Monday, October 22, 2007

Skateboard Safety

skateboard safely buy quality protective gear and skateboard parts Skateboarding has become an increasingly popular recreational activity especially among many but primarily adolescents and teens. It is a fun and healthy sport that can give you a great low-impact aerobic workout, improves coordination and balance, and can give you a great sense of accomplishment and boosts self esteem. Because of this it is most important to make sure that you or your kids practice skateboarding safely and use protective equipment.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons encourages physical activity as part of an overall health and fitness plan. Staying fit and having fun while doing so is important to a high quality lifestyle, but always be safe!

Incidence of Injury
To improve skateboarding safety, a growing number of communities are providing skaters with designated areas and even skateboard parks. These typically have smooth surfaces, durable obstacles and rails, and professionally designed bowls and ramps or other designated skateboarding areas that are contained and located away from vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Skateboarding is an activity in which you move quickly and generally over hard surfaces. This can lead to injuries that range from minor cuts and bruises to catastrophic brain damage. Each year in the United States, skateboarding injuries cause thousands of visits to emergency room and many children, adolescents, and adults to be hospitalized.

Most hospitalizations involve head injury. Even injuries that heal quickly can cause pain, anxiety, cost time, and money and in the worst cases lead to disabilities. This can include loss of vision, hearing and speech; loss of personal mobility, and thinking and behavior changes.

Serious skateboarding injuries happen when you lose control and fall or run into a motor vehicle, road hazard, pedestrian, another skateboarder or bicyclist.

You are at risk for injuries:

  • If you don't use protective equipment.

  • If you don't keep your skateboard in good condition.

  • If you skateboard on irregular surfaces.

  • If you attempt "tricks" beyond your skill level.

Sixty percent of skateboard injuries involve children under age 15; most of those injured are boys.

At highest risks are:

Inexperienced skateboarders: Those who have been skating for less than one week suffer one-third of injuries, usually caused by falls.

Skateboarders who do not wear protective equipment: Every skateboarder should wear standard safety gear. This includes a helmet, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads and appropriate shoes. Skateboarders who perform tricks should use heavy duty gear.

Skateboarders who go near traffic or use homemade skateboard ramps: Both activities are particularly dangerous.
Experienced skateboarders who encounter unexpected surfaces or try risky stunts: Irregular riding surfaces, rocks or other debris can cause you to fall. You can stumble over twigs or fall down slopes. Wet pavements and rough or uneven surfaces can cause a wipeout. Avoid risky behavior. Don't skateboard too fast or in dangerous or crowded locations.

Types of Injury
Skateboarding injuries often involve the wrist, ankle or face. Many injuries happen when you lose your balance, fall off the skateboard and land on an outstretched arm.

Injuries to the arms, legs, neck and trunk range from bruises and abrasions to sprains and strains, fractures and dislocations. Wrist fractures are quite common. Wearing wrist guards can reduce their frequency and severity.

Facial injuries include breaking your nose and jawbone

Severe injuries include concussion, closed head injury and blunt head trauma.

You can suffer permanent impairment or even death if you fall off the skateboard and strike your head without a helmet. Most brain injuries happen when your head hits pavement. You are most at risk if you skateboard near traffic and collide with motor vehicles, bikes, pedestrians or other obstacles.

You can prevent most skateboarding injuries if you follow all of these recommendations:

Use a quality skateboard:
Skateboards have three parts, the skateboard deck (the board itself), the skateboard trucks (the mechanism to which wheels are attached), skateboard bearings (sits in the wheels and allow them to spin fast and smoothly), and the skateboard wheels. Shorter decks are best for beginners because they are easier to balance and handle. Skateboards have various characteristics for all types of riding including slalom or hill bombing, street and park or pools.

Keep your skateboard in proper working order:
You should inspect it before every ride. Look for problems that need repair. These can include loose, broken or cracked parts; sharp edges on metal boards; a slippery top surface; wheels with nicks and cracks, etc. Get professional help to repair serious defects.

