Longboarding is a great way to get around town and enjoy the sights without having to pay to travel or run around on foot. While skateboarding has been popular for a few decades already and is well known for the enjoyment it brings to youngsters and young adults who enjoy performing tricks with their boards, longboarding is less well known.
The term longboard just means a longer length of skateboard, but the differences between skateboards and longboards go much deeper (we have a detailed comparison further down in this Buyer’s Guide).
A longboard is similar to a skateboard. It provides a way to stand on a deck with wheels underneath, pushing off to propel oneself forward in much the same way that one does with a skateboard. The main differences with a longboard are that it typically has a wider deck affording more stance options, longer (sometimes considerably longer) deck lengths, steadier with a design aimed at comfortable distance riding, and larger, softer wheels with a sometimes concave deck that bends to accommodate bumps in the road.
Whether looking for a longboard for college, one for cruising around town, or you’re wanting to find the best longboard for beginners; we have some solid recommendations for you.
What you need to know
Longboards are a cost effective, eco-friendly, and fun way to get around. Whether wanting to hang out with friends with similar interests or see more of the outdoors and desiring more freedom of movement, a longboard is more suitable for traveling longer distances than a skateboard.
For beginners, the added stability and greater width help to learn how to ride skateboard-type sports equipment much easier and faster. One is then able to move on to a skateboard to learn a few board tricks if so desired.
Riding a longboard adds endurance and overall fitness. Particularly the leg muscles, knees, and ankles, basic agility and sense of balance all likely improve with riding.
Being able to move about or get out into the countryside is exhilarating as the sensation of speed and freedom of movement is motivational.
When taken care of, longboards last a few years and aren’t difficult or costly to maintain.
There’s a myriad of different designs to choose from to match your personality and interests.
For older riders, using a longboard is a great way to feel younger again with the breeze blowing through your hair and the feeling of speed getting the heart pumping a little bit (or a lot) faster.
Performing tricks on a longboard is difficult and often risky. There are specialized sliding longboards for performing sliding tricks, but other than this the options are limited.
The speed of travel picks up quickly with a longboard due to it being more ergonomic than a regular skateboard. For inexperienced riders, this could be dangerous if they are not careful. It is possible to sustain a severe head injury when not wearing protective gear, especially a protective helmet. Longboarding is an extreme sport in the sense that it’s possible to ride at speeds over 50 MPH, so one needs to be careful and protect oneself.
There are many types of longboards (which we explain in detail later in this guide). A buyer needs to fully understand the differences to make a smart choice of both longboard type and the particular brand and model they want.
It is usually not possible to use a longboard as a skateboard and a skateboard as a longboard; i.e. they are not interchangeable. To get the benefits of both, one needs to own both product types which gets expensive, unless one buys a product that tries to offer some of the features of both types of board.
Longboards tend to be heavier than their skateboard counterparts, particularly the ones that have longer decks. As such, they tend to be a bit cumbersome to carry around when not using a bag to transport them.
Longboards Features & Benefits
Longboards are designed to provide a smoother ride for the rider when compared to skateboards. Riders can ride lower for improved balance, and both the deck and the wheels are wider to accommodate old and uneven road surfaces.
While not being known for using to perform tricks, sliding is a typical move with fast downhill longboarding, and other tricks are possible to execute by experienced riders.
Depending on the longboard, the turn radius is relatively tight to get around sharp corners or turn down side roads more efficiently. However, skateboards are clearly still easier to use for sharp turns.
Longboards use a longer deck in many cases and offer a broad range of lengths to choose from.
It is possible to have either a top mount or drop through truck. The top mount (where the deck is mounted above the wheels and truck attached through the deck) is harder to ride, but tends to offer better control for riders who can handle it. Each rider has their preference of top mounted versus drop through styles.
Our 3 Best Longboard Recommendations in 2017
Quest Super Cruiser Longboard Review
The Quest Skateboards Super Cruiser Longboard Skateboard is our most recommended longboard.
This board is great for beginners who haven’t ridden a longboard or skateboard before with its 44-inch length. However, this longboard is usable either for cruising or downhill racing.
The drop-through deck is made from both hard maple wood and artisan bamboo in an original multi-ply arrangement that works well. The striped design is available in either black, green or purple colors while keeping the same bamboo finish with each color. The top of the deck also uses the chosen color scheme. The shape of this longboard is tapered to appear long and sleek which helps it cut through the air with ease. There is also a fair amount of flex to the bamboo deck which helps the knees not experience so much vibration during a ride.
Toughened 7-inch trucks made of aluminum are fitted to the underside of the deck and affixed through the top of the board. They’re fitted very tight and can be loosened a bit to make the ride a little less stiff. That’s a personal preference thing, though.
The carefully chosen wheel sizes of 70mm with the Quest logo on the inside is ideal because they are neither too large nor too small. The PU (polyurethane) wheels don’t protrude beyond the widest point at the center of the deck which makes them easier to manage for beginning riders who could have large wheels catch the sidewalk or a wall causing accidents for them.
A kicktail is included with a gentle upwards slant that lets the rider step from the board and flip it up. Once riding with some experience, the addition of the kicktail makes maneuvering easier, particularly with sharp turns.
