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Can You Learn Skateboarding Basics on a Cheap Skateboard?

$20, Mambo 31" x 8", Department Store Skateboard.

Over the years I've watched many high profile YouTube skateboarders repeatedly create videos where they purchase a cheap, department store skateboard, ride it like they would their regular professional skateboard, until it breaks (usually within an hour or so), and claim that as a reason for steering clear of these products.

​Inadvertently what they're doing is creating less demand for cheap skateboards, meaning it's less likely department stores will stock them, resulting in no easy way for first time skaters to 'test the waters' to see if skating is really for them.

Even worse, parents looking to get their children into a new sport, may not even see skateboarding as an option as they browse through the department store sports section. At the time of writing, Australian department stores have shelves filled with many different brands of scooters, alongside a small shelf or two of skateboards (and we wonder why Aussie skate parks are dominated by scooter riders).

Beginner skateboarders ride very different to someone who has been riding a skateboard for even six months or more. They tend to be more cautious, and may even be helped by wheels that don't roll as smoothly as a professional setup. Case in point, Skater Trainers, which stop the wheels rolling altogether whilst you're learning a trick.

To demonstrate that you can learn the basics of skateboarding on a cheap, department store deck, I bought a $20.00 complete from a local department store and rode it for six weeks. You can see how I went in the video below.



Whilst it is true a cheap skateboard is probably not going to last very long, and you are more likely to break one than a professional skateboard, I maintain they are perfectly okay for beginners.

As a beginner, if you've gotten to the point where you're starting to learn ollies, shuv-its, heelflips and kickflips, you've probably worked out skating is something you're going to stick with. By that point you definitely should be thinking about a better quality skateboard for your second deck.

Bored Monkey
Reflection

Popsicle
Skateboard
The good thing about cheap decks is they afford almost anyone the chance of at least giving skateboarding a try. They're firmly targeted at beginner skaters and don't deserve the negative reviews from advanced skaters, performing tricks on them that they just aren't designed to withstand.

If you are an advanced skater (and by that I mean you've progressed beyond just riding around and are starting to learn a few tricks) then a department store board is probably not going to last long under your feet. However, if you've never skated before, and don't want to spend too much just to get started, a cheap deck is a great place to start.

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