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Buying Guide and History of Skateboards
by the Stay_K Skateshop

Every part of a skate setup plays its role. Some are more important than others, like the skateboard deck, trucks and wheels. But, bearings, of course, and even other smaller parts of the setup, like the trucks' bushings, indeed are important. So, we have the following categories: Decks / Trucks / Wheels / Bearings / GriptapeHardware. In addition, sometimes the way you build your setup can shape the style of your skateboarding, same way your style is essential to how your setup is going to be. Important, you also have the choice to buy a pre-built complete and if you are a total beginner, this is what we recommend. Anyway, our team of experienced skaters always test the pre-built completes as well. If you are a beginner, all these may sound too complicated. Stay_K online skate shop is here to help and to do this effectively we have our easy guide that you can follow below. 

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What is a Skateboard?

What parts are skateboards made of

A skateboard setup, same as a cruiser skateboard and longboard, consists of six equally important parts. These are: the deck, the trucks, the wheels, the bearings, the griptape and the hardware. In their turn, all of these skate components come with their own parts and materials, rendering them useful to meet their purpose and your expectation. For example, a skateboard deck produced by a serious manufacturer is made with some of the strongest wood and glue out there, making sure that you, the skater, will be able to abuse it for as long as possible. A skateboard truck consists of a base with kingpin, the hanger, axle, washers, bushings, along with kingpin and axle nuts. Skate wheels are made of urethane that can last you for a very long time and have a sponge-like effect to absorb impact. All these carefully picked features and much more are what make a skateboard, we'd safely say, a wonderful invention of mankind. Coming up with ideas of what will work best, was a constant process since the 50s, when the first skateboards had popped up, followed by atheletes and manufacturers. If you'd like to learn more and eventually how to build your own professional custom setup, by choosing each part with attention to detail, continue through our Buying Guide below. These things take time and practice to understand, but Stay_K skateshop is here for you to help you through this awesome journey! 

Shape

If your goal is to start learning tricks The pro skaters and the skate shop owners, from the start of the sport until early 90s, had gone into a lot of testing and changes to end up with the classic shape we know today as popsicle. The special shaped or old school shaped decks are more for specific tricks, usually not for flipping the board so much, wider for terrains like ramps / bowls and with more aerodynamic shape for cruising / speed and again not meant for technical skateboarding.

Technology

The standard skate board construction consists of seven layers of Canadian maple wood veneer glued together and finished by sanding. However, in the market, there are different technologies and materials that are used to make a skateboard more durable. Here at Stay_K, we offer the Fiber Tech decks from Emillion Skateboarts, that have one extra layer of fiber other than the standard 7-ply construction. This makes them stronger, ideal for skaters who like to jump stairs or, for different reasons, happen to break decks more often. Visit the brand 's page on our web store for more info.

Size

Most important thing you have to check, that is also mentioned in the product title, is the width. For example, you see on our website a skateboard deck named "Emillion - Vivid II Fibertech - 8.0". "8.0" is the deck 's width in inches. Usually, the length changes according to that parameter.

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The things you have to take into consideration before choosing a skateboard size are your height, shoe size and what style of skateboarding or skateboard tricks you like. 

Why does a certain brand works better for me

When you find yourself feeling more comfortable with a certain brand, then it's their standard shape and concave that suits with you. 99% of the time, board brands use all the same materials; and technology and even the same factories many times. It 's the templates that each brand uses at the factory, which must be patented and unique for each brand (this is a policy that most manufacturers follow), where the layers are put together and shape the deck. So, when a skater has the feeling that a skateboard deck doesn't work for him, it doesn't necessarily mean that the company which made it is inferior. At these cases we recommend to our customers to try a different brand that for sure has differences in shape and concave. Sometimes these differences may be minor, but still noticeable when you step on the skateboard, ride it and do tricks with it. You can be sure that every deck from a professional skateboard company ticks all those boxes that make it a good deck to ride, and Stay_K as a specialty shop with long experience only carries those. For the pre-built completes it 's indeed a different story and the skateboard deck on them can be from different material other than the strong canadian maple.

