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Average Skateboard Speed: How Fast Do We Ride?

Average Skateboard Speed: How Fast Do We Ride?

If you’re pondering whether you should ride a skateboard for your next trip across town or for your daily commute, you may be wondering what kind of speed you can achieve on a skateboard.

Overall average skateboard speed is around 9 mph including all types of skills, terrain, and setups. Typical skateboard speed falls in the 5 – 12 mph range. Experienced skateboarders frequently commute at average speeds of 7 – 8 mph on 1-2 miles flat trips. Average cruising skateboard speeds tend to be in the 5 – 7 mph range.

The average speed you can achieve on your skateboard largely depends on the following factors:

  • Riding surface and environment
  • Your riding skills
  • Your skateboard setup
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Real-world examples of average skateboard speed

Here are a few real-life examples of average speeds achieved measured by skateboarders:

  • Decently skilled skateboarder with soft wheels: 7.5 mph
  • Commute to school 2 miles away: 10 – 15 minutes = 8 – 12 mph
  • 7-mile cruise to the beach: 7 mph
  • Average speed on flat for a 10+ mile trip: 5 – 8 mph
  • Average skateboard speed observations at UC Davis: 9.7 mph
  • Easy push on a longboard: 8 – 9 mph
  • Hard pushing on skateboard with Swiss Ceramics bearings: 7.5 – 12 mph

Impact of terrain on average skateboard speed

Average skateboard speed - terrain

The surface and environment you ride on can significantly impact your average skateboard speed. Commuting on beat up urban sidewalks can bring your average speed down as you need to dodge every crack – unless you’re skilled enough to jump over them.

Traffic, bad roads, curbs, stairs can significantly slow you down. Stop signs and traffic lights must also be factored in. A skateboard commuter who respects traffic signs can typically travel 1 mile in about 8 minutes, amounting to a 7.5 mph average speed.

The amount of flat, uphill, and downhill sections on your path also affects the average speed on your skateboard.

How do riding skills affect average skateboard speed

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There is a direct relationship between the average speed you can achieve on your skateboard and your riding skills. While you’re learning to skateboard, you’ll generally be moving no faster than walking speed. As you progress, you’ll get closer to (and sometimes even surpass) bike speed. You’ll also start to reach high acceleration speeds.

In crowded urban areas with uneven and cracked pavement, riding skills will affect speed even more. A more experienced rider is typically able to ollie over obsctacles or dodge them easily. As your skills improve over time, you’re likely to add 1-2 mph to your average skateboarding speed in an urban setting.

When traveling over longer distance on flat, your average skateboard speed is also a function of your pushing skills, i.e. the intensity, effectiveness, and frequency of your pushes. Effectiveness in turn depends on how well you can balance and steer on your non-kicking foot, how hard you kick the ground, how long your foot is in contact with it, etc. Strong and endurant pushing skills can easily bump your average speed up significantly.

Impact of setup on average skateboard speed

A third essential factor affecting your average skateboard speed is your setup.

Bigger wheels for more speed

Wheels play a major part in going faster on a skateboard. Bigger wheels roll faster than smaller ones. Softer wheels are also grippier and absorb shocks from ground imperfections much better. So even though softer wheels are a bit slower rolling, they give you cushioning and let you roll over obstacles smoothly, hence covering more ground in less time.

Wheels with a diameter of 65mm or more and a durometer between 78A and 85A are typically great for urban traveling. The Orangatang 4President 70mm 80A are a very popular choice – see their price and reviews on Amazon.

Longboards for higher speed

If you want a skateboard only for distance commuting, choosing a longboard vs a regular skateboard is an easy way to have a setup with bigger softer wheels – street skateboards tend to have small hard wheels for tricks.

Longboards travel a lot faster on asphalt with less effort and roll over stones and cracks well. They are also larger and more stable for speed. Easy pushing on a longboard can give you an average speed of 8-9 mph – probably about 1 mph faster than a street skateboard.

On the flip side, longboards are not as nimble as street skateboards for busy urban riding, not as portable, and not as “trickable“. An alternative for improving your average speed is to fit bigger and softer wheels on a regular skateboard. You may need to use risers to avoid wheelbite.

Better bearings for more speed

Another component of your setup that can greatly affect you average speed is bearings. Better bearings can significantly improve your speeds, all other things being equal. Swapping stock bearings for Swiss or Ceramics bearings may bump up your average speed by 1 mph or so.

If you don’t want to invest in high-end bearings, however, try cleaning your existing ones to improve speed on your skateboard. See How to make your board faster.

Is skateboarding faster than running?

Average normal running speed is in the 4 – 6 mph range. Average skateboarding speed is around 9 mph (in the 5 – 12 mph range). Pushing speed on a longboard is 8-9 mph. Thus, skateboarding and longboarding are on average faster than running.

Are skateboards faster than bikes?

Skateboards are not faster than bikes, which have a higher average speed of over 11 mph (vs 9 mph for a skateboard). However, skilled skateboarders with strong pushing skills often ride at comparable or faster speeds than the average commute biker.

Photo credits:
Featured: “Warp Speeds” by @ChristianRosillo; Rider: @camilocespedes; @Loaded Boards
“The Fastest You Can Push” by @ChristianRosillo; Rider: @Ari_shark; @Loaded Boards
“Crouching Tiger” by @ChristianRosillo – Rider: @camilocespedes; @Loaded Boards