Skatepark riding is one of the most exciting skateboard disciplines. Even if you don’t learn any of the complex tricks, such as airs and grinds, you can still enjoy skating at the park even if you are a beginner.
The best skateboard setup for park is a standard popsicle-shaped, double-kick deck with the right-sized trucks and park formula wheels. A good size width for park is 8.25 and 8.75, with 139mm or 159mm trucks. As for the wheels, the best sizes for park are 52 to 55 with a 99 to 101a duro.
Here’s a selection of a few great park setups:
|1. Santa Cruz Flame Dot||Excellent option for park skateboarding. The 8.25” width and 31.5” length makes it good for skating transitions yet narrow enough for flip tricks and spins.|
|2. Globe G1 Stack Daydream Complete||Known for its durability thanks to the Resin7 glue and the long-lasting Tensor Alloy trucks.|
|3. Madrid Complete||Madrid completes are excellent for park, street, and cruising.|
|4. Welcome Complete||Welcome skateboards provide fresh shapes with a unique look and feel for park skating.|
|5. Powell Peralta Flight||The Flight deck technology provides endless pop and maximum durability.|
See also: Park vs Street Skateboarding: How Do They Compare?
Note: if you’re interested in other riding styles besides skatepark riding, check out How to Choose the Right Longboard for Me for an overview of what to look for in a longboard based on your type of riding.
#1 Santa Cruz Flame Dot
Santa Cruz Skateboards have been in the industry forever, and some of their completes are built specifically for skating parks. This particular setup is an 8.25” deck that provides stability, yet is narrow and light enough to do flip tricks and ollies.
|Deck||8.25” width 32” length|
|Trucks||Bullet Trucks with 90a bushings|
|Wheels||54mm 95a Slime Balls|
See it here on Amazon.
#2 Globe G1
The best thing about grabbing a complete Globe skateboard are the trucks. These come with Tensor trucks and the right type of wheels for park skateboarding.
Tensor Alloy Standard Trucks have a lifetime guarantee, and they come with soft bushings well suited for bowl rides.
|Deck||8.25” width 31” length|
|Trucks||Tensor Alloy 145s|
|Wheels||Generic 52mm 99a wheels|
|Bearings||Standard Abec-7 Bearings|
#3 Madrid Grub
Madrid Skateboards have been around for decades. This particular complete comes with a narrower deck at 8.0 but comes pre-gripped for convenience.
Another excellent feature of this skateboard is the medium 90a bushings, making it an all-around choice for any rider weight.
The medium concave and slightly larger wheels play a big role in giving you the freedom to move your feet around for setting up for tricks.
The slightly softer wheels allow you to maintain speed when riding DIY and rough transitions.
|Deck||8.2“ width 29.5” length|
|Trucks||Caliber Trucks with 8” axle|
|Wheels||Cadillac 57mm 80a|
|Bearings||Cadilac HPF bearings|
See the Madrid Grub complete here (Madrid site)
#4 Welcome Skateboards
Welcome Skateboards create some of the best decks for transitions, bowls, and vert. They are usually between 8.0 and 8.3” wide and 32” long.
These boards also come in cool shapes that will make your skateboard noticeable and spark conversations at the skatepark.
Although these boards don’t come in a complete setup, the following is a suggested setup for this particular deck.
|Deck||8.25” width 32.125” length|
|Wheels||Bones 52mm 100a SPF|
See the deck on Welcome’s site
#5 Powell Peralta Flight Deck
The Flight by Powell Peralta is really one of the best options for skating park.
You can either get the Andy Anderson pro model, which is 9” inches wide and almost 36 inches long, or choose one of their standard 8.5” models.
Even though the length is a little longer than usual park skateboards, some skaters enjoy skating parks with this one-of-a-kind board, especially for skating deeper pools and vert.
The very best thing about this board is its insane durability. If you exclusively ride park with this deck, it could last for a lifetime thanks to the 5-ply with carbon fiber top and pressing technology that makes the deck unbreakable with long-lasting pop.
|Deck||8.25 to 8.75” width 31” length|
|Wheelbase||14 to 15|
|Wheels||Bones 53mm 100a Duro wheels|
|Bearings||Standard Abec-7 Bearings|
See the Flight on the Powell-Peralta site, or check out this version on Amazon
What is Skatepark Riding?
Skatepark riding involves riding the transitions and doing full runs on the bowl, pool, snake runs, and the entire park.
Every skatepark has a different design with different levels of difficulty. To ride park, you need to learn how to pump, carve, and kick turn backside and frontside.
See Should a beginner go to skatepark?
Elements of a skatepark
While skateparks are designed differently, most have similar elements. You will typically find a park section that consists of bowls, vert, transitions, and snake runs.
The street section, on the other hand, consists of staircases, ledges, rails, and more.
Let’s briefly go over some of the key elements.
A transition is an angled slope that could be in the form of a bowl, a snake run, a mini ramp or a quarter pipe.
It is the transition of flat to sloped terrain at a skatepark, and you will typically find short 2’ transitions up to 12’ high transitions.
Some transitions are mellow with a shorter radius, while other transitions can get really vertical.
When learning to skate transitions, it is better to start from the bottom and work your way up until you get used to the feeling of your board rolling in a more vertical direction.
Most skateparks feature bowls of different shapes and sizes. The most common type of bowl is the kidney bowl, which is shaped like a kidney. You will also find clover bowls and other types of bowls.
Most bowls have mellow transitions that are around 2 to 5’ high with a transition radius of 6 to 10’ depending on the height.