The Super Cruiser Longboard Skateboard is a hybrid model that offers the possibility of performing tricks for riders who can handle the length. For those riders who are looking for a longboard and who are already used to riding on a skateboard, this board looks ideal.
Volador 42inch Freeride Longboard Review
The Volador 42inch Freeride Longboard (Drop Through Camber Deck) is the our runner-up.
This drop-through camber deck is quite long with solid 180mm hangers and 40-degree trucks made from diecast aluminum. The resulting look is clean, modern and no-nonsense. A full 8-layers of Canadian maple wood has been used, with a laminate covering the photo heat transfer for the visual graphic.
The camber concave deck (42″x9″) is available either in Oriental Cherry or Pine Green color schemes. The black patterned top deck coupled with the colorful underside are certainly attractive without being overly fussy or flashy.
The Freeride style design offers the potential for flexible use of this longboard. There is both a subtle kick tail and a nose on this deck offering possibly greater control.
The caving wheels are Volador PU ones with a 70mm diameter and 51mm in width (78A; SHR 70% rebound).
The bearings are ABEC 9 with high-speed lubricant, which means they’re made to the highest possible precision during manufacturer. The grip tape on the top deck is a Coarse OS780 which is reliable too.
This longboard, which has a load capacity of 250 pounds, is ideal for the more active boarder who likes putting the board through its paces in different environments.
Atom Drop Through Longboard Review
The Atom Drop Through Longboard takes third place here.
The look of this product makes it stand out in a subtle way. The top surface is black with a gritty look and feel from the applied Coarse 46 grit product. The underside has an attractive black patterned design that incorporates the Atom branding without being overly fussy.
The 40-inch drop-through deck is made of maple and bamboo wood to combine strength and durability in one. There is a reasonable amount of flex to the board without being too much. The decorative design is protected by a laminate and placed on the board using a photo heat transfer process.
The trucks are reliable Navigator Drone ones with a 40-degree base and 180mm hangers. The ABEC 9 bearings use a high-speed lubricant and everything has been assembled well.
The jet black colored wheels are Atom AREA 51 which have a 70mm diameter and are 51mm wide (78A SHR). White lettering is used to indicate the Area 51 and Atom branding on the exterior of each wheel.
This longboard which can comfortably support a rider up to 210 pounds is designed from the ground up to be impressive. From the color scheme to the components used, to its slight upwards curve on the deck, it is clear that this board will be useful for riders. It is not, however, designed for use on downhill racing because it doesn’t smooth out the shakes well enough.
The product comes with a 10-year limited warranty. The warranty only covers issues that are detectable with the naked eye.
What is a Longboard?
A longboard is an outdoor sports or extreme sports piece of equipment where the rider can step on the deck and using the wheels connected to the truck below the deck, ride down the street or sidewalk on their journey. The intention with a longboard is that it will be used for riding over longer distances, rather than to perform skateboard tricks at a skateboard park. With that said, there are at least six types of longboard designs, with several variations within each type too, so riders get many options to choose from.
A longboard is made up of a deck that the rider stands or kneels on, the longboard trucks that attach to the wheels and the underside of the deck, the longboard bearings that help attach the truck to the deck, and the two sets of wheels positioned on either side of the deck at the top and bottom.
There is not one kind of deck with longboards which makes the product a little harder to recognize for people new to the concept. A deck is usually made from either bamboo, maple, or carbon fiber. Each longboard also sports its own attractive design which is in itself a selling point for buyers.
A cruiser longboard is intended for riders who regularly zip down to the mall and back. The freeriding longboard is a more rugged one that may or may not have a kicktail, but can take more knocks over bumpy terrain. The downhill longboard is an advanced type for riders aiming for pure speed and maneuverability when rolling downhill. There is also the slalom type for weaving in and out on winding trails, a long distance longboard type, and a technical sliding longboard designed for performing sliding tricks.
Deck size is also important to match the deck and overall size of the longboard to the rider. Smaller decks shorter than 36-inches are primarily designed for younger riders. Longer decks run up to 43-inches with some deck designs and certainly handle taller or heavy-set riders well.
The deck material is usually a flexible type of wood, sometimes bamboo for its strength and flexibility. Depending on the longboard type, some decks are intended to provide far more flex than a skateboard rider would normally expect. The added flex is to handle uneven road surfaces and provide a form of suspension for riders on longer trips out of town.
Need for Speed?
The longboard is often, but not always, designed with speed in mind. Some speedboarding/downhill decks are capable of reaching upwards of 50 MPH on downward stretches of road that hug the mountain sides; ideal for the winding roads in California and elsewhere.
Depending on the design, there may be a kicktail included which lets the rider step off and hit the tail with their foot to flip the board up into the air to catch it. In many cases, though, the kicktail is not present with a longboard design as it is mainly a holdover from the traditional skateboard design that came before it.
The length of the longboard tends to be extended when compared to a skateboard. The focus of the longboard design is on free movement, ergonomics, speed, and additional comfort during longer periods of use.
Not All Wheels Are Equal
The wheels used on longboards are also quite different to ones used with skateboards. One of the most common types of wheels used is PU wheels which stands for polyurethane. The PU wheels offer a similar feeling to pure rubber wheels with its trademark elasticity while delivering the kind of durability that is commonly found in noisier metal wheels. The durometer level (invented by Albert Ferdinand Shore in the 1920s) is adjusted to make the wheel’s compound more malleable to better handle bumps in the road over a longer journey.
