Get a grip. Don’t buy Pennyboards

Penny skateboards have their value right in their names – a penny.

For those who don’t know, Penny skateboards is a company that manufactures retro styled skateboards. They are shaped to resemble 1970 era skateboards that were made of plastic.

The small size of the skateboards make them easy to store and carry. It is also their size that makes them dangerous. There’s barely any room to properly place your feet on the surface. My feet were left hanging off the edges by several inches which made leaning to turn all the more difficult.   Penny does sell larger “nickel” series boards which are about 27 inches in length. That’s still not as long as a regular street skateboard but it’s a far cry from the micro boards most students seem to purchase.

The largest safety hazard these boards possess is they are sold assembled without grip tape.

Grip tape is the sandpaper like paper that goes  on top of most skateboards on long boards. It’s purpose is very simple: to grip you.

Go to any Walmart or Kmart and look at the section where the pre-built skateboards are. Despite being of an absolutely terrible quality, they all come with grip tape.

To the individual who has just started skateboarding or simply wants to look trendier than an Urban Outfitters summer catalog, a penny board seems like a good idea. They retail for approximately $100 with even cheaper imitations online and are sold both in stores and online pre-built. The average student who purchases one will assume they are good to go and while they will indeed be able to roll around it will by no means be safe.

An imitation Penny Skateboard. Notice the toes hanging off the edges of the deck.


I’ve seen over a dozen students riding small penny boards, book bags in tow and no grip tape. I’ve even seen people ride them in the rain. You shouldn’t even be riding in the rain with regular skateboards that have good grip tape.

Pennyboards are small fun boards for those who like a challenge, but I do not recommend them for beginner and recreational skateboarders or just about anyone who doesn’t want a challenging experience riding.

Without grip tape they are unstable. Even with grip tape the grooves on the boards upper part make tearing through the tape much easier. If the tape stays on and doesn’t begin to peel or tear the actual board itself is not as responsive as a traditional wooden board or “deck.”  The trucks, the aluminum turning mechanism under the board, are engineered off technology that predates the very era the whole skateboard seeks to imitate. They are narrow and don’t provide for much stability, best suited for straight lines or slalom style skating.

If you want to properly get into skateboarding around campus effectively, look into “long boards” or for a more compact option “cruiser skateboards.”

A Penny may cost around $100 and comes in a variety of attractive colors, but for performance  and safety my extra $50 to $100 will go to a cruiser or long board with wider trucks, a wooden deck and most importantly of all- some grip.

About the Author

Diego Saldaña
: Opinion Director, Broadcast Major. Interests: Vintage motorcycles, cycling, collecting vinyl records, history.

43 Comments on "Get a grip. Don’t buy Pennyboards"

  1. Technogramps | May 14, 2016 at 3:27 PM | Reply

    Says the one who is probley a pro skateboarder… On the wii

  2. My first board was a Penny board brother, they’re solid cruisers. I didn’t really have a problem with riding, turning, power sliding, or 50-50s. It’s really just all preference honestly. The grooves on the top portion of the deck acts as a grip, plus I’m sure people will be wearing Vans or something when they ride a Penny Board, and those shoes have plenty of grip, but I’m sure you know that.

  3. No offense, but this seems like this was written by someone that’s bad at riding penny boards. They are extremely fun downhill and easy to carve with around campus, just loosen your truck’s a bit.

  4. “Get a grip don’t buy penny boards” in my opinion you need a good ol’ five finger kiss

  5. Below Average Person, Above Average Skater | June 30, 2016 at 11:45 PM | Reply

    Penny boards are actually really easy to ride and if you want more grip you can wrap grip tape around them. I prefer penny boards because you have more control over its movements compared to other boards because of how small it is. if you have giant feet tho it may not be as fun for you, still not even hard to ride. They’re great for cruising and the wheels they come with are pretty good.

  6. I’ve skated literally ever style of board there is. Skateboards, long boards, all different types of cruisers, and I even have a Freebord (look up some videos guys, it’s intense) and I have to say, the Z flex cruisers, and penny boards are my absolute favorite. I got tired of the same old street skating so I pretty much skate down hill, banks, and pools. I’m a 21 year old who’s been skating for 13 years. And bud, you have no idea what you’re talking about. For one, you’re wearing work boots on a board that’s 22 inches long and 6 inches wide STUPID. You don’t seem like a skater of any sort, so your opinion on any skating topics, is unnecessary and frankly irrelevant. You’re speaking from a place of ignorance. Late the real skaters talk about skating.

