Do you want to skate even though it’s raining outside? Did you leave your skateboard in the rain? Did your skateboard fall into a pool? Unfortunately, you’re in for some bad news.
Skateboarding in the rain will damage a skateboard. The board will become waterlogged and warp, the bearings will start to rust and lose lubrication, and your grip tape will loosen. Unless you are using a skateboard you don’t care about damaging, skateboarding in the rain is not a good idea.
You can dry, clean, and re-lubricate your hardware after they get wet and save them. Unfortunately, you cannot do the same for a deck and grip tape.
Can a Skateboard Get Wet?
Skateboards should not get wet.
There really isn’t much to say about this. Your hardware can be saved will a little tender love and care, but the wood of your deck will be permanently damaged. Once water gets into the wood fibers, they naturally expand. This warps the shape of your board. Further, the glue will begin to fail due to the changing shape of the board.
Though you can’t really predict how and when the glue might fail. You might think that your board is fine to ride still and technically you can still ride it. However, you’ll notice that it no longer pops the same and that it will break easier than a well taken care of board.
If this is a board for a young kid who isn’t learning tricks, then don’t worry about it. Kids will be kids and leave the board out in the rain. They can still ride a waterlogged board and probably won’t notice much of a difference. If your kid is trying to learn tricks though, maybe get a new board and use this as a teaching moment.
My personal advice is to be wary of wet shoes. I’ve been great about avoiding wet grass, puddles, and rainy days, but somehow the moisture on my shoes will get on my board. Be better than me!
If you’re interested in a breakdown of skateboard trucks including the best brands, check out our guide here.
What Happens When a Skateboard Gets Wet?
Skateboards are not designed for water. The oil that lubricates the bearings will wash away. Water will find its way between the epoxied layers of your board and weaken the adhesive. The board itself will warp and become more brittle.
The worst-case scenario is that the water ruins your board. For the most part, bearings can be cleaned, re-lubricated, and saved. Steel trucks won’t rust and moisture can be cleaned off of components that contain iron.
However, if your board becomes waterlogged, it will never be the same. It will feel soggy and damp. The board will feel heavier and not pop the same. The wood itself will become weakened and more susceptible to brittle fracture. This is where the real damage is done.
What to Do if My Skateboard Gets Wet
Most skaters will accidentally get their board wet at some point. If it’s just a splash from a puddle or water from a light drizzle, then it’s not a bit deal. However, if your skateboard is left in the rain or falls into a big puddle, so maintenance needs to be done.
If your skateboard gets wet, take the following steps.
- First, remove it from the water source immediately.
- If the board is visibly wet, use a towel to pat dry the exterior including the griptape.
- Remove the trucks and hardware from the deck itself. Use your towel to pat dry where the hardware connects to the board.
- Use the sun to dry your skateboard if possible. If you can’t sundry your board, then let it air out in a dry open space like a garage. Don’t use heat to dry it as this can damage the glue holding your board together.
- Remove the wheels and bearings from your hardware. Use paper towels to dry out the bearings and wheels. Put a little bit of WD-40 or skate-specific bearing lubricant on your bearings using an old toothbrush. Applying lubrication will stop your bearings from damaging themselves later on.
- Give your board and components time to dry. A day should be fine unless the local humidity is off the charts.
- Put your skateboard back together and get out there again. This time smarter and wiser.
That’s all the steps you need to take. Try not to be lazy, because time is really important here. The longer your board and hardware are exposed to water then the more likely they will end up becoming damaged.
How to Fix Wet Skateboard Bearings
This is answered in the previous subheading, but it’s a common enough question that we’ll restate it here.
Follow these steps to fix wet bearings.
- Remove your hardware from your skateboard.
- Remove your wheels and bearings from your skateboard.
- Dry them with a paper towel.
- Put a bit of WD-40 or WD-40 or skate-specific bearing lubricant on your bearings. This is the key to saving your bearings.
- Put your board back together and go skate.
Skateboard bearings are not too expensive, but you should always try and save them when you can. Being wasteful is never a great idea even if you can afford it. Check out the following tutorial because it’s great. Though, the guy in the video goes the extra mile and leaving the bearings overnight in oil part really isn’t necessary.
How to Tell if a Skateboard is Waterlogged?
After a skateboard becomes waterlogged, there isn’t much you can do to save it. You of course can still skate on it, but it won’t pop the same and the board itself will become looser as the wood warps and the epoxy holding the board together is affected.
You can tell if a skateboard is waterlogged by doing the following:
- Feel the deck with your hand to see you can feel moisture.