You can read our detailed guide for finding the best longboard wheels here.
What makes Longboards different from Skateboards?
When it comes to extreme sports, the camps are divided on the many differences between skateboards and longboards. While to the outside observer, they won’t usually realize that there even is a difference between one type of board and another, keener observers will acknowledge that some types have a distinctly different appearance.
A skateboard plays a different role for the rider than the longboard. Skateboards have existed for decades, originally being created as a way for surfers to ride the roads when the waves were not cooperating.
The most obvious difference with a skateboard deck is that it will be curved upwards on either end. The adoption of this curved design came later in its development to facilitate the performance of tricks like kickflips and ollies that avid riders wanted to include.
By contrast, a longboard is designed to use softer, wider wheels that provide more suspension for a smoother, longer ride on the roads. Not designed specifically for performing tricks, the longboard is better suited for longer journeys and even commuting to college or work by diehard fans who don’t want to leave their cruiser longboard at home all day.
Longboards vs. Skateboards
Skateboarding has been popular since the 1940s when avid surfers needed a different kind of thrill when the waves weren’t strong enough to go surfing. They discovered skateboarding to be an interesting alternative because it provided the familiar experience of needing a good sense of balance, reading the terrain, and adjusting to changing circumstances. This, in turn, fed into the early adopters’ need for immediate gratification and variety.
Longboards were a later invention with the modification of existing skateboard designs to make the deck longer and swap out hard wheels (metal or thick, non-malleable rubber) for oversized types of wheels that were used by roller skaters. Just like with surfers wanting to ride the waves for longer periods of time, the hope was to use the modified design of the longboard to extent the time on the deck without falling off.
Since their early days, longboards have continued to be popular with riders who either like to try a different board to their skateboard when they’re finished performing tricks or for riders who prefer a smoother, more comfortable ride.
With the design, only some longboards have a deck that curves upwards making it possible to point the skateboard skywards and ride on the edge of it for better maneuverability, sharper turns, and performing tricks. Whereas skateboards come with this curved end design as standard making them far more suitable for performing tricks, carving angular or 180-degree turns. The tougher, less forgiving wheels and stiffer deck with a skateboard stand up to far more punishment in a skater park, when losing it as it flies through the air when the rider gets separated from their skateboard in mid-air.
The length of the longboard is extended and doesn’t always curve from a flat center, with many designs calling from a conforming length and only at the very end does the design narrow dramatically. The change in design allows for a larger foot platform to use while riding, as well as room to kneel down or make subtle adjustments in direction to steer gently around obstacles in the road or on the sidewalk.
Skateboards tend to be lighter than longboards, but this does vary based on the materials used for the deck, wheels, and truck. As such, longboards are a little heavier to walk around with and don’t fit as easily under the arm because of their length.
For a size comparison, a skateboard deck is commonly 7 inches wide and approximately 30 inches long. The longboard deck spans a wide range of lengths from 22 inches on the short end to 45 inches on the long end, with a width of 9 to 10 inches. Due to the six or more types of longboards — each created with a special purpose in mind (cruiser, downhill, commuter, etc.) — shapes and sizes vary considerably. There is also a greater choice of sizes for younger and shorter riders who find a larger deck too much to handle.
Skateboard trucks, situated on the underside of skateboards and longboards, perform better with grinds (performing tricks against rough surfaces like roads, curbs, benches, and walls) than longboards tend to do (though there is a longboard type that’s a little better suited to handling grinds).
With longboards, the wheels are fatter and softer at the same time. Often using PU wheels with polyurethane that holds up to damage better than rubber, yet is softer with more bounce back to it. The result is a pleasant riding performance with wheels that smooth the way over uneven roads, particularly with a deck that flexes to help mitigate wheel vibrations during the ride.
For people who are not technically minded, the above information may seem to matter little, but the combination of technical differences between longboards and skateboards mean that they’re designed for totally different purposes. For this reason, many riders own at least one skateboard and one longboard, with avid distance riders sometimes choosing to own several types of longboards suited for specific uses like downhill speed or commuter rides.
Benefits of a skateboard
The personal preference of the rider is key when choosing the right option.
Skateboards are designed for short trips and performing tricks. Their frequent trips to go shopping usually necessitate the use of a skateboard to handle sharp turns between streets, carving carefully around fellow shoppers, and to be able to carry the skateboard easily inside the shop without it becoming cumbersome due to either its size or weight.
The skateboard is difficult to learn to ride because it is a flexible surface that far too easily rotates from side to side as the weight of the rider shifts even slightly. The advantage of this flexibility is that for agile riders, they can still use their extreme sport equipment for casual use and take it down to the skate park to show off their latest tricks with their friends later on.
With skate parks that often feature deep bowls and half-pipes, these types of obstacles suit the lighter, agile skateboarding community who revel in flashy designs and slick moves to impress others. Grinding, the act of riding on curbs, staircases, benches and other obstacles (where permitted), is one that suits many skateboards, but few longboards.
An owner of a skateboard usually finds themselves moving up in skill level by adding more tricks to their repertoire. These include flip tricks, aerial moves, grinds, ollies, and freestyle moves too. All of these favor a skateboard over a longboard.
