You know, maybe it’s just me, but it seems that street sports never really went away. Ever since the inception of the first-ever skateboard in the late 50s, the whole street riding thing began to take shape. Adding rollerblades and roller skates in the mix, with a scooter for diversity and you got yourself a rich vibrant street culture, full of its own rules, challenges and metrics for coolness. Even after all these years, all of these modes of urban transport are alive and kicking in the local skateparks, abandoned pools, and long stretches of unoccupied track. The sport is booming. So, say you want to join in on some of the fun, what exactly do you need and where can you get it?
Different Equipment and Where to Buy It
First off, you have to realize that though similar, all of these different modes of transport are fundamentally their own thing, with different sets of equipment and riding techniques required. Before visiting a skate shop online, read up on the subject matter or ask a skater friend who knows his/her thing. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to get confused and buy some piece of tech that’s not meant for you. It never hurts to ask!
With that taken into consideration and assuming you asked around, time to buy your gear. Off-brand street sports products can be found in general stores or market, though I highly recommend you avoid these due to poor craftsmanship. If you are planning on skating at a few dozen kilometers per hour on any uneven terrain, you want the wheels to actually stay on your board/rollers.
Skate shops and X shops were a thing once upon a time and they still do exist. Most of us remember the times back when we had to travel all across town to find such places for all our “skaty” needs, but now, any quality skate shop online makes the whole buying process easy. Not only do you have a huge catalogue of thing in and out of stock, but most of these online marketplaces make skate shopping a breeze. Not to mention the fact that you can look up the review boards to see what other shoppers thought of the product you have your eye on.
Due to the whole global collapse of modern life we’ve experienced recently, I would highly recommend visiting one of these online stores for all of these needs. It’s safer, it’s faster and you don’t even have to leave your house…you can do that after when you hit the ramps. Now, on with the gear!
Skateboards are probably the first things we think of when we hear street sports. It’s a simple construction of four wheels attached to a board and it allows you to maintain momentum while you’re rolling down any flat surface you come across. It’s not just that though, if you’ve ever seen a skater do their thing, you know that they actively use every part of the board and not just the wheels to do their tricks. The wheels, the truck, the deck, all of these elements are used to skid down and ride through any street obstacles that come your way.
So, what do you need to look for in the local sk8 store if you are set on joining the skateboarding way of life.
Decks are the board part of the skateboard. They vary in style, color and design, though most of these attributes are mainly aesthetic. What you need to pay attention to is the width. Lengths between 19cm to 20.3cmin width are recommended for street skaters and for riding pools and parks, you should start with 20.3cm or larger. This gives you better stability and control of the board.
Wheels are obviously the main moving part of a skateboard. When it comes to street skating, smaller wheels are used than with park skating. Anything from 49 to 52 mm diameter is a good size for the streets and 54 to 60 mm diameter is better for skating trickery.
Trucks are the metal frames that link the wheels to the board itself. Their size and deck’s size are closely related, or at least, they should be. The axle length should match the width of the deck to ensure that once the trucks are on, they will fit with the width of the deck. For a standard 20.3cm deck, a truck-size of 149mm should be used.
Roller Skates and Roller Blades
This is one of those childhood pieces of legwear that stays with you even if you never actually owned it. Rollerblades and roller skates are shoes with wheels attached to them that allow you roll whilst walking. Though similar in design, their main distinction is the configuration of the wheels on the shoe. Skates have two sets of two parallel wheels that allow for greater stability, making them great for beginners and people with two left feet. They also have that retro look that just never goes out of style. Rollerblades are the modern alternate design. Skates have a configuration of four wheels in a row that makes them a bit more challenging, but also a lot more fun in the process.
Their look is mostly personal and aesthetical, giving very few practical benefits to different designs, but what does matter and what you should watch out for is the wheels. Bigger wheels are better for longer skating distances, due to them easily maintaining a constant speed with the use of less energy. For this, the recommended wheel diameter is 90-100mm. Smaller wheels are naturally better for shorter distances in order to make the skates more maneuverable. Their recommended wheel size is 80-84mm.
As a final note, it’s also important to protect yourself from the harsh rules of gravity. Falling off of a skate is no laughing matter, so I highly recommend that when you finally visit the skateboard store, you purchase the following safety items .
- Knee Pads
- Elbow Pads
- Longboarding Gloves