People may sometimes think that it is irrational to feel that your skateboard can get severe damage from water. But, since skateboards can and do get wet, they can sometimes get irreversibly damaged by the water or moisture.
The amount of water will dictate whether or not there is a higher or lower chance of moisture damage. This means that you can ride a skateboard in the rain, but it is not advisable to submerge it in water or leave it out in the rain.
As you probably already know (but may have never considered it), skateboards are made out of materials and design that does not include water repel. This means that if a board gets left in the rain, tossed in a pool at a party, or hosed down in an attempt to clean it, there is a chance that it will never work properly again.
It is enough to experience this once, and you will always know that your skateboard is waterlogged by the way it looks, feels, and sounds when you try to ride it.
It is virtually impossible to keep the skateboard away from an absolutely potential water source. If it does get wet, make sure to disassemble it and dry every piece. There are ways to prevent and service a waterlogged skateboard, but keeping it more on the dry side is the most secure way to use a skateboard for several years.
Table of Contents
How Do You Know if Your Skateboard Is Waterlogged?
Those who don’t have much experience may seem like a higher science, but once is enough to upgrade your rookie status. Any doubt that you have water in your skateboard (or if you get it wet), there are a few simple things you can do to determine this.
Start by taking the board out on a quiet street, you can do a few ollies and listen to the snap that a dry board makes. It can be described as crisp and clear, while a waterlogged board will feel like dragging cardboard during elevation, with a dull sound. Another similar sound it may make is if you have a creaking floorboard.
You can also visually inspect the board by looking for a warp or dip in the deck. Consider using a level to determine if the deck is straight or not. Pay attention to the grip tape, and if there is any fraying, peeling, or discoloration, there is reasonable doubt that moisture has penetrated the wood of the board.
Water clogging signs include:
- Tacky glue
- Crack or split the board
What Happens to the Skateboard?
Because the deck of the skateboard is usually made of wood, it can become soft and deform when in contact with water. Even after you dry it out, the wood is permanently changed and it can become soft and brittle. What people usually become aware of this is that the board does not ‘have a crisp pop’ any longer.
Another important change that happens to the body of the skateboard is that, when they get wet, the bearings can lose their lubrication while the bolts can rust. Failed lubrication equals slower skateboards, while the bearings start to weaken inside out. Because of this a skateboard will lose its mobility and will not run as smoothly as you may be used to. Rusty bolts can also lead to breakage, but a gradual one, rather than suddenly.
Wet skateboards can also impact the grip tape work, as their purpose may not change – the provided fraction to the feet when on board, the adhesion of the type, with repeated wetting and drying can impact and security of the rider. Wet grip tape will start to peel off the deck in specific circumstances.
Skateboard trunks are able to withstand water for some time, but getting them wet too frequently will start to rust. Depending on the type of materials your wheels are made of, they can be (in)tolerant on water. Wooden wheels are not good, but those made from synthetic hard rubber can get wet as much as you want – in the case that you can manage to isolate the wooden and metal pieces of the board from it.
Wet bearings may not seem like such huge damage, as they are cheap, right? Wrong. Keep the funds for additional investment if you can feel the joy of maintaining a single board that will last much longer if you maintain each component appropriately.
If they are exposed to the inner workings of the bearings, they will start to oxidate. It may not sound like a huge problem individually, but if you are riding the board and your wheel comes flying off because of a rusty bearing- there are quite a few problems happening here. Maintenance is half of the work to prolong the life of any item.
The most important part of a skateboard, or any type of board, is the deck. It is made from several ply’s of maple wood (or sometimes bamboo), that is glued together with epoxy resin.
Water penetration to these layers can cause the glue to lose cohesion, making the layers potentially loose. The result is a useless delaminated board. The other option is if it is waterlogged, it can be used, but the damage is already done. The wooden fibers will expand, causing the entire deck to warp or deform.
The wheels on any skateboard are usually hard, and they have less grip when compared to longboard wheels. Now, even if they are small, the contact patch surface is not able to produce enough grip, causing your board to slide if you attempt to make a sharp or even mellow turn. A sliding skateboard is a potential hazard that can cause accidents and endanger your health.
Slippery Grip Tape
Even though it is cheap, why expose it to unnecessary tearing? Older grip tape can already be sanded down and will make the surface of the deck more slippery. This means that the deck can absorb more water. In the event that the grip tape is starting to peel off, you should definitely consider replacing it.
Trucks Are More Resilient to Water
When compared to other segments of the skateboard, trucks are strong and they are usually the least of a skateboarder’s worry.
Being exposed to water once or twice may not be as damaging, but over time they will start to rust. Sometimes this can impact the kingpin and nut, as well as the hangar and axes. So if you ever get your skateboard wet, it is always important to know how to take it apart, appropriately dry it, and finally be able to reassemble it back together.
So Can You Fix a Waterlogged Skateboard?
There are some things you can do to reduce the potential consequences. Once you get wet, for example, if you get caught in the rain or run across and over a large puddle, try to dry the board as soon as possible.
It is virtually impossible to keep the skateboard away from an absolutely potential water source for specific occasions. If and when it does, it is very important for you as a rifer to know how to assemble it. Always start by taking the bearing out and cleaning them properly, as well as all other important things to know every piece as some people are on. Use a nail remover to clean and dry the bearings, as re-lubes them using silicone lube can be revoked on them.
Get Everything Dry
Here is a checklist you can write or print out as a reminder on what to do when you have your skateboard go through the water:
- Remove the hardware, disconnect the deck from the trucks, and towel dry everything
- Remove the wheels and dry the inner and outer parts of the bearings. Use a lubricant on the bearings to prevent any potential rusting
- Put the deck in the sun to get it dry, or air dry it in a warm and dry room.
A great way to be sure whether the skateboard is dry or not is to tap it, and listen to the sound it makes. If it sounds like usual (when it is dry), you are good to go. Reassemble the board and it is good to go out and about.
Skateboards get wet from riding through a puddle, or even from wet shoes. But it is important to always ‘naturally’ dry it, meaning that you should not expose any piece of the skateboard to heat. Particularly the deck, as it can melt down the epoxy adhesive and weaken the bond with the wood.
Alternatives to Consider
We all know there are those rainy days that still tempt us to skate on wet concrete. It is great if we put on good protection from the elements, but our skateboards and other similar items can really get busted on such adventures. There are either other options to ride around town or places that are dry and skateboard friendly.
These may seem like a slightly different story, but they are even more sensitive from some perspectives. The advertisement may promote the durability of the material (when compared to wood), but it will not provide information that the risk of damaged electrical and dry systems is possible after repeated or prolonged exposure to wet conditions.
Dry Skateboard-Friendly Places
Pull up your maps and look for any nearby indoor skatepark. There is a high probability you don’t have one in the vicinity. If you don’t want to make the effort of driving, or commuting in any way, to the nearest one, consider some other alternatives. There are underground garages, abandoned warehouses, metro stations, and other dry objects that are not as exposed to the traffic, people, and the outside weather.
Don’t forget that there might be a security guard somewhere in the area, you can either ask them politely (but they will rarely understand). Be prepared to leave once they are on your tail. Keep in mind that you should always be polite, as doing the opposite will ruin the sensational feeling of a perfectly good, dry skating day experience.