- Drop the deck onto concrete and listen to the sound. How does it sound? Is it normal or does it sound dull and muted? If it doesn’t sound right then you are likely water-logged.
- Ride the board and try to ollie or any other tricks that require you to pop the tail. Does it feel heavier and does it not pop as it should? Is the sound of the pop duller? If so then the board is likely water-logged.
The most reliable way to diagnose a waterlogged board is by the sound it makes and by how it rides. You will be able to tell a difference with both. Your board might also simply feel like it is holding moisture when you touch it. It’s a little harder to quantify a “wet feel” though.
If you want to know about how much a new complete or custom skateboard will cost and where to buy it you can check out our guide here.
How to Fix a Water Logged Skateboard
If your board is truly waterlogged, then there is no fixing it. You should look into getting a new board and maybe keep this one around just in case you want to cruise on a rainy day.
I know this sucks to hear, but a waterlogged board simply will never pop like it used to, it will break quicker, and the wood will likely start to warp and change shape. Water will expand the wood fibers and degrade the glue between the layers of your board.
The damage has already been done.
Get a new board and this time be more careful about getting it wet.
Can You Skateboard on Wet Roads?
Practically speaking you can ride on wet roads with a skateboard. But, you risk hydroplaning and you will lose control of your board much easier. Also, as already mentioned, getting your skateboard wet will damage it potentially beyond repair.
Skateboarding on wet roads is generally not a good idea. The skateboard’s wheels will easily slip causing you to fall more often. The moisture will likely soak into your board and hardware causing damage. If it is wet outside, the best thing to do is to go to an indoor skatepark.
If you truly want to skate in the rain, use an old board that you don’t care about damaging. Find spots with coarse concrete so that the wheels don’t slip so easily and try to only skate flat ground.
A halfpipe or bowl is not possible to skate in the rain. You will slip out and hurt yourself.
Some people think skating in the rain isn’t such a bad idea and only does minimal damage, but do so at your own risk. Personally, I avoid the rain whereas I could easily go to an indoor park or just find a quiet parking garage to skate.
Places to Skate When It Rains
Sometimes is can be hard to think of any alternatives of places to skate when it rains. So I made a little list that help me. This probably isn’t too original, but it might give you some ideas.
Quiet Parking Garages
Go up to a higher or lower floor where there aren’t so many cars and just skate away. I’ve had great success with local parking garages. The risk here are security guards. Sometimes they will ask you to leave, but sometimes they’ll just wave as they pass. It really depends.
If they ask you to leave, just leave.
This might not be an option for some people, but my local city has some great bridge underpasses that stay dry when it rains. There usually is no one there and although the space is pretty limited, it’s enough to practice some flat-ground tricks.
Indoor skateparks are great for a rainy day.
You’ll likely have to pay a fee to get inside that might be around $5-$15. Though this can definitely be worth it if it’s been rainy all week and you’re just itching to skate. There are always good people to get tips and tricks from at the skatepark too so the park is worth the price.
However, not everyone has access to an indoor park, especially if they live in a small town or in the country.
These are really small dry patches under pavilions in the park. Sometimes you won’t find these at your park or they will only have grass underneath.
Occasionally though, you get lucky and find a great little flat ground practice area. You won’t be able to stretch out much as it’ll likely be a small space, but you can work on your kickflips in peace.
If you want to learn about how often you should practice according to skaters, then check out our guide here.
Is Cold Bad for a Skateboard?
Sometimes we just store our boards in the truck of our car or our garage. However, these places aren’t temperature-controlled and the board might get very hot or very cold. But does the cold damage a skateboard?
Generally, cold weather won’t damage a skateboard. In cold temperatures, materials shrink which causes stress and cracking in brittle materials. Concrete is a good example and this causes potholes. Wood, however, is relatively flexible and cold temperatures won’t cause it to crack. The skateboard’s metal hardware components will also be generally unaffected.
That being said, your board will experience some mechanical stress from becoming extremely cold so if this gets you nervous just bring your board inside your home. That way you and your skateboard can snuggle up as you go to sleep every night.
Or yea, something like that.
In conclusion, skateboards and water generally don’t mix. Getting your board wet will waterlog and warp your deck, loosen your grip tape, and remove some of the lubrication of your bearings. Unlubricated bearings will spin slower and damage themselves and your trucks over time.
If you don’t care about damaging your board, then you can skate in the rain. Just be careful to only skate flat ground with preferably coarse concrete to grip on.
Getting your board too hot or cold generally won’t affect it much. It will cause a bit of mechanical stress, but it’s really not a big deal. Wood is a flexible material.
So that’s it. Thanks for reading and look out for more content and articles from Board and Wheels.