Once upon a time, a customer walked into our shop in Bristol carrying a skateboard board she'd just bought from Sports Direct, who are about a mile away from us in town.
"My board is a bit slow," she said. "What do I have to replace on it to make it faster?"
We of course did what we would do for any customer - we did our best to help her out and had a good look at the board in question.
Wheels and Bearings
According to the Sports Direct website, this board comes with "high quality wheels and bearings that are just the thing to get you rolling with ease."
A quick push in the carpark showed what our customer was having problems with - this board is so slow rolling that it's almost impossible to skate...!
The wheels on this Sports Direct Super Bargain appear to be made of plastic. Some material other than urethane, anyway. They are currently enjoying the #1 spot on our "Slowest-Wheels-We-Have-Ever-Skated-In-Our-Lives" list.
The bearings are loose collection of metal parts floating in grease. You won't be breaking any world speed records.
This deck has no concave whatsoever.
It also appears to be made of the cheapest, crappiest most disgusting wood that Sports Direct could lay their hands on.
Then we saw the graphic...
The graphic is actually not a graphic, it's a giant paper sticker.
Moving on to:
Here we have something very special indeed.
The bushings are plastic. Which means that this truck will not turn, at all.
Happily, Sports Direct have neglected to attach the kingpin to the rest of the truck, so that it wobbles around all over the place even when the truck is done up.
The result? A truck that turns. Kind of.
As a special bonus, all this is held together with metric bolts. Which means that a regular skate tool won't fit your hardware.
At this point, we felt a bit sorry for our customer, and she agreed to swap her new skateboard for a free Tshirt.
However, we're not done just yet.
Sports Direct's website tells us that this board "...uses a thick durable build for excellent durability leaving you free to learn and progress."
"Land your first ollie and drop your first ramp on this No Fear Junior Skateboard!" they floss excitedly.
Some bold claims in there, Sports Direct Marketing Man.
Not wanting to totally write this board off, we duly rolled out in front of the shop for some ollies.
A few ollies later, and the board is suddenly a lot flexier.
On closer inspection, it turns out that this sudden increase in flex wasn't caused by one or two of the plies giving way - instead the board had delaminated along 3/4 of it's length.
Time for a casper.
This was going well, until we got the board the right way up again to discover that it's not just the graphic that's a big paper sticker - it looks like the griptape is, too.
At this point, we decided that enough was enough, and it was time to put this sad excuse for a skateboard out of its misery with a boneless.
The end couldn't come fast enough.
We don't know about you, but we don't think that a skateboard that lasts five minutes in a car park is worth £11.99 of anyone's money.
This thing was honestly more fun to skate after we'd snapped it than when it was new.
Sports Direct sell this board as "Perfect for beginners and new entrants to the sport looking for great performance at a great price."
It's not perfect for beginners. It's insanely difficult to just push the thing along. Our customer bought it to us in the first place becuase she was convinced it was faulty - actually, it's just not fit for purpose.
There is nothing about it that's Great Performance. This board is a result of Sports Direct seeing how cheap they can make things, by the containerload.
And to be honest, considering how long it lasted, the price isn't that great either.
If you really value your kid's happiness, and your money, we think you'd be much better off buying a real skateboard. This way you might get wheels and bearings that actually roll, trucks that really do turn, and a deck that's more than just a bent piece of marine ply.