Skateboarding has long been recognized as an exhilarating sport that pushes boundaries and tests the limits of both skill and equipment.
As skateboarders perform daring tricks and stunts, it raises the question: just how hard is it to break a skateboard?
Skateboards are designed to withstand the demands of this high-energy activity, but they are not invincible.
In this article, we will delve into the various components of a skateboard and explore the factors that contribute to their resilience.
Let’s get ready to dive deep into the world of skateboarding as we unravel the mystery surrounding the durability of skateboards.
The Anatomy of a Skateboard
Before we can assess the difficulty of breaking a skateboard, it’s crucial to understand the basic components that make up a skateboard. A standard skateboard consists of the following key elements:
- Deck: The deck is the flat, usually rectangular board that you stand on. It’s typically made of multiple layers of wood (usually maple) glued together in a cross-grain pattern, providing it with strength and flexibility.
- Trucks: These are the metal T-shaped parts that attach the wheels to the deck. Trucks are responsible for turning and grinding, and they come in various sizes and materials.
- Wheels: Skateboard wheels are typically made of polyurethane and vary in hardness and size, depending on the type of riding and terrain they are designed for.
- Bearings: Bearings are small, round components that fit inside the wheels, allowing them to spin smoothly. The ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineers’ Committee) rating indicates the precision and speed of skateboard bearings.
- Grip Tape: This is a sandpaper-like adhesive applied to the top surface of the deck to provide traction and grip for the skater’s feet.
Now that we’ve identified the basic components let’s explore how these elements contribute to the overall durability of a skateboard.
Deck Durability: The Foundation of Resilience
The deck is the heart and soul of any skateboard, serving as the foundation upon which all tricks and maneuvers are executed. When assessing the durability of a skateboard, the deck is the first and most critical component to consider.
- Materials and Construction: Skateboard decks are predominantly crafted from layers of maple wood. The number of layers, or “plys,” typically ranges from 7 to 9, with 7-ply decks being the most common. These layers are glued together with strong adhesives and pressed into shape. The cross-grain pattern formed by the layers provides the deck with tremendous strength and resilience. Manufacturers may also experiment with different types of wood, such as bamboo or composite materials, to create decks with unique characteristics.
- Concave and Shape: Skateboard decks come in various shapes and concave profiles. The concave shape, which creates the signature curvature of the deck, affects how it feels underfoot and how it performs during tricks. Deeper concave decks tend to be more robust, as they distribute forces more evenly, making them less prone to breakage.
Trucks: Turning and Grinding Resilience
Skateboard trucks are responsible for turning, steering, and facilitating grinds on rails and ledges. While they might not be the first component that comes to mind when thinking about skateboard durability, they play a crucial role in the board’s overall resilience.
- Material: Trucks are commonly made from aluminum alloy, which provides a balance of strength and weight. Premium trucks may use higher-quality materials like titanium for added strength.
- Size: The size of the trucks, specifically the width of the hanger (the T-shaped part), should match the width of the deck. Properly sized trucks distribute weight and forces evenly, reducing the risk of stress fractures in the deck.
- Bushings: Bushings are the rubbery components that allow the trucks to pivot and turn. Properly adjusted bushings can prevent wheel bite (when the wheels come into contact with the deck) and reduce stress on the deck during turns.
- Quality Bearings: Smooth-turning trucks also rely on quality bearings. Bearings that are well-maintained and regularly cleaned contribute to the overall durability of the skateboard.
- Grinding Resilience: For street skateboarders who enjoy grinding on rails and ledges, the durability of the trucks becomes crucial. High-quality trucks are less likely to warp or break when subjected to the intense friction and impact of grinding.
Wheels and Bearings: Rolling with Resilience
Skateboard wheels are integral to the overall riding experience and play a role in the durability of the board.
- Wheel Hardness: Wheel hardness is measured on the durometer scale, with higher numbers indicating harder wheels. Softer wheels provide better grip but are more susceptible to wear and flat spots. Harder wheels, on the other hand, are more durable but may sacrifice some grip.
- Wheel Size: The size of the wheels affects how the skateboard handles different terrains. Smaller wheels are more maneuverable but can get caught on cracks and pebbles. Larger wheels roll smoothly over rough surfaces but may be less agile for tricks.
- Wheel Material: Most skateboard wheels are made from polyurethane, a material chosen for its durability and shock-absorbing properties.
- Bearing Quality: Skateboard bearings are rated on the ABEC scale, which measures their precision and speed. Higher ABEC-rated bearings offer smoother rides and can contribute to the longevity of the wheels.
Grip Tape: Sticking Around
Grip tape might seem like a minor component, but it plays a vital role in the overall durability of a skateboard. Grip tape adheres to the top surface of the deck, providing the traction necessary for skaters to maintain their footing during tricks and maneuvers.
- Adhesive Strength: High-quality grip tape uses strong adhesive, ensuring that it stays firmly attached to the deck even during high-impact landings. Grip tape that peels or shifts can affect a skateboarder’s control and safety.