Learn the basic skills of skateboarding: Especially how to stop properly.
Also learn slowing and turning techniques, and how to fall safely: If you are losing your balance, crouch down on the skateboard so you won't have as far to fall. Try to land on the fleshy parts of your body rather than your arms. Relax and roll.

Wear proper protective equipment:
Before getting on your skateboard, empty your pockets of all hard and sharp objects and put on your protective gear.

Essential protective equipment includes:

  • A properly fitting helmet

  • Wrist guards

  • Knee and elbow pads

  • Shoes

  • Helmet

To protect your head from injury, always wear a properly fitting helmet. This is true no matter what your age, level of experience or location where you are skateboarding. Get a quality bicycle or multi-sport helmet. It should meet or exceed safety standards of the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or Snell Memorial Foundation. You may need to try on several sizes and models to find a helmet that fits your head correctly and securely.

A properly fitting helmet:

Is worn flat on your head with the bottom edge parallel to the ground
Sits low on your forehead
Has side straps that form a "V" shape around each ear
Has a buckle that fastens tightly (there should be room to put only two fingers between the strap and your chin)
Has pads inside that you install or remove so the helmet fits snuggly
Does not move in any direction when you shake your head
Does not interfere with your movement, vision or hearing

Replace your helmet when it is damaged, outgrown or at least every five years. You may need to replace it sooner if the manufacturer recommends it.

Please Note: California has expanded its bicycle helmet law to require that children under age 18 wear helmets each time they use a skateboard, inline skates, roller skates or scooter, making the state's child helmet law the strictest in the nation. Violators face fines, most of which benefits local health departments promoting helmet safety education and subsidizing helmet purchases for low-income families.

Wrist guards, knee and elbow pads and other gear: Wrist guards help support the wrist and reduce the chances of breaking a bone if you fall. Knee and elbow pads reduce the severity of cuts and scrapes, and prevent gravel burns. You should also wear closed, slip-resistant shoes, and consider goggles to keep debris out of your eyes.

Skateboard only on smooth pavement away from traffic, preferably in a supervised skate park.
Never hold onto the side or rear of a moving vehicle while riding a skateboard ("skitching"). You could fall or be thrown into oncoming traffic if the vehicle suddenly slows, stops or turns.
Never use your skateboard in wet weather.
Avoid skateboarding in crowded walkways or in darkness.
Always screen the area before you skateboard, inspecting surfaces for rocks and other debris.
Be careful with tricks and jumps.

Skateboarding skill is not acquired quickly or easily.

Don't take chances by skateboarding faster than your experience allows, or faster than is safe for conditions or the speed of other skateboarders. If you try tricks and jumps, practice them only in a controlled environment, such as a skate park that has adult supervision and appropriate access to emergency medical care.

Stay in shape. Prevent skateboarding injuries by keeping in top physical condition. It’s always a good idea to stretch and do conditioning exercises before and after any physically demanding activity. This is especially true for skateboarding and more experienced skaters who like to push the limits of their abilities.

Do not use headphones while skateboarding. If you can’t hear the cars passing by or the sound of your own skateboard wheels on the pavement you may find yourself in a collision you can’t walk away from.

Never put more than one person on a skateboard. This is true even for long boarders; come on this is just common sense!

Be considerate of fellow skateboarders, especially those who are younger and or less skilled.

Know what to do in an emergency. Skateboarding accidents happen, so you should always know what to do in emergency situations. Don't panic. Call 911 for medical assistance or an ambulance.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blank Skateboard Parts - To buy or not.

Are blank decks and other skateboard parts any good? This is a great and often asked question. Blank skateboarding parts mostly consist of wheels, bearings, and decks that are made without any company name attached to them. They are plain and generic, usually just a simple one color, and relatively inexpensive.

