The Best Carbon Fiber Skateboards: A Comparison Review of All the Strongest Decks

This is my comparison review of all of the carbon fiber skate decks that I buy and skate. I’ll keep updating it as I go. As you read this, it is worth noting that I am an older skateboarder who started this review because I wanted to find which of these decks held their shape for me the longest.

I am still reviewing carbon fiber boards, so I will keep adding to this as time goes on.

Jump to:

The Santa Cruz VX Skateboard Deck Review
The Powell Flight Skateboard Deck Review
The Almost Impact Light Skateboard Deck Review

The Santa Cruz VX Skateboard Deck Review

Size I Skated:

8.0″ x 31.67″

Price paid:

$83 shipped with griptape.

Review:

The Santa Cruz VX Skateboard is a 5 ply canadian maple deck that has two proprietary layers which are likely carbon fiber based. I am a 37 year old skateboarder that is not throwing myself down large stair sets. However, I can still understand the appeal of getting this deck as I really wanted a deck that held its rigid pop a little longer than a standard 7 ply maple deck. That is exactly what I got. Reading other reviews online, one said that older skateboarders should avoid this like the plague as it was “unforgiving” due to it holding its shape so well. I don’t necessarily agree and that unforgivingness is the whole feature I bought this deck around. I wanted a deck that felt the same at week two as it did from the moment I stepped on it.

At the time of writing I was at week two and it is still holding its shape other than for the razor tail due to me relearning manuals and setting my tail down way too much. This board is not razor tail resistant. No wooden deck is. I land hard on rails and flatground tricks. Within the first few minutes of riding a deck, I will flip it over and see pressure cracks. I’ve been this way with every board I have ever ridden. This is the first deck where there is not a single pressure crack. I feel that results of that when I pop off the nose or tail and it still feels solid. If that sounds appealing to you, that is the real reason you should get this board. I would encourage you to look at the specs and pictures here. If you are still psyched to try it, I would encourage you to get it as its only $20 more than the other deck you would likely buy.

Half way mark – As I write this paragraph, I am about three weeks into skating this deck and it still has no pressure cracks. From just getting back into skating, I bail a lot and the toe side of my nose is starting to splinter. I can tell I am going to trade out this board due to razor tail long before it breaks.

How long did it last?

I am now 45 days in, and I am going to move on to another deck. This deck is still skateable, so I will save it and take it out again in a few months.

Reason stopped skating:

The shape of the tail became challenging to continue using. Razor tail that was sharp enough to cut my ankle was ultimately the reason I stopped skating this.

Would I buy another one?

Hell, yes. This was a fun deck to ride and helped me rekindle my love for skateboarding.

I look forward to skating more of these. The extra $20 wound up being worth it. It kept the deck strong, and I didn’t ever have a worry of not doing a trick because it would break the board. The way I see it, I paid 50% more for this deck and got more than that out of this deck.

My synopsis:

For a late 30s skater under 145 lbs, I probably didn’t need the vx deck. However, I am glad I got it. For relearning to skate, I felt that having a tail that kept its poppiness the entire time I rode it helped me progress immensely.

Days Skated:

45 days – That is about 15-20 more than a normal deck for me. I am estimating it around 108 hours of skating for me. I am estimating that this deck lasted me 45%-50% longer than a normal 7-ply deck.

Update: I actually wound getting another Santa Cruz VX deck because I enjoyed riding it more than the others, and during this pandemic it was really challenging to buy boards that would fit this review. I do have some more coming. However, at the moment, I am back on a VX deck.

The Cons:

  1. $20 – $30 more than a standard deck.
  2. It will get a razor tail just like every other deck that has maple layers. This is the reason I stopped skating it.
  3. Splintering on the sides of the nose and tail – Pro tip: Gorilla glue’s gel helps slow this down.

The Pros:

  1. It is much stronger than a normal maple deck.
  2. No pressure cracks. (Just like the Flight deck.)
  3. It keeps its pop longer than the standard deck.
  4. It is noticeably stronger, so you will try tricks you were hesitant to try.
  5. I was able to skate twice as long as a normal deck.