  7. I agree with you don’t buy penny boards there pretty terrible… But for everthing else you said, NO NO NO NO! First off plastic mini cruisers are grooved for grip so that they don’t require grip tape retard and for the wooden ones They are grip taped and the grip tape does not peel off you must be putting it on wrong i’ve had my wooden mini cruiser for two years and i haven’t experienced any of these problems. Secondly, your talking and your feet stopping you from turning freely!? 1. How big are you feet? (I’m size 7 UK) 2. How loose are your trucks? Not to mention my first board ever was a mini cruiser and it was so easy for me to pick up on. You are obviously not an experience skate probably a pro skate on the nintendo wii though.

  8. You know, Penny sells grip tape. That’s why you’re complaining about them, right? If you REALLY want an extra grip, pick it up for less than $10. Yes, it will rip faster because of the board’s waffle design. But they are $7 bucks, so seriously? I doubt that you would need it, because the boards actually are stable and the . Sounds like you had a bad experience riding. Try it again! You might like it. The Penny boards are also extremely easy to ride. I have seen many a student learning to ride them. For some, it is instinctive, for others, they learn it within five minutes. Also, pennyboarding on a crap pennyboard is a lot safer than doing tricks on a good skateboard.

    – A Pennyboarder

    FYI, Pennyboards are worth more than a penny. Just thought to let you know.

  9. Sebastian Schlümpfe (class of 2015) shoulda written this article, not some poser that rides AND criticizes pennyboards. He was well known to build boards and sell them to people around campus, not to mention he’s a professional downhill rider.

  10. For the mix of size and portability, Penny Board(and it’s far cheaper knock-offs), are superior for commuting around campus. I need a board that would fit in/on my backpack without looking weird and the size is perfect for that. Additionally, the small deck gives you extreme maneuverability allowing you to swerve around walking people on campus.

  11. Penny boards at bomb you clearly can’t rode a skate board at all if your complaining go back to your moms basement jerking off to 2 girls one cup

  12. If Your Agreeing to some points of this and want a cruiser thats out of the norm yet super original I handmade Crusier and longboards i currently just do it in my local area but am looking to branch out. If you would like a one of a kind board made by a genuine skater and his skating friends then get a Pippinboard they extremely affordable for the quality and strength that they have. I have also meet with many local pro skater that have sadly turned to drugs instead of the sport, but in there times of sobriety they tell me how much they love the boards and how appreciative they are.

  13. Thought to leave a comment on here. I have been skating around Sydney now for 7 months on both the 22″ and 27″ Penny. I have grip taped them ’cause I like to have a little more grip when I skate downhill and for sharp turns. I also have some Sharkwheels on, from California, and that makes a difference.
    Now, coming to the comparison: I personally prefer the 27″ ’cause it rides a little bit slower and gives more room for feet. Plus if you are more than 175 cm and 70 kg I would defo suggest the 27″.
    They weight almost the same to me, cannot see much of a difference.
    I have used the 22″ when traveling to Hawaii and would take it with me on holidays but for the city I still think the 27″ has an edge.
    And yeah grip tape is a good idea. The one I have on never ever came off.
    Pennyboards are not for everyone; for those who surf they are, together with carvers, a good option (I don’t like longboards too much ’cause they’re too heavy to carry around).
    The article is full of bullshit.

  14. I learned how to ride a skateboard in a penny board. I ride without grip tape and even in the rain. I have fallen off twice in the 8 months that I’ve had it because I was being stupid and tried to ride over some big acorns and the other time was because I was on narrow sidewalk and I ran into the grass on the side by mistake. I think penny boards are just fine and if you want to ride a penny board then do so. Don’t listen to this guy.

  15. Besides, he’s wearing Timbs.

  16. AND coming back to this I just realized he doesn’t even have a real penny board. At least it looks like it judging that there’s no “Penny” logo on the circle in the middle.

  17. This dude is just a hater. Penny Boards are dope to ride in. Plus they make great photos on Instagram lol.

  18. So this article was obviously written by a complete moron. The grooved waffle design on the top of the deck is to make it so you don’t necessarily need griptape. And if you want griptape, Penny sells fitted sheets of griptape for $7. Next, if you think that having griptape is so necessary on a penny board, stop trying to do 360 flips and laser flips. There is nothing wrong with the trucks and the technology that they were engineered with. And you might not believe it, but some of us have to go to class every day, even if it is raining, and penny boards and skateboards are the most practical way to get from point a to point b on campus. Also, you are trying to ride a 22 inch skateboard with work boots on. What the fuck do you expect to happen. Just judging by your ignorance and stupidity in what you have said, your opinion has been made somewhat irrelevant and pointless.


  20. Jed Stephens | April 24, 2017 at 1:04 PM | Reply

    Penny’s are the bomb

  21. Hey guys, I’m a 20 year skater an I don’t like penny boards, sorry I just don’t like them. Most stuff I do is vert or downhill (beyond 30 MPH) I don’t like penny boards because they suck at both of these activities. This doesn’t mean they suck in general, I’m just writing this post to say they suck and be controversial.

