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Primitive Skateboards Review: 2023 Hamilton Skate Deck

Primitive is a skateboard company founded by the legendary skater Paul Rodriguez. I’ve been a fan of P-Rod and the riders on Primitive for a few years and never actually got to skate one of these decks. I finally bought one to try, so here is my full Primitive skate deck review.

Specs & Highlights of Primitive Skate Decks




Pros:

  • Medium concave / Great Shape for Flip Tricks
  • Lightweight
  • Outstanding Level of Pop

Cons:

  • Can Get Chips
  • Gets Pressure Cracks
  • Gets Razor Tail (like all skateboards do)

Sizes Available:

Primitive skateboard decks come in a wide variety of sizes, with deck widths ranging from 7.6 inches through 8.6 inches.

Primitive does a fantastic job detailing the specs for each deck, so you can get a great idea of every detail about your deck before you buy it by reviewing their board spec charts here.

Details of the Size I Skated for This Review:

I skated the 8.125″ x 31.75″ size. This size has a 14″ wheelbase with a nose that measures 7.125″ and a tail at 6.625″.

First Impression of Primitive Skateboard Decks?

When my deck arrived, I thought, “Wow, this looks nice.” It is a Spencer Hamilton pro model deck, and it came with this reflective graphic that made it look outstanding.

Primitive Skateboard Deck

Once I started to skate it, the shape of the deck felt very familiar. It didn’t take me very long to get used to it. It has a mild concave underfoot with a nose and tail that aren’t very steep. Primitive skate decks feel similar to skating a Girl or Chocolate skateboard deck.

So What Is a Primitive Skate Deck Made Out Of?

Currently, Primitive Skateboards’ decks are made out of 7-ply Canadian maple. At this time, Primitive doesn’t add any additional material or new technology to their skateboard decks. These decks have the same 7-ply pressing procedure as the majority of skateboard deck manufacturers out there.

Where Are Primitive Skateboards Made?

While Primitive Skateboarding is based out of Los Angeles, California, where it ships its products, the decks are made in China and the USA. The exact woodshop making the decks from China is unknown. However, the decks made in the USA are pressed at either BBS in San Marcos, California or Pennswood in Oil City, Pennsylvania.

The decks that I skated for this review were made in China. You can tell where your Primitive deck was made by a sticker at the top of your board. Mine looks like this where it said it was “made in china” at the bottom.

While having a deck being made in China might be a con for some, I ran into no quality issues while skating this deck.

Why Did I Buy a Primitive Skate Deck?

Have you seen the Primitive skate video Define yet?

If you haven’t, check it out. The Primitive team is so insanely good.

I wanted to try a Primitive skateboard to review for the site because I never had one, and the shape looked like the type of board I would enjoy. The boards fall in the middle-of-the-road category when it comes to the steepness of their kicks and concave. It isn’t too steep nor too flat, and I am drawn to decks like that.

The only detail I was unsure about was if it would last me as long as some of the other reinforced strong skate decks I have been reviewing.

I bought two Primitive decks at the end of July 2022 when Primitive offered a two-for $80 deal. Primitive decks don’t go on sale often, so I jumped at the chance of getting two decks for a few dollars cheaper than usual. Primitive stopped that deal a few months ago. However, thedrop.com usually has Primitive decks on sale if you visit their Primitive decks page and sort it by lowest to the highest price.

So How Does a Primitive Deck Skate?

These decks skate incredibly well. I would say that Primitive decks exceeded my expectations. The main noticeable features were that the decks are lightweight, durable, and have the perfect level of pop.

I didn’t run into trouble until I skated a rough spot and landed primo (with the board on its side). The rougher pavement I skated took chipped the side of my board. It looked like this.

While the deck was still skateable, I was a little surprised to have a board chip like that across a few separate layers.

I still plan to skate my other Primitive deck and experiment with getting a few other sizes. The deck that I skated was 8.125 inches wide by 31.75 inches long with a 14-inch wheelbase. I want to test another deck with a 14.25 or 14.38-inch wheelbase as those are closer to the wheelbase dimensions I skate best with. However, I still enjoyed skating this deck with a slightly smaller wheelbase. 

