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Sports & Games

Skateboard Anatomy: A Guide to Skateboard Parts

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Jun 24, 2020 • 2 min read

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Tony Hawk Teaches Skateboarding

Skateboarding is an activity that requires balance, coordination, good timing, and a skateboard. Skaters have plenty of options when it comes to the type of skateboard they can ride, and every part of the skateboard serves a specific purpose.

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Tony Hawk Teaches SkateboardingTony Hawk Teaches Skateboarding

Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk teaches you how to take your skateboarding to the next level, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

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Parts of a Skateboard diagram

The 8 Parts of a Skateboard

A complete skateboard is more than just a deck on wheels—it consists of many different parts, each with their own design and function.

  1. Deck: A deck is a board upon which a skateboarder stands. Skateboard decks are typically made of seven or nine layers of birch or maple wood that are laminated together and shaped. The common board shapes are longboards, cruisers, shortboards, and old school boards—each board type is used for different kinds of skating.
  2. Grip tape: Skateboard grip tape is the adhesive-backed sandpaper affixed to the top of the board to provide traction. Grip tape helps keep your skate shoes from sliding around your deck, giving you enough traction to keep your feet on the board.
  3. Trucks: Skateboard trucks are the front and rear axle assemblies that connect the wheels to the deck and allow the board to turn.
  4. Wheels: Skateboard wheels are what your board rolls on. They are typically made of polyurethane and measured by their size and hardness. The wheels you pick will impact the way your board accelerates, turns, and rides. The wheels that work best for you will depend on the style of skating you want to do—small wheels are slower and better for street skating, where larger wheels are faster and best suited for cruising and vert skating. Wheels are also scaled on a Durometer A Scale, which measures their hardness on a scale from 1 to 100. For mellow cruising, try the softest wheel (78a–87a), which can handle rough surfaces. For street skating, try a harder and faster wheel that still has grip (88a–95a). For skating street, parks, ramps, and pools, go with a wheel that is well-balanced between speed and grip
  5. Bearings: Skateboard bearings are round metal discs that fit inside the wheels, mounting them to the axle. The inner and outer parts of the discs ride on interior balls, allowing wheels to turn.
  6. Hardware: Skateboard hardware includes the nuts, bolts, and screws that hold trucks onto the board. The hanger holds the axle nuts, which keep the wheels affixed to your skateboard. Bushings allow your trucks to turn, with harder bushings offering stiffer movement, and softer bushings more sensitive to pressure. Kingpins (the bolts that connect the hanger to the base plate) can alter the height of your trucks. Shorter kingpins have lower trucks, bringing the skater closer to the ground, and are usually preferred for street skateboarding and skateboard tricks. Longer kingpins mean the trucks sit higher up, allowing room for larger wheels often seen on longboards or cruisers.
  7. Risers: Skateboard risers are hard plastic pads inserted between the trucks and deck to raise the overall height of the skateboard and avoid wheel bite. Riser pads come in different sizes and are necessary with larger wheels to create enough clearance.
  8. Shock pads: Shock pads are rectangle-shaped washers that go between the deck and the trucks of your skateboard. Shock pads are similar to risers, except this hardware is more malleable and rubbery, which is better at absorbing shock.
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Want to Learn More About Skateboarding?

Whether you’re just learning how to ollie or ready to tackle a Madonna (the vert trick, not the singer), the MasterClass All-Access Pass can help you find confidence on your board with exclusive instructional videos from skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, street skater Riley Hawk, and Olympic hopeful Lizzie Armanto.

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