Skateboarding in the rain is not a good idea at all. 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.
We strongly advise you not to ride your skateboard in the rain or when it’s wet outside.
- Bearings will rust and seize, deteriorating from the inside.
- Grip tape can lose grip and sometimes starts to peel.
- The deck becomes waterlogged or delaminated – warping, losing pop, and gaining weight.
- The wheels can start to lose their grip.
- Parts of the trucks, bolts, and nuts can rust and break.
Why You Should Never Ride Your Skateboard If It’s Wet Or Raining
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 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.
1. Your Deck Can Warp And Get Waterlogged
The main reason that most skaters recommend not to skateboard in the rain or in wet conditions is that it is detrimental to the deck. Your board consists of multiple plies (usually maple wood or bamboo) that are glued together with an epoxy resin.
When water is absorbed into the layers, the epoxy resin loses hold between the plies. This can cause the skateboard to begin to delaminate, making it pretty much useless. If it’s lucky enough not to delaminate, it will most likely become waterlogged. It can still be ridden but will lose its pop and may become warped or deformed.
2. 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.
3. You’ll Ruin Your Bearings
Bearings are one thing that shouldn’t get wet if you can help it. They do have a 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 to 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.
If you want your bearings to last a long time, you need to take proper care of them. A decent set of Bones Reds or Bones Swiss can last year’s if you clean and lube them with Bones Speed Cream on occasion.
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.
4. Your Trucks Might Be Okay, But Some Parts May Rust
Trucks are tough and can take a lot of abuse. They’re usually the least of your worries. It’ll be okay if they get wet a couple of times, but a lot of water can get them to begin to rust.
The kingpin, nut, washes, hangar, and axles can all be affected by water. Even though they’re strong, it is still a great idea to dry them after riding if they get wet.
You can easily clean trucks, but it will require you to disassemble them. Take each part and dry them extremely well. Once the parts are all dry, assemble them and put them back on your board.
5. 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.
Start with taking your bearings out and cleaning them properly. 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.
Next, 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.
Lastly, you’re going to want to dry your 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 bylaw, 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)