There are a number of different factors that play into using a skateboard, including deck size, shape, wheel size and more. While these elements are a little more straightforward, beginner skaters often forget to consider the deck concave. In fact, most don’t even realize that it can vary from board to board. If you’re just starting out in the skatepark, here’s your basic breakdown of deck concave and how it affects your skating.
Deck concave refers to the bend and curve of the deck between the nose and tail. The angle of it makes the difference between a mellow, medium or deep concave, and each of these styles have different pros and cons. While much of it is preference, flatter boards generally more stable and easier to control, making them better for cruising or transition skating. Deeper concave gives better grip and maneuverability for flip tricks and technical skating.
It’s common for board manufacturers to experiment with different concaves and try new things for different styles of skating. However, there are some fairly common types of concave that you can find easily. Getting to know these differences and what they’re for can help you narrow down your choice.
The most common concave is a radial concave, which gives a very slight U-shape to the deck if you’re looking down the board from the nose or the tail. It’s pretty universal, so it’s great for beginners or skaters who switch between different styles regularly.
A progressive concave is very similar to radial, but with a steeper incline at the edge of the board. This deeper angle gives better grip for flip tricks. Similarly, a W-concave gives that extra foot security as well. This unique shape dips down slightly before coming up, essentially creating a mellow W-shape.
While these three are going to be most useful for a variety of skaters. There are a few others worth mentioning. Flat-cave boards have a sharp angle rather than a gradual concave. These, naturally, have a flatter feel that’s better for cruising. Asymmetrical concave features a very mellow asymmetry that provides more power while carving, and convex boards arch upward. These types of boards are more common in longboards and cruisers. While pretty rare, flat boards can also be found, but these too are more common for longboards or old school skateboards.
Deck concave is unique to every board, which is why many skaters find one brand or type of board they like and stick to it loyally. But like most things in skateboarding, it’s really a matter of preference. If it feels better to ride a flatter board, then go with that. You may decide that you need to try a few different types of concaves to figure out what fits your style of skateboarding.