The other day, my sister mentioned she wanted to get a skateboard for my 8-year old niece. She said many of her friends with kids the same age were also interested in buying a skateboard for them. So I thought I’d write a quick post on the subject, as I suspect a lot of parents are asking the same questions.
So how do you choose the best skateboard for an 8-year old? Short answer, look for a skateboard with these characteristics:
- Price in the $65-$110 range. You need a good quality deck and components for a skateboard that will last at least a year or two (depending on abuse)
- Width between 7.5″ and 7.75″. Width is the most important criterion for your kid – length will vary based on width and deck shape.
- Either standard popsicle shape (“street” deck) or mini-cruiser depending on whether your kid will be mostly riding skatepark or cruising around the neighborhood
- Wheels at least 50mm in diameter for street or larger for cruising, with a hard
duro(90A+) for street or softer (82A-) for cruising
- Decent bearings but not too efficient so the board won’t shoot out from under your kid if he/she’s still learning
If you’re time-constrained, the following are 3 pretty good options for an 8-year old (Amazon links). Note: if you’re not sure which to choose, read on, or jump to the recommended skateboards section further down in this post.
- Powell Golden Dragon: brand quality albeit affordable
- SkateXS: pricier, designed specifically for kids 5-12
- Sector 9 Wedge: mini-cruiser suitable for an 8-year old
- Z-Flex 29″: another valid mini-cruiser well-sized for kids
Later on in this post, I’ll also mention a surf skateboard as another great possible option for your 8-year old kid.
OK now let’s dive into more details about choosing the right skateboard for your kid.
Skateboard budget for an 8-year old
You can get a skateboard for your kid for as little as $30, but in most
Also, really cheap skateboards are typically not as much pleasant to ride so your child won’t enjoy it enough to get good at it.
That doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars on a skateboard for you 8-year old child, however, particularly if you’re not sure your kid is going to get hooked on the sport.
My recommendation is to shoot for something in the $65-$110 range for a complete skateboard, which will generally ensure decent quality and durability. Quality standalone skateboard decks (without the components) generally cost $35 – $55, so if you are paying that price for the complete skateboard, you’re likely to get less than acceptable quality.
You’ll be much better off spending $70-80 on a “pro” skateboard that will last for a year or two and provide a great riding experience – vs $30 on a Walmart or flea market skateboard that will provide a lame ride and might quickly fall apart.
Not only will a pro skateboard generally have a high-quality durable deck, but the components, i.e. trucks, wheels, and bearings, will generally last a couple of years including if your kid gets serious about skateboarding ramps and/or streets and sidewalks.
Skateboard size for an 8-year old
I mentioned earlier than the main feature to look for in the best skateboard for an 8-year old kid is deck width, as width a good indicator of the skateboard’s size and wheelbase and how well it will fit your kid.
Quality skateboards for younger riders typically come in standard widths between 6.25″ and 7.75″, often in 1/4″ size increments
Taking my 8-year old (almost 9) niece as an example, she’s 55″ tall and weighs about 80lb, with shoe size 3. My sister got her a 7.75″ wide deck that works great for her. She could have picked a 7.5″ deck instead and that would have worked fine as well, but the slightly wider bigger width will give her a little more room to grow.
The 0.25″ may not make a difference in terms of riding experience. The only exception is if the young and small skater uses an oversized board for doing street or park tricks, as the board will be heavier. See next section for more about riding style.
Although some websites will give you width recommendations by age, in
Some parents will choose a 7.5″ deck for an even younger child.
You can even go wider, e.g. 8″. A 8″ deck will typically have length around 31″ with a longer wheelbase (e.g. 14.5″). A bigger board with more wheelbase will be comfortable to ride for an 8-year old kid, but it will feel more like a longboard to him/her. This might preclude your child to comfortable ride ramps at the park.
Choosing the right skateboard shape for your 8-year old
Choosing the right shape is another key aspect of choosing the right skateboard for your 8-year old. You basically have 2 options for your kid:
- Standard, popsicle-shaped street skateboard
- Mini-cruiser type shape
Standard popsicle boards are great if your kid will want to skate transition, street, or a combination of the two. Transitions include bowls and half-pipes at the skatepark. Street skating involves riding stairs, rails, ledges etc. A standard street shape is best for your child for this type of riding.
Check out this short video to see an amazing 8-year old girl dropping in a huge ramp!
Note that length, wheelbase, and wheels vary from one manufacturer and one model to the next. Skatepark riders often choose slightly wider decks and trucks and slightly softer wheels compared to street-focused skateboards. These considerations, though, may be too specialized unless your 8-year old is really serious about skateboarding.
Skateboards primarily designed for cruising around (aka mini-cruisers) on the other hand are noticeably wider OR longer than street decks. They also often come with wider trucks and larger softer wheels for comfortable riding over non-smooth terrain.
