8 Best skateboards for beginners adults in 2021 (Buying Guide)

It’s never too late. That’s what I tell myself every time I stop skating for a while and then start again. Every time, it hurts a little more, and I can do a couple fewer tricks. But I keep doing it. It’s in my blood.

That’s how skateboarding is. And whether you’re just starting or you’re picking it up again after putting it down for a while, the truth is, it’s never too late to skate. 

We’ve assembled a collection of completes that we believe can work for beginning and returning adults alike. The point here is affordability, because we all know that the cost of living rises with age.

Whichever skateboard you choose as you start down this path, just remember this: Most of us end up regretting the things we didn’t do more than the things we did.

 

8 Best Skateboards for Beginner Adults

 

1. Enjoi – Candy Coated (8.25)

Enjoi has been a personal favorite ever since it came out in 2000. This Candy Coated complete setup on Amazon is an excellent starter setup for an adult.

The deck is made from North American maple. It is 8.25 inches wide, about average for modern popsicle shapes. Enjoi decks don’t normally go overboard on concave, and this one is no different.

The trucks in this complete are quite good. They are Tensors, which is a quality brand. They also have the Enjoi Panda painted on their hangers, which is a nice touch. These trucks will far outlast the deck.

From a street skater’s perspective, the wheels are the only weak point. They’re Enjoi brand, which is not a bad thing in itself. The fact that they are 52 mm is not bad either. That’s an average wheel size. However, the 92A durometer is too soft for real street skating. Harder wheels slide better, though softer wheels are more comfortable.

What We Like:

  • Quality North American maple = Plenty of pop
  • Decent trucks from a quality brand
  • Eight-inch deck width is a good starting point
  • Comes ready to skate, but expect to adjust the hardware

What We Don’t Like:

  • Non-descript, unbranded bearings
  • Wheels are too soft for tailslides and noseslides

 

2. Element – Section (8.0) 

The Element brand has a long history in skateboarding. These days the company mostly only  offers team boards, like this one on Amazon

Every component on this complete is Element-branded, a common characteristic of pre-assembled completes. The deck is 8 inches wide, which is a good width for doing flip tricks but is still stable for cruising. The source of the maple is unknown, but I suspect it is Chinese. That’s not necessarily a bad thing on its own.

Element wheels are a pretty common sight in skateboarding, but the 78A durometer here is a strange choice. They’re fine for cruising or filming. Expect to change them out for something harder when you start learning to slide. 

The trucks are another item that won’t last you long. Element isn’t known for their trucks, which is a tell. Ditto for the Element-branded bearings. 

This board will get you started. The deck is the star of the show. It could cost almost as much as this whole complete on its own, so this isn’t a bad starter kit.

What We Like:

  • Good deck from a brand with history
  • Ready to cruise or film 
  • Deck width (8”) is great for flip tricks

What We Don’t Like:

  • Element-branded everything is a bit much
  • Trucks won’t survive hard skating
  • Wheels much too soft for slides

 

3. CCS Blank Complete (8.5)

The CCS blank deck has been a go-to for generations of skaters. California Cheap Skates was a successful catalogue shop before there was even an internet. Their decks are affordable, not cheaply made, which is a recipe for success. 

We’re highlighting the 8.5-inch CCS complete, but there are other width options on the same Amazon page. This is a nice width for carving. Once you get used to it, flip tricks are no problem on a board this wide. We also like that there are plenty of color and graphics options.

The CCS bearings on this setup are ABEC 7. They’re fast out of the box, but not the highest quality. They won’t last long under hard use. It also would have been nice to see better trucks. Something had to give to keep costs low. Expect the trucks to be the first thing you upgrade.

On the other hand, the CCS wheels are one of the few real street wheels on this list. At 52 mm and 100A, they’re on par with most wheels street skaters use. The formula may not be the most buttery, but they’ll do the job.

What We Like:

  • Plenty of options – Pick a color, any color
  • Canadian maple from a trusted store-brand
  • Free skate tool!
  • Durometer (100A) is great for slides

What We Don’t Like:

  • CCS trucks are just not top-shelf
  • The bearings start out fast, but don’t last

 

4. Baker – Factory (8.0)

The Baker Boys are notorious. This Baker team board on Amazon is a good starter skateboard for older adults. The old schoolers you meet will appreciate it, and you may just here a few stories after the session.

The deck is 8 inches wide and bears the usual Baker team logo. Baker is a good brand, so you can expect good maple with plenty of pop.

The Baker branded trucks are decent for a starter setup, but you will want to upgrade after you start progressing. They are sufficient for learning, but won’t take tons of hard use.

