7 Types of Longboards and How to Choose the One for You

Shopping for a longboard can cause quite a headache. You know how important it is to find a board that works for you, but don’t know what to look out for. Take a look at the 7 most common types of longboards and which features to look for when buying one for yourself.

What Is a Longboard?

Longboard

If you’re wondering about the various types of longboards, you probably first want to know what longboards are and how they are different from skateboards. Essentially, a longboard is a type of skateboard. However, as the name suggests, it’s considerably longer. While the deck of a skateboard is 28–32 inches in length, longboards can even go up to 60 inches.

Additionally, the use of longboards differs from that of a skateboard. For example, kickflips, grinding tricks, and ollies are most often reserved for skateboards. On the other hand, longboards are better for downhill racing and longer rides. For those who are interested in using a board as a primary form of transportation, a longboard is a perfect choice.

Parts of a Longboard

Each longboard consists of a deck, trucks, and wheels. The seven types of longboards differ from one another in terms of how long the deck is, how big the wheels are, and similar specifications. So, before you decide on the types of longboards that work for you, take a look at the three main longboard components.

Longboard parts

Longboard Deck

Although the deck is not the only important parameter of a longboard, it’s definitely a core part of it. The various types of longboards differ greatly based on their deck construction. Hence, it’s integral to know which deck type you’re looking for when shopping for a longboard to fit your needs.

Decks are mostly made of birch, maple, or bamboo. However, many manufacturers also use fiberglass or carbon in order to make the deck lighter and stiffer. Alternatively, they may use solid hardwood with a foam core for a lightweight yet rigid deck.

Still, bamboo is the most popular material nowadays, as it provides a nice blend of flexibility and durability, all while being quite lightweight. The top-selling decks are a combination of maple wood and bamboo. Manufacturers alternate the two materials, gluing the layers together with epoxy glue.

As far as length goes, there are three categories to choose from. Firstly, if you’re short or are buying a board for a kid, opt for a shorter deck, which is 22 to 31 inches long. Secondly, there are midsize decks, ranging from 32 to 42 inches, and are the most common longboard length. And lastly, decks over 43 inches are a great choice if you’re quite tall.

Longboard Trucks

Trucks are quite important, as they are a major controller of your riding process. That’s because the stability and maneuverability of a longboard depend on them. Longboards have two trucks, one on the nose side of the deck and one on the tail side, and they connect the deck to the wheels. Longboard trucks consist of an axle and hanger, bushings, and a baseplate.

Longboard Wheels

The wheels differ based on size, contact patch, and width. The size varies from 55 mm to 100 mm, although the most common size is 70 mm. The contact patch is the width of the wheel that hits the ground while you’re riding, and it’s usually slightly smaller than the width of the wheel. Additionally, the contact patch varies depending on wheel size — a smaller wheel generally has a smaller contact patch.

7 Types of Longboards

You can’t practice fast, downhill riding on the same board you use for everyday commuting. Doing so can lead to injuries, as different riding styles require different board sizes, wheel types, and deck mounts. These are the 7 most common types of longboards, their features, and uses:

1. Cruiser Longboards

Cruiser Longboards

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When you think of a longboard, the cruiser is probably what first comes to your mind. If you’re new to longboards, this type of longboard may be the best option for you. These types of longboards are amazing for everyday use. As the name suggests, this board is great for cruising around with friends or using the board as a form of transportation.

The deck of a cruiser longboard usually has a pintail shape, similar to that of a surfboard. It also has big, smooth wheels which don’t catch onto sidewalk cracks. Additionally, cruiser longboards are top-mounted, which means that the board sits on top of the trucks and wheels.

The main pro of this type of longboard is how easy it is to use. It’s the most stable type of board, making it an amazing choice for those looking to learn how to ride. The top-mount offers a great amount of stability. However, if you’re looking to take your longboarding to the next level, you may need to invest in one of the other 6 types of longboards.

2. Carver Longboards

Carver Longboards

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Cruiser longboards are great for daily riding. However, if you want to feel as if you are skiing or snowboarding, you won’t be able to do that with these types of longboards. Instead, you should invest in a carving longboard that lets you truly lean into turns.

Carving boards are quite similar to cruiser boards. However, they have a bigger concave, meaning that the top of the board is more curved. The concave keeps your feet in place, making it easier to lean into a quick turn.

The wheels of a carving board are quite soft, which helps the longboard maintain friction. Additionally, the board usually has a small wheel well cut into it. That feature prevents wheel bite, which occurs when the deck collides with a wheel during a deep lean.

A carving longboard is a great investment for those who want to learn longboard leans. However, if you’re new to riding, you may want to start with a cruiser first. Carvers can be somewhat difficult to ride because they sit higher off the ground. Therefore, you should be extra careful until you get a feel for how this board works.

3. Freeride Longboards

Freeride Longboards

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Freeride skating consists of a lot of slides, and it requires more speed than cruising and carving. In order to allow proper sliding, a freeride board must be less forgiving and responsive than the former too. Additionally, it features smaller wheels that lose grip easily when you turn the board sideways.

The wheels of a freeride board often have a urethane compound on them as well. Don’t be surprised if you notice that your wheels have left lines on the ground while you’re riding. These lines are commonly known as thane lines among the freeride skaters, and they occur when you ride particularly fast. Many free-riders even compete on who leaves the longest thane line.

