Just like skateboarders — skateboard ramps come in all different shapes and sizes.
Whether you’re looking to utilize a kicker to catch some air, or increase momentum by “dropping in” the ramp of a halfpipe, skate ramps play a major part in the action sport of skateboarding.
This guide will discuss everything you need to know about skateboarding, including what type of skateboard would work best for you, and information on different types of skateboard ramps.
Let’s get started!
From learning how to ride a skateboard to becoming a board-slide master, skateboarding is an action sport enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. This comes as no surprise, skateboarding has many alluring attributes and very few limitations, making it incredibly versatile. Plus, skateboarding has no set list of rules or regulations, unlike other traditional team sports.
Often, you’ll find that thrill seekers and risk takers are drawn to the sport of skateboarding due to its exhilarating nature. As a whole, skateboarding can be a very challenging sport – particularly when it comes to performing tricks. Skateboarding tricks range from relatively simple, to highly complex. Landing a new trick for the first time is only half the battle. Consistency is key when it comes to mastering the art of skateboarding. Until you are able to land a trick on a relatively consistent basis, have you really mastered it yet? … Regardless of the difficulty level, reaching the point of being able to repetitively land learning to land a new trick the first time is only half the battle. Many skaters say they have not learned to perform a trick until they’ve reached the point of being able to land said trick majority of the times are able to land
in addition to Thrill seekers and risk takers are often drawn to skateboarding for its adrenaline extreme due to gripping thrilling to drop into the bowl at a skatepark, or watch the pros vert skating during the X-Games. Skateboarding has very few limitations, making it an incredibly versatile sport. One of the most alluring aspects of skateboarding is that it has no set list of rules or regulations, unlike other traditional team sports.
Plus, skateboarding is faster than walking, and more flexible than biking.
Skateboards are relatively lightweight, taking up very little space which makes them easy to store under a desk or strap onto a skateboard backpack. Skateboarding is one of the most versatile sports, in part due to the fact that as long as you have access to a board, you can skate around just about anywhere for little-to-no cost. Most sports are organized and regulated, usually by adults, often including “rules of the game”. In skateboarding, there are no set rules (except, of course, staying out of “no trespassing” or “no skating” zones… ). With less structured parameters set in place and the ability to freely roam, skateboarding can actually be somewhat of a creative outlet for kids and adults, alike. What’s more, unlike other sports, skateboarding has very few restrictions, limits or boundaries to confine you. Skateboarding can be done almost anywhere, which only adds to the fun (and convenience) of the sport overall.
From those who are learning how to skateboard for the first time, to professional skateboarders themselves, it is important to learn what the various types of skate ramps are.
From the outside looking in, skateboards look and seem to be relatively straightforward pieces of equipment. While that may be partly true, inexperienced onlookers may not realize the number of parts required to put together a quality skateboard.
Skateboard Deck (Skate Deck)
Commonly referred to as the shortened skatepark term – “deck” – a skateboarding deck is the platform for which the skater stands on. Skate decks are only one part of a full skateboard set-up, and usually represent about ⅓ of the overall total cost of a skateboard (generally speaking).
A skate deck presentation is one of the ways a skateboarder can put their creativity on display. Though not required and not done by all skaters, applying stickers to the under-side of a skateboard is one way to show off your favorite skateboarding brands. Often, the skate deck represents the brand of the skateboard, with the graphics often declaring the brand of the board. When someone at the skatepark asks, “Hey, what kind of skateboard do you have?”, the answer would be in reference to the brand (and perhaps the model) of the skate deck.
What size skateboard deck should I get?
Choosing the right size skate deck is important, particularly for young skaters and beginners, as the right size deck will help ensure the skater is learning proper technique and has the ability to better control the board. When investing in a skateboard, one of the trickiest aspects is to determine what size of skateboard deck is right for you. But don’t fret – there is a general rule of thumb when it comes to selecting a skate deck size.
- Skaters under 60lbs (Ages 5-7) find a deck that is approx. 7” wide and 28” long.
- Skaters between 60 – 80lbs (Ages 8-10) find a deck that is 7.25” wide and 29” long.
- Skaters over 80lbs can safely use a “standard” skateboard deck, which starts at 7.5” wide and 31” long.
Every skateboard has two separate “trucks” that are mounted to the skateboard deck with specialized hardware. Skateboard trucks are each composed of four parts, or piecl:
- Baseplate – This part of the truck is what connects the whole assembly to the deck.
- Bushings – These are rubber components which allow necessary flexibility within the overall truck assembly, fundamentally allowing a skater to steer their skateboard.
- Kingpin – This piece connects the hanger to the baseplate.
- Hanger – The hanger contains the axle, which the skateboard wheels will mount to.
Remember that the overall width of the trucks should be sized in accordance with the width of the skateboard deck. In other words, the outer edge of the skateboard wheels should be as even as possible with the edges of the skate deck. When a skateboard has trucks that are wider than the deck, it can cause difficulties with maneuvering the board properly.