  22. Get the size you need. The 22″ board is really a kids board probably,as old as Elementary school aged ? The 27″ for youths from Jr High to college depending upon how heavy you are. They sell 2 sizes for trucks, 3 & 4 inches and that’s for stability. But since the Penny is a prepackaged build for the most part, the 22″ deck has the 3″ trucks and 27″ build is the 4″ trucks. Again back to stability. If you need this kicktail style, there are longboard wood versions to be found online. Those range from 30-44″ and will have 6 (160 mm) or 7″ (180 mm) longboard trucks. Back in my skateboarding childhood I could ride one this small, as you get older and bigger, you need a long(er)board with trucks with a wider stance and longer wheelbase for stability. I ride a 44″ Sector 9 Peru with Paris 180 trucks. I’m using it to cruise, not going to be bombing hills or at a skate park doing tricks and jumps.

  23. Im sorry but this article is just so stupid. Just because you cant skate, doesnt mean its the fault of the board. If youre a fairily good skater than you will have no problems and so much fun riding a 22″ Pennyboard. Theire made for cruisin in the city and are therefore really small, so you can carry them around easily. Please dont write about stuff you dont know shit about.

    Kind regards
    Daily 22″ Pennyboard user

  24. I switched to a Penny board from a 4ft longboard and it is FAR easier than riding a longboard, plus the small size makes it such an agile board, sharp turns are effortless. I’m sure this article was written by some dude who tried out a penny board for the first time and fell flat on his ass! The penny board, like all skateboard styles, takes time to get used to but it is by far my favorite thing to skate around on.

  25. This post is very good and more necessary idea. i have nothing to say about this post

  26. Omg stfu, you’re telling people not to buy a board because you’re terrible. I was about to go on a rant but the real skaters here made all the good points. Get a scooter so you won’t fall on your ass.

  27. More elitist bullshit, as usual

  28. I am passionate about skating. Though I am not a professional, just leaning. Well I maintain my fitness for skating. Now I am practicing on electric skateboard only, but very soon I will start practicing on roller skate board. Well, I was thinking about to try penny board. Luckily I have found your article and it is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for your tips.

  29. Penny and Nickel boards get such a bad rap and I really don’t know why. They’re a completely different category and should be treated as such. If you just want something cheap that can fit in your backpack for cruising around? Go for it!

  30. I scored a Penny 5 years ago because they indeed imitate banana boards from the 70s , which I learned on and rode religiously. I rarely ride anything but plastic, it’s soooo much more mellow than the rest. If it wasn’t for Penny, I wouldn’t be riding a board now at age 57.

  31. This article is extremely redundant and irrelevant, any beginners looking towards purchasing a penny board should listen to this moron.

  32. they are only dangerous if you are an idiot who can’t ride skateboards


  33. Hello, Diego
    i’m agree with your concept. look, It is true that penny boards are a bit riskier than other boards. But penny boards are required for a beginner. Because of it’s weight and easy to carry facility, it’s enough demanded for the children, who wants to learn to ride.

    Thank You

  34. Stingraymaster | May 5, 2020 at 6:53 PM | Reply

    Your just a hater, probably ate shit on a penny lol.

  35. hey nice shoes, dingus

  36. This is very awesome and useful post. Thank you for the the post.

  37. Okay well for one im not a skater or anything of sorts I’m a freshman also yes its hard for a first timer it took me awhile but after you get the hang of it you can cruise around. Then here comes the second thing not everyone wants a penny board to do some tricks its just to get around

  38. Okay well for one im not a skater or anything of sorts I’m a freshman also yes its hard for a first timer it took me awhile but after you get the hang of it you can cruise around. Then here comes the second thing not everyone wants a penny board to do some tricks its just to get around

  39. This article is stupid just cause you suck at skateboarding doesnt mean it cause your board.
    Pennys are great. good for carrying around.I learned how to ride in like 2 days of practice.I would agree dont go to the skatepark dont do tricks but its good going to school going around the neighborhood.dont listen to this guy.Im in 10th grade I skate to school.It fits in my locker bro.

  40. penny boards are cooler than longboards bc people like you fall and cry about it. i roll in to quarter pipe i axle stall first try on penny board. bend your knees, turn with your big toe/ball of foot. rub some dirt in your scrape.

  41. “street skateboards”?? I’m sorry, you lost me right there man. Write a better article, stop picking on small boards ’cause you’re too much of a weenie to balance on one.

  42. Robert Hogward | December 26, 2020 at 7:49 PM | Reply

    Thanks for the article!
    Because of the size and light weight of penny boards, they are good for commuting because they are very handy.I can use them for going to school or just strolling in the park or cruising on my terrace or the streets.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.