I’m not sure about you, but when I returned to skateboarding and was browsing the shops online, and even in store, I was left wondering what size deck do I really need? I used to ride a 7.75 when I was a teenager but was this still the appropriate size deck for me now. I first purchased a 7.75, I now ride an 8.0 and I have an 8.25 to test out in the future if I fancy it (It’s locked up in the garage right now). However I’m still left with the question of what size deck should I get? So far I’ve simply picked on how things feel when I ride them. Therefore, I’ve done some digging. The information below is compiled from multiple sources and personal experience, but hopefully it can provide you some direction to move in for finding the best size skateboard deck for yourself when you’re looking for a new one.
Deck Size Options
There are many different size skateboard decks, but I’ll try and stick with the most common range and I will not include surfskateboards or longboards in my references here. For those types of skateboards I recommend you speak to experienced users of them for their recommendations on the best skateboard deck size.
With the more common pop sickle style skateboards, they tend to increment in 0.25 inches, and range from 7.5 through to 9.0, so deck sizes commonly include: 7.5, 7.75, 8.0, 8.25, 8.5, 8.75 and 9.00 but this does not mean that is all of them. There are also larger and smaller deck sizes and even sizes that fit in the middle of the 0.25 increments, so it can get very interesting when you start skateboard deck shopping. If you can I would recommend sticking with the 0.25 increments because if you enjoy the feel of riding one of them it becomes a lot easier to replace it over time and also it’s more common, so you’ll have more choice of suppliers and designs.
Your preferred skating style will have a huge impact on the size of skateboard deck that you want. There’s a few basic rules which I’ll list.
Rule 1. If you fancy doing transition style skateboarding, think half pipes, maybe skateparks with quarter pipes and bowls (pools), then you need a slightly wider deck. The reason is to provide you with more stability. The wider deck is giving you more space to spread out your weight etc. Therefore you’re probably looking at a size 8.5 or higher skateboard decks.
Rule 2: If your more of a street skater and you’re aiming to hit ledges, the street section of the outdoor park, and really like getting a good switch flip or varial in, then you want a more narrow deck because this will help with those tricks. The same goes for the freestyle flat ground skateboarder out there. Street skaters, probably want to be looking at 7.75-8.25 deck sizes.
Rule 3: If you’re a smaller person (e.g. child/early teens) then you will probably feel most comfortable on a board that is smaller, so you’d be looking at 7.00-7.75 skateboard decks.
And if you’re a pure blend of everything and just like to play around, then I’d advise you look at a size 8.0 deck. It’s not so small that you’ll never get on it, and it’s not so big that getting a flip or two in would be difficult.
Body Weight and Size
I’ve mentioned that a different size skateboard decks can really depend on skating style, but there are also other factors. For example if you’re on the heavier side of things and lets face it most of us have a good beer belly, then you’ll need to aim for a larger deck to begin with. The reason for this is that the wider decks give more stability which helps control weight as you skate. After a while once you’re back on the board and used to skating, you can drop the size down if you want. For larger people I’d recommend a good 8.5 width deck, but if you’re the opposite and very light, then a smaller deck like a 7.75 could be a good idea.
If you find that you’re going through decks quite often (due to them snapping or breaking), then start exploring fortified decks. There additional strength may provide a good solution to you.
|Type of skateboarder||Width of deck|
|Heavier Skateboarders||8.5 + to begin with|
|Lighter Skateboarders||7.75 + to begin with|
*more width tends to give more stability
Shoes sizes should be quite an obvious thing to understand. If you have huge feet and ride a 7.75 deck, you’re likely to struggle landing tricks. You will regularly put your toes and heels down etc. which will cause to you stop rather than roll away in a clean fashion. Whereas if you have smaller feet, do you really need all of that real estate under your feet? I think that will depend on skating style. A thinner deck size will help with getting your flip tricks down, but a wider deck will be great for cruising and handling transition skateboarding.
A couple of tips to remember for sizing up a deck based on your shoe size.
Tip 1: Stand on the board with both feet in your normal stance, and look at your heels. You do not want them hanging over hugely, maybe 1-2 cm.
Tip 2: Stand on the board with both feet in your normal stance, and look at your toes. You do not want them to hang over too much, again maybe 1-2 cm overhang.
Tip 3: Stand on the board with both feet in your normal stance, and look at both your heels and toes. If they’re both completely on the board with zero overhang, then the deck is too big. Unless you’re just cruising.
Again keep this as a rough guide, your skating style is the big decision maker here. If you need a visual, have a look at Slam City Skates guide for sizes. They do a very nice image. https://www.slamcity.com/pages/what-size-skateboard-deck-do-i-need
When I was younger, I never noticed the difference between the nose and tail. To me my basic deck was great and on amateur eyes it looked symmetrical but guess what! They do differ, so why and how does this impact my decision to select a deck?
The difference isn’t a huge one, but often skateboard deck manufacturers will make the nose and tail slightly different. The nose may be slightly longer, wider or have different concave. The impact on the skateboard is very little, so it’s more of a slight difference where if you can notice it, it will help ride the deck forward rather than backwards. My current element deck is almost identical and the only way I can really see what is the nose is to flip it over and see what the graphic is.
Bonus notes on what is the best size deck?
Note on trucks: I’ve seen references online that under sizing your trucks can really help with getting flips around, most of the comments have related to treflips (probably because that’s what I’ve done a lot of reading regarding recently). Where the skateboarders have stated that if you’re riding an 8 inch deck, having 7.75 trucks fit gives them an extra edge (like the over hang of the deck helps with pressure), same for if you are riding an 8.25 and having 8 trucks.
I’ve tested this theory on my 8 inch element with 7.75 zoo york trucks and I’ll be honest, I’ve not noticed any difference in my treflip attempts (they still elude me), as for my kickflips and heelflips, they’re the same as they have been for a while now.
Note on strength of decks: I cant find any really good information about whether a bigger or smaller deck is stronger. The closest I can see is David Torgerson reference that bigger decks are stronger in his article https://www.metroleague.org/is-a-wider-skateboard-deck-stronger/, but maybe it really just depends on manufacturer.
Also if you’re new to skateboarding or just starting out again, check out the best skateboard shoes for beginners.