Different types of longboards

Summary

There are many different types of longboards you can purchase depending on what style of riding you are into. When choosing your longboard, there are some important things you need to consider.

This includes your weight and height, your experience longboarding, and the different shapes of longboards you will be most happy with. There are five main styles of longboarding, and these are:

Each style of longboarding differs from the others, and as such the boards are going to differ from a lot to a little depending on your specifications. Let’s start so you can find the board that’s best for you.

Cruising/Carving Longboards

A cruising longboard is ideal for riding around campus or town, and works great when in crowded areas. Many people enjoy this style of longboarding to get them where they need to be with style and comfort.

Cruising longboards are typically between 28”-42” in length. This is a wide range and for good reason.

Beginner

If you are just starting out longboarding, you are going to want to choose a longboard that’s a bit longer in length, and well as a stiffer board.

Why?

Both the length and the stiffness is going to give you the stability you need. The more flex a board has, the more it can maneuver and if you are trying to find balance still you don’t want a board that flex’s a lot. All boards have some sort of natural flex, and over time the flex of a board always increases from use, but starting out, the stiff boards are going to give you what you need to become an experienced rider while being safe.

Intermediate/expert

Have you been cruising for a while? If you feel pretty comfortable with your stability, the board for you is going to depend on your preference. If you like the stiffer boards go for it.

If you are looking for a little more maneuverability to carve a little or make some quick turns finding a board with a little more flex and is shorter in length is going to be ideal for you.

Carving longboards are similar of cruising longboards, depending on the style deck you get. Choosing that flex deck is going to make your cruising longboard also your carving longboard.

Trucks: The most common trucks for cruising longboards are 150mm or 180mm in width. The easiest way to select your trucks is to choose those that are closest to the width of your board.

The best type of trucks to get for cruising longboards are reverse-kingpin trucks. These are going to allow you for more maneuverability and can make your carving experience better.

Wheels: The diameter of your wheel will be determined by a couple factors. For larger decks (40” and up) you will want to get a wheel in the 70-75mm range. Though for easier acceleration, which is known as pushing, a smaller wheel may be a better option.

For a cruising longboard with a medium deck between 34”-42” the wheel diameter ranges from 68-72mm.

Shorter decks, 34” and below, typically uses wheels that are in the range of 60-67mm in diameter. The smaller the board, the smaller the wheel. This prevents your board from becoming top heavy.

Downhill Longboards

Do you love the thrill of high speed? Downhill longboards are a perfect way to achieve that thrill. Downhill longboarding requires a high skill level because of the control you need to have while doing this style of riding.

Are you a skilled rider and ready to choose your deck?

When choosing your deck style for your downhill longboard, any deck can be used, though some are more suitable than others.

A downhill longboard is typically a length ranging between 37”-43”. A shorter deck is going to give you less stability so depending on your skill level for downhill longboarding, chose your length wisely. The less experience you have, the longer your board should be.

The width of your deck is not as important as the length, but most downhill boards are in the range of 9”-10.5”. The size of your feet will give you an idea of how wide your board should be. The bigger your feet, the wider the board.

Beginners

If you are just beginning to learning the fundamentals of downhill longboarding choosing the type of board for this style of longboarding is going to be essential. For length, the best boards for you will be about 40-41” to give you better stability while learning to control your longboard at higher speeds.

A drop-through deck is the best option when starting out. This is because a drop-through deck is lower to the ground, giving it a better center of gravity. This adds to your stability.

Intermediate/Expert

You’ve gotten plenty of practice and feel pretty confident you have the skills down for longboarding downhill. If this is you then a top-mount deck will probably be the ideal option for you.

Top-mount decks will have trucks attached directly to the bottom of your longboard deck which allows you to achieve a better grip when cruising around curves.

A top-mount deck is better for you to perform in when downhill longboarding, especially when you have to slide to go around sharp corners or reduce your speed.

Trucks for downhill longboarding: The best type of truck for downhill longboarding is the Reverse Kingpin Trucks (Longboarding truck). These are perfect for both drop-through and top-mount decks.

The reverse kingpin truck is best equipped to handle high speeds and give you a smooth turn.

Choosing your truck width is relatively simple. You should choose a truck that is as close to the width of your downhill longboard deck as possible to give you an appropriate performance.

Choose a truck listed at or around 10” or 180 mm, give or take a few millimeters depending on your deck.

Wheels: Now choosing your wheels for your downhill longboard are not as simple as choosing your truck will be. There in a magnitude of factors that you need to look at.

When downhill longboarding is in play, you are most likely going to be doing some sliding for speed control and sharp curves, and the best wheel to get without having to worry about your ability to do this is a sharp-lipped wheel.

Now you have to consider the rest of your options.

  • Diameter (size)
  • Durometer (hardness)
  • Core placement
  • Wheel Width

Diameter

The best range for the diameter of wheels for downhill longboarding will be between 70-75mm.

Anything smaller will probably wear out too quickly from the sliding and navigate you will be doing.

Anything larger will more than likely give you wheel bite, which is going to compromise your smooth ride. Keep the range between 70-75mm and you should be good.

Durometer

The durometer of a wheel is a measure of how soft (or hard) the urethane is in the wheel. A lower durometer wheel (softer) is going to give you a better grip and is the most popular for downhill longboarding.