Benefits of a longboard
Riders who want to own a longboard may sometimes also own a skateboard but recognize each piece of sports equipment has different uses.
While skateboards are used in skate parks, longboards tend to only be used on residential and commercial streets. The various deck shapes available from longboard brands also makes it possible to own different longboards specifically for long rides, fast downhill rides, or commuting to work.
Riders who select the longboard are looking to use it to go cruising on it or as casual transportation over longer distances that a skateboard wouldn’t be ideal for.
The business commuter who works the next town over may find that a longboard built for a short commute is a good option. The cost savings over time are considerable versus running their own vehicle or taking public transportation.
When traveling any kind of distance, the longboard is the easy choice through its elongated design, focus on stability, the flex of the deck with various longboard types and the softer, wider wheels that both serve to make long rides less tiring.
For people who like to travel fast rather than perform tricks, the downhill longboarding trend is an interesting one. The downhill boards are specially designed to be ergonomic and streamlined to enable light, slim riders to get up to speeds of 75 MPG on a downhill road. For this kind of riding where speeds can reach those similar to that of a motorbike, it is imperative to wear protective gear like a helmet, hand gloves, and elbow & knee protectors.
Finding a good place to use a downhill longboard is tricky. The most suitable roads are ones unused by other vehicles, with a smooth surface and steep decline that offers a faster ride. Sharing the road with vehicles is also possible, but it increases the risks considerably. In most cases, it is best to ride with friends just in case someone gets into an accident. Depending on the location, when it’s not possible to get signal reception to call for help should one have an accident, having friends come along to help out should an injury occur is vital.
While longboard riders are not known for performing tricks, freeride longboards, slalom and dancing boards enable riders to slide, spin, and swerve more to avoid obstacles when compared to cruiser or downhill longboards.
Which is the best?
There is no right or wrong answer for whether longboards or skateboards are best. It is really a question for the individual to answer. Is learning and performing tricks a large part of the attraction? In which case, buy a skateboard. For the increased sense of freedom on the open roads without needing to own a car, a cruiser or other type of longboard is likely to be the best option.
Things to consider
Longboards are usually 2 inches wider and longer (often much longer) than skateboards. They have softer, wider wheels that absorb uneven terrain far better than the wheels used with skateboards. Many of the longboard decks flex in the center to help take the weight of the rider and provider a counter-balance to manage sudden shocks when riding over bumps in the road. Because of these combined features, longboards are easier to learn how to ride than skateboards which are so responsive as to be unforgiving when trying to learn to hold your balance on the deck.
Easier Transition from Other Sports
Anyone who has previously enjoyed fast-paced or extreme sports like surfing, skiing, snowboarding, and even water skiing, will find the act of balancing on their feet while moving to be a somewhat familiar experience to them. Due to this, led early on by diehard surfers adopting skateboarding in the early 1960s, anyone who’s previously had fun balancing on something while accelerating forward will find longboards easy and fun without much of a learning curve.
Generic vs. Premium Branded Components
The main difference between the more affordable longboards and the pricier models is usually the quality of the components that they use. In the case of the cheapest models, it is to be expected that the trucks, bearings, wheels, and even the deck itself will not come from a premium brand.
In the case of the deck, it will have fewer multi-ply wood layers in its construction. With the trucks, they may have a more limited range of movement, support only lighter body weights, and be obstructive on tight turns. The bearings might also not measure up well with a lower ABEC scale indicating the exacting level of its manufacture. With wheels, there is a whole lot of difference between one set of PU wheels from a respected brand and a no brand alternative.
As a result, shopping for a longboard is not only about price or appearance, it is also about the components used in its construction and how this will affect its use, durability and longevity.
It is possible to make upgrades to the deck, bearings, truck or wheels to improve a starter longboard to something more appealing. However, it is not as easy to switch the style of longboard (cruiser, commuter, freeride) once owning a deck as different components suit different board types.
One of the most common replacements is the generic bearings for RED bearings which tend to cost under twenty bucks and perform much better. The wheels are also a common change to be made either for better looks or a smoother ride.
When getting into changing the truck, one is becoming more serious as a longboarder and perhaps it is better to think about a complete replaced longboard rather that changing a component that affects carving (turning) that much. The reason for this is because carving is partly affected by the deck type and other components, when wanting more maneuverability, it may be better to start over with a new longboard.
Types of Longboard
The cruiser is one of the most popular longboard types. It is intended for journeys to work, on campus, to run errands, and more. Cruiser longboards are either long or short ones, so shorter or taller riders may choose the board to suit their height. Cruisers are also quite stable as they’re intended to get around street corners while holding their rider on the deck without letting uneven paving stones dislodge them.
Deck Length – To clarify, deck length is measured in inches from nose to tail. Cruiser boards have a length between 28-inches up to 46-inches on the longest models. Longer decks are easier to learn how to ride because the added length helps smooth out vibrations. For snowboard riders, length affects flex and rigidity, but this is not true with longboards. For the most part, length is for appearance rather than a specific purpose.
Carving – the act of leaning forward or back to turn and move around obstacles – is easier to perform with shorter length decks. For the inexperienced, a 30-something inch length is a good mid-point.
Shorter Boards – A length of 28 to 32 inches is preferred by people who are shorter or who are younger and find a greater length too difficult to manage.
