Penny boards have exploded in popularity in recent years as a fun, portable way to cruise around. Their small size makes them ideal for tossing in a backpack and taking on the go. But with their diminutive size comes less stability, so a common question for those new to skateboarding is: are penny boards good for beginners?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: penny boards can be challenging for absolute beginners due to their small deck size and lack of stability. However, with some practice on a larger board first, they can be a great option for new riders looking for a compact cruiser board.
What Are Penny Boards?
Penny boards are a type of skateboard that have gained popularity in recent years, especially among beginners and casual riders. They are known for their compact size, lightweight design, and vibrant colors.
Penny boards are often favored for their portability and maneuverability, making them a popular choice for commuting and cruising around town.
History and Creation
The concept of penny boards originated in the 1970s, when they were first created by a company called Penny Skateboards in Australia. The founder, Ben Mackay, wanted to recreate the nostalgic feel of skateboarding in the 1960s and 70s.
He designed a smaller, plastic skateboard that captured the essence of the classic skateboards from that era. Since then, penny boards have been embraced by skateboarders of all skill levels.
Deck Size and Shape
Penny boards typically have a deck length of around 22 inches, making them significantly smaller than traditional skateboards. This compact size allows for greater maneuverability and makes penny boards easier to carry around.
The shape of the deck is often described as a mini-cruiser with a slight concave, providing stability and control while riding.
Components (Wheels, Trucks, Bearings)
Penny boards are built with high-quality components that contribute to their smooth and enjoyable ride. The wheels on penny boards are typically made of durable polyurethane, providing excellent grip and a comfortable ride on various surfaces.
The trucks, which are the metal T-shaped parts that attach the wheels to the deck, are designed to be responsive and allow for sharp turns. The bearings, which are the small metal or ceramic balls inside the wheels, ensure a smooth and efficient roll.
It is important to note that while penny boards offer many advantages, they may not be suitable for everyone. Beginners should consider their skill level and riding preferences before choosing a penny board.
It is always recommended to try out different types of skateboards and seek guidance from experienced riders to find the best fit for individual needs.
Pros of Penny Boards for Beginners
Portability and ease of carrying
One of the major advantages of penny boards for beginners is their portability and ease of carrying. Penny boards are known for their compact size, lightweight design, and convenient shape, making them incredibly easy to carry around.
Whether you’re commuting to school or work, traveling, or just going for a casual ride, you can easily throw your penny board in your backpack or carry it in your hand without any hassle. This makes penny boards a great option for beginners who want a convenient and on-the-go mode of transportation or simply want to have fun cruising around.
Another appealing aspect of penny boards for beginners is their lower cost compared to other skateboards or longboards. Penny boards are generally more affordable, making them an excellent choice for those who are just starting out and don’t want to invest a significant amount of money in a skateboard.
While prices may vary depending on the brand and specific model, penny boards are often considered a budget-friendly option for beginners.
Easier to store
Penny boards are also easier to store compared to larger skateboards or longboards. Due to their compact size, penny boards can be easily stored in small spaces, such as under a bed, in a locker, or even in a backpack.
This makes them a convenient choice for beginners who may not have a lot of storage space or who want to keep their skateboard within reach at all times.
Softer, grippy wheels provide more traction
Penny boards typically come with softer and grippier wheels, which provide more traction and a smoother ride. This is especially beneficial for beginners who are still getting used to riding a skateboard and may feel more comfortable with the added stability and grip.
The softer wheels also absorb some of the impact from bumps or cracks on the road, making the ride more comfortable and enjoyable. So, if you’re a beginner looking for a skateboard that offers a smooth and controlled ride, penny boards with softer, grippier wheels can be a great option.
Cons of Penny Boards for Beginners
Small deck lacks stability
One of the main drawbacks of penny boards for beginners is their small deck size. Penny boards typically have a smaller deck compared to traditional skateboards, which can make it harder for beginners to maintain balance and stability.
The smaller deck size means there is less room for your feet, making it more challenging to find a comfortable and secure foot placement. This lack of stability can make it difficult for beginners to learn and progress in their skateboarding skills.
Easier to speed wobble
Another disadvantage of penny boards for beginners is that they are more prone to speed wobbles. Speed wobbles occur when the board starts to shake uncontrollably at high speeds, making it difficult for the rider to maintain balance.
The smaller and narrower design of penny boards can make them more susceptible to speed wobbles compared to wider and longer skateboards. This can be particularly challenging for beginners who are still learning to control their board and maintain stability.
