When you pick up your first skateboard and start riding, you don’t give much thought to the board specifics. One may seem like any other, but it isn’t long before you realize that subtle differences in the design can make a big difference in the feel of the board.
One important thing to consider when choosing a board is the deck concave. The concave is the board’s shape and how it curves up at the tail and nose. Not every board is going to have this curve but most will, and the steepness of the curve can make a big difference in what you can do while riding.
Essentially, you have three different levels of concave on a board. It isn’t a specific curve, but rather, it is the steepness of the curve compared to each other.
This is the most significant curve on a board. You can easily feel this curve under your feet when you stand on the board. I used a cruiser as an example because this one clearly shows a very steep concave.
Most people prefer a steep concave when they are doing lots of flick tricks or spend most of their time at the skate park. The steeper curve makes it easier to get the trick started and flicks your board faster. On the other hand, a steep concave is not the best choice for cruising flat ground.
A steep concave deck is also popular among those who are more experienced riders. It can be difficult for a new rider to keep their balance on such a board. The pocket space is limited and the deck more responsive and less forgiving. When you get used to it, it can help you with your tricks.
As the name suggests, a medium concave is somewhere between the steepest and the shallowest of the curves. Many skateboarders perform their best with a medium concave because it gives the best of both worlds.
You might want to have a medium concave deck available for the right riding situation. Even people who regularly ride a steep concave will appreciate the feel of a medium when they are trying to land a difficult trick.
In any case, you will likely find that the medium concave provides the best performance in most situations. There will always be a benefit to going with a steep or mellow concave but have a medium on hand for everyday riding.
The curve of this board is less steep and it can be difficult to feel while you are riding. The mellow concave tends to be popular among those who enjoy cruising on flat ground or doing tricks on flat ground.
This type of board also comes with some difficulty when trying to land a trick. If you are skating on flat ground, you may find that you lack control. It takes some getting used to, but it is worth having a mellow board on hand under certain conditions.
I’m adding this as a fourth option, even though it is not actually a deck concave. Flat boards are not very popular, and they are not easily found. Typically, you will find a flat deck on longboards or cruisers.
You might also be interested in knowing that in the early 80s, all decks were flat. Concave boards got their start back then, and since that time, they have become very popular. If you really want to skate as they did in the early days, you will skip the concave altogether and go with a flat board. You’re not going to win many points when it comes to scoring tricks, but it is awesome for cruising around on flat ground.
How To Pick The Right Concave
It’s up to you to decide which curve is best for you. Some people prefer one over another, and everybody has an opinion, but your opinion matters just as much as anyone else.
You should also consider your skill level when choosing a board. A mellow concave tends to be a better choice for new riders because you have a larger area for your feet. A steeper concave can make it difficult to balance, but more experienced riders will find it to be to their benefit.
One of the best things you can do is to experiment with different options and see which you like best. As you switch from one board to another, you may find that some have a unique feel that you want to try out in a real life circumstance.
It’s also a good idea to get accustomed to one particular board and to stick with it when doing difficult tricks. Rather than worrying about the feel of the board, you worry about the subtleties associated with the trick.
Additionally, the curve of the deck is only one of the many different considerations for the board you ride. Every piece that goes into the board makes a difference in the feel and performance. Take the time to test out different options and see what feels best under your feet. In the end, you may find that there is more than one choice that is right for you.
it’s not just concave, also consider what a skateboard deck is made of.
Lack of Industry Standard
Each skateboard manufacturer will have their own mold and use that mold to create the individual decks. They don’t change the mold often, so if you get accustomed to a particular concave curve, you may just want to stick with it.
Then again, variety is the spice of life, and if you do change from one deck concave to another,you might find that you are landing more tricks. Honestly, it doesn’t take long to get accustomed to a new concave so give it a try.
You can judge the concave by holding the deck sideways and looking at it along the edge. You will notice the curve at the nose and the tail that slants the ends upward.
Some brands do rate their concave, Powell Peralta for example has done this in great detail:
- SP2 Concave
- K12 Concave
- K15 Concave
- K16 Concave