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What Skateboard Deck should I buy?

General information about skateboard decks

The first thing a skater usually sees when building a new custom setup is the skateboard deck. Then, the first thing you want to check when buying a deck is the size. There are also the special shapes, technology, wheel base dimensions and few other factors that may determine your choice, but these are for more experienced skaters and usually are standard for every skateboard deck in the market. In our Deck Guide here, of course, we explain the different shapes, wheel base dimensions etc.. as we have some different choices for every taste.

 

In general, we agree that the skateboard deck is the most important part of the setup and for sure it determines your skateboard trucks and wheels choices (in terms of size, at least) which are, too, really important. 

Shape

If your goal is to start learning tricks The pro skaters and the skate shop owners, from the start of the sport until early 90s, had gone into a lot of testing and changes to end up with the classic shape we know today as popsicle. The special shaped or old school shaped decks are more for specific tricks, usually not for flipping the board so much, wider for terrains like ramps / bowls and with more aerodynamic shape for cruising / speed and again not meant for technical skateboarding.

Technology

The standard skate board construction consists of seven layers of Canadian maple wood veneer glued together and finished by sanding. However, in the market, there are different technologies and materials that are used to make a skateboard more durable. Here at Stay_K, we offer the Fiber Tech decks from Emillion Skateboarts, that have one extra layer of fiber other than the standard 7-ply construction. This makes them stronger, ideal for skaters who like to jump stairs or, for different reasons, happen to break decks more often. Visit the brand 's page on our web store for more info.

Size

Most important thing you have to check, that is also mentioned in the product title, is the width. For example, you see on our website a skateboard deck named "Emillion - Vivid II Fibertech - 8.0". "8.0" is the deck 's width in inches. Usually, the length changes according to that parameter.

website board product title meaning.jpg

The things you have to take into consideration before choosing a skateboard size are your height, shoe size and what style of skateboarding or skateboard tricks you like. 

Why does a certain brand works better for me

When you find yourself feeling more comfortable with a certain brand, then it's their standard shape and concave that suits with you. 99% of the time, board brands use all the same materials; and technology and even the same factories many times. It 's the templates that each brand uses at the factory, which must be patented and unique for each brand (this is a policy that most manufacturers follow), where the layers are put together and shape the deck. So, when a skater has the feeling that a skateboard deck doesn't work for him, it doesn't necessarily mean that the company which made it is inferior. At these cases we recommend to our customers to try a different brand that for sure has differences in shape and concave. Sometimes these differences may be minor, but still noticeable when you step on the skateboard, ride it and do tricks with it. You can be sure that every deck from a professional skateboard company ticks all those boxes that make it a good deck to ride, and Stay_K as a specialty shop with long experience only carries those. For the pre-built completes it 's indeed a different story and the skateboard deck on them can be from different material other than the strong canadian maple.

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Skateboard Trucks to fit your Deck's Size

Size

The skateboard truck's size has to be always equivalent to your board size.  

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Find Wheels that suit your style of skateboarding

General info about skateboard wheels

Choosing wheels for your setup always depends on what styles of skateboarding you like and on what surfaces you usually ride. It is often underrated, but the importance of having different types of wheels to choose from is real. For example, if you like to skate more than just marble plazas and one can find you often at less visited corners of streets, with sketchy ground, then you will need big wheels with wide riding surface. This way you avoid friction that affects your whole riding experience and you can concentrate on performing better. Another good example, cruiser wheels ride smoother on all surfaces, of course, being really wide and soft, but if you are a street skater and like doing different kinds of technical tricks, like flips, grinds and slides, then the grip that comes with cruiser wheels will not help you do the tricks you want. 

 

All this information may sound complicated at first, but we encourage you to keep reading and in the end you will find what suits your skating style, you will stick with it and you will learn a bit more so that you will be able to make exceptions depending on the circumstances, skate spots or just your appetite. Now, let 's find out what all these terms and details found on a wheel mean for your skating, actually. Possibilities are endless and the Stay_K Buying Guide is here to help you!  