Mid-Sized Board – A length of 32 to 42 inches is ideal for people new to longboarding and is the most common size purchased. Stability and maneuverability are catered for at this length range.
Longer Board – When taking a longer duration ride along a road or sidewalk, then the greater length smooths out the ride because the feet don’t need to be as close to where the wheels are attached. One downside here is that longer longboards are heavier to carry around.
Commuter Board – This type of cruising longboard is top mounted with considerable leverage on the trucks below while help with carving (turning). The wheels are positioned at the absolutely ends of the deck which improves the stability above other cruiser types.
Deck Flex – The inbuilt flex that a cruising longboard provides works well to absorb many of the bumps that are transferred from the road to the wheels and through to the rider on the board. The deck is free to gyrate up and down in response to the terrain and how the wheels are responding to it in smoothing out the riding experience. For older riders and people taking a longer ride than usual, the cruiser longboard will help mitigate knee, ankle and other joint stress while riding. The lower riding position on boards with considerable flex and the ability to kneel down while riding on a cruiser longboard provide a feeling of greater speed too. It is important to also be aware that more flexible boards are harder to master for new riders who may prefer a longboard with less flex for their first longboard purchase.
Kick tail? – Some cruiser longboards include the traditional kick tail at one end of the deck that curves upwards steeply. The purpose of this kick tail is to enable faster turns, quick stops, hop up (or down) curbs, and skateboard-like tricks. A longboard without a kick tail is more stable due to the greater distance from either axle, but will completely lose the above benefits.
The Freeride longboard is for experienced longboarders and advanced riders. Freeriding is ideal for zipping down hills, performing ad hoc spins, boardslides, positional switches, and other fun tricks on an open road.
Deck Style – For advanced riders who wish to perform boardslides as they ride down a steep hill, the challenge of riding a freeride longboard delivers a rush of adrenalin. Freeride longboards are longer than most. Their thicker, rigid decks are ideal for riding hills, but thinner, adaptable boards provide more freestyle options on urban streets or a parking lot.
Drop Through – These kinds of decks are slimmer and lighter, but need to have minimal flex for effective freeriding. Intermediate to advanced riders only.
Drop Platform – A better option for beginners is a lowered drop platform which delivers more stability. For beginners who wish to learn slides, this option is best for that.
Deck Dimensions – Good Freeride longboards are usually 38-inches to 42-inches in length. A shorter length hurts stability whilst a longer length is harder to manage and move around on. The width of the freestyle longboard is proportional to the chosen length.
The downhill longboarding option is certainly not one for beginners. Downhill longboarding is only for advanced riders because the combination of downhill terrain, speeds of upwards of 50-80 MPH, and the ability to adjust trajectories with subtle, gradual movements pushes this into the extreme sport category.
Deck Style – The top mount deck is one that delivers the right kind of stability, speed and control that active longboarders require. The drop-through decks do deliver a more stable ride in a lower position though. It is up to the individual rider as to how they wish to configure their longboard for downhill rides.
Drop Through – For greater stability, the low to the ground position of a drop through deck is the one of choice. The reason for this is the lower center of gravity which helps reduce the volatility transmitted to the rider. For newbies to downhill racing, opting for the drop through deck is best.
Top Mount – The top mount trucks are attached to the underside of the deck. This mounting approach helps provide greater grip and when needing to slide to slow down ahead of a corner, then the top-mount board is a premium performer. With that said, the top mount type requires riders who are experienced in performing these kinds of moves comfortably, at a high rate of speed. For many riders, they will prefer to use a drop through option.
Deck Dimensions – The typical length of downhill decks is between 37 inches and 43 inches. The shorter the deck, the more unstable it is with every bump transmitted to the rider who has a harder and harder time staying on. The longer desk has a different kind of problem; the loss of maneuverability. For the person new to downhill longboards, picking a longer board is better to avoid high speed accidents with an ideal range of 40 to 41 inches being advisable.
Other Longboard Types
The slalom type of longboard is occasionally seen. The intention behind this alternative, partly oval-shaped deck design is to enable far more maneuverability to weave in and out of crowds. The decks are usually between 36-inches and 40-inches. The shorter length ensures the wheel base permits excellent carving with a greater turning radius than other longboards.
A technical sliding longboard is a specially designed type to perform extensive sliding tricks. While often a skateboard is the better choice for performing tricks, when wanting many of the benefits of owning and using a longboard, while also being fond of sliding, this is an interesting hybrid-type option.
There is a certain degree of risk involved with any extreme sports. Longboarding is no exception to this. The greatest risk is with a serious head injury which can be mostly avoided by wearing appropriate protective head gear. Over 800,000 reported skateboarding and longboarding combined injuries occur annually in the United States with only 40 percent of people wearing protective gear to reduce or eliminate serious injuries.
The protective gear available includes protective helmets, longboarding gloves with protruding circular padding on the inside of the hand to help decelerate to avoid an impact by placing the padded hand on the road to slow movement, knee pads, elbow pads, and even shin pads. Flat sneakers are mostly worn to grip the deck better, avoiding slippage. When thinking about the cost of medical treatment and the subsequent bump in insurance premiums after a claim, taking precautions against injury during longboarding is well worth it. And wearing protective gear won’t slow you down either!