There is not just one company that makes blank skateboarding gear and there lies the source of problems that some unfortunate skaters have encountered. These parts are usually made in China (big surprise there), by several manufacturers, and shipped and sold in bulk. Because of this, it's hard to tell if you are getting anything well made. Becuase of this I typically recommend that you avoid them, but there are times that you might want to buy blank gear. If you keep these points in mind you should be able to avoid some of the worst items:

Blank Decks:

Be careful when buying blank decks; some companies use cheap and softer wood that won't have very good pop, and likely won't last long. Be sure that the deck is made from 7 ply hard maple wood. It can be tough to know if you are getting quality, so ask the owner of the shop and make sure it is made of good wood. If it is, it should be fine; although, I wouldn't expect it to last nearly as long as a pro grade skateboard deck. If you aren't that aggressive of a skater or just take it easier, it might last you quite a while. One thing that should be pointed out is that blank decks and shop decks are not necessarily the same quality or from the same manufacture. Sometimes they are, so ask your shop and find out more about the shop deck.

Blank Wheels:

There is no clear way to determine the quality of the urethane in the wheels before you buy them. You can ask at the shop you are looking to buy them from, but there's a good chance they won't even know. If you can get them cored, then that will help. Fortunately they are relatively inexpensive so you can experiment and pick some up and try them out with out much of a dent in your wallet.

Blank Trucks:

There aren't really blank trucks out there, but there are low end and cheap skateboard trucks on the market. I recommend that you stay with the name brand trucks however if your not aggressive or not sure if skateboarding is right for you and want a cheap skateboard give them a shot. When they crack or the king pin breaks pick up a new name brand pair.

Blank Bearings:

These bearings are easy to find and pretty cheap. If you are going to get some make sure that they are ABEC rated. Most of the time you can get a cheaper good quality skateboard bearing set like Black Panthers or Luck’s for only a little bit more money so look around.

There are a lot of people in the skateboarding industry who flat out hate blank skateboard gear or hate the idea of no name skateboard gear, and they think that if you buy blank gear, you are helping to undermine skateboarding as legit sport, because you aren't supporting pro skateboarding. Perhaps there is a ring of truth in this, but in our humble opinion it doesn't really matter. Skateboarding has been evolving and changing over the last several decades, and skaters will continue to evolve along with it. "Legitimate sport" or not, professional or not, just so long as you skate you are supporting skateboarding.

The bottom line is this if you have conviction about the legitimacy of skateboarding as a sport, or have the money and want something of determined quality; by all means get pro grade skateboard gear instead of no name blank equipment. However, if you are strapped for cash, just starting out, or just don't want to support pro skating, then blanks aren't all that bad of an idea. Keep in mind; you get what you pay for.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Skateboard Trucks Review: The Grind King 5.0 Axl II

Grind King 5.0 Axl II skateboard trucks
Grind King is a Venice based company that has been innovating and supporting skateboard truck hardware for nearly 20 years.

The Grind King 5.0 Axl II’s are lite, giving, responsive, and durable. Somewhat pricey, but we feel that they are worth it in the long run. The only down side we found was that the bushings felt a bit soft for our tastes; however, after we replaced them with some harder bushings they felt just great! Grind King skateboard truck construction are better quality than most, and if they do happen to break you have the warranty to fall back on. All GK trucks are made in the USA and are guaranteed for life against axle slippage and kingpin breakage or truck hanger breakage. Totally worth it!

Grind King will do everything possible to expedite your warranty should you ever experience a problem with your trucks. “We pride ourselves on having the lowest defect rate in the industry.”, “We stand behind the quality of our trucks which is why we guarantee them.”


  • 356 aluminum heat-treated to T6 condition

  • Aeronautical heat-grade 8 Kingpins

  • Original diamond knurled non-slip 8740 chrom-moly steel axles with reduced-length rolled threads; able to reach tensile strengths up to 200000 psi. This particular aircraft alloy is stronger than the standard 1010/1020 and even stronger than the 4140 that some truck companies brag about.

  • Precision drilled pivot, kingpin and mounting holes

  • GK has always realized the importance of bushings and strives to maintain the best possible urethane available; available from 90-97 durometer

  • GK trucks are the lightest trucks out there.

