Creature Skateboards is a brand that has been synonymous with horror-themed graphics, incredible skaters, and a reputation for durability and perseverance.
The Creature brand has been a staple in the skate industry since its inception in 1994. The brand was initially created by Russ Pope, the manager of the SMA (Santa Monica Airlines) team. However, Creature Skateboards was put on hold a year later when Pope left the company to form Scarecrow Skateboards. Thanks to the efforts of original vert team rider Darren Navarrette and artist Lee Charron, who collaborated with Bob Denike and Jeff Kendall at NHS Inc, the Creature Skateboard brand made its triumphant return in 2005 after a decade of inactivity.
Since its resurgence, Creature Skateboards has consistently produced high-quality skateboard decks that have been praised for their graphics, durability, and responsiveness. I wanted to see what a Creature skateboard deck felt like to skate in 2023, so here is my full, in-depth review.
Specs & Highlights of the Creature Decks
This deck is around $5-$10 cheaper than most 7-ply maple skateboard decks.
It has an excellent mid-concave shape to it.
It slides well.
It isn’t durable at all. This board delaminated the first day and chipped easily.
Loses pop quickly.
Creature offers nearly every size. You will be able to find a deck in the most common widths, including 7.75″, 8.0″, 8.25 “, 8.38 “, 8.5″, 8.6″, 8.8″, 9″, and 9.125”.
For this review, I skated an 8.0″ by 31.875″ deck with a 14.37″ wheelbase.
This deck earned a 2.97 out of 5. The score is detailed below. The main contributing factor to the score was that this deck delaminated on the first day of skating it.
First Impression of Creature Skateboard Decks?
When I first got this deck, I stood on it while it was still wrapped in plastic. I noticed that the shape felt incredibly nice. It has a nose and tail that feel wide and round without being too steep. The center of the board has a low to mid concave, and it had a familiar feel to me all around.
Why Did I Buy a Creature Skate Deck?
I bought this deck because I have been an extreme fan of Santa Cruz VX decks, and I wanted to try a skate deck from Santa Cruz’s sister brand, Creature Skateboards. Both Creature and Santa Cruz are under the NHS Inc. distribution parent company.
Unfortunately, the one detail I didn’t know was that this particular Creature deck was made with Birch instead of the traditional 7-ply maple that I was expecting. This becomes a massive detail in this review because it ultimately leads to this deck significantly cracking within the first hour of skating it.
So, let’s get to a detail you should know that I just learned.
What’s the Difference Between a Birch and Maple Skateboard Deck?
Benefits of a Birch Skate Deck
Price: Birch is cheaper to manufacture than maple, offering a more affordable, entry-level price while still offering a 7-ply level of quality. In other words, these are often seen as entry-level “price point” skate decks.
Suitability: Birch is suitable for all beginner skateboard disciplines.
The Main Challenge With Birch Skate Decks
Durability: Birch is less durable overall, leading to delamination and chipping issues.
Benefits of a Maple Skate Deck
Durability: Maple is durable, reducing the likelihood of delamination.
Pop: Maple offers more pop. Birch is softer than maple and has less rebound, which can make tricks feel less snappy than maple.
Weight: Maple is lightweight, aiding in maneuverability.
Suitability: Maple is suitable for experienced riders who want to perform tricks and flips.
Price: Maple decks are often slightly more expensive but offer better longevity than birch decks.
The Main Challenges With a Maple Skate Deck
Price: It is getting expensive to source maple, so the cost of maple decks has increased by 43% since the pandemic. As a result, the cost of a traditional 7-ply maple skateboard has increased by $15 per deck.
While Birch is less durable overall, it allows skaters to get a deck in the $50 – $60 range. In other words, Birch decks allow skaters to get a deck at the same price as a standard maple deck before the pandemic increased the cost of decks. However, now we all need to pay more attention to the materials the decks we buy are made out of.
So, How Does a Birch Creature Deck Skate?
This deck delaminated in the first hour of skating it. However, before it split horizontally, it skated exceptionally well. It had a crispy pop. It slid well, and its mid-concave shape felt perfect underfoot.
So, What Caused the Delamination So Quickly?
I would say it was the combination of the type of wood used in the deck and the type of impact it took. Birch is a softer wood than maple, and the trick that did this was a fakie 360 flip that I landed on primo.