Rimable Drop-through Longboard Review
The Rimable Drop-through Longboard is colorful riding solution for keen longboarders who want to shake things up.
The range of colors/patterns include Africa Pattern, Blue Skull, Hand Skull, Hat Skull, SAT, and Wave. The difference between each design is stark with riders able to pick a design that suits their mood or interests (the wheel colors are also changed to reflect the model/color scheme selected).
The deck is black with a rough surface for improved grip and a heat laminated pattern over the top of the fully 9-ply maple wood that is produced using a cold press manufacturing process.
The deck (41×9.5 inches) has a Freerider shape which tapers along the edges. The 7-inch 180mm aluminum truck is a drop through design which uses ABEC-11 bearings for exacting standards with a high-speed lubricant to ensure swift movement when a change of direction is called for.
PU wheels are used here with the polyurethane providing sufficient smoothness and an 85A hardness rating. The wheels are measured 70 x 51mm which is ample and barely protrude out from the deck.
The 7-inch aluminum drop-through truck is well put together and unobtrusive to riders.
The lower rolling distance and deck ensure a smooth ride because of the reduced center of gravity. The turning radius is also smaller than many longboards making this Rimable Drop-through Longboard a great Freerider board to carry around.
SCSK8 Black & Stained Longboard Review
The SCSK8 Natural Blank & Stained Assembled Complete Longboard Skateboard is a 40-inch board with many color choices.
The range of colors is pretty extensive for a longboard. The colors are: Royal Blue, Natural, Blue, Bamboo, Black, and Mini surf.
While the 40-inch size is the one recommended, the SCSK8 brand offers two different 44-inch sizes or a 34-inch size with selected colors (not all sizes offer the same color selection). We’re reviewing the 40-inch model here.
The deck has a concave design, yet it is not very flexible. The wheels are 70mm ones that carve well, but won’t slide brilliantly. The bearings reach the ABEC 5 standard which is not as high as other ABEC 9 or ABEC 11 ones on other more expensive models, but corners have to be cut somewhere. The 7-inch truck is also a fairly standard one.
The deck will take a rider up to around 250 pounds during testing, but over longer use probably closer to 200 pounds is the more reliable carrying limit.
This longboard is clearly a budget model without any significant name brand parts. As such, one shouldn’t expect great performance out of this already assembled product. With that said, as a starter longboard/skateboard or for only occasional use, it is easy to see the attraction here.
Santa Cruz Lion God Rasta Drop Thru Cruzer Freeride Longboard Review
The Santa Cruz Lion God Rasta Drop Thru Cruzer Freeride Longboard Deck offers multiple uses with this board.
The deck (40×10 inches) is a colorful one with black grip tape and a multi-colored Rasta stripe right down the center of the board from top to bottom. The underside adopts the Santa Cruz logo and has a huge scary lion image that has been laminated to this side. Anyone who has an affinity for reggae music will feel right at home riding on this board. The visual effect is dramatic and premium-looking too.
There are Road Rider wheels that measure 75mm (78a type) along with 180mm Road Rider trucks and Santa Cruz ABEC 3 bearings fitted. The trucks are quite stiff and may benefit from being loosened a bit, but this is down to the rider.
The longboard itself rides extremely fast, so beginner longboarders need to take appropriate care while they get used to the speed of their ride.
There is a convenient kick tail incorporated into the design to provide greater control.
This longboard sits in the middle of the price range of our recommended products. It uses a number of quality components which offers durability beyond what is expected from budget models.
White Wave Bamboo Longboard Review
The White Wave Bamboo Longboard is a drop-through design model offering great control.
The concave, symmetrical shape is noticeable yet not excessive with this deck (41×9.25 inch). The shape helps promote easy carving through road traffic or busy sidewalks.
This product comes in four distinct colors: Bandit, Cruiser, Drifter, and Mayhem. Each of the colors still maintains the wooden deck look. Multiple layers of both Canadian maple and bamboo were used in the deck production, with the heat transferred graphics over the top. The grip is clear so as not to obstruct from the attractive wood finish beneath it.
The 7-inch, 180mm aluminum trucks have a good finish on them and there are good rebound bushings included. The Hellion ABEC 9 bearings come with spacers built in. The wheels (70mm x 50 mm) are PU ones with a high rebound response. Mostly the core components are generic here, rather than more expensive name brand ones.
This longboard is a good one for riding around the college campus and short trips around town, but anyone looking to take longer rides on the weekend should perhaps look for a higher quality product.
Atom Drop-Through Longboard Review
The Atom Drop-Through Longboard is a great choice for affordable downhilling or trips through college campus at slower speeds.
This Atom board offers an extremely low riding position to really feel the road and keep a low profile while doing so. The lower riding position is also more stable because of the lower center of gravity when riding.
The shape of the 41-inch deck offers leverage of 9.6-inches during turns via the longboard trucks that offer a reverse King Pin, 245-millimeter axles. Whether carving through student lines or doing a spot of downhill speed racing on the weekends, this fast board is a good option.
The deck is made of maple wood with a laminate finish. The front has a black finish from the 80S grip tape and a black underside has a white and green design.
The ABEC 9 bearings supplied with a high speed lubricant is adequate. The urethane wheels (70×51 millimeters) have a wide lip and super high rebound features.