Fish-shaped cruisers, for example, have a bigger tail, no nose, and a shorter wheelbase compared to a street deck. As a result, these boards don’t work very well for skatepark riding as they’re primarily meant for cruising around streets, and sidewalks, and mellow hills.
If you buy only one skateboard for your 8-year old, and if you’re not sure whether your kid will mostly be riding at the local skatepark or cruising around the neighborhood, your best bet is probably to choose a standard street board.
A street skateboard will not only allow your kid to work on tricks and transitions but if necessary you’ll also be able to make it more “
Choosing skateboard wheels for your 8-year old
As I just mentioned, you can easily customize the skateboard you choose for your 8-year old. If you buy a complete street skateboard, you can later change the wheels depending on the way your kid’s riding style evolves – e.g. street vs transitions vs cruising.
For street tricks and maneuvers (ollies, kickflips, rails), 50-51mm wheels is usually a good choice. For primarily skatepark riding, you can bump up the size a couple of inches to 52-53mm, with a slightly lower durometer (say 85A instead of 90A).
If you do go for a standard deck shape but later would like to cruise around the neighborhood with you 8-year old, you can to pick up larger wheels, e.g. 58-60mm with a softer
Be aware, however, that fitting larger wheels on a standard deck may cause wheelbite (deck touching the wheels) which can be quite dangerous as that brings the skateboard to a dead stop. Get advice from a skate shop before buying the bigger wheels – they may advise slightly smaller ones, or fit riser pads between your kid’s deck and trucks to increase the ride height.
If, on the other hand, you chose a mini-cruiser instead of a street deck for your 8-year old kid, chances are the cruiser deck is designed for running larger wheels (e.g. 60-65mm), so wheelbite will likely not be an issue.
Skateboard recommendations for an 8-year old
There are TONS of different good skateboards you could choose for your 8-old. Here are a few recommendations based on other parents’ experiences:
Powell Golden Dragon
This Powell Golden Dragon board is 7.625″ wide and 31.625″ long. This brand makes high-quality products at entry-level prices and is distributed by Skateone, who also carries Powell Peralta and other famous names.
This board is well-suited for an 8-year old kid and is quite affordable at under $70. It comes with hard 54mm wheels (99A duro) so it’s a good board for street tricks. You can optionally get replacement 78A wheels for smoother cruising. Check out the 250+ reviews on Amazon.
SkateXS Beginner Panda
SkateXS Beginner Panda: SkateXS makes “skate shop quality” skateboards for kids 5-12. Their decks are contoured and sized specifically for younger skaters, and use bamboo for durability, lightweight and good “pop”. Their size chart suggests 7.25″ width for kids 8 to 10 years old, however, based on parents experience, you should probably go for the next size up (7.4″) unless your child is very small. SkateXS boards are a bit expensive. The kids, however, love the designs. See prices and countless reviews on their Amazon store.
Sector 9 Wedge
If you want a cruiser board for your 8-year old instead of a standard street board, check out the Sector 9 Wedge. At 7.25″ x 31.25″ with a 15″ wheelbase, it’s a good size mini-cruiser for an 8-year old kid – the cruiser shape and flat nose offer more foot platform than a street deck, so 7.25″ is plenty here. This mini comes with high-quality Paris trucks and big soft 60mm wheels. This is a fast-rolling skateboard so it’s well-suited for kids who really want to learn and do some serious cruising e.g. with their parents!
Z-Flex 29″ cruiser
An alternative mini-cruiser option is this attractive and well-built Z-Flex 29″ cruiser (7.5″ x 29.5″) priced under $100 and made by a reputable California skateboard brand. Like the above Sector 9, this is a nice cruising board that works great for kids under 10 who are serious about learning to skate as a real sport.
Slide surf skateboard
I want to mention an additional option you have for your 8-year old child: a surf skateboard! Kids just love these boards which allow them to surf on land like on a surfboard. Most kids will master a surf skate in very little time and have an amazing time on them – much faster than us adults!
Slide Skateboards makes some of the most affordable quality surf skates on the market – check out the Sunset Beach on Amazon.
If you’re new to surf skates, check out my complete post on surf skateboards here.
Are skateboards safe for 8 year olds?
Skateboarding can be a dangerous sport for an 8-year old – or just about any age – if you don’t do it right and use the right protection. It’s quite easy for a kid to fall off and injure him/herself – the most common injuries are to the wrists and ankles, though knees and elbows are easily scratched and bumped.
You can seriously reduce the risk of injury by gearing up your 8-year old with elbow and knee pads, wrist guards, and of course a good helmet. If you’re not sure about which to choose, these are my no-nonsense recommendations:
- JBM elbow
pads / knee pads / wristguard combo: not the cheapest out there but these are good quality pads for a child that hundreds of buyers have rated well – see the 1200 reviews on Amazon.
- Triple Eight dual-certified helmet: solid, good looking, well-vented, very good quality, pretty good value. Check out the price and 500+ reviews on Amazon.
Skateboarding is an awesome sport for an 8-year old kid, helping him or