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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Skating a big setup, part 4: what the pros skate

Here are some pictures of pro skaters with the length of their board compared to the length of their leg. The deck length has a direct impact on the length of the wheelbase, so deck length is a good indicator of overall fit of the skateboard.
Here's the original post that discusses fit. Here's the fitting guide again:

Skateboard Deck Fitting Guide for Popsicle Stick Shaped Decks
Body MeasurementBoard MeasurementHow to estimate size
Shoe SizeWidthWith front foot at 45°, heels and balls of feet should be contained in width of skateboard.
Leg lengthLengthStanding deck against leg, the deck length should go from ground to hipbone. Tip of deck can be under, on, or over the hipbone, but generally touching or very near to the hipbone.
Shoulder widthWheelbasePutting deck against your chest, the truck mounting locations should be aligned with your shoulder joints. 

The pictures aren't always exactly the best perspective, and sometimes their legs are bent or something, but they are close enough to see that pros skate decks that have a length equal to or greater than the distance from the bottom of their foot to their hipbone.
In the pictures, the two blue lines are equivalent in length, and are based on the length of the deck. So, it's as if the deck were put against their leg.
A perfect picture for perspective. Daewon's deck is longer than his leg.

Darren's deck looks like it would be right at his hipbone. That is probably the old 8.6 shape he's skating, which has a length of 32.35. Darren skates the 8.88 shape nowadays, which is 32.5" long - not a huge difference.

This is a great picture that shows that Rodney's deck is pretty much exactly matched to the length of his leg from hipbone to sole of the foot.

This picture of Stu shows how perspective makes things a little difficult to assess. In this picture, it looks like Stu's deck is shorter than his leg.

In this picture, though, we can see that Stu's deck is about as long as his leg from hipbone to sole of his foot.


  1. Thanks for all the nice work you put into this blog! I will definitely be using this size guide and other info on this blog to put my next setup together - cheers...

  2. I can't get my head around this - I checked my favorite board - an enjoi 8.4x32.5 and it's nowhere near my hip bone (I'm 6'1"), yet from all my experimenting feels like the perfect size for me. I guess it's down to personal preference, but I think there needs to be a postscript here that there might be 1 or 2 inches of leeway. I certainly can't imagine riding anything longer than 33".

    1. Have you checked the new deckcrafters constructions, aka Airframe lamination? They look very promising.

      Also, please do take a look at the Bacon Rocker done by Soda Factory/Clutch. Amazingly comfortable, something magic in that shape.

      great blog!

    2. Hey Donovan, thanks for the observation. I've noticed from working with the data I've gathered so far that the fit guide becomes inaccurate under 8.9". I'm currently crafting a new survey to gather data from more skaters.
      I encourage you to take the survey to contribute your measurements and preferences. But just out of curiosity right now, what is the measurement from your hip bone (greater trochanter) to the sole of your feet?
      I have also hypothesized that some skaters bend their knees more (i.e., have a lower riding stance) than others, and that this effect will affect the sizing calculations. I am working on correction factors to account for this effect.

    3. Hey, Miquel, that Bacon Rocker is a pretty wild looking board! I like rocker on my park board. Interesting that Soda put the details of that board on the 'fish on 11/28/2012 and then were sold out of that deck less than a month later on 12/26/2012.

  3. This is wildly unscientific. Photographs, perspectives, angles, lenses, lighting can alter the apparent size of what you think you are measuring.

    1. If I could measure every pro skater's leg and deck, I would. I am trying to do the best with the photos I can find. And I'm doing it for free. If you want more rigorous science, you'll have to fund me to do a larger study.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

    Balsa Surfboard & Balsa Wood

  5. Firstly, thank you so much for your observations and subsequent testing. Being a bigger rider (Heel to hip-bone leg-length roughly 36-37", size 13 shoes, 6'3" height and weighing in @ 245lbs), it's no wonder the most comfortable boards I've had the privilege to ride were the discontinued Arto Saari 33.5" length 15"WB, 8.5"width and when Generator was pressing for a Portland core shop, they had an 8.8" deck 15"WB about 33.5" long. Finding decks this big in traditional popsicle shape is cumbersome, but as long as Creature keeps making Stu Graham's pro-models, I shouldn't have too much to worry about.
    Have you found more variety in these measurements (and where), or have you given up the popsicle shape completely?

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