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.
Can You Skateboard in the Rain?
While it is technically possible to skateboard in the rain, it is important to consider the potential consequences and risks involved. Skateboarding in wet conditions can lead to various issues that may compromise both the performance of your skateboard and your personal safety.
- Component Damage: Rain and moisture can be detrimental to the different components of your skateboard. As mentioned earlier, the deck can absorb water, leading to warping, delamination, and loss of pop. Grip tape can become slippery and lose traction, increasing the chances of your feet slipping off the board. Bearings are susceptible to rust and corrosion, affecting their smooth rotation and overall performance. Even the trucks can rust when exposed to water. These damages can be costly to repair or may require replacing the affected parts entirely.
- Reduced Traction: Wet surfaces significantly reduce the grip between your skateboard’s wheels and the ground. This lack of traction can make it challenging to maintain control and balance while riding. Sudden movements, sharp turns, or attempts at tricks can result in sliding out or losing stability, increasing the risk of falls and injuries.
- Increased Risk of Accidents: Skateboarding in the rain introduces additional hazards and risks. Wet surfaces become slick, making it harder to brake effectively. This can lead to longer braking distances and reduced ability to stop or slow down quickly, potentially resulting in collisions or accidents. Puddles and standing water on the ground can also hide obstacles or debris, making it difficult to anticipate and avoid potential hazards.
- Safety Concerns: Skateboarding in wet conditions poses safety concerns not only for the skateboarder but also for others sharing the environment. Reduced visibility due to rain can make it harder for drivers, pedestrians, or other skateboarders to see and react to your movements. Wet conditions may also impact the grip of your shoes on the grip tape, increasing the likelihood of your feet slipping off the board, especially with worn-out or inadequate footwear.
While some skateboarders may choose to disregard these concerns and ride in the rain, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks involved. Skateboarding in wet conditions should only be considered with caution and after evaluating the circumstances. If you decide to skateboard in the rain, it is crucial to prioritize safety by wearing appropriate protective gear, adjusting your riding style to the conditions, and being extra vigilant of potential hazards.
However, it is generally recommended to avoid skateboarding in the rain altogether, as the risks outweigh the enjoyment or convenience it may provide in the short term. It is better to wait for dry weather or seek alternative skateboarding options, such as indoor skateparks or covered areas, to ensure the longevity of your skateboard and reduce the chances of accidents or injuries.
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)
Tips for Skateboarding in Wet Conditions
Skateboarding in wet conditions can be challenging and potentially dangerous due to reduced traction and increased risks of slipping or losing control. However, if you find yourself in a situation where skateboarding in the rain is unavoidable, here are some tips to help you navigate wet conditions more safely:
- Choose the Right Wheels: Consider using softer wheels with a higher durometer rating. Softer wheels tend to provide better grip on wet surfaces compared to harder wheels. Look for skateboard wheels specifically designed for wet conditions or ones with a softer formula that offers improved traction.
- Adjust Your Riding Style: Adapt your riding style to wet conditions. Maintain a more relaxed and controlled approach, reducing your speed and avoiding sudden movements or quick turns. Smooth and gradual motions will help you maintain stability and reduce the risk of sliding out.
- Be Mindful of Surface Conditions: Pay close attention to the surface you’re riding on. Different materials, such as concrete, asphalt, or painted surfaces, can react differently to water, affecting traction levels. Wet metal surfaces, like rails or ramps, can be especially slippery, so exercise caution when riding on them.
- Avoid Puddles and Standing Water: Steer clear of puddles and standing water whenever possible. Not only can they decrease your traction, but they can also conceal hazards or debris that could lead to accidents or damage to your skateboard.
- Maintain a Balanced Stance: Ensure you maintain a well-balanced stance on your skateboard. Keep your weight centered over the board and distribute it evenly between your front and back foot. This stability will help you maintain control and react quickly to any unexpected situations.
- Wear Proper Footwear: Choose skate shoes with good grip and traction. Look for shoes that have a tread pattern designed to handle slippery surfaces. Avoid shoes with worn-out soles or low-quality materials that may further compromise your traction on wet surfaces.
- Check and Clean Your Bearings: Prior to riding in wet conditions, make sure your bearings are clean and properly lubricated. Water can accelerate the corrosion process, so ensure your bearings are adequately protected with lubrication. Regularly inspect and clean your bearings after riding in wet conditions to prevent rust and maintain optimal performance.
- Be Prepared for Longer Braking Distances: Keep in mind that braking distances can be longer on wet surfaces. Allow for more time and space to slow down or stop, and avoid sudden braking or quick stops that may result in loss of control.
- Prioritize Safety: Always prioritize your safety when skateboarding in wet conditions. If you feel uncomfortable or uncertain about the conditions, it’s best to wait for better weather or find an indoor skateboarding facility. Remember to wear protective gear, such as a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads, to reduce the risk of injuries.
While skateboarding in wet conditions is generally discouraged, following these tips can help mitigate risks and improve your overall safety when faced with unavoidable wet riding situations. Remember to use your judgment and prioritize caution to ensure an enjoyable and safe skateboarding experience.
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.