For the longest time, skateboarding has been a recreational activity for young people. And in all these years, innovation vastly improved the sport. But if there’s one remarkable aspect of the skateboards’ development, it’s using natural materials in one of their significant parts, the deck.
So, what material or wood are skateboards made of?
Today, we know at least two primary materials for skateboard decks: maple and bamboo. Both are good, but one can edge out the other in some aspects.
Bamboo VS maple skateboard. Can both of these boards sustain agile skating activities? How is one more durable than the other? All these questions, we’ll answer in this article.
|Criteria||Bamboo skateboard||Maple skateboard|
|Weight||Lighter than almost any skateboard deck||Solid but denser|
|Material properties||Better impact and flexural strength||Edges bamboo in longitudinal strength|
|Flexibility||Exceptionally flexible among all materials||Tough but not as flexible as bamboo|
|Performance||Lighter for doing tricks and absorbs shocks from landing them||Fits a more rugged use|
|Durability||Reasonably durable||Exceptionally sturdy|
|Load capacity||Handles a lower deck load||One of the best at 330lbs|
|Sustainability||3-5 years to mature||Longer maturity at 7-10 years|
Table of Contents
Bamboo Longboards Vs Maple: Defined
When we say bamboo skateboarding boards, it does not necessarily mean everything on them comes from that type of wood. Often, it’s only the platform we stand on.
Skateboards made from bamboo exhibit exceptional flexibility, a factor confirmed by skaters everywhere. Besides having sufficient flex, bamboo skateboards are also light. And such an aspect makes riding slightly easier for beginners and small skaters.
Note that some manufacturers also mix bamboo with other materials. So, expect that not all bamboo skateboard decks are made from this wood.
Perhaps, no two types of wood perform the way maple does.
Maple has gained popularity over the years because of its durability. You can find Minority, Retrospec, Maple Masters skateboards, and many other brands offering decks with this wood. And for a skater that uses skateboards heavily, this material has its own appeal.
Unlike bamboo, maple has rings if we cut through it.
There is a notion that the more rings a log of maple has, the more responsive it is when transformed into a skateboard. And that is one of the reasons maple boards are popular among many skaters, whether beginners or experts.
Maple Vs Bamboo Skateboards: Differences
Yes, maple skateboards are solid. And in contrast to them, bamboo decks are airy.
Hence, bamboo skateboards win this aspect if the skater’s priority is a board that’s less straining on the legs and feet.
2. Material properties
(amount of force before breaking)
|101 KJ/m²||50-75 KJ/m²|
(maximum force the material can tolerate across its length)
|59 MPa||106 MPa|
(maximum load without bending)
|132 MPa||114 MPa|
Studies have examined the properties of both maple and bamboo before they transform into skateboards. As shown in the table, bamboo boards edge out maple in impact and flexural strength.
Of course, maple is also rightfully strong, but in longitudinal strength.
Of course, we can’t neglect the skateboard’s performance with bamboo or maple decks.
Bamboo is more flexible and easier to push and cruise with. Meanwhile, maple is stiffer and better for sliding.
Bamboo skateboards are also known for being light. Hence, most skaters who practice stunts use them more often. And besides putting less weight on the user, these boards also reduce shocks when landing tricks better than other deck materials.
However, skateboards with maple decks are more fit for rugged use. And such use consists of hard landings, impact from dodging obstacles, and other similar activities.
By nature, maple is a sturdy material. So, it’s reliable enough to last long. But besides a naturally strong state, maple also requires minimal maintenance. And that is why this wood for skateboards has remained in demand for years.
Bamboo has sufficient durability as well. But maple tops this round.
5. Load Capacity
Perhaps, one more thing we should check when buying a board is its weight capacity. For average-build skaters, this matter is less of a concern. But for heavy riders, we’d better consider this area.
So, which can sustain heavy deck loads? Bamboo or maple?
The mixing of bamboo with other composites does not come without reason. Bamboo could be slightly weak. Hence, designing a skateboard with 100% of this material might compromise its load capacity.
Now, what about maple? Essentially, maple wood can sustain skaters weighing up to 330 lbs. So, a maple skateboards brand might be a nice starting point if you’ve recently put on weight. Bamboo often maxes out at 200 pounds.
Bamboo and maple skateboards last a reasonably long time after manufacturers let them out for sale. But what about their sources?
While it depends on the degree and environment of usage, we should consider how long these skateboards’ raw materials need to grow before they’re ready for manufacture.
Bamboo wins this aspect because it only takes 3-5 years to mature before it’s ready for production. Contrastingly, maple takes 7-10 years, almost twice as long as bamboo’s required time to develop.
7. Pros and Cons
- Lightweight and less straining to the legs
- Optimum flexibility
- Slightly worse in durability
- Lower weight capacity
- Guaranteed to last long
- Excellent weight capacity
- Longer replenishment time of raw material
There are cheap skateboard decks, and there are expensive ones. Let’s now see the prices of some quality maple and bamboo skateboards.
- Geelife Pro Complete Skateboard – $28.95
- Minority 32-inch Maple Skateboard – $35.99
- WiiSHAM Skateboard for Beginners – $39.99
- The Super Cruiser 36″ Remix Aqua Blue Skateboard – $59.99
- KONA SURF CO. Bamboo Series Cruiser Complete Skateboard – $89.99
- LMAI 27″ Bamboo Wood Cruiser Complete Skateboard – $99.99
Frequently Asked Questions
Are maple wood skateboards good?
Among different types of skate decks, maple has already established itself as one of the most popular types of wood perfect for the sport.
Maple is a good material for its impeccable durability. It can withstand agile skating, help skaters land from tricks, and last longer than other wooden materials.
See now the top-rated skateboards and decks here!
What should I choose?
We’re now down to one of the most challenging decisions, choosing between maple and bamboo decks. We’ve already shown the differences between these materials, and it’s up to you which to prioritize. But let’s go through a few more considerations.
- Cost – We left you with a short price list to help you visualize what fits your budget.
- Skating environment – Just because one board is durable does not mean it’s the only choice to go for. Find a design that matches your terrain choices.
Diversity among skateboards isn’t bad at all. It pushes skaters to learn and master the differences between parts, styles, and materials.
With the bamboo VS maple skateboard compared, we finally have an idea about the technical aspects of both materials. One could be flexible, but the other is more reliable and durable.
After all, it’s a matter of our priorities. So, let’s ensure that what we pick now will serve us best.
The related comparison you may be interested in:
- Skateboarding vs Surfing: Similarities and Difference?
- Electric Skateboard vs Electric Scooter: Which one to get?
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.