- Abrasion Resistance: Grip tape experiences constant friction from the skater’s shoes, which can wear it down over time. Premium grip tape materials are designed to withstand abrasion and maintain their grip for longer periods.
Now that we’ve examined the key components of a skateboard and their roles in its durability, let’s delve into some real-world scenarios and factors that affect the likelihood of breaking a skateboard.
Real-World Factors: Breaking Down Breakage
Numerous factors can affect the longevity of a skateboard. Some of these, such as the following:
The difficulty of the tricks a skateboarder attempts directly impacts the risk of breaking the board.
Simple maneuvers like ollies and kickturns exert relatively low forces on the deck, while high-impact tricks such as kickflips down stairs or boardslides on handrails subject the board to significant stress.
Skaters who consistently attempt advanced tricks, such as tre flips or 50-50 grinds on ledges, which require precise foot placement and control, may experience more frequent deck breakages.
This is because these tricks involve more forceful landings and put additional strain on the deck, increasing the likelihood of it snapping or cracking under the pressure.
It is important for skateboarders to understand the potential risks associated with attempting complex tricks and to regularly inspect their boards for any signs of wear and tear to prevent accidents and injuries.
To preserve the integrity of the deck, it is crucial for skaters to master proper landing technique.
By consistently landing tricks with their weight centered and knees bent, skaters can significantly reduce the risk of snapping the board upon impact.
This not only ensures the longevity of the skateboard but also enhances the overall safety and performance of the skater.
It allows for smoother transitions and enables skaters to confidently push their limits, knowing they have a solid foundation in landing technique.
So remember, focus on maintaining a strong and balanced landing position to keep your deck in top shape and maximize your skateboarding experience!
The type of terrain skaters ride on can also significantly influence the likelihood of breakage.
Smooth skatepark surfaces, with their well-maintained ramps and perfectly polished concrete, tend to be more forgiving on boards, reducing the risk of damage.
In contrast, rough and uneven street terrain, with its cracks, potholes, and unpredictable obstacles, poses a greater challenge to skateboarders and increases the chances of board breakage.
It’s important for skaters to choose their riding locations wisely, considering the potential impact on the longevity and durability of their boards.
User Skill Level:
Experienced skateboarders, who have honed their skills over time, possess a profound understanding of their board’s capabilities and are adept at navigating its limits.
This heightened awareness enables them to execute precise maneuvers while minimizing the risk of subjecting their board to undue force or unnecessary strain.
Regular maintenance is crucial for keeping your skateboard in top condition.
This includes tasks like tightening the trucks to ensure stability, replacing worn-out wheels for optimal performance, and diligently checking that all components are in good shape.
By taking these steps, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your skateboard and ensure many more smooth rides ahead.
Common Misconceptions About Skateboard Durability
The skateboarding community is full of myths and misconceptions about what makes a board durable. Here are some common ones you should be aware of:
Skateboards Are Indestructible:
While skateboard decks are designed with durability in mind, they are not impervious to damage.
Despite being able to withstand significant abuse, it’s important to note that all skateboards have their breaking point.
Even the most top-notch decks can potentially snap under the strain of extreme stress.
Therefore, it’s crucial for skateboarders to be aware of the limits and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety while riding.
Heavier Decks Are Always Stronger:
While wider and longer decks can offer more durability and stability, their increased weight can also impact a skater’s ability to perform certain tricks that require agility and maneuverability.
It’s important to strike a balance between the size and weight of the deck to match your individual style of riding and ensure optimal performance on the skateboard.
By considering factors such as your preferred tricks, riding terrain, and personal skill level, you can choose a deck that provides the right combination of size, weight, and performance for an enjoyable and rewarding skateboarding experience.
Expensive Skateboards Are Unbreakable:
Premium skateboard components, meticulously crafted with precision engineering and superior materials, have the ability to elevate performance and prolong lifespan.
However, it is important to note that even the most exquisite and expensive skateboard is not impervious to damage.
Whether it be from excessive force exerted during daring tricks or neglecting proper maintenance, any skateboard, regardless of its price tag, is susceptible to potential breakage.
It is crucial for skateboard enthusiasts to exercise caution and ensure regular upkeep to maximize the longevity of their cherished boards.
All Decks Are the Same:
When it comes to skateboard decks, there is a wide range of options available from various brands and models.
These decks can differ significantly in terms of the materials used, the construction techniques employed, and even their durability.
It’s crucial to carefully consider these factors in order to choose a deck that perfectly aligns with your style of riding and skill level.
By doing so, you can ensure an optimal skateboarding experience that enhances your performance and enjoyment.
While skateboards are designed to withstand the demands of tricks, flips, and jumps, they are not indestructible.
The durability of a skateboard depends on various factors such as the quality of materials, rider technique, frequency, and intensity of use, and environmental conditions.
To ensure your skateboard’s longevity, it is essential to invest in high-quality equipment, practice proper techniques, and perform regular maintenance.
By understanding the factors that contribute to skateboard durability and taking proactive measures, skateboarders can maximize the lifespan of their boards.