When deciding to buy a deck, think about why you're buying it. Are you looking to do trick or just ride around? Decks come in three shapes, mellow, medium and steep, referring to the concave of the board. If you're just looking to ride or are a beginner, a mellow deck is flatter and allows the rider to navigate easier. However, flatter decks are not good for tricks. If your looking to do a lot of tricks, a more concaved board will be conducive to more tricks. While the most important factor should be personal comfort, be sure to consider your needs before purchasing a deck.
Once you decide what you want to do on your board, its time to look at what kind to buy.

The biggest mistake of beginner skaters is buying a cheap board. Inexpensive boards break easier and can be expensive to repair. Go for a quality deck that will last longer and handle the wear and tear of a beginner. The average board is about 7 layers of ply and high quality boards use Canadian Maple. Once you pick your favorite designer, sizing is the next step.

When determining the size of your deck, there are several factors to consider. Your purpose for skating, your height and the type of tricks you will do are the most important. Boards range from 7.5 to 8.5 inches in width and 29 to 33 inches in length. If you plan to do street tricks and technical skating, like riding ledges or rails, you need a deck that is 8 inches wide or less as they are easier for tricks. If you are going to be skating in a park, in a pool or using ramps, choose a board between 8 and 8.5 inches as it will provide more stability. If you're looking to be an in between skater, decks ranging from 7.7 to 8.2 inches will work best for you.
The length of your deck should be determined by your height. The taller you are, the longer your board needs to be. If the deck is too long or too short, skating can be difficult and awkward. A deck length of 29 to 31.5 inches is best for heights 4' to 5'3" while heights 5'3" to 6'1" should find a deck from 31.5 to 32.5 inches. Anyone above 6'1" should get a deck between 32.5 and 33 inches.
The last and most crucial part of any deck is the design. Everything from the trucks and banners to your helmet and knee pads feeds off the design of your deck so make sure your deck fits your personality. These days, decks are as much a part of the skater look as the Vans, Dickies, and Logo Tees. Deck designs show your personal philosophy, style and brand loyalties. Making it your own is half the fun. Finding a board that you love, fits your needs and matches your personality can be tough but once you do, it is sure to create the ride of your life.