Can’t add wider trucks for stability
Unlike traditional skateboards, penny boards often come with fixed trucks that cannot be adjusted or replaced. This means that beginners cannot add wider trucks to their penny boards for added stability. Wider trucks provide a wider base, which can help improve stability and control for beginners.
Without the ability to customize their trucks, beginners may find it more challenging to maintain balance and control on a penny board.
Less room for foot placement
Penny boards have a smaller deck size, which means there is less room for foot placement. Beginners may find it difficult to find a comfortable and secure position for their feet, which can affect their ability to balance and maneuver the board effectively.
On a penny board, there is limited space to adjust your foot position, making it harder for beginners to find the right stance for stability and control.
It’s important for beginners to consider these cons when deciding whether or not to choose a penny board. While penny boards can be a fun and convenient option for transportation or cruising, they may not be the best choice for beginners looking to learn and progress in skateboarding.
Tips for Riding a Penny Board as a Beginner
If you are new to penny boarding, it’s important to learn the basics before hitting the streets. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you start your penny board journey:
Start on a larger board first
Before hopping on a penny board, it may be beneficial to start with a larger skateboard first. This will give you a better sense of balance and stability, making it easier to transition to a smaller penny board later on.
Lean forward when accelerating
When you’re ready to ride your penny board, remember to lean forward slightly when accelerating. This will help you maintain control and keep your balance as you pick up speed.
Keep knees bent and body low
One key to maintaining stability on a penny board is to keep your knees bent and your body low. This lowers your center of gravity and makes it easier to maneuver the board.
Tighten trucks moderately for more stability
The trucks on your penny board are responsible for its turning ability and stability. As a beginner, it’s a good idea to tighten the trucks moderately to increase stability. However, be careful not to tighten them too much as it can hinder maneuverability.
Use softer bushings for turning ease
Bushings are the small rubbery components that sit inside the trucks of a penny board. If you find it difficult to turn, consider using softer bushings. Softer bushings provide more flex, making turning easier and smoother.
Consider a gripped deck for footing
Having good footing is crucial when riding a penny board. Consider opting for a penny board with a gripped deck, which provides extra traction and grip for your feet. This will help you maintain control and reduce the risk of slipping off the board.
Remember, practice makes perfect! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t pick up penny boarding immediately. With time and practice, you’ll become more comfortable and confident on your board.
The Verdict: Are Penny Boards Good for Beginners?
When it comes to penny boards, the answer to whether they are good for beginners is not a simple yes or no. While penny boards can be ridden by beginners, they do present some challenges that newcomers to skateboarding should be aware of.
Penny boards can be ridden by beginners but do present some challenges
Penny boards are small and compact, making them easy to carry around and maneuver. They are also lightweight, which can be beneficial for beginners who are just starting to learn how to balance and control a skateboard.
However, the small size of penny boards can also make them less stable compared to larger cruiser or longboards. This means that beginners may find it more difficult to maintain their balance and control on a penny board.
Additionally, penny boards usually have harder and smaller wheels compared to other types of skateboards. This can make riding over rough surfaces or cracks in the pavement more challenging, as the wheels may not absorb the impact as well.
Beginners may find it harder to maintain a smooth ride and could potentially be more prone to falling or losing control.
Starting on a larger cruiser or longboard is recommended
For beginners who are completely new to skateboarding, starting on a larger cruiser or longboard is often recommended. These types of skateboards provide more stability and are generally easier to control compared to penny boards.
The larger size and softer wheels of cruisers and longboards make them more forgiving when it comes to bumps and cracks in the pavement.
By starting on a larger skateboard, beginners can build up their confidence and skills before transitioning to a penny board. This will help them become more comfortable with balancing, turning, and stopping, which are essential skills for any skateboarder.
With practice, penny boards make great compact commuter boards
While penny boards may present some challenges for beginners, with practice and experience, they can make great compact commuter boards. Their small size and lightweight design make them ideal for navigating busy streets and commuting short distances.
Once beginners have mastered the basics of skateboarding on a larger board, they can transition to a penny board for a more portable and convenient ride.
In summary, while penny boards present some challenges with their diminutive size, they can be suitable for beginners who take the time to learn good technique and get comfortable riding a skateboard. Their portability and ease of carrying make them a tempting choice as a first board.
However, starting out on a larger cruiser or longboard is advisable to build core stability and comfort on a skateboard. Once you’ve gotten the basics down and want a compact board to take around town, a penny board can be a great option to upgrade to.
With some patience and practice, penny boards can be accessible for beginners. Their trickiness at first is outweighed for many riders by their convenience as a quick way to get around. Learn proper technique, tighten trucks moderately, and cruise around carefully, and you’ll be zipping along happily on your penny board in no time.