A one-year limited warranty is provided.
Sector 9 Green Wave Lookout II Drop-Thru Bamboo Complete Downhill Longboard Review
The Sector 9 Green Wave Lookout II Drop-Thru Bamboo Complete Downhill Longboard Skateboard is a premium product with a green color scheme.
The bamboo deck (42×9.6 inches) uses 5-ply taco mold bamboo in a drop-through design. A Hawaii wave design in green is embossed on the bottom of the deck and a see-through grip is used on the top deck.
The 10-inch Gullwing Charger trucks measuring 74mm (78A) have PDP ABEC 5 bearings fitted. The set of Sector 9 quality wheels are fitted that have a 31.5-inch wheelbase.
The board has a cool surfer look with the natural bamboo which is suited for cruising near the beach, carving around urban streets, commuting to the office or across campus, or to speed downhill. There is a good amount of flex built into the deck to handle bumpy roads. Sliding is easy to do on hills and cross-stepping isn’t a problem either.
The quality of this Sector 9 Green Wave Lookout II longboard is good for the price.
Sector 9 Aperture Sidewinder Drop Through Downhill/Cruiser Freeride Longboard Review
The Sector 9 Aperture Sidewinder Drop Through Downhill/Cruiser Freeride Complete Longboard is a multi-purpose product that delivers.
This longboard has a really cool look to it with an underside with a blue-hued heat transfer that stands out.
The drop-through deck (36×9 inches) has a black tape finish on the top and the exotic blue heat transfer image on the underside. A pair of Gullwing Sidewinder trucks with their double kingpin makes it possible to perform impressive spins and turns at the drop of a hat. The Sector 9 ABEC 5 bearings are likely to hold up reasonably well too.
The 69mm 9-ball wheels (80A) come in a variety of colors, but the main one is light blue to match the color scheme of the board.
This longboard is usable as a cruiser one around town or for fast downhill longboarding where stability and maneuverability are key. The quality branded components included with this product are likely to bear up well to extended use. However, this board isn’t going to support anyone over 150 pounds and suits younger riders better who weigh less than this.
Penny Skateboards Complete Longboard Review
The Penny Skateboards Complete Longboard is a top mount, plastic concave, camber board available in dramatic color schemes.
Unlike other longboards that tend to use one or more types of wood, this board revels in its plastic origins. The board is available in Cyan Blue, Glow, Grey, Pastel Mint, Rasta, and Royal Blue colors. The overall product is designed with a pintail shape that’s quite distinctive.
The top of the 36-inch deck has a textured grip to ensure the sneakers won’t slip when on the move. The board is flexible but also strong with a recent update made to components to ensure they’re up to standard.
The 7-inch 180mm reverse king pin trucks come in white to stand out from the colored plastic deck. Both the cushions and quality v-channel bearings (ABEC 9) ensure a smoother ride. The 69mm (83a) soft wheels fitted come in bright colors that differ from the color of the deck to make them stand out. The wheels ensure that this longboard just glides over bumps without any difficulty.
Riviera Cherry Blossom Longboard Review
The Riviera Cherry Blossom Complete Longboard Skateboard is a beautiful product that also doubles as a skateboard.
This drop-through deck (51.5×9 inches) has a classic look to it using laminated bamboo veneers to provide a protective coating. The bamboo offers plenty of flex and camber too, which enables easy carving or cruising around the neighborhood. The subtle cheery blossom artwork from Tim Clark isn’t obscured by the clean resin grip tape used on the top deck. The deck is slightly concave and comes in a medium flex specification to smooth out bumps.
The Paris 180mm trucks are simple and elegant which suits the overall aesthetic. The ABEC 7 bearings will certainly be sufficient here, but the standout choice is the Divine Road Slayers 72mm (78A) wheels in a dark red/purple color that matches Tim Clark’s color scheme.
The combination of Divine Road Slayers wheels, Paris trucks and reliable bearings make it possible to lean backwards and still be able to take corners with efficiency.
This longboard offers a good ride with some degree of flex to avoid being thrown off it. It is also gender agnostic, so it is suitable for male and female riders.
Jelly Skateboards Man O’ War Longboard Review
The Jelly Skateboards Man O’ War Longboard Complete is a technological marvel.
This top mount longboard is available in either lime green or red color. The recyclable, transparent polycarbonate used for the 34-inch deck is bullet-resistant even from a rifle at long distance. For regular riders this at least means that the deck will survive falls, knocks, and even excessive weights without getting crushed and cracking under it. It also can flex far more than wooden boards.
The standard riser has been completely redesign as the BettyBOX riser to perform several functions. The StashBLOCK Riser has a place to stash some keys and a roll of cash discretely, which is ideal when cruising down to the beach in your swimwear. The GoBLOCK riser allows a GoPro camera to be fitted into position for some killer 1080p visuals to give viewers a chance to see what you see when riding and carving.
Due to the flex of the board, the rebound is strong when pushing off to get more speed enabling riders to glide easier and go faster. Kinetic energy is stored within the deck when carving and is release to further propel the rider when they hit the straight. The increased flex of this Man O’ War board delivers a feeling more akin to surfing than riding a board yet isn’t difficult to learn how to ride on.
