Why Do I Need A Skateboard? Five Things You Should Know
Skateboarding has grown over the years to become a sport that can be enjoyed by people of every race from all over the world. Skateboarding in the past was associated with teenage rebellion and feelings of freedom. Today, there are many reasons people get into skateboarding, ranging from the many health benefits associated with it, to the social benefit it gives from hanging out with friends.
But, the question is why do you need a skateboard? Is it worth it?
What Are Skateboards?
Skateboards are a type of sports equipment used for skateboarding. The skateboard consists of horizontal plywood with wheels, on which a skateboarder stands on with both feet while maintaining balance. The skateboarder keeps one leg on the board and pushes on the ground to propel the board forward. The skateboard can also be used by standing on the board with both feet while on a downward slope and allowing gravity to propel the board forward. The skateboarder can also perform tricks while on the board to maneuver the board over obstacles.
Why Would You Need A Skateboard?
You may need a skateboard for several reasons, including
- Transportation: A skateboard can be used for commuting. This is a very common use of skateboarding these days. An increasing number of people commute on skateboards, cruiser boards, and longboards because it is faster than walking, healthy, and eco-friendly. This beats riding on vehicles that emit dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Longboards are ideal for long-distance commutes, they have wider decks and are easier to learn plus they provide a comfortable ride. If you are looking for a short-distance commute, a cruiser skateboard might be a better option. Regular skateboards have a steeper learning curve and are ideal for performing tricks.
- Cardiovascular Exercise: A skateboard provides a form of aerobic exercise, a form of physical activity that increases heart rate and respiration and raises oxygen and blood flow throughout the body while using large muscle groups of the body repetitively and rhythmically. As I alluded to, skateboarding has many health benefits such as weight loss, improved proper blood circulation, stress relief, and a whole host of other health benefits. It is estimated that you can burn around 400 calories an hour, and about 800 calories if you skate aggressively.
- It is fun: Skateboarding is a fun activity enjoyed by many people of different backgrounds. You can pick up your skateboard, head out to the skate park, and meet many interesting people that you can hang out with and make new friends. You will never have met a more interesting bunch than a group of skateboarders. They are enthusiastic and creative individuals that look out for each other. They have each other's backs and help each other to develop and grow together.
- It is a challenging sport: When you first start to learn how to ride a skateboard, there are several skills that you need to develop to succeed as a skateboarder. One of the first is that you need to learn how to balance on your skateboard. This helps improve the physical motor coordination of your body and improves your stamina overall. The challenge of learning new tricks will keep you motivated. As there are a lot of tricks to learn, it is an activity that keeps you engaged for a long time.
- It improves your mood and mental health: Skateboarding improves your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It helps eliminate issues with mental health such as having low energy, eating or sleeping too much or too little, smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual. Skateboarding enables you to cope with stress and improve your productivity.
What Are Skateboards Made Of?
There are many types of skateboards such as the normal skateboards, cruiser skateboards, penny boards, longboards, and so on. The materials used to make the skateboards are fairly similar and they consist of
- The skateboard deck: The skateboard deck is a horizontal plane made from 7-8 maple plywood which due to its slow growth is very durable and stable. The skateboard deck has gone through a lot of improvement through the years. Today, some decks have been designed for particular terrains, with specific shapes, lengths, widths, and manufacturing methods. The skateboard deck is divided into three sections: the nose or front, the wheelbase between the trucks, and the tail or rear. The deck usually has a concave running down the middle of the board for balance. The nose and tail are the rounded edges of the skateboard deck which are slightly curved upwards. This is common in normal skateboards. The nose and tail of most longboards are not curved. The curve is added to normal skateboards because they give the skateboard pop and are important while performing tricks.
- The trucks: The skateboard trucks are the two solid metal structures attached to the nose and tail of the skateboard, which connect the skateboard wheel to the deck. The trucks are usually made of aluminum or other metal such as steel, brass, or other alloys. The skateboard truck consists of the base plate which connects the truck to the deck using hardware nuts and bolts. The axles hold the wheels and are attached to the trucks via the hanger. The kingpin absorbs the pressure on the skateboard it passes that pressure to the bushings which are soft polyurethane rings that dissipate the pressure and allow the skateboard to turn smoothly.
- The wheels: The skateboard wheels are a major part of the skateboard. They are made of a plastic polyurethane material these make the wheels durable. The skateboard wheels are manufactured with varying degrees of hardness based on the terrain and other factors. The hardness of the skateboard wheel is given in Durometer (A). This is a scale with 100 gradations. Normal skateboard wheels are usually between 75 to 100 durometer. Soft wheels have more grip, are quieter, and absorb irregularities in the ground better than hard wheels. Because of this, they are used more often by street skaters. Hard wheels have more drag and are faster. They are ideal for beginners who ride their skateboards on ramps/verts or at skate parks.
- Bearings: Skateboard bearings are attached to skateboard wheels to reduce friction and enable the skateboard wheels to roll freely. The bearings are usually made of steels, ceramics, or titanium. Steel bearings are the industry standard because they are durable and economical. Higher grade steel in bearings tends to make the bearings more durable and faster. But this has a downside as steel tends to rust when exposed to moisture. If you want your bearings to last longer, ensure to keep them clean and oiled. Don't skate in the rain and over puddles.
Does a skateboard require any special care?
To ensure that your skateboard lasts long and that you can enjoy the benefits of riding your skateboard, it is important to schedule regular monthly maintenance on your board. These maintenance activities will require you to disassemble the skateboard. After the skateboard is disassembled, you clean the board and oil the bearings. You then leave it out to dry before using the board because a wet skateboard tends to perform poorly and can reduce its lifespan.
How much do skateboards cost?
The cost of a skateboard is dependent on the type of board, the brand, and the materials used in its construction. Skateboards can be sold as complete boards. The components of a skateboard can also be sold. This requires you to assemble it when it is delivered. This is usually the common approach for experienced skateboarders. If you are just starting, getting a complete skateboard is better.
Skateboards usually cost between $45 to $175 depending on the quality of the parts. Higher quality components usually add up to the total cost of the skateboard. Additional costs come from shoes, protective gear, and merchandise.
It is a bad idea to buy cheap skateboards because they tend to spoil easily and can lead to injury to yourself or others. When looking to buy a skateboard it is better to buy skateboards that are a good compromise between quality and price.
As you have seen, there are many reasons why you need a skateboard. Everyone should own a skateboard. In fact, it is as easy as riding a bike. And the thing is once you have learned it, it is something that you cannot unlearn, instead, the benefits stay with you for the rest of your life.