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Skateboard Deck Technology

side cut examples of various skateboard deck technologies

Did you think only the folks interested improving wood were the chemists at Pfizer? Strong wood isn't just about Viagra and stiff dicks. The skateboard industry is making innovations in strengthening the traditional 7-ply maple skateboard decks.

There have been some crazy things on the market masquerading as better skateboard decks. Decks made of aluminum, decks with steel reinforcements... all kinds of things. How do you sort through the good and the bad?

For one, you need to use your head. 7-ply Maple has been the standard. Look at what is selling at your local shop - not what is siting on their shelves month after month. See what the pros are riding - really riding - not just their sponsor's product. Talk to other skaters about the decks they've bought. Which ones did they like? Which ones lasted longest or broke soonest? Get out there and talk to people!

Below is the standard 7-ply Maple skateboard deck. Each of the horizontal lines you see is one of the seven plies. The thin plies are criss-crossed and glued together to ensure the strongest possible product.

examples of standard 7-ply Maple skatebaord decks

Deck Technologies

Lets look at ten technologies that are out there and which companies are pushing them...


Armor Light by Darkstar

side cut Darkstars Armor Light skateboard deck technology

Some Darkstar decks feature their Armor Light technology which involves sandwiching a carbon-composite layer in with the Maple plies. It's guaranteed against breakage, but we doubt anyone will make good on that promise. I'm sure it's harder to break than the average shop deck, but don't expect any broken-board refunds down the road.


Black 6 by Birdhouse

side cut examples of Birdhouses Blackk 6 skateboard deck technologies

Some Birdhouse decks feature their Black 6 technology which involves the 6th ply of a 6-ply deck that is thicker and squarer. this added thickness gives the board more pop and agility when flipping.


Fiberlam by Foundation and Toy Machine

side cut examples of Foundation and Toy Machines Fiberlam skateboard deck technologies

Some Foundation and Toy Machine decks use fiberlam which gives you 5 plies sandwiched between two high density thermal ply plies. This creates a stiffer better sliding board that gives you something different to look at than just plain old wood.


Helium by Element

side cut examples of Elements Helium skateboard deck technologies

Some Element decks have five internal air-frame chambers which are designed to reduce weight and increase stiffness. I'd like to do the same for myself - lose weight and be stiffer. So anyway...
Helium was introduced in 2006.


Impact Support by Almost

side cut examples of Almosts Impact Support skateboard deck technologies

Some Almost decks have reinforced discs of carbon-fiber around the mounting holes for both trucks. Since stress cracks tend to first appear around mounting holes, this seemed like good place to offer more strength.


Lifeblood by Crimson

side cut examples of Crimsons lifeblood deck technologies

Some Crimson decks feature their Lifeblood technology which seems to be a special epoxy glue construction that is lighter and stronger than the standard 7-ply decks.


Powerbeam by Black Label

side cut examples of Black Labels Powerbeam deck technologies

Some Black Label decks have a vertically laminated cored between the other plies. It's one of the stiffest and hardest decks you'll find.


Powerlyte by Santa Cruz

side cut examples of Santa Cruzs Powerlyte deck technologies

Some Santa Cruz decks have a tough fiber reinforced, Kevlar-like, top layer that decreased weight and increases strength.


Texalium by Blind

side cut examples of Blinds Texalium deck technologies

Some Blind decks are made with Texalium. WTF? Yup, it's a composite weave that combines aluminum and epoxy glass in the core of the deck. this allegedly makes the deck twice as strong as the standard 7-ply design.


Uber Light by Almost

side cut examples of Almosts Uber Light deck technologies

Some Almost decks run a price tag of over $100. People bitch about paying $65 for a deck, so this stuff had better be good. Again we have a board whose core is stuffed with a carbon-fiber center to offer a lighter weight and more rigidity & strength.



Now you may be saying to yourself, "Where have I seen all this before?"
The answer is in the annual Transworld Buyer's Guide. Yep, we shamelessly borrowed text from their R&D department whom I'm sure put in months of analysis to arrive at these daring reviews. Essentially, every company out there wants their decks to be lighter and stronger. Different approaches have been taken, but essentially they stuff something "better" in the core. Good luck with that.

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