Durometer/hardness, size and other specs that make each wheel unique

Usually on the wheel package, on the actual wheel and on the product title online the information you get are the size and the durometer or hardness. For example, you see on our website a set of wheels named "Haze Wheels - Hazzy - 54mm - 101A". 54mm is the diameter or height of the wheel in millimeters and 101A is a unit of measurement for how hard or soft is the wheel or the polyurethane, the material that was used to make the wheel.

 

Information that you don't usually find in the product title, wheel or wheel package, but is equally important as we know from our long experience in skateboarding, is the width and the riding surface or contact patch of the wheel. No need to worry, at Stay_K online store, we always measure these dimensions (if they are not provided by the company) when a new product comes in and we add them at the product description for every skateboard wheel we offer. Plus, you can filter, on all our shop pages, by dimensions and other useful details, to find easily what you are looking for.}}}}} width / contact patch ?????

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History on how the design for skateboard wheels came about

Imagine rolling on a bunch of wheel-shaped rocks. Not so much fun. Well, that's close on how the first skateboards used to be - before the 70s, skate wheels were made out of clay, which worn out fast and of course had other problems too, or steel. Steel wheels were supposed to be for roller skates, but skateboarders used them anyway. 

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1970, and a committed surfer named Frank Nasworthy finds himself in Purcellville, off Washington DC, at a friend's father backyard shop, called Creative Urethanes. There he sees what appeared to be roller skate wheels. When he asks about them, the owner explains that a chain of roller skate rinks, called Roller Sports, requested him to make wheels for them that will last. He was making small quantities just for these rinks. Frank, then, asked him if he could take some of these wheels back to DC. He and his friend immediately replaced their clay wheels with the new urethane ones and the rest 

is history. Their skateboard rides became smoother, more stable and quiet. Turning was so much easier, and these new wheels could last a long time. In brief, a year later, mr. Nasworthy moves to Encinitas in California, where he eventually starts his company Cadillac Wheels and sells to surf shops and a local skateboard company. He takes it from there and very soon after the whole country learns about urethane wheels and skateboarding is changed forever. For sure, one of the biggest breakthroughs that developed and shaped modern skateboarding.

????? sponge-like effect to absorb impact. ??????

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Skate Bearings Guide, materials, the ABEC myth and more... 

General info about skateboard bearings

The standard bearings, for both skateboard and roller skate wheels, have a size 8mm inner ring and 22mm outer ring diameter and 7mm width. This was standardized in the industry so that all wheel and bearing brands are compatible. What this means? If you don't have any knowledge, at least you can be sure that whatever you buy it will fit your setup and make your wheels turn. Now, let's get into what makes skate bearings different from others in the market, as well as what determines which bearing is superior, so that it helps you buy the ones that will cover your needs.

What makes skate bearings different than others in the market

First and foremost, bearings made for skateboarding take into consideration what skateboarders put their bearings through. For example, high impact from jumping stairs, lateral stress from powersliding or landing sideways on obstacles, actual speeds that skaters are capable of reaching, are some of the factors that pushed people in the skate industry to redesign bearings so that they could cover the skater's needs, in the first place.

Needless to say that, because of the above, it's not a good idea to find the cheapest bearings from a local hardware store and expect them to work for you. Having pointed out how important is that we ride bearings especially designed with skateboarding in mind, let 's get into the history of how this design came about and who came up with the idea that changed the skate world and helped revolutionize the sport.

Bearings that were used on the first skateboards

When skaters in the 60s, like Tony Alva and the Dogtown crew, were starting to hit the pool's coping and do all these off-the-wall maneuvers, bearings used to fall apart under their feet all the time. Main reason is, back then, all roller sport wheels came with loose ball bearings. The result was: exposure to dirt, dust and other contaminants from the spots where the skaters hanged out and practiced, or just balls flying around after the impact from a trick. Like we said on the Wheels section of the Stay_K Guide, urethane wheels revolutionized skateboarding in the early 70s. But, still, they had this major flaw. The loose ball bearings that would become slower or break down completely after a little while.

