Specs & Highlights of the Braille Decks
- Excellent Shape / Decent medium concave
- Slides well
- Loads of pop
- Large pressure cracks
- Wood splinters
Sizes: 7.75″, 8.0″, 8.125″, 8.25″, 8.375″, 8.5″ available in both Bamboo or Maple
First Impression of Braille Skateboard Decks?
Whether it is your cup of tea or not, chances are good you’ve seen the Braille Skateboarding trick tip videos on their Youtube channel. Being an older skateboarder, I can appreciate the sheer talent of the pros. I tend to skip over their antics. My first impression of Braille was that they target beginner skaters or a younger demographic than what I would fall into.
All that said, I am currently working on a project where I am reviewing all of the strongest skateboards for this site. I saw that Braille offered a bamboo deck that is better for the environment and stronger than a standard maple deck, so I had to buy one to try it.
When I first got the Braille deck, I stood on it and liked the shape. The graphic is excellent too. Something about the 90s and Mario 3 is nostalgic brilliance to me.
In the first 20 minutes of skating this deck, I could tell it wouldn’t last me as long as a Santa Cruz VX deck. Right away, I received the largest pressure cracks I have ever got on a skateboard deck.
My overall first impression was, “this is really good. I don’t expect to make it a week before it breaks, though.”
So What Makes the Braille Bamboo Deck Different?
Braille’s bamboo decks are advertised as being “much stronger than traditional decks.” These decks keep their pop longer without feeling soggy and last longer than most other decks. While skating, bamboo as a material has a similar feel to maple. It is a little lighter, and the wood absorbs impacts better.
When you look at the top laminate, it looks like this.
The main reason you should skate a deck like this is that it is better for the environment than a standard maple skateboard.
Bamboo skateboard construction is stronger and better for our planet than maple construction. Using bamboo prevents soil erosion because bamboo doesn’t need any fertilizer to grow. Bamboo is a type of grass that can grow up to two feet per day, whereas maple can take 60 years to mature. Best of all, when you cut bamboo, it grows back stronger than it was before you cut it.
Why Did I Buy a Braille Skate Deck?
I bought this deck because I am actively searching for stronger deck technology to review for this blog. Braille is a popular brand online, so I wanted to give the deck a shot.
So How Does a Braille Deck Feel to Skate?
It feels pretty good overall. I don’t notice much difference between skating bamboo instead of maple.
The main detail that l I notice under my feet is that the deck is very light with a lot of pop.
This particular deck got pressure cracks right away, so there is a little bit of flex in the middle of the board between the trucks.
What do I like about Braille Skateboards?
Pop + Lightweight
I love the overall lightweight of this deck and the snappiness of its pop. There is a spring-like flex to the board. When it’s combined with its lightweight, I can get this board to flip easier than I can with some of the other recent decks that I’ve reviewed.
Medium Concave / Shape of the Deck
I like the shape of this deck. Braille skateboards have a medium concave reminiscent of skating in a Santa Cruz or Blind shape. Those are two brands that I often skate, so stepping onto Braille already felt familiar. It didn’t take me long to get used to skating this deck.
Sustainability of Bamboo
I like that this deck is sourced from bamboo instead of maple. Bamboo is a more sustainable material to make skate decks out of. This was my first bamboo skate deck, and I would get another one just for this reason alone.
I love how well this skate deck slides. I am not sure why it slides better than some of the other decks I’ve skated. It is either the glossy paint, the bamboo itself, or both of them. This board slides well, though. It isn’t a slick deck. However, it is somewhere between a standard deck and a slick deck. When you are in a slide trick, this deck goes.
The graphic seems to last slightly longer than some other skateboard decks that you would slide too. The graphic still scratches off. It just seems to last a little longer.
What do I dislike about Braille Skateboard Decks?
Within a few minutes of skating this Braille deck, I started to get pressure cracks through the entire length of the board. The cracks made the board a little more flexible, which is a quality of a deck I usually steer away from.
After skating it for one hour, I wrote Braille’s customer support to see if the large pressure cracks were the typical experience. After a few weeks, they wrote me back saying that it was not a normal experience, and they even offered to replace my deck. I had finished this review by the time I heard back from them. The good news is that the pressure cracks never interfered with how the board skated or popped. It just made the deck feel a little softer than a traditional maple skateboard deck.
It looks like the cracks are caused because of how the laminates of bamboo are laid. This deck has more vertical laminates than you would typically see in a traditional maple skateboard. The cracks follow the direction of the bamboo laminates. When the wood is laid vertically from nose to tail, it will crack in that direction.
Splinters / Quality of the Wood
This might be more a quality of skating a bamboo board than anything specific to Braille. However, the deck seems to splinter easily on its top and bottom layer. I’d expect normal wear and tear. This seems to occur easily, so you will need to be careful not to pick this deck up in a splintered section because it will cut your hand.
Are Braille Skateboards Good for Beginners?
Yes, Braille skateboards are perfect for beginners. Braille’s skateboards are indented to be better quality than what you would typically get at a major retail store. While they aren’t the strongest skateboards you can buy, they are perfect for beginners because you will not be launching yourself off ramps or loading docks on your first skateboard.
Overall Rating of Braille Skateboard Decks
|Considerations||Rating Out 5|
|Strength of Skate Deck||3.1|
|Wood Quality (Chips / Splinters / Breaks)||3|
|Shape & Feel of the Deck||4.8|
Would You Recommend Braille Skateboard Decks?
Yes. I would recommend Braille skateboards for beginners or anyone just learning to skate. The decks have a quality shape that will help you learn, and their customer service is fantastic should you encounter any issues.
It isn’t that the Braille skate decks aren’t strong. They are. However, these other decks are reinforced specifically to help you learn to skate stair sets and take larger drops.
Where Can You Buy Braille Skateboards
You can buy Braille Skateboard decks right here on the Braille Army website.
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Steve Weber is an avid snowboarder and skateboarder. He has been snowboarding for 26 years, skateboarding for 20, and is always looking for a new board sport 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.