You’ve probably noticed skaters on campus zooming through crowds to get to class. Maybe you’ve thought to yourself “Man, that guy/girl looks so cool.” Maybe you’ve thought about taking the plunge and buying yourself a sweet ride. If so, here are some tips to keep your board in tip-top shape from UNM student skateboard experts Eugene “Colton” Grossheim and Ray Vigil. For additional information, Vigil suggested looking online at, a skateboarding community forum.

Tighten Up
Make sure all your hardware is nice and snug. Grossheim said the board will rattle if the hardware is loose, and you run the risk of losing important parts while you’re riding.

On the flipside, if the hardware is too tight, the bars that hold the wheels, called trucks, can rub against the wood or cause stress fractures, which would be no bueno. Basically, you shouldn’t need to use excessive force to tighten hardware, but shouldn’t be able to loosen anything with your fingers. This should keep everything on the board perfectly in place.

Vigil said you should be able to make any adjustments with a skate tool, which you can find for about $10.

Space Truckin’
You can tighten or loosen your trucks to adjust how much weight you need to use to turn you board. Determining what works best for you is a process of trial and error. Make sure both trucks are tightened/loosened the same amount, otherwise turning will be very difficult. If your trucks start to get squeaky, you can simply take truck hangers off the board, rub the suspension discs for the trucks, call bushings, with bar soap and reattach them.

Under My Wheels
Figure out which wheels will work best for you and your board.

Longboards generally have larger wheels than traditional skateboards, which makes it easier to ride over cracked and uneven pavement and decrease your chance of falling. Grossheim said increasing your speed will also help you get over cracks easier.

Know what your wheels can handle; there’s nothing worse than eating concrete amid a large crowd of bustling students.

Only the Good Die Young
At some point, every skateboarder will take a dive. It’s almost a rite of passage and there’s always inherent risk when you ride. But, if you do fall off your board, never land on your hands or with your arms straight and locked.

Instead, Grossheim suggested trying to roll, or absorb the fall on large parts of your body, such as your shoulder (but avoid the collar bone) or hip.