Are Amazon Skateboards Good?
Amazon and other online options make shopping so much easier. It’s only natural that someone looking for their first skateboard would see what’s available with free two-day shipping. But does that mean that Amazon is a good route for buying a board? While it may be easy, it’s almost always better to go in person to a skate shop to purchase a skateboard.
What’s the problem with buying from Amazon?
It’s not impossible to get a good skateboard online, but buying through Amazon presents several potential issues. For one thing, not all brands and models are available through Amazon. A skater’s relationship with the board is personal.
What’s right for one skater could be wrong for another. Limiting the search to Amazon puts constraints on what a skater can find. This is particularly true because the boards available on Amazon are typically from cheaper, generic brands.
The more someone skates, the more he or she recognizes the vast difference in quality from one board to the next. This is no different from the many brands and models of equipment from other sports.
Unless a buyer has vast knowledge about skateboards, it’s hard to navigate through Amazon results and determine which board would be optimal. Amazon reviews are notoriously unreliable, as the mega retailer is still fighting an uphill battle to get rid of fake reviews.
A board with five stars and thousands of ratings on Amazon could actually be terrible quality. Even the reviews written by real people may reflect little understanding of skateboards and someone with different experience and goals than the person reading the review.
Finally, buying through Amazon presents a risk in terms of actually getting the intended product in the proper condition. Millions of vendors sell through Amazon, and there’s no guarantee that the customer will get what they paid for.
The product could either be completely different than what was purchased, or have damaged parts from shipping. While mistakes and broken items are relatively rare and Amazon is good at resolving problems, the process can be time-consuming and frustrating.
Why is it better to go to a local skate shop?
Something that online shopping will never have a good substitute for is physically interacting with the product. This is especially true with something like a skateboard. A buyer should want to roll around on the board and see how it feels before even considering taking it home.
Compared to actually trying a board out, buying a skateboard on Amazon feels like a blind date. Avid runners or golfers are familiar with the process of running laps around a shoe shop or swinging sets of clubs on a mat in the store. Buying a skateboard should be no different.
Furthermore, a skateboard consists of many different parts. At a good local skate shop, a customer can describe what they like and don’t like about the boards they are trying out. A knowledgeable salesperson would be able to substitute wheels or trucks, for instance.
The sales process can include comparing a couple of boards at a time and responding to the customer’s feedback to get them on the right board. Customers can ask questions and learn more not only about the board, but about themselves as a skater. A tailored buying experience like this leaves the skater much more set up for success than buying something online and hoping it’s a good fit.
The employees at skate shops are typically experienced skaters who have sampled many products. Their advice and opinions are more meaningful than those found in a list of online reviews. Building a relationship with a local shop can be a key part of evolving in the sport and learning about likes and dislikes.
Different things draw people to skateboarding, but many find enjoyment from learning about and comparing the equipment itself. Frequent visits to a skate shop allow for learning, comparing notes, and discovering new technologies and products.
What If a Skater is Set On Using Amazon?
If a skater is dead set on using Amazon, there are some guidelines that will help maximize the experience. First and foremost, the potential buyer should do tons of research. It’s important to be completely savvy about skate brands and technical descriptions of the equipment.
Online sources outside of Amazon can be used to learn more about brand quality. There are many trusted forums and YouTube videos describing and discussing the pros and cons of different products. Skateboards made by reputable brands, such as Plan B or Baker, can occasionally be found on Amazon.
Buyers should be able to recognize the diamonds amid all the coal. They should never take a risk on a brand they can’t find much information about.
A potential decent use of Amazon would be for buying skateboard parts, such as bearings or wheels. Skaters can research the best ones to use and actually find many of the best reviewed items through Amazon. This is way less risky than buying an entire skateboard on Amazon. It requires prior research and should only be done after identifying the intended piece of equipment.
Skaters could go shop to shop and find what they’re looking for, then do an Amazon search to see if they can find the exact same thing at a lower price. Again, there is a little bit of risk to not physically touching the product before making a purchase, and ordering things online always leads to having to wait for shipping, rather than walking out of the store with something in hand.
What’s the bottom line?
The bottom line is that purchasing a skateboard isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Quality skateboard equipment isn’t cheap, and skateboard purchases are investments in the sport. Skaters want to get the right thing to maximize their enjoyment and comfort with their skateboard.
This is much more likely achieved at a skate shop when assisted by a salesperson who understands the equipment and can walk the customer through a decision. Amazon typically presents too many potential opportunities for a purchase that isn’t exactly right.