Kickflips and ollies aren’t requirements to coasting. The kick-push masses have diffused into the mainstream, providing a commuting alternative to the conventional bus, train and bike. But this isn’t a call to arms. Don’t claw through the forgotten scrapheap for your old rusted wheels. Modern boards — with wider wheels, concave decks, stronger grips and more stability — are better acclimated for long concrete streets and fledgling riders. We’ve broken down the best commuting boards, all American made, into categories to better coalesce your eclectic needs. Helmets — and knee pads, for good measure — are still recommended.
Best Surf-Inspired Skateboard: A quick glance at the Ambassador longboard and it’s obvious: these guys surf and skate. Described as “the perfect beginner board” because of its broad deck space, it’s the longest board Maki makes at 46 x 9 1/2 x 5/8 inches. Each is handcrafted by company owner Erik Maki using American red oak and detailed with SuperSap Bio-Epoxy graphics. With the look and flex of a surfboard, it’s the board to buy for those looking to get into surf skating. If the swell is flat or the mountains are barren, the Ambassador provides an outlet.
Saturdays Surf x Shut
Most Compact: New York’s premier surf brand Saturdays has teamed up with Shut, New York’s first skate company, to create a line of skateboards for city commuters. This great day-to-day board is made with 7-ply hardwood maple and comes with 7-inch independent trucks. At 29.5 x 7.75 inches, it’s the smallest on our list. Easy to carry around when need be, its concave deck allows for superior maneuverability. We recommend you pair it with a set of soft wheels (76-79).
Kota Handley Page Mile High
Editor’s Pick: Handmade in Denver with imported Wisconsin wood, Kota takes great pride their decks. Before the transformation process begins, each American Hard Rock Maple plank is inspected for durability, strength and all-around look because Kota boards don’t use grip tape. Their Handley Page longboards are no different; this particular one is detailed to look like the Colorado state flag. They’re stained with a KOTAgrip protective finish to allow the bottom and top of the board to be unique detailed. A great comfortable cruising board with a concave tail, Kota describes it as “a high-quality, all-mountain giant slalom ski” on wheels. “It rides super smooth, has a set of nice smooth (80) wheels, the deck is very flexible and adds a bit of surf feel to the riding, the sticky top holds up even when it’s wet.”
Arbor GB Sizzler
Best Looking: The GB Sizzler is part of Arbor skateboards curve collection, meaning it’s meant to zig and zag. The brand originally started making snowboards in ‘95, but shortly thereafter added skateboards to their repertoire. The GB Sizzler brings the same surfboard feel that other cruisers have, just in a truncated body. Each deck is made from sustainable 7-ply maple wood and finished with clear spray-on grip made from crushed recycled glass, eliminating the need for grip tape.
Hess Surf Check
Best wood: In the San Francisco area, Hess is synonymous with well-sculpted surfboards, which they’ve translated to their skateboard line. Their Surf Check board is strong yet light. A combination of Fir, Cherry, Poplar and Walnut are used in its 9-ply deck. The classic board looks authentic, and it is. Each vertically grained deck is coated with a linseed, tung oil and beeswax finish. Cruise on in style.