Here is a pick of the deck at 45 days once I took the trucks off. There were no pressure cracks what so ever.

Here is a picture of what the splintering looked like at 45 days. Please keep in mind that I am a 37 year old skater just getting back into this. My flip tricks smacked off the ground quite a bit.

To Buy a Santa Cruz VX Deck


The Almost Impact Light Skateboard Deck Review

Size I Skated:

8.0″ x 31.67″

Price paid:

$59 shipped with griptape.

Review:

The Almost skateboards Impact Light is a 7-ply american aple deck with a carbon fiber insert added into the top layer. The idea behind the impact light is that it is stronger than a normal 7-ply skate deck while still remaining light with only the one carbon fiber insert. Almost have a different line called the Impact plus that has carbon fiber inserts around the truck-mounting holes too. I still have yet to try that one. I chose the impact light because it was cheaper than the VX deck and said to have a 30 day breakage guarantee. I am learning that if these boards last 45 days, that is probably good enough for me as I give up on them due to razor tail more than breakage.

The first thing I noticed about the Almost Impact Light was its shape and overall lightness of this deck. The nose and tail are steep while the actual concave felt oddly flat to me. Within about two hours of skating, I got used to the shape. Eventually I grew to enjoy the pop and lightness enough to ignore its more flat shape.

I was really interested to see if the Almost Impact Light deck would hold its shape as well as the other decks with two carbon fiber layers. Since this deck only has a carbon layer as the top sheet, I found that it did start to feel like a nomal deck that gradually lost its pop. The most notable detail about it being closer to a normal deck was that it started to get pressure cracks by my trucks within an hour of skating it.

It is a light deck and cheaper than some of the other options mentioned on this post.

Reason stopped skating:

I stopped skating this due to its razor tail and gradual loss of shape.

This skateboard deck didn’t break, so I am going to leave it in my car for someone who might want to continue skating it.

Would I buy another one?

I’d probably just buy a standard almost deck without the carbon fiber to save a few bucks.

My synopsis:

This deck is not as strong as some of the other decks I rode for this project. It is less expensive and its main appeal is its lightness. If you’re looking for a carbon fiber deck specifically for its strength, buy a different deck. If you want a stronger deck that is lighter than a normal deck, then this is the skateboard for you.

Days Skated:

35 days – That is about 5 days more than a normal deck for me. I am estimating it around 85 hours of skating for me. That is 27% less skate time than the Santa Cruz VX deck. That said, it lasted me around 16% longer than a normal skateboard deck.

I don’t anticipate breaking this board with the way that I skate. Lately I’ve been perfecting a line where I 360 flip and then frontside bluntslide the Element flat bar. I land hard on some 360 flips, so it has been a good test for the board.

The Cons:

  1. $5 – $10 more than a standard deck.
  2. Razor tail
  3. Pressure cracks within the first hour

The Pros:

  1. Cheaper than a Santa Cruz VX or Powell Flight deck
  2. Lighter than a normal deck
  3. Lasted 5% longer than a normal 7-ply deck

Here is a picture of the long pressure crack. This was taken at day 35 when I took my trucks off to set up the next board.

Here is a picture of chip out of my nose looked like at 35 days right before I stopped skating it. This is from learning blunt slides to shuv it. My board kept smacking against the leg of the rail I was trying it on.

To Buy an Almost Impact Light Deck


The Powell Flight Skateboard Deck Review

Size I will Skate:

8.0″ x 31.45″
The 242 shape.

Price paid:

$83.95 shipped without grip tape.

Review:

The first detail I noticed about the Powell Flight deck is that the shape of the board is different than anything I’ve ever skated before. It was more oval shaped than what I am used to. I kept double-checking the Flight Deck size chart to see if I was really sent a 247 shape instead of the more common 242 shape which I ordered.


Here is an image of my deck that was marked with the 242 retail stickers against Powell’s Flight Deck size chart.

The Powell Flight Deck Size Chart Next to my deck which was labeld with the 242 stickers.

