Skateboarding is an extremely fun sport but can you skateboard in the rain? Unfortunately, skateboarding in rain or wet conditions is not safe and will cause irreparable damage to your skateboard.
The deck’s wood soaks up water and begins to warp, the bearings can rust and seize, and it can cause the trucks to rust as well. It’s not a good idea to skate in the rain. However, if you are already skateboarding when it starts to rain, try getting home quickly or seek shelter for your board. Even a garbage bag could help do the trick.
What Happens to a Skateboard When it Gets Wet?
We’ve all wanted to skateboard outside when we’ve been going through a spell of rain that lasts days on end. I’ve been there before too. But rain causes so much damage to every component of a skateboard and can be a cause for some pretty nasty injuries.
Some wheels and bearings can deal a little bit better than others in wet conditions. But all wheels will lose grip on a slick surface. So let’s dive into how water can affect each part of your skateboard.
- The deck can warp and become waterlogged
- Grip tape can become slippery, lose traction, and peel
- Bearings will rust and seize
- Wheels can lose grip
Your Deck Can Warp And Get Waterlogged
Most skaters recommend against skateboarding in the rain or wet conditions because it is damaging to the deck. Your board is made of multiple wooden plies (usually maple or bamboo) that are glued together with an epoxy resin.
When water gets trapped between the layers of wood, it starts to break down the glue that holds everything together. This is called delamination, and once it starts, there’s not much you can do to fix it other than get a new board. If your board doesn’t delaminate but does soak up some water, it will lose its springiness (pop) and might warp or bend out of shape.
Your Grip Tape Can Become Slippery And Peel
Grip tape is one of the cheapest parts of a skateboard, but it still sucks when the grip tape gets wet. As grip tape comes into contact with water, it can lose a lot of the grip, causing it to become extremely slippery. Especially older grip tape.
It may also start to peel away from the board, allowing water to soak into the deck. If the grip tape becomes slippery but does not peel from the board, you’ll most likely need to replace the grip tape. Just make sure that the deck itself is not warped or waterlogged. If it is, you might be in need of a new complete skateboard.
You’ll Ruin Your Bearings
Bearings are one thing that shouldn’t get wet if you can help it. They do have protective shielding, but it is not resistant to water. And even though bearings aren’t an expensive part of a skateboard (unless you buy high-end ones like Bones Swiss bearings) you still shouldn’t waste them on a bit of water.
The inner housing and ball bearings will oxidize and rust. Once this has begun, it’s time for a new set of bearings. If they only had a tiny bit of exposure to water or rain, you can attempt to live them back up if they’re sticking. It is entirely possible that they seize, though, and then you would definitely need a new set.
What happens is over time, the lube inside the bearings dissolves, deteriorating the bearings from within. Cleaning them is simple, doesn’t take long, and is the best defense against them deteriorating.
Your Wheels Might Lose Grip
Skateboard wheels are harder than longboard and cruiser wheels, the large soft wheels. And while longboard wheels have an easier time dealing with wet conditions, skateboard wheels do not.
Even if your skateboard wheels are soft, you might slide and lose control in wet conditions. That being said, every other part of your board is still at risk of being damaged by the water. This includes longboards and cruisers too. If you want to learn more about soft and hard skateboard wheels I have another article on that.
How To Avoid Getting Your Skateboard Wet
If you live in a climate that rains a lot, you have no other choice than to be careful and choose wisely when you skateboard.
Here are some great ideas for you if you do choose to skate in the rain:
- Avoid puddles. Although this may seem obvious, it still should be noted.
- Avoid skateboarding in heavy rain if possible.
- Dry off your board immediately when you are done skateboarding. Dry it carefully and completely. Make sure to use a dry towel and even a hairdryer if you have one available. The skateboard will most likely be useless if you leave it wet.
So if you feel an absolute need to skate in the rain, these are some ideas for you. You could also look into purchasing a Penny board. They are plastic skateboards with large, soft wheels, so the only thing that might get ruined are the bearings. One more thing – always make sure to be careful.
What To Do If And When Your Skateboard Gets Wet
Skateboards get wet sometimes. It can be from riding through a puddle, rain, or even from your wet shoes. When your board gets wet, you should remove all of the components that got wet.
Remove your bearings, and clean and dry them
You can use some nail polish remover to clean them, let them dry out on a paper towel, and then lube them with Bones Speed Cream. If you don’t clean them after they’ve gotten wet, they might rust or seize. It’ll start with a squeaking noise, and then the metals will begin to oxidize from the inside out.
Make sure to dry your wheels before putting the bearings back in.
Take off your trucks and dry them
Take your trucks off and dry them down with a towel. You should also remove the kingpin nut and disassemble the trucks completely. Remember to also dry the hardware that screws your trucks onto the board.
Dry the skateboard deck
These are commonly the part that takes the brunt of the damage when it comes to water damage. You could try to leave the board out in the sun, but if it’s grey out or still raining, you’ll need to resort to other methods. Get as much water off of the surface using a towel to prevent the wood from absorbing it.
The heat will remove the bond, but you can put a hairdryer on “cool mode” and try that. I highly suggest using both a towel and a hairdryer. Even if you were to use a hairdryer on the warm or hot modes, the $5 to $7 in grip tape is way cheaper than another board.
How Can You Skateboard When It’s Raining?
So it’s raining outside, but you still have the need to skateboard. We’ve all been there. Obviously, you could go to an indoor skatepark, but you actually have a few other options that don’t cost any money that you might not have thought about before.
You could go skateboard in an underground parking garage, a metro or bus station, an abandoned warehouse, or underneath one of those large metal gazebos at a park, granted that there isn’t too much wind.
It’s possible that you’ll be confronted by security or city bylaws, but they usually just politely ask you to leave. Just listen to them. The argument is not worth the fine.
Here are some of the best places for you to practice skateboarding during bad weather:
- Indoor skatepark
- Parking garage
- Abandoned buildings
- Your garage or basement
- You can practice on the carpet in your bedroom
- Your living room (if you’re allowed)
You should never skateboard in the rain as it can cause a lot of damage to every component of your skateboard. Instead, try to find a dry place to practice skateboarding if it is raining outside. And remember, if you get caught in the rain while skateboarding, try to cover up your board and find a dry place. Water and moisture are detrimental to your skateboard.
Once you get home make sure to dry it off and let it sit in a dry area. Preferably a room with a dehumidifier. To speed up the drying process, use a hair dryer. Learn more about fixing a waterlogged skateboard.