The Baker wheels are 52 mm and have a 95A durometer. That’s a bit soft for street wheels, but it’s just right for smooth cruising. If you can’t slide yet, you might find that it’s just right. 

What We Like:

  • Baker decks are always good wood
  • The 8-inch width is a happy medium
  • A classic brand
  • 95A wheels are soft, but not extremely

What We Don’t Like:

  • No-name ABEC 5 bearings won’t last
  • Baker is not known for trucks. So who knows?

 

5. Santa Cruz – Screaming Hand (8.0)

Santa Cruz has been around since the 1980s. It’s a classic brand, so this Screaming Hand complete on Amazon.com should be pretty nostalgic for skaters of a certain age.

The Santa Cruz name isn’t what it once was in skateboarding, but there’s no good reason for that. Skateboarding is a fickle world, where being the cool thing doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with quality. No one stays on top for long. 

This deck is 8 inches wide with medium concave. Since it doesn’t specify a source, it is likely made with Chinese maple. That shouldn’t be a deal-breaker though. Chinese maple has good pop. Some cheap brands that use it lack in quality control, but Santa Cruz is a premium brand.

The Santa Cruz Slime Balls wheels were once extremely popular in street skating. This isn’t the same formula from the 80s, of course. It’s better. These wheels are 95A, so pretty soft. 

What We Like:

  • A classic graphic 
  • Quality maple deck and a tech-friendly width
  • Slime Balls wheels are smooth and fast, top shelf
  • Bullet trucks are decent. Not the best, but fair

What We Don’t Like:

  • Bearings lack quality, need an upgrade 
  • 95A wheel durometer is too soft for real street skating

 

6. Powell-Peralta – Ripper Natural (8.0)

Speaking of the 1980s. Powell-Peralta once ruled skateboarding. It’s popularity waned when vert died in the 90s, but it still makes quality skate gear. For older skaters, the graphics on this Ripper board on the Stoked Ride Shop website are nostalgia come to life.

This deck is composed of top-shelf Canadian maple, though it is pressed in China. It is 8 inches wide, with mild concave, and it comes already gripped. 

The trucks on this setup are Independent Stage 11s. These are real-deal street skating trucks. The 149 mm hangers (8.5-inch axles) are a bit wide for this board, but a new skater wouldn’t be bothered by that They’ll far outlast the deck, and will be perfect if you try an 8.25- or 8.5-inch board next.

The store-branded wheels are 54 mm and 99A, both very common for a street setup. Dragon bearings are a young brand, but they’re quality.

What We Like:

  • Top shelf wood, Canadian maple
  • The best trucks on this list. Indy’s are as tough as it gets.
  • Wheels are common dimensions and durometer
  • Decent, though uncommon, bearings

What We Don’t Like:

  • Longevity of the shop-brand wheels is a mystery
  • Same is true of the bearings

 

7. Powell Peralta – Ripper Painted (7.5)

If the other Ripper board we featured isn’t your taste, this one might be. This Powell-Peralta Ripper complete at Warehouse Skateboards is the most affordable setup on this list. At under $70, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cheaper complete from a reputable brand.

The deck is 7.5 inches wide, which is pretty skinny. This is a board best suited for a technical skater, or a smaller one. The main thing to note is its length, which is just 28.65 inches. Every other board on this list is more than 32 inches long.

What We Like:

  • Classic graphics
  • Powell-Peralta is a trusted name
  • Suitable for smaller humans

What We Don’t Like:

  • Too small for average-sized adults
  • Components will not last long if skated hard

 

8. Toy Machine – Furry Monster (8.0)

Toy Machine graphics are practically art. It’s a shame to scratch them up doing boardslides, but it’s a tough world. This Furry Monster board on Amazon.com is new take on the classic Toy Machine Monster graphics. 

This deck is 8 inches wide, a good width for technical skating but not overly large. Toy Machine has never been a wheel company, so it’s no surprise these wheels aren’t the best. 

What you get with this setup is a quality deck with usable trucks and wheels. As you upgrade the components over time, the board should continue to serve you well. 

What We Like:

  • Toy Machine decks are never disappointing
  • A new take on a classic graphic
  • Goldilocks width for average-sized humans

What We Don’t Like:

  • Components (other than deck) will need upgrading
  •  The deck might take some abuse, but the components won’t

How to Pick a Skateboard as an Adult Beginner

Types of Skateboards

Skateboarding is always growing in popularity, and so the variety of skateboards grows with it. There are longboards, cruisers, mini-cruisers, old school decks… you name it. It’s enough to make your head do a bigspin, but it shouldn’t be that confusing. 

