Longboarding is yet another totally awesome sport that has swept adrenaline seekers coast to coast. It’s easier than skateboarding, yet still gives you that feeling of cruising sideways. Snowboards, surfers, and skiers are all attracted to longboarding in addition to those who are just attracted to the freedom and chill feeling of longboarding. What is a longboard? Well, it’s more than just a long skateboard. The wheels are softer and bigger than those of a skateboard, so it’s a much smoother ride and more “beginner friendly.” There are different types of longboard skateboard shapes, lengths, widths, and flexes for different rides. Once you’re comfortable on a longboard, you can really get down with carving, board slides, speed and other tricks like the peeps in this inspiring video below. If you’re like anyone who works at The House, having an arsenal of styles from drop through longboards, freeride, and cruiser longboards is the way to go!
The name pretty much stakes its claim! A cruiser board is a means of transportation and a perfect longboard for beginners. Some are shorter, designed to easily weave in and out of foot traffic and get you to work, school, the store or for a bite to eat. If you think you’d like to bomb some hills, then opt for a longer board for more stability at higher speeds. Next, you’ll need to decide on the length, stiffness and tail shape which we’ve defined for you…
Deck Length – Naturally, this is the length of the board from nose to tail (in inches). A board raining from 28″ – 46″ is a great choice for a cruiser board. If you are new to longboarding, going any shorter than this will make it more difficult to learn. Unlike snowboards, length is more of a preference than a necessity. If a snowboard is way too short for your body size, it could easily break and won’t offer a true flex. Longboards are different in that the length is almost complete preference. Again, shorter boards enable one to make shorter, quicker turns and longer boards are great for carving at high speeds. If you’re totally lost on what size to get, go for one in the mid 30s.
- Shorter Cruising Boards – Lengths in the 28″ – 32″ range are perfect for young riders and shorter people. However, taller people can rider shorter cursing boards if they have their skills down since it will be slightly more difficult to navigate.
- Mid-Sized Cruising Board – Longboards in the range of 32″ – 42″ are the most popular and recommended for newbies of all sizes. With a length between small and long, these boards are just right and can do almost anything!
- Longer Cruising Board – Great for longer, relaxed rides, these boards are perfect for the sidewalk or cursing the boardwalk when the surf is flat. Be forewarned, these boards can be quite heavy to carry!
- Deck Flex – Flex is a pretty important component of a cursing longboard. The flex of the board will absorb some of the rough terrain, bumpy roads or tiny rocks. A flexy board also enables the rider to ride close to the ground, which can be quite fun and perfect for hands down 360s! This type of shock absorption will also help to relieve some of the stress on your knees and ankles. Making it easier to balance and push, riding lower to the ground adjusts your center of gravity. If you would like some flex, be sure to check out the weight range on the board. On the other hand, a stiffer board will provide more stability. Such boards are popular for downhill longboards and are sort of the ‘original’ style of longboards. One thing to consider is that newbies could find a very flexy board to be quite challenging to master from the start, so a stiffer board is likely the way to go!
- Kicktail or No Kicktail – A kicktail is when the tail of the board is…kicked up a bit (think traditional skateboard shape)! Having a kicktail longboard can be very convenient when you need to make quick turns, do tricks, and pop up and down curbs. Beginners can go either way since they won’t be using a kicktail from the start. Boards without kicktails are able to maximize the effective wheelbase (distance from one axle to the other), which allows them to be a bit more stable and ideal as a beginner skateboard. If you don’t think you’ll ever be turning or doing tricks with the help of a kicktail, then opt for no kicktail.
For intermediate to advanced longboarders, a freeriding involves riding down hills while doing technical maneuvers. Watch this unreal clip for some freeriding eye candy…
Drop Down Longboards – Are you ready for some boardslides on pavement while going down a concrete hill? Truthfully, any board can be set up for freeriding, but some decks are specifically designed for such a purpose. An ideal downhill deck will be longer than the average longboard skateboards and will be completely rigid for increased stability at higher speeds. Thin, flexible boards are designed for fun in the parking lot or streets, not bombing down hills! There are two drop deck choices from here – drop through and drop platform.
- Drop Through – For the intermediate rider, drop through decks are lighter and have a slimmer construction. Be sure to choose one with little flex since it’s not a good idea for freeriding.
- Drop Platform – Geared towards beginners, drop platforms have a lowered platform on the drop platform (and double drop) decks gives riders an enhanced sense of stability. It makes initiating slides much easier.
- Deck Dimensions – Anything in the 38″ – 42″ range will be perfect for freeriding. Shorter will be unstable and longer will be too cumbersome. Don’t worry about the width since it will be proportional to the length.
For the advanced only, downhill longboarding involves riding at very high speeds and requires a lot of precision. Although it doesn’t look like they are going that fast, the dudes in the clip below clocked in at 50 MPH!
Deck Style – For speed, stability and precision, the majority of pro longboards (yes, there are pro longboarders!) prefer a top mount deck. Still, some are more comfortable with the lower, more stable feeling that drop-through decks offer. If you’ve been reading this entire article, you probably have noticed a theme – longboard styles vary and it’s easy to customize your ideal ride for various types of riding!
- Drop Through Longboards – Have you ever had the wobbles when going fast down a hill? It’s pretty scary when your board seems to uncontrollably shake beneath your feet taking your legs with it. A drop through deck offers incredible stability since it sits lower to the ground offering the rider a more stable center of gravity. To mix things up a bit, a drop through deck can be mounted the “normal” way (underneath the deck as opposed on the sides of the deck) for a top mount ride. If you’re new to downhill racing, drop through is the way to go.
- Top Mount Longboards – Like a traditional skateboard, top mount trucks attached to the bottom of the deck. This mounting style gives the board more grip when speeding around turns. When sliding is necessary to slow down for tight corners, a top-mount board will give better performance. Keep in mind, however, there are many skills to master before obtaining the benefits of a top mount board. Unless you’re a seasoned longboard who is comfortable riding at very high speeds, a drop though would be a wiser choice.
- Deck Dimensions – For downhill, decks in the length range of 37-43″ will be ideal. A shorter deck will be unstable at high speeds while a longer deck will lack maneuverability. Oh, the choices. Beginners should stick with longer setups until they are accustomed to bombing down hills. Still torn? Stick to something around 40-41” to be on the safe side. You can’t go wrong with that size range!