How to Take Care of a New Skateboard

Skateboard Care for the Beginner Skater

A reader named Jayden wrote in recently, "Hi Steve, I was reading one of your articles on what kind of skateboard to get for beginners and I wanted to ask for some advice or tips on what you should and shouldn't do to keep your board in relatively good condition."

Taking care of your skateboard is a great idea.  Too many skaters ride their board hard, and then just chuck it in the corner, or worse, leave it outside for the dew, sun and raccoons to get at it.  Which leads to warped decks, softening of the wood, junk gumming up your bearings, and raccoons riding skateboards around at night, causing a ruckus!  Then the raccoons sell your boards, and spend all that money on gambling...  honestly, it's just better for everyone if you take care of your skateboard!

But HOW?  Well, here are a few things you can do:

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Keep your skateboard indoors

To me, this is a no-brainer.  I live in Seattle, and if you leave anything outside, it'll either get stolen, or it'll get wet and ruined.  Immediately.

In a humid place, even if your skateboard doesn't get rained on directly, it will still absorb moisture.  The deck is made of wood, and that' what wood does!  Also, moisture can settle into your bearings, and that's just flat out horrible.

In an arid place, dust can settle onto your board, and get into those bearings, too.  

You also want to avoid leaving it sitting in the sun.  The sun will heat up the metal parts and the black griptape, making them expand just a little, and then when it gets cooler they contract, and this happening again and again wears out your board faster.

Pretty much, just keep it inside!  If winter has struck and you want to keep the board stored away, then here's some advice for how to do that - read 

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Take care of your bearings

Your bearings are the most precision piece of your skateboard, and if they get gummed up, they will ruin your ride.

I've got a great step by step article on how to clean your bearings, and it'll walk you through it.  There's a quick and easy way (which I recommend for beginners), and a hard, complicated way that does a better job.

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Take care of chips in the deck

As you skate, your tail will start to wear thin.  Your nose probably will too, eventually.  As these places wear thin, and as you crash, or bail, or just loose your board and have it shoot across the street into the light pole, the edge of your deck will chip.  The nose and tail are especially vulnerable to it.

Make sure to take care of bad chips.  Sand down splintered wood, round off sharp edges, and don't let your tail get so thin it becomes like a blade!  These can hurt, and also, they can act as places for the board to fracture.

It's the same for any rips or tears in your griptape - clip them out so that the tear doesn't get bigger!

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Replace parts that need it

As you skate, your skateboard will wear out.  That's inevitable.  You buy a skateboard, and it's shiny and beautiful and then you wreck it.  

Too many skaters fall in love with their first skateboard.  It makes sense, you probably spent a LOT of time picking it out - a lot more time than you probably will in the future!  You got exactly what you wanted, and you love it.  But as you ride it, parts will wear down.  You might get flat spots on your wheels, or your deck might start getting stress fractures, you might slam your board into a sidewalk and rip half the nose off.  Anything can happen.  

As these tragedies happen, it's important that you replace the parts that need it.  After a few months, it's common for a skateboard to have different parts than it started with. I kept my first skateboard stock for so long, the bushings were pretty much just hard plastic, two of the wheels would hardly spin, and the nose AND the tail were sharp blades.  Then I snapped an ollie and left half of my tail on the ground!  Oops!  So, replace your parts!  If you want advice concerning specific parts (such as, how big and soft the wheels should be, how wide the deck, etc), check out the article Build Your Own Pro Grade Skateboard.  It has a page on each part, and what to look for.

And remember, if an angry raccoon makes off with your skateboard, it's really your fault. Just keep that board inside already!