboard decks are usually measured in inches: 1 inch = 2,54 centimeters).
Shorter decks make it easier to perform technical maneuvers like flip- or ledge-tricks, whereas longer boards are better for ramp-skating and transportation. But the length of the deck is not as important as the width.

Most skateboard decks are between 7 1/2 inches and 8 1/2 inches (ca. 19-21 centimeters) wide.
If you are either a very beginner, very tall, big footed or really into transition and ramp skating you should choose a wider sk8 deck, between 8 and 8.5 inches. Also if you just want your skateboard for transportation, the bigger the better. A wider deck gives the rider more stability, balance and control. On the other hand if you are quiet short, small footed and more of a technical skater executing complicated flip tricks pick a deck between 7.5 and 7.75 inches. If you are the kind of gnarly rail and ledge mosher go for a mid-sized sk8 deck between 7.75 and 8 inches.
It’s a bit trial and error – but sooner or later you will find your perfect size. Nothing is compulsory – out there you will see giants celebrating on 7.5″ toothpicks and dwarfs moshing on 8.5″ battleships…

At the latest when you have learned a few tricks the size and angle of nose and tail becomes influential. A steeper nose and tail give you more leverage and higher pop but usally make it more difficult to perform flip tricks. Again, you have to find out what suits best for you!

Besides the different measures of a sk8 deck the concave angle is another important factor: A mellow concave is best for cruising and transition, a medium shape for skateparks, rails and ledges and a deep concavity for technical street skating.

In the beginning just pick what “seems” best for you and during your skateboarding career you will find your favorite kind of sk8 deck!