The concave shape of the board means there is no need for grip tape to be included in the design. The 10-inch t6 heat treated aluminum RKP trucks designed especially for longboards ensure strong directional control. There is also a set of 62mm polyurethane wheels that help smooth out the ride.
There is a noticeable rattle when riding due to the BettyBOX riser, but putting something inside it will stop the rattle.
Funded using a successful IndieGoGo campaign by 873 backers, the Jelly Skateboards company is based in California, USA.
Never Summer Longboard, Clutch Colorado Limited 39″ Longboard Review
The Never Summer Longboard, Clutch Colorado Limited 39″ Complete Skateboard is an exclusive board with a neat design.
The top mount, carbon fiber deck of this board has a black grip on the top side and a colorful BC Surf summertime look that’s replete with bright red, yellow, and blue. The deck measures 39-inches x 10-inches. The foot platform area is 23.5-inches.
The lower camber means cruising is more stable and gives a reliable response over uneven terrain. The trucks are single kingpin, black Paris 180mm (version 2).
The wheels are Never Summer’s 72mm (78A) models with an inner offset setup. They are fine to ride on, but not that good for sliding. The bearings used with this product are made in China and bear no branding at all. The drop down experience is good which makes even 15km journeys possible with this model.
Landyachtz Switch 40″ Longboard Review
The Landyachtz Switch 40″ Longboard Complete Skateboard is the 2015 edition of this best seller.
The dropped deck with its 40-inch length is comfortable for cruising around town, flexible freeriding, and going downhill at speed due to its high degree of stability. The 10-inch width is enough to support even big-footed riders.
This top mounted deck uses durable grip tape for the black top and a distinctive red coloring with Land Yachtz logo and a lion image on the underside. The deck is comprised of fiberglass and Canadian maple wood in a concave design.
The partially transparent red 70mm (82A) Mini Monsters wheels with black trim have a 32-inch wheelbase (wheel colors sometimes vary). The wheels allow the board to power slide successfully. The Bear Gen 5 Grizzlies trucks are excellent quality and there are Precision bearings fitted too.
The updated 2015 edition has only changed the artwork with the main components remaining identical.
Longboards for Beginners FAQ
Q: Is riding a longboard safer than riding a skateboard?
A: Longboards tend to cruise at faster speeds than skateboards. However, longboards have improved stability and are easier for beginners to learn on than skateboards, so the correct answer is: “it depends.”
Q: Are longboards more suitable for overweight men or women?
A: These types of rides come in optional longer decks and wider, softer wheels that help accommodate different weights and sizes of rider. Check the maximum carrying limit of the longboard before purchase.
Q: Are the wheels more durable than with skateboards?
A: The usual supplied wheels are PU wheels which are made of polyurethane that is softer than rubber, but has more bounce to it. The result is a wheel more sympathetic to rough roads, while offering good durability when compared to rubber wheels.
Q: Can I perform tricks with longboards?
A: It is certainly more difficult to perform tricks with this type of board because most are not designed expressly for that purpose. Sliding longboards are designed for riders who like to slide while still offering better stability and speed benefits that comes with other types of longboards. If wanting to mostly perform tricks, then a skateboard will be a better choice.
Q: If I have the money only for either a longboard or a skateboard, which should I choose?
A: That depends on what you wish to do with them. Longboards are intended for smoother, longer journeys whereas skateboards are better suited for short trips down to the store and performing tricks at skate parks.
Q: I’m 14. Should I buy a smaller longboard?
A: You are likely to find it easier to handle a shorter longboard than a longer one that is tough to maneuver. With the shorter length, the width of the longboard is also adjusted down. Make sure that the width won’t be too small for your feet.
Q: Does the design on the longboard really matter?
A: That’s entirely up to you. We would say that buying the right size and type of longboard to match the riding you wish to do are the most important things. Then once this is decided, choosing the product with the right set of features, including its design, is the way to go.
Q: What deck material is best?
A: Bamboo is a popular choice for its strength and flexibility, especially with boards that include flex as one of their features. Other woods like maple and materials such as carbon fiber are used too, with maple often being combined with bamboo as a multi-layered deck.
Q: Is it a good idea to buy some protective gear?
A: It is an essential part of longboarding to protect your body from potential accidents. The worst risks are to the head, but scrapes and worse can happen to hands, arms, legs, elbows, chest or back scrapping along tarmac roads. The road burn then needs to be treated carefully. Consider a quality helmet (not the cheapest one that won’t hold up), elbow and knee pads, special longboarding gloves with inner hand padding, and if you’re really worried, a gum shield to protect your teeth.
Q: Is a longboard heavier than a skateboard?
A: The longer the longboard, the heavier it will be. The basic materials may be heavier, but some of the larger boards do weigh a young rider down for sure.
Q: Do the truck, bearings and wheels matters much or can I save money there?
A: The quality of the truck, bearings and wheels directly reflect both performance and safety when used even with the most expensive deck. It is always a better idea to buy the best quality that you can afford because the quality tends to shine through over time compared to economy products which break faster.
Q: Is fiberglass a better deck material?
A: Fiberglass certainly can flex much more than wood without breaking, but it doesn’t always look as attractive.
Q: Is there a way to affix my GoPro to a longboard?
A: The JellySkateboards’ Man O’ War longboard uses their GoBLOCK riser to allow a GoPro camera to be fitted.