Want to know more about Bamboo Skateboard?
Considerations when buying, the popular brands reviewed, pricing and pop factor
You may be familiar with my blogs about up-and-coming skateboarders, but I’m also passionate about how skateboards are made, the innovation and the clothing culture that comes along with it. Skateboarding is relatively new when compared to other forms of recreational activity. As a result, you may think there’s not much to know about the history of skate board making and the influence this has on your skateboarding style -but, be prepared to be surprised!
Of course, it’s widely known that the majority of skateboards are made with good old maple hard wood. Maple wood is sturdy, robust, durable and is extremely responsive giving us the POP that we all search for.
Sadly, using maple wood is not eco-friendly. It requires many years to grow a maple tree (decades in-fact). And with deforestation occurring every year, maple trees are becoming scarce. We cannot grow maple trees fast enough to replenish the ones that we have cut down.
Hence there has been a move towards more eco-friendly materials, bamboo being one of them. Bamboo is known to be hard yet flexible, durable yet light. It has many attributes that I find awesome when skating. However, I will be honest, and declare that some of my friends dislike the bamboo skateboard sensation.
In some aspects, it does come down to personal preference, however there are pro’s and con’s with bamboo skateboards that are relatively clear cut.
If you want to know more about bamboo skateboards, please read on!
What is a bamboo skateboard?
Skateboards are commonly made from hard maple wood, giving a toughness and sturdiness that skateboarders know and love. Sadly, maple trees are fast becoming far and few, with deforestation impacting the environment. Bamboo on the other hand, is fast to grow and is plentiful around the world.
Bamboo is not actually a tree, but rather a type of grass. It’s therefore extremely flexible but has the strength to hold a lot of weight. (You may have seen construction sites using bamboo to create scaffolding).
Accordingly, innovative skateboard manufacturers have turned to making decks out of bamboo. It’s a great way to protect the environment, contribute to the sustainability of the world but also not detract from the fun and excitement of skateboarding (or even enhanced).
Why skate with bamboo?
Our earth is suffering from unsustainable manufacturing methods that suck up natural resources. As a result, if you are a socially responsible person, bamboo is a great way to replace maple with bamboo. Bamboo is in great abundance around the world, it’s fast and easy to grow, plus it can easily be decomposed and recycled. Bamboo is strong enough to form the deck of a skateboard and be customised, just like maple skateboards.
Bamboo skateboards come in:
- Various shapes and sizes
- Design and colours
- Mixed with other materials
In addition, bamboo skateboards are generally cheaper than maple skateboards. But you will find that there are special, customised bamboo boards that can go into the thousands of dollars. As with any product that you buy, the better the quality the more expensive it is.
Considerations when buying a Bamboo Skateboard
When buying a bamboo skateboard there are several aspects that you should take into consideration. Bamboo skateboards are generally more flexible and less durable than maple, therefore there are some obvious factors that come into play.
Type of Board
the type of board you like to skate on will play a part in the longevity of the bamboo skateboard. For general board cruising, bamboo skateboards are fantastic, light weight and sturdy. They are perfect for travelling from A to B, efficiently and without fuss. However, if you are seeking a trickster board to run off ramps, POP off in the skate parks, then a bamboo skateboard may not last as long as a maple. Don’t get me wrong, they will still go the distance, but they won’t last forever like maple boards.
Bamboo boards weigh a lot less than maple boards. This is fantastic for carrying around on buses, trains and other forms of public transport. In terms of skating experience, the lighter board produces wild POP that I love. However, there are some skaters that prefer a heavier board. It really comes down to preference.
Bamboo has more flex: Bamboo flexes more than maple, and therefore I find that I can bounce more with bamboo decks. I can achieve great lift with bamboo and leverage off the flexibility to have more bounce. Sometimes, too much flex can be bad, particularly if you are an exceptionally heavy person. But for the majority of skaters, bamboo boards will often great flex without compromising on sturdiness.
Wear and Tear
If you are mad skater, every day and hour skating, then yes, you may find bamboo skateboards will wear out quicker than maple. It will be gradual, not a sudden deterioration, but the board will fade at a faster rate.