What do I like about Primitive Skateboards?

Mellow concave / Great Shape for Flip Tricks

Primitive boards have a medium, middle-of-the-road level of concave. Primitive skateboards are great for anyone who does flip tricks. The mellow concave helps with both flicking and catching your skateboard.

It is worth noting that Primitive decks have a slightly steeper nose than tail too. If you were to look at the deck upside down from the side, its profile would look like this.

The profile shape of a primitive skate deck
Profile of a Primitive Skate Deck

The benefit of the larger nose is that it helps your foot catch the board when you ollie and kickflip.

Lightweight

One of the most notable features of Primitive skate decks is how light they feel underfoot.

Pop

These decks have a nice, predictable pop to them. They are made with a 7-ply Canadian maple that feels snappy and responsive. For the entire time, I rode this deck. It never lost an ounce of its pop.

Slides Well

The deck I reviewed had a reflective graphic covering its entire base. The board maintained a consistent slide even after the graphic wore away.

What do I dislike about Primitive Decks?

Chips

As with any 7-ply maple deck, the wood can crack, chip, and wear down. I managed to chip a few plies right before my back truck by landing primo on a 360 flip. The ground I was on was rough and tore up a few layers. This was the only chip I got during the three-and-a-half weeks I skated this deck. The chip didn’t diminish how well this board skated in any way. It just made it look worse.

Pressure Cracks

I have been getting wheelbite, so I set this deck up with 1/8inch independent risers. Even with the risers, I noticed that the deck was getting pressure cracks about halfway through this review. The cracks were not long, and they didn’t reduce the pop level in the nose or tail.

primitive skateboard deck with pressure cracks
Some pressure cracks I got (even with risers).

Razor Tail

Every wooden skateboard deck will get razor tail. Primitive skateboards are no different. After around 30 hours of skating, my tail looked like this.

Primitive skate deck's razor tail

You can follow this guide to fix razor tail and get a few more weeks out of this skate deck.

How Do Primitive Skateboards Compare to Other Skateboard Decks?

Primitive decks are very similar to other skateboards with a medium concave. In their shape, they feel similar to Santa Cruz, Blind, Girl, and Chocolate.

If you prefer flatter boards like a Foundation, Almost, or Toy Machine, Primitive decks might have too much concave for you.

On the opposite side, if you prefer decks with a steeper concave like an Element Skateboard, Primitive decks will feel too shallow for you.

Are Primitive Skateboards Good in 2023?

Yes. Primitive skate decks are excellent. They are lightweight with loads of pop and have excellent shape. If you run into any issues with your order, they have phenomenal customer service and a 30-day warranty that covers any warpage, delamination, or manufacturing defects.

Are Primitive Skateboards Beginner Friendly?

Primitive skateboards are great for skaters of all experience levels. If you’re a beginner, you will enjoy the lightweight, maneuverable nature of a Primitive skate deck. If you’re an advanced skater, you will enjoy the durability of these decks.

Overall Rating of Primitive Skateboard Decks

Overall Rating

Considerations Rating Out 5
Shape & Feel of the Deck 5
Slides 4.5
Pop 5
Strength of Skate Deck 4
Overall Quality 4.8

Editor’s Rating:  out of 5 stars 4.66 out of 5 stars

Would You Recommend Primitive Skateboard Decks?

Absolutely.

If you have been considering a Primitive skate deck, I highly recommend you try it. These decks have an excellent shape; they’re lightweight, durable, and poppy.

Where Can You Buy a Primitive Skateboard Deck?

You can buy Primitive skateboards over on theĀ Thedrop.com.

primitive skateboard deck

A pro tip would be to stock up on decks over the major holiday weekends. Thedrop.com usually has sales, and you can sort their deck collection by the lowest price. Usually, you can find a few decks in your size and save some money.




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Last Updated: November 22, 2023 by Steve Weber