It was a bit later, mid 70s, that a co-founder of NHS came across precision bearings used in vacuum cleaners and Xerox / IBM copy machines. He figured out that, with a size modification, these bearings could be applied to the skate wheels separately, plus they also came with shields to protect them from dust, moisture etc. The Road Rider wheels were the first to be sold with precision bearings and they had two on each side of every wheel (technology that is used today). This technology solved many problems and became a standard soon after. A very positive outcome was that, now, the skateboard manufacturers were able to start experimenting more with possibilities on how to improve the wheels, too. 

History of the first bearings made especially for skateboarding

The early precision bearings used in skate wheels may have solved a problem, but they were far from perfect. Mainly, because they were made for machines with very specific movements in mind, they wouldn't take into consideration the unconventional practices skateboarders put their gear through. Lateral stress, high impacts and more. Secondly, because they were made for speeds and, consecutively, temperatures higher than any skateboard wheel would had ever gotten, they used grease which in lower speeds was sluggish. There was, clearly, a need for bearings made especially for skateboarding.

 

Early 80s and George Powell (co-founder of Powell Peralta along Stacy Peralta) who has a background in engineering, is starting to understand these things. So, he contacts several bearing manufacturers around the world and finally finds one in Switzerland willing to design precision bearings with skateboarding in mind. The first bearings made for skateboarding are born, the Powell's Bones Swiss, with plastic ball cage resistant to lateral loads instead of a metal one, lighter viscosity lubricant instead of grease, sealed on one side (later, a plastic seal also became a standard). Technology that almost all skateboard bearings use today.

How important is the ABEC when choosing skate bearings

Most skateboarders choose their bearings, in terms of quality, for their ABEC rating. Now, how much this international rating system matters for skate bearings or if it's a total myth that it even matters at all, you are about to find out.

The ABEC rate shows how precise and durable a bearing can be, yes. But, the tests the ABEC committee (Annual Bearing Engineers Committee) - where all bearing manufacturers send their bearings to be rated - actually puts the product through, have nothing to do with how skateboarders perform. In fact, the bearings are tested in high speed radial motion, thus only for radial load tolerance, because this is the normal industrial use for bearings. Also, they are tested on machines that reach speeds skateboarders will never be able to reach. These factors make the ABEC rating somewhat subjective when it comes to skateboard bearings.

 

Of course, an ABEC 3 bearing can have noticeable differences in performance from an ABEC 7 or 9, but two bearings from different companies, both rated the same, may have differences too. In the end, it all comes down to the quality of the materials, as well as to the different materials for different uses.

What materials are skate bearings made of

Most bearings are steel and, as mentioned above, come with plastic or synthetic ball cage, light viscosity lubricant, sealed on one side (plastic seal). 

 

There are bearings with different ball material, like the Ceramics. Ceramic is a material resistant to heat, so it's useful on a skateboard when reaching high speed, due to lack of deformity. Also, it doesn't rust when exposed to moisture. However, it's a more sensitive material when it comes to impact and it might break more easily. So, Ceramics are great for styles of skateboarding like cruising, ramps, downhills and generally low impact tricks, but not ideal for skating big gaps or stairs.

When is it a good time to buy a new set?

From excessive or wrong use, skateboard bearings, same like other parts, get worn out. Balls deform, or the whole bearing gets dirty or oxidized. You can understand that your bearings are worn out enough if you feel, for example, your skateboard slowing down every time you bend down for a trick (more weight is concentrated on certain places) or try to maintain balance doing manuals.

In any case, as long as you are cautious not to leave your skateboard at moist places or roll in the dirt, then any bearing pack will work for you for some time. If you plan to skate a spot that requires rolling in the dirt, we recommend using some cheaper bearings and not your main ones, if they are expensive, to protect them. Keep reading for a list of "dos and don'ts". 

How and from what shall I protect my skate bearings?