Take your weight into consideration when choosing your wheel. If you are over 180lbs choosing a wheel with a high durometer is going to be best, and is recommended you choose an 83a or higher so your ride is smooth and fast without feeling sluggish.

If this is your first downhill board, and you are under the weight I mentioned above, starting with an 80a wheel, and from there you should be able to determine if you prefer something softer or harder as your wheel of choice. It’s all about trial and error, and before you know it you will have a board that is tailored to you perfectly.

Core Placement

A core placement position is going to change the way your wheels are going to slide and how much your deck will flex. This is called your core placement.

There are typically three core placement options.

  • Centerset: Centerset wheels are great for downhill riders who are doing a large amount of sliding
  • Sideset: Sideset wheels delivers a smoother slide opening, but will wear your wheel down quickly.
  • Offset: Want the best of both worlds? Choose offset wheels to give you the greatest benefit. With the offset wheel, you can’t go wrong for downhill riding.

Wheel Width

Point blank, choosing a wider wheel is the best for downhill longboarding. A wider wheel gives extra grip around corners.

A wheel of 50mm or larger is a great start for a wheel width. Going any smaller may lead to sliding out on wide corners.

Steer away from too large a width of wheels too that are 60mm and over, as this will make it difficult to control your speed with sliding out.

Freestyle Longboards

Freestyle riding involves technical skills such as sliding, board tricks, and dancing. These are just a few of many different skills you can perform while freestyle longboarding.

If you are a beginner than freestyle riding is a good way to start out. It will help you learn how to control your skills but is also enjoyable for expert riders too.

Decks: Freestyle longboard decks should have a length between 38 inches and 42 inches and a width between 8 inches and 10.5 inches.

A symmetrical shape deck with twin kicktails are preferred for freestyle so you can get the most out of all the tricks you are doing in your freestyle riding.

Freestyle longboarding decks are great for carving, a smooth freeride, or transportation which makes it ideal especially for a beginner.

For pushing while freestyle riding, finding a longboard deck with a concave is going to give you the most comfort

Trucks: freestyle longboarding can be a lot of fun, especially when you have the proper equipment on your board. Trucks being one of them. A narrower truck is great for freestyling so you have the freedom of maneuverability to do your tricks.

For freestyling, choose a reverse kingpin truck that is about 150mm or 9” to get the right kind of response you are looking for.

Wheels: Freestyle wheels are very similar to cruising wheels. When freestyling, you won’t be sliding much, since freestyle riding is on a flat surface, as opposed to hills. Softer wheels are the best option for you to get a smooth ride, and your landings are softer.

The diameter of your wheels will be on the smaller side to eliminate weight, which helps with your tricks. If your longboard is prone to wheel bite, try finding a wheel that is less than 70mm.

Freeride Longboards

Freeride longboarding is a style of riding with any amount of speed while doing slide tricks that involve your wheels to move forward sideways.

Freeride decks range in length of 38”-42”. You don’t want to go any shorter or else you are going to get that unstable feeling while having a board that is any longer is going to be uncomfortable and bulky.

Though width is not very important with freeride longboarding, the range of width is mostly in the 8.5”-10.5” range.

Beginner

If you have just taken up freeride longboarding, then the drop-platform decks will be best suited for you. The lower platform decks will give you a much greater deal of stability which will make your slides much easier to perform.

Intermediate/Expert

Drop-through decks are lighter from a slimmer construction, so don’t be very concerned about the weight of the deck you chose when you chose your deck which is recommended for the more skill longboard rider.

This style deck will be light enough for your tricks, and to carry around. Just remember if you chose a drop-through deck, select a deck with very little flex, as it’s not the best thing to have for freeride circumstances.

Trucks: The most common trucks used for freeride longboards are reverse kingpin trucks.

Depending on how aggressive you plan to ride, you should get a baseplate angle of either 40-45-degree angle for more stability or a higher baseplate of 50-52 degrees for aggressive riders. A higher baseplate angle is going to give you more power in wheel force to break traction when opening into a slide.

Your truck width should be as close to the width of the deck as possible to get an appropriate performance.

Wheels: Wheels that are in the 68-72mm diameter array are best for a freeriding longboard wheel. This will be a medium size wheel is perfect, thus preventing wheel bite from larger wheels and wear out from smaller ones.

When choosing a lip profile on your wheel, chose a round lip wheel. These wheels slide out more easily with less struggle than sharp lipped wheels.

When choosing your durometer (wheel softness) you might get some conflicting advice, and only you can determine which one you like more by trying them both out. A harder wheel might give you an easier slide, but your slide won’t be as controlled as if you had a softer wheel. So, it’s all about your preference and how much control you can handle.

Rule of thumb: Riders under 150lbs should choose a wheel durometer between 78-83a. those weighing between 150-180lbs should consider a durometer range of 81-86a for your freestyle wheel. And those who weight over 180lbs should look towards 82-86a durometer wheels.

This doesn’t mean you have to go by these exact figures. This is what most prefer, and where the range comes from. And the facts are, if you are a smaller weight rider and use a harder wheel, you might find yourself having trouble controlling your board and slip when you don’t want it to, while a heavier person using a softer wheel might find they can’t get the speed they want and can cause uneven wear on your wheels which is never a good thing.