Skateboard Trucks Review - Destructo Mecha Mid 5.0

Destruco Skateboard Trucks Mecha 5.0 Mid
Today we feature the Destructo Mecha Mid 5.0 skateboard trucks. These trucks look great and have a futuristic twist to them. The lettering used is sort of a sci-fi or Blade Runner style font. The hanger is flat black and the axle is half metallic green with a honey comb pattern and half flat black that looks awesome. Beyond the color and style, these trucks work great. Ok, so they won't make your skateboarding any better; however, they will help get you on your way by being strong, stable and reliable skateboard trucks. If that weren’t enough, Destructo stands by their product by making their skateboard trucks from weapons grade aluminum and give them a Lifetime Warranty. So if they do happen to go bad, you're covered; that alone is more than most companies will offer you. In short, the Destructo Mecha Skateboard trucks work great, feel great, and if you have the extra money for some cool style and graphics, I highly recommend them!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Skateboard Deck Review - Black Label Emergency Lucero X2 Jester

Black Label Emergaency Lucero X2 Jester skateboard deck Schmitt Stix
The Lucero Signature Black Label Emergency X2 Jester Skateboard Deck is a big deck that features old school graphics, light weight 7 ply constructions, and durability. It’s larger size and shape will feel good and familiar for you old school riders (remember Schmitt Stix?) at 9.5x33.125 it's a great choice for cruising, ramps, pools, or skate parks. Black Label decks generally have average weight, with a nice concave, tail fin and nose shape, and plenty of pop. Like we said before the graphics remind us of our old pool decks, with a Joker head menacingly grinning from behind bending bars, the Black Label Flame, and Emergency Cross. Once you have a complete assembled with some larger trucks, fast bearings, and big wheels this skateboard feels and looks very cool. It's reasonably priced. Probably bits on the high side in most walk in establishment, but you can find it fairly reasonable online. Get the Black Label Emergaency Lucero X2 Jester skateboard deck today if you are into the great old school deck and the edgier, Punk rock, dark side of skateboarding style like Black Label Skateboards.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Skateboard Deck Review - Consolidated Skateboards Good Luck Team

Consolidated Skateboards Good Luck Team
The Consolidated Skateboards Good Luck Team skateboard deck is a very popular deck that features dark but humorous graphics, light weight 7 ply constructions, and durability. With average dimensions it should feel as familiar as most boards (7.625) it's a great choice for any style but best for skating street or skate parks.

Consolidated generally makes s light weight skateboard deck, with a nice concave, popsicle sticks shape, and plenty of pop. Like we said before the graphics are a little dark but very funny, featuring a bunny handing his severed foot to another saying, “Good Luck”; now that’s team work!
Once you have a complete assembled with a nice set of matching trucks, fast bearings, and wheels this deck feels and looks very cool.

It's an average priced deck. Probably a bit on the high side in most walk in establishment, but you can find it fairly reasonable online. Get the Consolidated Good Luck Team skateboard deck today if you are into the great deck and the independent skateboarding style of Consolidated Skateboards.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Death Skateboards P Melcher Blood Bath 8 Skateboard Deck Review

Death Skateboards P Melcher Blood Bath 8 Skateboard Deck at The RAMP Skateboard Shop
Death Skateboards P Melcher's signature skateboard deck, Blood Bath 8 is a top notch 7 ply deck that features hardcore graphics, light weight, and durability. This deck is slightly wider than most boards but you'll hardly be able to tell once you are on; it's a great choice for any style of skating from street to skate parks, pools, bowls or if you're just a larger size. We were surprised how light weight this skateboard deck is, with a nice concaved, popsicle sticks shape, and plenty of pop. Like we said before the graphics are hardcore but so is Death Skateboards, with a spinning wheel and a crimson trail of blood, it's so very road kill and hence the name "Blood Bath". Once you have a complete assembled with a nice set of matching trucks, fast bearings, and wheels this deck feels and looks very cool. It's reasonably priced. Probably bits on the high side in most walk in establishment, but you can find it fairly reasonable online. Get the P Melcher Blood Bath 8 skateboard deck today if you are into a wider deck with hard core style.