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Skateboarding 101

How To

Grip a skateboard

w/ Jordan Hoffart

Build a complete

w/ Jordan Hoffart

Questions & Answers

What do I use to clean my bearings?

Well first, DO NOT USE WD40!! That stuff just strips your bearings of any grease that's left. I would suggest just wiping 'em off with a paper towel and then using Bones Speed Cream. But any sort of grease from your dad's garage will do the trick. As a last resort, if you don't have any grease or speed cream… you can always use a little bit of your mom's cooking oil. That works well too.

If I want to put on new griptape, how do I get the old grip off?

The easiest way, is to peel a small bit up at the nose or tail and then grab a blow dryer and heat up the part you just peeled back. The blow dryer will heat up the glue holding on the grip and it'll loosen it up and the rest will peel off really easy. Plus, if you do this before taking it to your local skate shop to get re-gripped…they will be a lot more stoked to grip your board for you!


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Skateboards 101

First and foremost, remember skateboarding is fun. Currently, there are two main styles of skateboarding, street skating and transition / vert or "tranny" skating. Street skating takes place on obstacles found outside of organized skate parks and includes school yards, stairs, handrails, ledges, curbs, banks, and benches. Transition skating or tranny skating is skateboarding that takes place on any man made facility and includes skate parks, launch ramps, quarter pipes, half pipes, pools, and full pipes. These obstacles can be made of cement or wood and can occasionally be combined with obstacles used in street skating.

The first question to ask when choosing a skateboard is what type of skateboarder are you? Are you a street skater or are you a "tranny" skater. Street skaters tend to prefer narrower skateboards and trucks with smaller wheel diameters (56mm and smaller) while "tranny" skaters tend to like wider skateboards and trucks with larger wheel diameters (57mm and larger).

The Skateboard Deck

Essentially, skateboards are made of seven thin plies of wood that are compressed together by a special hydraulic press to make one solid skateboard deck. Concave, nose and tail kick are added to the skateboard deck at this time. Select your skateboard now

Skateboard Concave

One way to explain concave is to think about a spoon. Imagine trying to eat cereal with a flat spoon, it would be pretty difficult right. A spoon is made with concave edges to help hold the milk and cereal inside. The same is true with a skateboard. A skateboard deck is made with concave edges to help hold your feet on the skateboard. Generally concave falls into three separate categories, mellow, medium and steep. Mellow concave is a flatter concave and allows for a more flat-footed skating style. The edges of the board are not so bowled. For examples of skateboards with mellow concave check out Baker, Flip, and Zero skateboards. Medium concave is concave that is a bit deeper than mellow concave and not as deep as steep concave. Check out skateboards from Girl, Chocolate, Almost and Alien Workshop for skateboards with medium concave. Steep concave has the edges of the deck turned up quite a bit so that your feet feel really gripped on the board. Black Label, Element, and Anti-Hero skateboards feature steep concave.

Skateboard Dimensions

Skateboards come in a variety of widths and lengths. Generally narrower skateboards 7.25" to 8" are used for street skating and wider boards 8" to 8.5" and above are used for skating tranny. Ultimately, however, the choice of what deck width to skate is all personal preference and skill level. Use our shop by size feature to select your skateboard now

Skateboard Trucks

Other than the skateboard deck, skateboard trucks are one of the most essential skateboard parts. Skateboard trucks are the metal components that are mounted to the underside of the skateboard deck. Wheels and bearings are in turn mounted to the trucks and allow the skateboard to roll. Trucks allow the skateboard to maneuver and grind obstacles. Trucks feature a stainless steel axle encased in an aluminum hanger and mounded to an aluminum base plate via the "king pin". The king pin is the big think bolt found in the center of the skateboard truck. The tightness of the king pin can be adjusted to change the turn ability of the trucks. If you want to ride and feel stiff and stable on your skateboard tighten the king pin to the right to tighten your trucks. If you want to feel a bit looser on your skateboard and you want it to turn a bit easier turn your king pin to the left to loosen your trucks. We recommend using a skate key to adjust the tightness of your king pins. Trucks come in a variety of sizes and colors. Be sure to match the width of your skateboard trucks with the width of your skateboard deck. When in doubt be sure that the width of your skateboard is wider than your trucks. Select your skateboard trucks now


Made of urethane, wheels in conjunction with bearings enable the skateboard to roll. Wheels are sold in sets of four and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Wheel size, measured in millimeters, varies depending on the type of skating you plan to do. Smaller wheels 56mm and smaller, used for street skating, are smaller and lighter and allow the skateboard to flip a bit easier for all the technical tricks street skating has to offer. Larger wheels 57mm and larger, used for transition skating, allow the skateboard to roll faster and smoother. Keep in mind that larger wheels require the use of risers to avoid "wheel bite". Wheel bite happens when the wheel comes in contact with the bottom of the skateboard while turning and can cause the skateboard to suddenly stop rolling. Buy your skateboard wheels here.


Bearings are the small round steel component that fit between the skateboard truck axle and the urethane wheel. Bearings are pressed into the skateboard wheel (2 bearing per wheel) and then mounted to the skateboard truck axle with the truck axle bolt. Bearings range in both price and quality. Bearing range in quality from low grade ABEC 3 to high grade ABEC 7, the highest quality bearings currently available are Powell Swiss Bones bearings. Higher grade bearings tend to roll faster and last longer than low grade bearings. Select your skateboard bearings now.


Trucks are mounted to the skateboard deck with eight nuts and bolts called skateboard hardware. Hardware comes in a variety of colors and two sizes 7/8" hardware and 1" hardware. 7/8" hardware is used when the trucks are mounted to the skateboard deck without risers. 1" hardware is used when the skateboard trucks are mounted to the skateboard deck with risers. Keep in mind that old school skateboards require the use of even longer hardware.

Risers or Riser Pads

Made of plastic, riser pads come in sets of two, one for each truck. Riser pads are placed in between the skateboard deck and skateboard trucks when larger wheels are used. Typically a wheel larger than 55mm will require the use of riser pads to avoid wheel bite.

Grip Tape

Grip tape is the sand paper like substance applied to the top of a skateboard deck. Grip tape is sold by the sheet and can be difficult to apply to the skateboard if not experienced. Keep in mind that Active provides free assembly of grip tape and all other skateboard parts. Start building your complete skateboard now

Mini Skateboard Decks

Designed like any other skateboard deck, mini skateboard decks are smaller versions of the standard skateboard deck. Designed for the little guys, mini skateboards are customized for youngsters 10-12 and under with a weight of 60 lbs or less. Mini skateboards allow the little guys to maneuver and shred hard.

Skateboard Deck Shapes and Sizes

Unless you're looking for a mini skateboard deck or an old school skateboard deck you will have a variety of skateboard widths to choose from. Standard skateboard deck widths range from 7.3" to 8.25". Standard sizes are 7.5", 7.625", 7.75" and 8.0" although there are many size variations in between. The actual deck shape and size you choose is a matter of personal preference. In order to find out what shape and size you like, first try out some of your friend's skateboards.

Old School Skateboards

Old School skateboards are classic skateboards from the old days. Skateboarding has changed many times through the years and old school skateboards bring back some of the old "classic" skateboards from years past. Old school skateboards are fun and stylish, tend to have less nose length than tail length, and are a little larger than today's skateboard. Old school decks are for guys who like to grind, carve pools, and cruise. Keep in mind that when purchasing an old school skateboard an old school skateboard package is required for a complete which includes larger trucks and wheels. Get an old school skateboard now

Remember if you have any questions you can email us at or call us at 800.588.3911