Don't leave your skateboard out in the rain or in moist places. This way you protect not only your bearings, but the whole setup, the maple wood of the deck from decomposing and the aluminum of the trucks and hardware from oxidation. If it happens that your bearings have gotten wet, dry them up as soon as possible to prevent oxidation. Do that more efficiently by taking the bearings apart from the wheels. If you really want your bearings to last a long time, we recommend not rolling on dirt at all. But, if you are about to skate a spot that requires rolling on dirt, for sure don't use those ceramic bearings you just bought at a high price. Clean your gear immediately after skating a dirty spot. Same with drying up, cleaning can be done more efficiently when the bearings are out of the wheels.

Periodically, or after skating certain spots as mentioned above, clean your skate bearings and after that apply a couple drops of bearings lubricant (not any other oil like, for example, WD40). Ways to clean your bearings coming soon...

Conclusion

?????????? As the ABEC rating system doesn't actually distinguish what bearings are the best for skateboarding, like we explained, and all bearing manufacturers promote their products based on that, maybe the best way to find what's best for you is to try different brands. Or you can base your choice on your current budget and take it from there. Materials play a role, so if you are a low impact skater who likes to skate fast, then ceramic bearings are the best for you. At Stay_K skateshop we offer bearings from Emillion Skateboarts, Rellik Skateboards and Pusher Bearings. From testing we found out that Emillion and Rellik can take a beating for a lot of months, but they are not the fastest that we offer. In fact, Pusher Bearings is a specialty brand and we find them faster, but you may need to have a spare or two after a few months, always depends of what spots you skate and how often????????????

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Shall I set up a "normal" skateboard or a cruiser skate?

Let's say you are the type who came across a skate video by luck and after watching all those extreme tricks you want to copy .. . ..If you would like to start learning how to perform the tricks you watch on skateboard videos... You can start with a cruiser skateboard to learn the basics like to roll and push and take it from there. You can also have two setups. One for cruising and a "normal" skateboard... to use as a filming board...

 

Whether you are the type of person to always challenge yourself with new tricks and obstacles, or the type that loves to ride along the sidewalk or at the park taking a few curves and performing a couple of powerslides, or the one who looks for the new trend in the street fashion and skate world - Stay_K online skateshop has got you covered. Whether you choose a ready pre-built complete or your own custom setup, same in cruisers as in skateboards, quality is our priority because we are involved and in love with skateboarding since 2005.

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Skate and other roller sports' filmer - Help Guide

Filming Board

Having an extra wheels set ready, with bearings on, or a whole different than your original skateboard setup is almost necessary if you are into filming skateboarding or other roller sports. Paying attention to the details laid out below can give your skate clips that extra something and make them look professional-like. On the other hand, not paying attention to them can ruin you and your friend's day. The main guy behind Stay_K has been filming skateboarding since 2005, so you can be sure that, same like on the other sections of the Guide, this paragraphs are spoken out of long experience. Let 's get to it. 

First and foremost, you don't want the noise from your own skateboard covering all those nice sounds that can make a clip better - like, the pop sound of the board and the grind sound when the trucks hit the ledge or rail - especially, if your friend has just worked his/her a** off to land a dream trick or make the most creative and clever line the spot has ever seen! So, the most important thing for a filmer is having soft wheels - therefore, silent wheels.

In addition, there are other factors that make cruiser wheels suitable for the filmer. Generally, it 's easier to reach and maintain higher speeds with cruiser wheels, because there is less friction (see our Wheels Guide). You could say that they are faster than "normal" skateboard wheels, so they need less push to give you the needed speed to keep you always on point behind the skater who you film with. 

Secondly, a thing that helps a skate-filmer is having higher trucks or riser pads. You want to be able to take those fast turns when filming a line in some plaza without worrying of wheel-bites. This is where the whole extra setup comes in handy, because higher trucks may not be for you when you 're street skating. It also saves you time setting up different wheels every time you need to film. The only downside, of course, is having to carry two skateboards for the session, if you don't have a car. Planning the filming missions out well, beforehand, taking into consideration the spots and if it's a single trick or line, can save you from the hustle.

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How to protect my skateboard or longboard setup?

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