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A Penny board is a type of plastic skateboard, known within the industry as a short cruiser. The term "Penny" is synonymous with "Penny Skateboards", an Australian-based company founded in 2010 by Ben Mackay. Penny is a registered trademark for skateboards, but has been widely genericised to describe all small plastic skateboards due to the brand's popularity. Penny Skateboards pair a plastic deck with cruiser wheels and trucks. This combination now epitomises a "Penny board" in generic terms. Because they are made out of plastic, Penny boards have a lighter weight, but are also strong.
A blue penny board
Penny boards are composed of several different parts, which are made separately. They can be purchased either as complete, fully assembled skateboards, or in separate parts. They are available in a variety of colours and designs. They are sold in three different deck sizes, the 22", 27" (the Nickel), 32” cruiser and 36" longboard.
Some of the earliest plastic skateboards were created in 1978 by Larry Stevenson, a former Venice Beach lifeguard, who developed a line of plastic boards for his brand Makaha. In the 1990s, other plastic skateboard brands such as Stereo Skateboards, Krooked Skateboards and Globe emerged on the plastic skateboard market.
Ben Mackay created the Penny board in 2010, from which the brand Penny Skateboards was born. Penny Skateboards was named after Ben Mackay's sister, Penny. The idea behind the creation of the company was inspired by Mackay’s first ever skateboard, a small plastic cruiser his father bought for him at a garage sale, when he was just five years old.
Ben Mackay first started manufacturing and designing his own skateboards to sell to local skate shops. Drawing on woodworking and sales skills handed down from his father, he was determined to fulfill his dream of creating his own skateboard brand. Mackay began experimenting with different shapes and types of boards. He used a variety of materials, such as fiberglass and carbon inserts, as an alternative to timber.
Penny boards are distinguished by a plastic deck, offered in an array of colours. Different parts of the Penny board structure are available in a variety of colours and designs, which can be chosen by the buyer to create their own customised Penny board. Penny boards are smaller and lighter to carry around compared to wooden skateboards. Penny Skateboards sells T-shirts and stickers promoting barefoot riding, and have encouraged the practice via their social media accounts, particularly during the summer.
Penny skateboard decks are made from a plastic, designed to give the structure of the deck a combination of strength and flexibility. Featuring a non slip, "waffle top" texture, Penny skateboard decks are available in a wide range of different colours and styles, and can be purchased separately, or as a part of preassembled, complete skateboards.
Penny trucks are made from cast aluminum. The purpose of the trucks is to connect the board's wheels and bearings to the deck. The trucks are composed of two parts; the baseplate, which is screwed to the top part of the deck, and the hanger, which the axle runs through. Between the baseplate and the hanger are bushings (also commonly referred to as rubbers, grommets, or cushions) which function as a cushion for the truck when it turns. The stiffer the bushings, the more resistant the Penny board will be to turning. The softer the bushings, the easier it is to turn. A kingpin bolt holds these parts together, and fits inside the bushings. By tightening or loosening the kingpin nut, the trucks can be adjusted loosely for better turning, and tightened for more stability.
The hardness of Penny wheels, known as the "durometer" rating, is an important element of the Penny board's design. On a hardness scale of 65A to 100A, all Penny wheels are rated at 83A, making them ideal for cruising. In combination with the board's weight, Penny wheels naturally gather momentum and speed. The broadness of Penny wheels make them suitable for navigating slightly rough surfaces.
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