Before I was asked about Penny Skateboards I had no idea that the company had been around since forever according to their website (but in reality 12 years) and was the phenomenon that it is. Penny Skateboards are manufacturers of plastic skateboards and accessories including backpacks (which are very cool and include a skateboard holder as part of the design), door hangars for your board, stickers printing for your deck and anywhere else, grip tape, iPhone cases and caps. The advantage of plastic boards over the traditional maple wood boards is their improved life, being longer lasting while still offering the same level of performance.
A Penny board though is a design and style choice as much as a decision about skating performance. Penny’s trademark is the bright colour and design of th deck inspired by traditional surfboard art. Think Hawaiian shirts gone stylish and you are on the way there. Although the demographics for skaters are skewed to young men, some 85% of skaters are young men under the age of 18 years, Penny does advertise to girls and the choice of colour and design would be appealing to girls and women.
The colour doesn’t stop at the deck though with Penny design. The truck (skateboard axles), wheels, even the king pin bolts that hold the truck to the wheels and bushings are all coloured. The company offers a custom design which is surprisingly affordable around $130 including postage. You can choose the colour and design of the deck, truck, bolts and wheels and have it delivered to you. The website promises 10,000 unique design possibilities and browsing through the offerings I can believe it.
Penny Skateboards are not available in the same range of board shapes as traditional boards but are available in long boards, cruisers and standard shapes. Standard decks measure 7 to 10 ½ inches wide and 28 to 33 inches long while long boards measure 33 to 59 inches long. Penny boards offer the same range of trucks and bushings (the part of the board that cushions the truck when it turns) and wheels as are conventionally available in skate shops, except that they are plastic rather than the traditional aluminium alloy).
Drop through boards have a section of the deck cut out which allows the base plates of the trucks to be mounted through the deck. The base plate is the top part of the truck or axle of the board and it is normally attached to the underside of the deck. The drop through design means that the skater has greater stability at high speeds due to a lower centre of gravity. These boards are suitable for downhill skating disciplines.
Wheels are made of polyurethane these days and come in many different sizes and shapes depending on the type of skating your want to do and your personal preference. Larger wheels in the range of 55 to 85mm roll faster and are better for transition skating such as vertical ramps and aerial tricks. Smaller wheels (48 to 54mm) bring the board closer to the ground and you need less force to accelerate. With a lower centre of gravity, a board with smaller wheels is better for street skating and less suited to tricks