Kiddie bowls with roll-in sections are excellent for beginners to start learning how to pump and carve transitions without learning how to drop in.
Some skateparks will have one beginner bowl and one intermediate bowl. This enables newbie skaters to learn how to ride a smaller bowl first before putting their skills up to the test and trying out the larger bowl.
Pools and vert halfpipes
Pools are typically higher than bowls with vertical walls before the sloped transitions to the flat bottom.
Pools are more difficult to skate and scarier to drop in out of. Pools and vert are usually 8 to 12’ in height with a more vertical wall up to 90 degrees.
Most park sections will include a vert wall in their bowl, and many skaters test their skills to see how high they can reach.
Pro skaters can stall or air above vert sections in a bowl, but simply learning how to kick turn on a 90-degree wall is a significant achievement for intermediate skaters.
Mini ramps are fun to skate at parks. Some skateparks have a mini ramp section within the bowl or have a separate mini ramp. This is great for practicing grinds, rock to fakies, tail stalls, and other transition tricks.
Mini ramps are usually 3 to 5’ high with mellow transitions. If you want to practice riding a vert halfpipe or skating large park sections one day, pumping back and forth a mini ramp and getting comfortable with maintaining speed and riding the transition is an excellent way to start.
Challenges of skatepark skateboarding
These are some of the main challenges you need to overcome to successfully ride skatepark features, especially the park section.
Drop in and roll in
Dropping in requires you to start from the top of the deck, and stomping your front board on your board and into the transition to start your bowl line.
The key to dropping in is committing all of your weight on the front foot and keeping your body on top of the board.
Before dropping in, you should be able to ride back and forth a mini ramp or learn how to roll in so you can get a feel for the speed.
Maintaining your speed involves perfecting your timing between pumps and carves. The best way to learn how to pump is by pumping back and forth in a mini ramp until you get the timing down.
After learning how to drop in and maintain a good amount of speed to carve endlessly around the park without pushing, you can start learning basic tricks.
Setting up for tricks involve proper foot placement and hitting the coping at the right angle.
How important is having a good skatepark board?
Choosing a specific park setup will make riding park a lot safer and easier than using a standard street setup.
Street setups have a narrow deck from 8 to 8.25” and smaller wheels from 48 to 52mm. This type of setup makes it easier for street skaters to ollie and flip their boards down staircases and grind their boards on ledges and rails.
Park skating, on the other hand, is easier on a wider 8.25 to 8.75 deck with larger 52 to 55mm wheels and loose trucks.
So for example, if you use a board too narrow or too wide for park skating, you might find it harder to navigate your way around the park.
The same goes for using cruiser wheels, which are usually 56 to 60mm in diameter with a softer 78 to 80a durometer.
These softer wheels work great for rough concrete and asphalt, but they won’t be as fast when rolling on smooth finished concrete, which is the common skatepark terrain.
With a proper setup, you can focus on learning to ride the skatepark without being hindered by an ill-suited setup.
Key features of a good skatepark setup
The best deck for park should be 8.25 to 8.75” wide, 29 to 32” long, with a mellow concave that enables you to move your feet around when setting up for tricks.
The size of the deck depends on your preferences and your shoe size. Riders with a 9 to 10 shoe size can generally ride comfortably on a 8.5” deck without feeling awkward.
You can go higher up to 8.75 to 9” for stability, but a narrower board will give the right mix of stability and control.
For riders with a larger foot size e.g. 11 – 12, a deck 8.75 or even wider is often a better choice for stability.
While you might see people riding wider 9 to 10” decks at skateparks, it’s generally not ideal unless you almost exclusively skate vert, or you’re very comfortable riding park and want to challenge yourself by riding a cruiser or old-school deck.
Trucks for park setup
The best trucks for park should match the width of your deck. Here is a table that shows you compatible truck sizes and brands for the best decks for skateparks.
|Tensor||5.5” 8.25” axle||5.75” 8.5” axle||5.75” 8.5”axle||6.0” 9.0” axle|
As long as the trucks are loose enough for you to carve around, and they are fitted with the right durometer of bushings based on your weight, your park setup will feel just right.
Here is a table that suggests the right bushing duro based on your weight:
|100 to 1445 lbs.||87a|
|125 to 175 lbs.||90a|
|145 to 195 lb.||93a|
|175 to 200+ lbs.||93a and up|
Making the truck configuration a little loose and replacing the stock bushings with something that is compatible with your weight will make your trucks more responsive and better fit for park skating.
Wheels for park
The best wheels for skating parks should be bigger that street, relatively hard, and with a center set core placement. 52 to 55mm in diameter with a 99 to 101a durometer is typically a good choice for park.
Wheels should generally have a contact patch between 18 and 20mm. These offer enough grip for riding fast but you can still slide them if you want to do technical tricks such as reverts.
The shape of the wheel’s edge also affects how you lock into the coping. A good option is typically A Cut wheels for decent grip and locking.
Bearings for park
The best type of bearings for park skating are Abec 7 bearings. Bearings are usually made out of steel, but if you want something that can last for a long time and absorb impact without breaking, you can invest in ceramic bearings.
Ceramic bearings are significantly more expensive than regular bearings, but they are made to last longer, which may save you money and time in the future.
That said, any bearings can work for park skating, as long as you clean them from time to time with a bearing lube and replace them when needed.
Now that you know how to choose the best skateboard for parks, let’s look at a few of my favorite best complete setups for skatepark.