Pre-teen Daughter Wants Skateboard for Christmas
December 10, 2012 1:20 PM   Subscribe

My 11 year old daughter would like a skateboard for Christmas. I know nothing about skateboards. Help me be a cool dad!.

As I mentioned, I know nothing about skateboards. I want to pick up something that my she will appreciate, and be able to use for at least a year if she really gets into it. I would also like to spend less than $150.

Any suggestions?
posted by Irontom to Shopping (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not a skater, but my son is. These things change so fast, and it has a lot to do with peer acceptance. You need to ask the skaters at her school or at the skate park what's cool. Certain brands are cool, and then you have to select a design that she'll like, and there are amazing and beautiful variations there. Don't forget the cool helmet. Most skaters don't wear them, but if you value your daughter's health you will insist she wear one.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:27 PM on December 10, 2012

Best answer: For a beginner or the generally unversed, quality skateboards are pretty much interchangeable. Go to an actual skateboard shop and tell the people there that you want to buy your 11-year-old daughter a skateboard. Pick out a deck with graphics that you think she'll like, and let the shop put their standard trucks and wheels on it. If you get brand-name parts (i.e., Independent Trucks) you really can't screw up.

I haven't bought a skateboard in probably a decade, but you should still be able to get a nice one for around $150.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:28 PM on December 10, 2012

She's 11 and just getting started, a "complete" at Dicks or wherever will be fine if not preferable (indie shop is preferable). If you want to be cool though, you can get Girl brand stuff just for fun.

My kids have bought a few things from CCS but they're pricey. Look at them online and get some ideas ... colored griptape, etc.

If you have an independent skateshop anywhere near you, it would be great if you patronized it. Shop around online and then see if they can order what you want; they'll give you some advice too, if you want it.

Yay girl skaters!
posted by headnsouth at 1:32 PM on December 10, 2012

Best answer: You could buy her the helmet and put a little certificate inside that she can redeem to go with you to pick out the board. That way you can take her to a local skate shop (definitely go this route instead of some generic big box sporting goods store). You can both talk to an experienced skater who is knowledgable and will likely happily answer questions about equipment. They'll help you pick out the different components and set the board up for you.
posted by matt_od at 1:35 PM on December 10, 2012 [10 favorites]

Colorful little completes like these Penny boards are super popular with kids of all ages right now. They're a lot of fun and easy to pop into a bag.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 1:44 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Go to a local skate shop and tell them what you just told us, including budget. They will hook you up with the appropriate equipment that not only helps her learn but is not out of style for your region.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:24 PM on December 10, 2012

Please don't get her a crap sporting goods skateboard - as a hardcore teenage skater in the 1980s, we'd go into Big 5 with our Powell-Peralta T-shirts and laugh like mad at the godawful build quality of dubious brands like Nash and Valterra.

Hit up your local skate shop, with your daughter in tow, so she can make board decisions, plus truck width and wheel selections.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:01 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding matt_od. Take her to your local shop and let her pick out the components and watch the tech build the board right there for her. She can choose deck size, graphics, wheels, trucks, grip tape etc. There are tons of options and it's pretty darn fun to do.

posted by snsranch at 4:52 PM on December 10, 2012

Thirding matt_od.

Skater from the 80's here, let her pick it out for sure! Skateboards are different than most sporting equipment - far more personal.
posted by couchdive at 5:03 PM on December 10, 2012

Came to say what everybody else said. Do not get some board in a box from some Big Box Toy or Sporting Goods store, they suck. Stupid plastic bumpers and a deck with no life to it, trucks that are stiff and wheels that grip and spin like crap. Good trucks and bearings will get moved from deck to deck, wheels will be changed from small to tall to wide to skinny to hard to grippy as tastes change. Decks will get worn out or broken and replaced or just put on the wall. Get good trucks knowing that they'll live through multitudes of decks, wheels and bearings. And have the tools needed to swap things out... given half a chance kids will swap parts.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:34 PM on December 10, 2012

Rad - I want to emphasize the Local Skate Shop part of these answers. Support your local shop if you can. They should have a feel for what's cool in the local scene. If you can - I think you should get the parts, and then help her put it together instead of getting a complete board. It'll also let you buy a nicer set of bearings.
posted by tumble at 5:37 PM on December 10, 2012

Just consulted with my kid; he says to start with a 7.75 deck and 129 trucks. That's bigger than a "mini", which would be very squirrely, but not so big that a novice can't kick it around and be comfortable. $150 is just about exactly what you're looking at spending for a great rig, but you can probably go cheap on wheels and bearings until she wears them out...if she wears them out. That's not including a helmet or subscription to Thrasher.

Nod to tumble for shopping locally; same as what your local guy would advise, I'd have her stand on decks of different size and shape and see what is comfortable for her. Which one is it easier for her to do a 180 on?

Good luck!
posted by snsranch at 6:24 PM on December 10, 2012

Best answer: When I was 13, I begged my dad for a skateboard and convinced him to let me pick it out myself at the local skate shop. I'm in my 30s now and still think fondly of that visit with dad to pick out my first board. You will totally be a cool dad by letting her pick.

You should totally get her a helmet and you might want to call ahead to make sure they have her size.
posted by dottiechang at 6:32 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

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