The deck of a freeride longboard is most often drop-through. That means they have holes cut into them that allow the board to sit slightly under the trucks. Since the board is closer to the ground, it’s easier to control it while speeding downhill or sliding.

Although these features are the most common among freeride longboards, they can come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re interested in freeriding, make sure to try out different boards until you find one that best fits your needs. Additionally, make sure to wear proper gear, including gloves and a helmet.

4. Freestyle Longboards

Freestyle Longboards

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Due to their similar names, many confuse freestyle and freeride types of riding. However, a true skating fanatic knows there’s a major difference between these two styles. As mentioned above, freeriding requires a lot of speed. On the other hand, freestyle riding is much slower, and the main goal of freestyle skaters is to maintain a good flow and express themselves.

Freestyle longboards decks are usually somewhat bigger than freeride boards, and they often feature fun designs as well. The bigger deck allows for more expression while riding. Additionally, due to the size of the deck, it’s much easier to learn flatland tricks on a freestyle board.

Furthermore, while the deck of a freeride board is very stiff, a freestyle deck doesn’t have to be. They come in various hardness levels, so you can choose the one that best works for your riding style. This longboard style is often drop-through, which means that the trucks are mounted through the deck.

Freestyle boards are a great choice for those looking to experiment and express themselves while riding on flat land. However, if you want to ride at high speed, or try out difficult sliding tricks, go with the freeride board instead.

5. Push Longboards

Push Longboards

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If you want to use your board solely as a form of transportation, push longboards can be a great option. However, if you’re looking for a longboard to practice tricks on, look elsewhere. Push longboards are made for smooth and comfortable riding, but if you flip them like you would a cruiser or a carver, they will simply fall to the ground.

Generally speaking, the deeper the drop of a longboard, the easier it is to push forward. The push type of longboard features both a double drop and a drop-through truck mount. That means the board sits close to the ground, so there’s a lower risk of accidents.

The wheels are usually mid-size and sit more close to each other than on other types of longboards. Therefore, it’s less likely that you’ll catch your foot on the wheel while pushing the board.

A push longboard is a great option for those looking to travel a large distance on their longboard. It makes for a great addition to any longboard collection. However, if you want to practice tricks of any kind, you won’t be able to do it on this longboard type.

6. Dance Longboards

Dance Longboards

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As the name suggests, the main use of a dance longboard is as a dance prop. Combining longboarding and dancing is quite popular, especially in Europe. However, it is quite hard to learn tricks on a dance board, so beginners should start with a smaller type, such as a cruiser, first.

 

The main feature of dance longboards is their size. They are quite huge, which allows dancers space to practice walking on the board, spinning around, and similar tricks. Additionally, they usually have a kicktail that’s also helpful when executing fun dance moves.

The deck of a dance board is flat with a slight upward bend. Additionally, they are usually top-mounted and sit higher off the ground than the previously mentioned board styles. Because of their size, the only use of a dance board is as a dance prop. Although you can tackle a small hill with this board type, you should look elsewhere if you want to tackle sliding or fast downhill skating.

7. Downhill Longboards

Downhill Longboards

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Downhill longboarding is, by far, the most extreme form of skating. It involves amazing speed and potentially dangerous tricks, such as high-speed cornering and sliding. A board needs to be able to take on the immense pressure of downhill riding. That’s why it’s integral to invest in a downhill longboard if you plan to take on downhill riding.

Downhill boards are quite stiff and usually top-mounted, which gives you more control while riding. Because of the riding speed, the wheels of downhill boards have quite a bit of grip to them. When you’re riding downhill at high speed, the grip of the wheels is what gives you more control.

The decks of downhill boards come in almost any shape. However, the W shape is the most popular, as it gives the most support to your feet. Still, it’s wise to attach a foot stop to the front of the board, as well. That way, you can make sure your foot stays firmly in place, no matter how fast you’re going.

If you’re interested in downhill riding, make sure to invest in a high-quality board. Additionally, wear a helmet and a speed suit, and always put your safety over first.

How to Choose the Right Longboard for You — Features You Should Consider

When choosing the type of longboard that works for you, the most important thing to take into consideration is your riding style. However, you should also look at the deck length and height, mount type, and board concave.

The deck length you’ll need will depend on how tall you are and what you’ll use the board for. Essentially, unless you want to use your board for dancing or are considerably tall, lengths ranging from 32 to 42 inches will do just fine. As far as height goes, decks that sit higher off the ground are easier to do tricks on but are less stable. However, if you want a smooth, stable ride, go for a lower, dropped deck.

The mount type is connected to the height of the board. Boards that sit higher up are usually top mounted, while those that are lower have a drop-through mount. Additionally, the concave of your board is quite important, especially if you’re interested in downhill riding. In that case, your best option is a W concave, which locks in your feet while riding.

In Conclusion

Choosing between the various types of longboards can be tricky. Firstly, you must consider what you’ll use the board for. Using the wrong board can lead to injuries, especially if you’re riding at high speed. In order to stay safe while riding, make sure you wear a proper helmet and get a longboard that matches your riding needs.

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