Darkstar Skateboards – Avoid or Buy?
A lot of skaters think Darkstar is a Walmart brand. But a lot of them also say Darkstar is legit and is a decent skate brand. But what’s the truth? Today, I’ll be talking about Darkstar skateboards. I’ll be going over their products and talking about whether they are good quality or not.
Darkstar skateboards, who are they?
Darkstar is another skateboard brand owned by Dwindle Distribution. These guys also own Almost skateboards, Enjoi, Tensor Trucks, Blind skateboards, and Dusters. They have their fingers in some of the biggest brands in the industry.
Dwindle is owned by Highline Industries Corporation these days, but it was founded by Rodney Mullen and Steve Rocco. I’m sure they are still in the picture, helping to keep things running. Check out my Darkstar skateboards review below to find out more about them.
How did Darkstar skateboards start?
Darkstar was started in 1997 by Chet Thomas. They started as a wheel company in his garage but later evolved into the skateboard deck brand we know today. Back in 2007, Chet saw the opportunity to sell accessible completes in Walmart and started pushing Darkstar products on there. He would sell the skateboards that didn’t do well in skate shops. Because of this, some skaters associated Darkstar with the Walmart brand – which isn’t a good thing when it comes to skateboarding.
Why do some skaters not like them?
A lot of skaters hate Darkstar boards. They say their equipment isn’t good quality and would recommend other brands and products instead of Darkstar stuff. Some especially dislike them because they sell some of their boards and products at Walmart.
As I explain below, Darkstar sells their boards at Walmart to help get to the market of new skaters and parents who simply pick up cheap Walmart boards instead of going to skate shops. This way they’re able to get quality boards to everyone and push the cheap low-quality ones out of the market.
Some skaters think this is admirable and a good way to get decent boards to everyone. But others still think the boards are bad and can’t appreciate what Darkstar is doing.
I should also make the distinction. Even though they do sell some boards at Walmart, they still have a high-quality line and sell quality decks.
Is it okay to buy a Walmart skateboard?
When skaters think of a Walmart board, they often picture a cheap board, that comes with plastic trucks, plastic wheels, and that comes wrapped in plastic film. A toy. Now, this isn’t a skateboard. It might be able to roll for a couple of feet, but is more a toy than anything else. You can’t do tricks on it and you can’t even cruise around on it. It’s useless. This is what most Walmart boards are like.
Naturally, skaters hate these sorts of boards and tell any new skaters to steer away from them. So generally speaking, if you want a proper skateboard, don’t buy a Walmart board. That said,
Darkstar completes are sold at Walmart too. Darkstar boards are pretty decent for beginners and are an affordable option. They are at that same cheap price point but work way better than the knock-off, toy skateboards. They can actually roll, turn and you can do tricks on them.
If you find a Darkstar board at Walmart, it might not be so bad if you buy it. But again, if you have the option, go to a proper skate shop and you’ll be able to get yourself a high-quality deck which will come with better components (though will be more expensive).
Why does Darkstar sell boards on Walmart?
So many skateboards are sold through Walmart to parents who don’t any better and just pick whatever is cheapest and available. This harms the skate industry. It also gives the kids who get these boards a poor introduction into skating and they don’t get good riding experiences. It’s not uncommon to hear of people who gave up skating because their boards sucked to ride.
So as Chet Thomas explains in the video below. Darkstar is trying to sell the best boards they can within that cheap price point to the parents and kids who don’t know any better.
And Darkstar is making it work. A ton of younger skaters have been able to get decent beginner boards. Darkstar is also able to support their team and sponsor core skateboarding competitions with the money they make from these sales. Putting that money back into the skate scene. The Darkstar skateboards team is also legit and has some big skate names.
I think they’re doing good work. The alternative is boards that don’t roll, and anything is better than that is good in my book.
So are Darkstar boards good?
As I mentioned earlier, Darkstar sort of has two lines of boards. Those that they sell at skate shops, and those that they sell in Walmart. The Walmart completes are of slightly lower quality, so they can fit in that competitive price point.
- If you’re a beginner skater or on a tight budget, the Walmart Darkstar will be good enough for you. But if you’re an experienced skater, they won’t feel good underfoot.
- If you’re a more experienced skater, the high-quality Darkstar line found in skate shops will feel just as good as any other skateboard from a premium brand. Pair the decks with a set of proper wheels and trucks, and you’re good to go.
Finally, because their decks are manufactured and distributed by Dwindle, they will of course be high-quality. Because Dwindle puts a single deck in the press each time, they ensure that they have consistent quality across their decks. Each deck will have the same concave, same pop, and will feel the same to ride.
What products does Darkstar make?
Darkstar only really sells decks these days. They do have some wheels available, but it seems they have mostly left their wheel brand behind. They sell some soft goods like t-shirts and stickers too.
On their Walmart brand decks, they have their trucks and wheels. These trucks and wheels aren’t as good quality as premium brand products but will work well for beginners.