Bamboo skateboards are cheaper to make because bamboo is cheaper than maple. That’s simply it. They aren’t any harder or easier to make than maple boards, hence in terms of manufacturer man and machine power there really is no difference. That’s not to say you won’t find a really expense bamboo skateboard. As with any product, the better the quality the more expensive it will be. Having said that, bamboo boards are on average cheaper than maple skateboards.
Finding a good manufacturer of bamboo boards can be difficult at times. Most skaters will stick to US manufacturers, purely due to reputation and assurance of quality. But I have found that Indonesian manufacturers are just as good, if not better. And, on the plus side, they are also cheaper. You will see in my list recommendations further below, I mention a few Indonesian manufactures that can be trusted to buy from.
Bamboo Skateboard Components
A bamboo skateboard comprises the same components as a maple board, and is made of three parts.
Bamboo Deck: A bamboo deck is often made of mixture of bamboo and other material. It’s not often you will find a skateboard made from 100% bamboo. Typically a bamboo deck has several ply bookended by fibreglass or a sheet of maple.
A bamboo deck is no different in concavity and sizing as maple boards. In fact, bamboo decks are able to support more concavity due it’s flexibity and sturdiness.
Bamboo Skateboard Trucks: The trucks themselves do not differ for bamboo boards. However, how they attach to the deck can be slightly different. The material of bamboo has more fibres than maple, and therefore, depending on how the board is created, it may require a slight tweak to securing the truck to the board. For the vast majority of skaters this will not be noticeable when skating. You will still be able to adjust the kingpin and pressure on the bushing.
Bamboo Skateboard Wheels: Similarly with maple boards, you will find various size wheels that can be attached to a bamboo board. For the tricksters out there, bamboo boards can easily support the smaller wheels for the quick turns and dexterity.
For the jumpers and beginners, medium wheels make the perfect fit for an all round performance.
And for the long boarders, the larger wheels make bamboo boards the ultimate cruising experience.
Types of Bamboo Skateboards
Bamboo skateboards are available in a vast array of designs, use and performance.
This is undoubtedly the most popular form of bamboo skateboards. Longboards aren’t typically used for tricks and jumping but rather for effortlessly speeding along the road or sidewalk. They have excellent control and stability to bending with the road turns.
If you are wanting a longboard just for downhill, then bamboo boards are fantastic. Light weight, smooth and stable, the lower deck allows for lower center of gravity. You can find all the various downhill types of pintail, twin tip with bamboo boards.
There are too many varieties of shortboard bamboo skateboards to cover in depth, so I will stick to the most popular.
Bamboo cruiser skateboards: If you want something to get you from A to B with that sturdiness about it, then a bamboo cruiser board is for you. Thicker and stronger than a street skateboard, it has faster turning wheels for the travel. Yet, it still has the back kick tail for the pop for the lift to go up curbs and over other objects when travelling.
Bamboo Street skateboards: For the most adaptive of skateboard, the bamboo street skateboard will meet the needs of the majority of skaters. Can be used in skateparks, or just roaming the streets. Thin and light, most skaters will choose the bamboo street skateboard as their first board of choice.
Bamboo Skateboards Reviewed
As you know, I’m an avid fan of the skateboard scene. I have been fortunate to write about skaters who are doing remarkable things in the skateboard world, and also lucky enough to ride on many different boards as well.
Below are my favorite bamboo boards. Each is unique, and that’s why I recommend them.
Lucas & Sons
Lucas and Sons is one of my favorite skateboard brands. The owner is Lucas Widiantara, who has his workshop in the beautiful city of Bandung, Indonesia. Lucas is one of the founding members of UNKL347 who started the cultural revolution into skateboarding in the 1980s. Since then, Lucas has created his own skateboards. Only in the past seveal years, has Lucas begun to build and create bamboo skateboards.
For him, bamboo skateboards are actually more complex than making a maple board skateboard.
Nevertheless, I love his bamboo skateboards. My favorite is the Maui Longboard.
- Price: $100 USD
- Other Lucas & Sons Board Types: Longboard, shortboard, customized, low deck, high deck, pintail, twintail
- Origin: Bandung, Indonesia
- POP: Excellent
- Bamboo %: 6 layered bamboo, with fibreglass covering.
- Pricing: $70 to $150 USD