Anatomy of a Skateboard

We break down the essential parts of a skateboard so you can start shredding with confidence.

These days, you don't have to be a skater to know that skateboards are definitively "cool"—all you need to do is check your local fashion campaign or designer department store for proof. But boards are for riding, not wearing, and having one means learning your way around its components. If you don't know where to start, here's your first lesson: a skateboard is the sum of its parts. To that end, we break down the math to make sure everything adds up before you buy one. From decks to bearings, here's a crib sheet of the different elements of a skateboard—and who's making them the best.

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Launched in July 2015, Quasi is already popular with experienced skaters for its artistic, mature designs. The beach-inspired Vibe board measures a sturdy 8 inches across the middle. The brand also throws in grip tape—another essential board element—with every web order.

Vibes deck, $55,

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Trucks are what allow skateboards to turn and pivot (skating involves a lot of that). San Francisco-based Thunder Trucks are the gold standard. The brand's recently launched Titanium Lights III are crafted from titanium for maximum durability and lightness. (Pro tip: Thunder uses "149" to denote trucks made for decks 8.2 inches or wider.)

Titanium Lights III–149, $60,

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Spitfire's logo is popular amongst nonskaters, but the brand's wheels have the real street cred. The company recently improved its urethane (the key ingredient in skate wheels) with the Formula Four series: They are designed to last longer and slide smoothly on any surface. This 52-millimeter option is versatile enough for both leveled skateparks and uneven street concrete.

Formula Four 99DU Classic Full, $35,

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Bearings fit into wheels and allow them to rotate on the end of the trucks. Bones Bearings is the trusted name in the field, and the brand's Swiss Ceramics bearings are its top-of-the-line product. Where traditional steel bearings are heavier and rust when exposed to water, ceramic bearings are lighter and water-resistant, saving you money in the long run.

Swiss Ceramic bearings, $140,

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In skating, "hardware" refers to the literal nuts and bolts that fasten everything together. Owned and managed by two professional skaters, Shake Junt makes this Bag O' Bolts with eight sets of screws and nuts. The green and yellow ones can be used to distinguish the front of the board from back. When the last bolt is tightened, you should be all set.

Bag O' Bolts, $5,

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