I was able to glue it down using wood glue and clamps. However, I wrote NHS Inc. to see if that was the typical experience when it came to quality with a Birch Creature deck. I received no reply at all.
I continued skating the deck with the glue holding it together and then five days later it happened again.
What do I like about Creature skateboard decks?
I like the shape of these decks. The darker, vintage horror movie themed graphics are always a nice touch, too.
What do I dislike about Creature Skateboard Decks?
The fact that they aren’t all of the same level of quality. Additionally, it irks me that NHS’ customer service isn’t quite what it used to be as I await a reply that I likely will not get.
All this said, keep your receipts and file a warranty claim should anything like this ever happen to you with your creature or Santa Cruz Decks. All Creature Skateboard Decks are guaranteed to be free of defects in materials or quality for 120 days from the date of purchase. You can file your warranty claim right here.
Unfortunately for me, I was outside of the 120-day coverage period. The downside to having a gear review blog covering multiple board sports is that you often take an entire season off while acquiring products to review for the next season. I had this skate deck in its plastic under my bead while writing about snowboard gear all winter long.
Are Creature Skateboards Good in 2023?
Yes, most of them are a quality skate deck that will last you. However, you must be careful that you’re buying the correct type of Creature skate deck. Get a “Creature VX deck” or a Creature deck that is made with 7-ply maple.
The best tip is to read the deck’s product description and skip over buying the deck if you see any wording like “affordable,” “price point,” or “Birch.” These indicate that the deck is made to hit a certain entry-level price point and does not uphold the same standards as a traditional 7-ply maple skate deck.
Are Creature Skateboards Beginner Friendly?
Yes. Creature skateboards are good for beginners and skaters of all experience levels. Beginners will love the shape of these boards. Additionally, they offer an exceptional level of pop, a lower price, and a medium concave shape that is easy to get used to. This will help as you begin to get comfortable on your board and learn your first ollie.
Overall Rating of the 8.0in Monster Mobile Creature Birch Skateboard Deck
Rating Out 5
Score Out of 100
Weight (Importance to Score)
Shape & Feel of the Deck
Strength of Skate Deck
Overall Value for the Cost
Overall Quality of Materials
Editor’s Rating: 2.97 out of 5 stars
This particular Creature deck scored low in the durability and quality sections. These are important factors when selecting a skate deck as you need your deck to last more than one session. This deck didn’t, so the score reflects that.
Do You Recommend Creature Skateboard Decks?
The answer here is “it depends.” I recommend you take the tips above and buy a Creature deck made with maple or labeled “VX,” which is a deck reinforced carbon fiber layers. Either of these Creature deck options will last you.
Be careful not to buy a birch Creature deck that was made to hit a specific price point. These decks do not uphold the same standard level of quality as other NHS Inc. products.
Please also learn from my mistake and skate any NHS product within the 120 warranty period so that if you have any issues, NHS can warranty your product.
Do I Recommend You Buy a Creature Skateboards Birch Price Point Deck?
With the frustration this deck has caused and no reply from Creature or NHS, I can’t recommend that any of you buy a Creature or Santa Cruz deck that is made out of Birch. Instead, get a VX deck or standard 7-ply maple deck from either of these brands. While the cost can be anywhere from $10 to $40 more, you will have a reliable skateboard and spend more of your time skating and less time gluing or shopping for another deck.
As for NHS Inc.’s customer service experience, I was surprised they didn’t even reply. I imagine they get a lot of messages from people looking for free products. However, I hoped they would have at least replied so I could include their tips here.
The truth is I accidentally bought a “price point” board that was probably more intended for beginners. It broke on a flat ground bail, which is severely disappointing. So please make sure to avoid that same mistake, spend a few extra dollars, and get a board that won’t break in an hour.
Where Can You Buy Creature Skateboards
You can buy a Creature Skate Deck on Amazon here. You can also find these on sale at Tactics here.
Steve Weber is the author and boardsport gear reviewer for Board of the World. He has been snowboarding for 26 years, skateboarding for 20, and is always looking for a new board sport gear to try out. When he is not riding or skating, he runs a marketing agency. Board of the World is Steve’s blog for skateboard and snowboard gear reviews. The blog’s goal is to help people find the right board for them and encourage people to have fun outside.