Know Your Product

Knowing your product. It’s possibly the one advantage ‘core shops have over the sporting-goods stores that carry skateboards nowadays.

Whether it’s knowing the difference between high and low trucks, how to correctly measure a board, or what equipment is right for each customer, skate shops need to be a virtual library of skateboarding know-how. Customers are constantly asking the difference between a big board and a little board, and while a sporting-goods store might not know the answer, a ‘core shop ought to.

Most skaters have very definite opinions about the equipment they like to ride, but there are a few guidelines that will help get the right board to the right skater. The following information is based on Professor Paul Schmitt’s PS Stix Bulletin.

How To Measure A Board

The Basics:

• When measuring a skateboard, try to use a tape measure, or a ruler that flexes. The measuring tool should lie flat against the surface of the board, not suspended in the air.

• It’s also a good idea to start from the one-inch mark and then subtract an inch from the measurement. Tape measures may have a sliding tip on the end, and rulers may get worn down with use.

• If the measurement does not measure up to a whole one-eighth fraction, then round down to the nearest one-eighth increment.

• When taking a measurement, make sure to look at the edge of the board, at the center ply-not where the colored veneer ends.

• Always view the board from above, at a right angle from the surface.


If there’s only one measurement a skater pays attention to, it’s the width of the board. Make sure the measuring tool is against the surface, as you can get a reading of up to 1/16-inch difference when the tool is suspended in the air. Choose the widest part of the board, which is usually the center.


Measure from the two inside truck holes. Take all measurements from the center of the holes. It may be best to start from the one-inch mark and then deduct an inch. This will make it easier to line up to the center of the hole.


Start from the tip of the board, and measure down to the center of the outside truck holes. Make sure the measuring device is flush with the surface of the board. Remember to round down to the nearest 1/8-inch increment.


There are two ways to measure the length of a board. One is to take the measurements of the wheelbase, nose, and tail, and add them to 4 1/4 inches (for the space taken up by the baseplates). The other way is to just measure from the center of the nose to the center of the tail, but it can be difficult to get an accurate reading if the measuring tool isn’t flush with the surface of the board.


Nowadays, many board companies back their wood by providing some sort of warranty. If there’s a problem with the board such as delamination or faulty wood, most companies will replace the broken board with a new one.


It’s getting tougher to tell where your boards are coming from. What was once an industry based on solid Canadian maple is now threatened with substandard wood from China. There are also some composite boards, such as Lib-Tech, that are a hybrid of wood and plastic. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to test the quality of a brand-new board. In selecting, consider where it’s coming from. A reputable company can be a valuable resource.