Wheels and Bearings
On average, most skateboard wheels are made of solid polyurethane and are uniquely shaped so that bearings can be easily inserted – ultimately allowing full rotation of the wheels on the axle of the trucks.
Wheels are usually selected based on their hardness and the diameter of the wheel itself. Young skaters and beginner skateboarders should aim for wheels with a diameter of 52 or 53mm, at an “average” hardness level. If wheels are too large, they cause an increase in unnecessary weight to the skateboard, making it more difficult to control. Another down to d throw-off its center of gravity. If wheels are too small, they can cause a lack of ability to sustain the speed of a skateboard. Choosing an average hardness ensures an enjoyable skating experience on a variety of surfaces, from wood to concrete and skateboarding ramps of all kinds.
Skateboard bearings are small components that allow wheels to rotate smoothly on the axle of each truck. Each wheel of a skateboard will require both an inner, and an outer bearing, totalling 8 bearings per skateboard. Compared to other parts of a skateboard, there is a lot more variability regarding the cost and quality of bearing options. This is an area in which you’ll want to invest in quality – cheap bearings have a tendency to rust quickly and do not provide as smooth of a ride as higher-quality bearings do. That said, you do not need to purchase the most expensive bearings available! We recommend selecting skateboard bearings with a price somewhere within the middle-range.
Grip Tape, Hardware & Rails
It’s safe to say that most skateboard decks are made out of some type of wood. When a new deck is purchased, it doesn’t yet have “grip tape” on the top. “Grip Tape” is essentially coarse sandpaper that is applied to the top of the skateboard to provide a skateboarder with sufficient grip of, and more control over, the skateboard. Grip tape is usually black, but many skate shops offer a variety of colors of grip tape so you can be as creative as you’d like.
Skateboard hardware consists of nuts and bolts, which are used to attach the baseplate of the trucks securely to the deck. Sometimes, bolts of different colors will be used in order to help distinguish the front of the skateboard (the “nose”) from the back of the board (the “tail”). Most hardware for skateboards will be designed for convenience, and will be adjustable via a phillips screwdriver.
Having rails installed on your skateboard is purely optional. Rails are thin pieces of plastic that mount along the edges of the board. Rails are used to help improve a skateboarder’s consistency and ability to perform board slides, as well as offering a hand grip during grabs. In addition, rails protect the graphics on the bottom of the deck.
Types of Skateboard Ramps
One of the other elements adding to the allure of this action sport is how diverse the many “playing fields” are – from mastering the art of grinding rails while street skating, to landing a rock to fakie at the skatepark, the possibilities are nearly endless. However, for this guide we are going to focus on skateboard ramps, what the various types of skateboard ramps are and what skateboard ramps are used for. Hopefully after reading, you’ll be able to decide what type of skate ramp would suit you best!
Launch Ramp (Kicker)
The launch ramp (often referred to as a “kicker”) resembles a standard incline plane, and is likely the most simple ramp for skateboarding. That said, it is incredibly diverse and can be used for many tricks!
Skaters call these ramps kickers because they are usually used to boost a skateboarder into the air in order to perform a sick trick. Launch ramps provide good lift and speed, making a lot of skateboard tricks possible. If you want an even more advanced ramp set-up, you can place two kickers together with a slight gap in between, so that you can practice landing down on a ramp.
As a slightly more complex version of the launch ramp, the box jump allows skaters to approach from either side of the ramp and successfully land on the other. Think of two launch ramps put together, with the incline sides facing outwards. The box jump ramp is ideal for both flatland and flip tricks, or a combination of the two.
Whether you skateboard or not, it’s likely you’ve heard of the term “quarter pipe”. This is a very common type of skate ramp that is featured at nearly every skate park. A quarter-pipe is essentially just one half of a mini ramp, with the upper (top) end featuring a rounded, metal edge known as the “coping”. Quarter pipes are perfect for practicing transition and flat tricks, including grabs, air tricks and even grinds.
Arguably the most well known type of skate ramp, the half pipe is often featured on TV during skateboarding and snowboarding competitions. Half pipes are extremely popular, as a skater can continually ride back and forth using both ramps to practice tricks without having to try and rebuild their momentum. It takes a lot of skill to master the half pipe, but it is worth putting in the effort. Once you get it down, you’ll never want to stop riding it.
Vert ramps are very similar to quarter pipes but they have the added benefit of allowing you to land in the same angle you launched from. They do this by providing additional surface on the vertical end.
A spine is basically just two quarter pipes placed back to back. This gives you options when you are riding. You can stay on one quarter pipe or you can transfer to the other quarter pipe midair.
A pyramid ramp is a staple for many skate parks. It is a double box jump that allows you to take off and land from multiple directions. This is useful at skate parks because it can accommodate multiple different riders at once.
The structure of this ramp is similar to that of a series of waves, hence the name. The curved surfaces side by side resemble the undulations of a wave and they are useful for limiting the amount of air a skater gets on each jump. They also land on a more curved surface which controls speed better than a quarter pipe or a spine.