They do include name brand trucks and wheels on their premium completes, but those are more expensive too. If you can, try to replace the bearings on the Walmart trucks for a smoother and faster roll.
What are some good Darkstar decks?
Darkstar Skateboards Pierre-Luc Gagnon Industry deck
Coming in at 31.9inches in length and 8.37inches in width, this deck is a good option for any skater. Its length is standard, but its width makes it perfect for beginners. It will be a bit more comfortable to stand on and will provide a more stable ride than a narrower board. This deck is good for all-around riding. You can use it for pool, vert, and trick skating.
The deck is made with 7plys of maple and has a resin glue. It will have good pop and will be durable. Because of Dwindle’s single press policy, the deck will have a consistent pop and concave like other Darkstar decks.
Though it is a premium deck, it costs slightly more than $50. This might be expensive for some beginners, especially if you have to buy wheels and trucks too. Check out the cheaper Darkstar completes below.
You can find out more about the Pierre-Luc Gagnon deck here at Warehouse skateboards.
Darkstar Scrim Red 7.25
Though sold on Amazon, this is one of the Walmart completes that Darkstar sells. It comes in at a price of slightly less than $100. This makes it affordable and a decent option for beginners and those who are on a tight budget.
The deck has a rather small size. It has a short length of 29.25inches, with a narrow 7.25inch width. It’s been designed for use by kids, but it is also a good option for riders with smaller feet.
Though the deck is decent quality, the complete comes with budget trucks, wheels, and bearings. The trucks are T5 aluminum Darkstar trucks and the wheels are soft 82a durometer wheels.
These wheels are much softer than the average skateboard wheel. They will roll smoother and feel more comfortable on different surfaces than the standard skate wheels does.
Though the components aren’t the greatest, you can’t complain when you consider the price tag. Find out more about the Darkstar budget complete here on Amazon.com.
Darkstar Woods (Mint Green) 7.625 Complete
The most affordable Darkstar option on my list. This one is both good for kids and bigger riders. It comes in at 31.3inches in length and has a width of 7.6inches. It might be a bit narrow for bigger riders, but it is a good option if you don’t mind the smaller size. Some young beginners might want a narrow skateboard that has a standard length. It might be challenging for some older beginners to ride. Another good all-round option like this would be the Darkstar in bloom deck.
When it comes to components, this complete does quite well. It comes with Tensor trucks and Darkstar wheels. Tensor trucks are quite good and are considered premium trucks. It is surprising that a complete this cheap has them. The Darkstar wheels are ok and should work decently.
Find out more about this complete here on Amazon.com.
Darkstar Skateboards Insignia Aqua Skateboard Deck
Last but not least, this deck is good for kids and small riders. This deck comes in a small size. It is 29.2inches long and 7.25inches wide. If you have a kid that is about 4ft tall, this deck will be good for them.
The deck itself is made with 7plys of Hardrock maple and uses a resin glue. It will be durable, strong, and should last your kid a long time.
When it comes to its design, It has a simple green stained graphic with the Darkstar logo and lettering. Nothing fancy, but it does look good. It might not fit some tastes though. Check out the other boards above if this isn’t to your liking. The Scrim Red option is a good alternative.
Finally, the Insignia deck isn’t too expensive. It doesn’t break the bank and leaves you with room to buy the other parts you need. You can find out more about the Insignia deck here on Warehouse skateboards.
How much do Darkstar boards cost?
Darkstar boards can be anything from very affordable to kind of expensive. As I said earlier, they have two types of boards. The Walmart boards and their premium line.
Their premium line boards cost just as much as the boards from any other brand. You’re looking to pay about $60 to 80 dollars for a deck. When it comes to their affordable line of decks. You can pay anywhere between $60 to $100 for a complete. They are quite cheap.
What brands are good alternatives to Darkstar?
It’s understandable if Darkstar isn’t to your liking. A lot of skaters don’t like them and would prefer more traditional core skate brands. Some good alternatives are:
- Blind skateboards
- Revive skateboards
If you want a skateboard for your kid, Blind has some good options. For example, the Blind OG Water Color board. It comes in a small size of 29.2inches in length and 7.25inches in width. The perfect size for a kid. You can check it out here on Amazon.com.
And like the Zoo skateboards complete below, Blind also has an affordable complete for bigger riders. It is 31.5inches long and comes in 2 widths – 8 and 8.25inches. Check out the Blind Premium complete here on Amazon. It comes with Tensor trucks and Blind wheels.
If you’re looking for a high-quality complete, Zoo skateboards have a decent model available. This complete available here at Warehouse skateboards will be good for riders of all sizes. It comes in at 31.56inches in length and 7.6inches in width.
It has premium components, with Industrial trucks and From wheels.
What do you think? Is Darkstar legit?
To me, Darkstar is a legit brand. They’re doing what they can to plug the holes in the leaking ship that is the skateboard industry.
And they keep going despite them getting a bad rep for it. As a rider, you don’t have to support them, but you should respect what they do.