Based on the clarity of my tails’ dimension, it looks to really be the 242 that it was marked to be.

The strange part is that the 242’s contact points where the deck meet the nose and tail get wider than they were marked. Some feedback for Powell would be to indicate which is the more common shape and then to note the potential wider size.

I really noticed the wider-oval shape while doing flip tricks. The part of the deck where you will flick your tricks is wider. Mine measured 8.1 inches instead of the 8.0 inches it was marked to be.

So the first take away is the Powell flight deck is slightly larger (.1″) than the other comparable decks. Its carbon layers might make you overlook that small detail, though.

I got used to its shape within two hours of skating it. The wider size offers a larger nose and tail. I started to like that because it made tail and bluntslides easier thanks to having more surface to slide on. It will give you an extra split second to lock your trucks into the trick.

The next detail I noticed about this board was that it chipped more than the other boards I reviewed above. The carbon layers are strong. However, the wood in between those layers seemed weaker than usual (or in my case defective). In the first few hours of skating I got a small chip in my nose that ultimately became this 1.5 inch vertical crack that split through all 5 maple layers of the deck.

Like the other decks I reviewed above, this deck got razor tail quickly.

The wood was weak enough where my razor tail began to get chips in it. With the other skate decks, I didn’t get that as much. Here is a picture of the razor tail showing that it started to chip away.

Ultimately, it is a deck that doesn’t get pressure cracks and it holds its firmness. The drawback is that the wood used in between the carbon fiber layers is weaker than what the other carbon fiber decks use.

Reason stopped skating:

Its razor tail and the giant vertical crack between all of the wood layers. The carbon fiber layers were great, however, the wood used in this deck was brittle. It chipped and flaked away every time it hit the ground. Ultimately, it lost its shape and I traded it out for (another Santa Cruz VX deck).

Would I buy another one?

No.
It is possible the deck I got was defective. However, I enjoyed skating the VX deck more than this one.

My synopsis:

I expected more from the Powell Flight Deck.

It didn’t last me as long as the two-carbon fiber Santa Cruz VX deck or even the one-carbon fiber layer Almost Impact Light deck. That said, it did last me about 15% longer than a regular maple skateboard deck would have. It is entirely possible my deck had a defect.

Within the first four hours of skating the Powell Flight deck, my nose chipped. I actually went out to fill it will Gorilla Glue’s Gel to prevent it from chipping more. Ultimately, it didn’t work. That small chip became the large vertical crack that I shared a picture of above. The crack, flakes, and chips became the reasons I stopped skating this deck.

Days Skated:

35 days altogether it was 68.5 hours. I thought this deck would have got me closer to the 45 days or 108 hour mark and compare closer to the Santa Cruz VX deck. It didn’t.

I was able to skate the VX deck 37% longer than the flight deck.
I was even able to skate the Almost Impact light slightly longer than the Powell Flight deck, and it was around $20 cheaper.

The Cons:

  1.  The deck is .1 inches wider than how it was marked right over the trucks. I ordered an 8.0″ deck and it is 8.1″ right over the trucks. That makes getting used to flip tricks more challenging.
  2. Its tail wears like every other wooden deck. It is eventually going to get razor tail.
  3. It is about $25-$30 more expensive than a traditional 7-ply maple deck.
  4. The wood in the center between the carbon layers was weak enough to crack vertically.

The Pros:

  1. It is much stronger than a normal maple deck.
  2. No pressure cracks.
  3. It is a strong skateboard deck that will hold its shape for you as long as it doesnt chip or crack vertically first.

To Buy a Powell Flight Deck

These are often out of stock, so please make sure the product’s title says the word flight in it. It is easy to wind up on a non-flight deck Powell board’s product page instead.


Next up: The Girl Pop Secret Deck Review

Next up on the review will be the girl pop secret skate deck. This board has one carbon fiber layer with seven thin plies of north American maple. It I expect it to compare evenly to the Almost Impact deck which also only has one layer of carbon. I am not on this board yet. However, I have one at the house ready to go for when I swap out my VX deck.

You can learn more about the Girl Pop Secret deck here.