For anyone who wants to ollie or grind or boardslide, there is really only one type of skateboard: the (mostly) symmetrical popsicle-stick board shape. 

The reason this shape dominates street, park and ramp skating alike becomes clear as you learn more tricks. Long noses and steep tails help us do noseslides and tailslides. They make ollies and nollies easier. They make impossibles possible. 

Yes, you can do all of that with some of those other shapes, but it won’t be easy. 

 

What Size Skateboard Should Adults Get?

A brief history: In the 1980s, decks were often as wide as 10 inches. When street skating took off and flip tricks became popular in the 90s, board widths shrunk because thinner boards flip easier. The pendulum began to swing the other way in the 2000s.

For about a decade now, the average board width has been pretty stable. Most boards you see on the street will be around 8.25 inches, or within a half inch of that either way. This width provides a solid, stable platform, but it is still allows for flip tricks.

People have their own reasons for the board size they prefer. Most skaters settle on a width and stick to it, but that takes time. 

Larger or less technical skaters might want to move up the scale – maybe all the way up to 8.75 inches. Any bigger than that and you’ll sacrifice the ability to flip the board.

If you’re smaller or you like doing flip tricks, moving down might make sense. You won’t find many adults on a 7.75-inch board, but there are some. Dare to be different.  

 

Can You Get a Good Skateboard Under $50?

You will never find a quality complete skateboard under $50. Think of the cost of components.  There are plenty of trucks that cost more than that for a set. Good bearings can too. 

On the other hand, you can easily find a decent deck for this price. Most of the better brands will cost more, but not by very much.

One way to save a bit of cash is to get a blank deck. There are plenty of shop brands and even respected skate brands that sell blank decks, without graphics or with very little. These boards are often half the cost of a pro model from a popular brand.

Another way to save some money is to find a deck that is discontinued. These boards are often marked down, but supply will be limited. Most brands also knock of some cash for their “team boards,” which are decks with graphics but that are not signature pro models. 

Pros get paid a percentage of board sales, so team boards are usually cheaper. Most of the decks featured in this article are team boards.  

 

Should you buy a cheap skateboard on Amazon or Walmart?

I wouldn’t suggest buying too cheap of a board, regardless of where it is purchased. The deck is critical to the feel of a setup. Everything else is secondary. If nothing else, get a good deck.

That said, if a board is from a trusted brand, it shouldn’t matter too much where you found it. Remember, skateboard components are almost always interchangeable.

Your board will wear out as you ride it. That’s just an inescapable fact. And the components will wear out faster the better you get. Bigger tricks mean more wear and tear. I mean, sometimes boards just snap through no fault of their own.

Even if you landed everything, your wheels would still get smaller; your trucks would grind down, and your bearings would wear out. So shop wherever you like and support the companies you want to support. You’ll end up spreading your cash around more and more as you improve, so who cares where you get each component?

 

Extra gear you should buy

Skate shoes are the only extra gear you really need. You can skate in any athletic shoe, but most won’t last long. Grip tape is rough. It will tear up even the best skate shoes, but at least they’re built for it. The soles on skate shoes also usually stick to the grip tape better than anything else.

A good skate tool is another thing you might consider. Skate tools eliminate the need for wrenches when assembling or disassembling a complete setup. They are not necessary, but they do simplify things.

Another thing you might consider getting is some skate pads. If you are older, some high quality knee pads can really help. They’ll give you the ability to knee slide out of trouble, which means less running out of bails. 

A good skate helmet may also help give you confidence. It could even save your life. A lot of skateparks actually require helmets, so consider getting one just in case. They’re hard to find on a Sunday. 

 

How long does it take to learn to skateboard?

The answer to this questions depends on your criteria for being a skateboarder. It only takes most people a few days to learn to cruise around. Leaning, kickturning and doing tic-tacs are all basic moves that take time to learn. Even if that’s all you’re doing, you’re skateboarding.

On the other hand, learning to ollie is a huge challenge. It’s the trick that unlocks the rest, but it takes persistence and dedication. it might take you weeks or it might take you months. If being able to ollie is your definition of skating, then that’s the answer: weeks to months.

However long it takes you to feel comfortable calling yourself a skateboarder, don’t give up. We all have days where we can’t land a trick. Some days you can barely do anything at all. But if you come back to it another time, you’ll probably get it … or maybe the time after that.

William Thaddeus Baker
 

My name is William and I’m boardsports enthusiast. I’ve been skateboarding streets since I was about 9. Also I’ve experimented with longboarding & downhill. As to this site my goal is to help beginner riders to find the right equipment. Everything that I write here is my own opinion…