Learning to skateboard definitely takes time, patience and the ability to fall down over and over and over and still get up and do it again. And during the time it takes to learn, you can go through a lot of equipment. The primary parts of a skateboard are the deck, the trucks, the wheels and bearings, the hardware and the grip tape, not to mention shoes and jeans. It can get spendy, but there are a few ways to maximize the life of your equipment…

The Deck: The main part of the board is the deck and the best ones are made of wood (usually maple). Boards are plywood – several thin layers of wood laminated together. That gives the board flex. But, if you ride in the rain, or through water or even leave your board in the sun, it can “de-laminate” and cause it to come apart. So, keep your board dry and out of the sun when you’re not skating.

Trucks: The mounting hardware takes a beating and can loosen up with the vibration and banging around the skateboards go through. Check to make sure all the hardware is tight before you ride. The bushings can also get smashed or misshapen and when that happens you have to replace them. Take a look at this video to get some tips on replacing the kingpins and bushings.

Wheels and Bearings: Wheels are generally made of polyurethane. Check to make sure there’s no major damage before you head out for a ride. When you’re street skating, it’s tough to avoid junk on the road that can chew up your wheels, but it’s worth being aware.

If your wheels are catching or dragging, it’s probably not the wheel itself, but the ball bearings. I found a great article that takes it apart step by step on how to service your bearings. One thing to keep in mind is to not use WD-40. There are products specific to ball bearings, so use the right stuff.

Shoes: Skate shoes can really take a beating. Pushing off and dragging your feet can result in wear and tear that, without maintenance, could mean replacing your shoes every few weeks. Yikes. This guy’s shoe shows the typical wear patterns.

Shoe Goo is loved by skateboarders for just this reason. You can build up the shoe in the worn spots so they last you longer. Get more tips for using Shoe Goo.

You can get some advice at Expert Village if you’re just starting out. And take time to get to know the people at your local skate shop. They can be a huge help.

photo by expense via flickr