Q. What skateboards are best for kickflips, grinds and ollies? Which board goes the fastest?
— Big Air Joe, Mansfield, Conn.
A. First off, the best skateboard for street skating, and doing tricks like kickflips, ollies, etc. is a standard eight-inch wide tongue depressor-shaped skate deck. The brand isn’t really important, just look for one that’s durable with graphics you like. You’ll also want size 149mm trucks, and wheels sized between 52mm to 58mm. If you’re a smaller, lighter guy, pick a wheel in the lower end of that size range. If you’ll mostly be skating on the street and rough surfaces (which I’m guessing you will be), pick a wheel with a hardness of around 97A and above. These harder wheels will give your tricks more pop.
Now, if you want to go really, really fast, you’ll need a hill—and a totally different type of skateboard. Your best bet is to get a longer, wider, hybrid-style deck, something in the 38- to 42-inch long range. You’ll want wheels sized between 74mm to 81mm with a medium soft feel of around 78A to 80A. Then, the final important ingredient is the bearings. These are the things inside your wheels that make them spin really fast. Look for bearings with a rating of between Abec 5 to 7. The higher the rating, the less rolling resistance the bearing has, so theoretically, the faster you’ll go. They’re expensive (about $15 for four bearings) and keep in mind, if you ride your skate through sand or some such, the bearings will get clogged and your very fast skateboard will now be very slow.