Odds are that if your son or daughter hasn’t asked you to buy a skateboard yet, he or she probably will at some point this weekend.
An X Games qualifying event is in town Friday and Saturday at Boise’s Rhodes Skate Park, and some of the best skateboarders and BMX riders in the world are aiming for a shot at making it to the X Games in Minneapolis. Thousands are expected to turn out for the events, and it’s likely that some new skateboarders will be picked up in the process.
While veteran skaters know the ins and outs of purchasing a skateboard, it can be overwhelming for a rookie: How many different components does a skateboard have? What size board do I need? What brand is best? How much will it all cost? Where should I buy it?
Sporting goods stores and big-box outfits sell assembled skateboards that look legitimate enough; they are not, however, of the same quality one would find at a skateboard shop. Skateboarding is hard enough as it is, the experts say, and poor board quality can impede progress for young skaters.
“(The thing about) ‘box store’-brand boards is that they’re designed and built by toy manufacturers. So the biggest issue is that although you might be like a dollar or two cheaper than coming into an actual skateboard shop, once that kid gets that board ... they find out really quickly it’s really hard to learn on, it doesn’t push around very well, it doesn’t roll,” said Nate Alseth, a senior staff member at The Board Room skateboard shop in Boise.
“(Skateboarding) is really difficult and takes awhile to get the basics down. Anything that discourages that initial effort you put into it, most kids are just going to say never mind, it’s not something I want to do.”
The Board Room is one shop reaping the benefits of having the X Games in Boise. Alseth will be busy assembling countless boards this week for old and new skateboarders alike, and he even took time to put one together for the Idaho Statesman.
Alseth gave a tutorial, from start to finish, on how to pick a board size, what wheels to choose, and everything in between. A complete board from a sporting goods store can cost $79.99; a quality setup from The Board Room costs about $85, he said.
X Games Qualifier
11 a.m.: Festival area surrounding park opens
2 p.m.: Women’s skateboarding elimination round
3:30 p.m.: Men’s skateboarding elimination
5 p.m.: BMX elimination
6:30 p.m.: Autograph signing
7 p.m.: Skate demonstration
8 p.m.: Autograph signing
11 p.m.: Park closes
11 a.m.: Festival area opens
12:30 p.m.: Women’s skateboarding final round
2:30 p.m.: Men’s skateboarding final
4:30 p.m.: BMX final
6 p.m.: Park closes