Whether you are a student on a college campus looking for a way to quickly get to class or someone who simply enjoys longboarding as a fun and relaxing pastime, having a great longboard can introduce you to an exciting new way of getting around.
While longboards may seem simple in their design, the truth is that there is a lot of finesse that goes into making the best longboards out there today. Choosing the perfect longboard for you can mean the difference between an awesome new hobby and a frustrating waste of money.
In this exhaustive guide, I will help you find the best longboard for you by analyzing all the various details you will want to consider before purchasing a board that will have you sailing down the sidewalk in ways more fun than you ever imagined it would be.
While there are a large number of longboard companies around today, only a select handful are known for making the highest-quality, best-riding boards available.
If you want to make finding the perfect longboard for you much easier, consider narrowing your search to one of these best longboard brands.
- 1 Best Longboard for Your Riding Style
- 2 Longboard Protective Gear
- 3 Longboards for Girls
- 4 Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Longboard
- 5 Why is it Important to Have the Best Longboard?
- 6 How to Tell a Cheap Longboard From a Good One
- 7 Tips on Choosing the Best Longboard
- 8 Longboard FAQ
- 9 Where Can I Buy a Longboard?
- 10 Making The Right Decision
Best Longboard for Your Riding Style
One of the most common mistakes that longboard riders make is assuming that one longboard is perfectly suited for each riding style.
In order to get the most enjoyable ride out of your longboard, you will want to make sure it is designed to accommodate what you want to do with it.
To help you out with that, here is a description of each riding style and the types of longboards that suit them best:
Best Longboards for Beginners
If you are just starting out, you are going to want to purchase a longboard that is a little forgiving, in more ways than one.
To start, you will need a highly durable longboard that will be able to stand up to the punishment that landing tricks incorrectly can cause. Along with this, you will want to look for a board that rides smoothly and is easy to maneuver so that your initial longboarding experience can be as enjoyable as possible.
Lastly, you may want to purchase an affordable longboard, that way you will be able to see what type of board is a good fit for you before you make a major financial investment. Here are the top recommended longboards for beginners:
|Quest Super Cruiser
|Sector 9 Lookout
Best Longboards for Carving
Carving is a technique that involves quickly turning the board to the left and right as you travel, effectively maneuvering in a zigzag, or S shaped pattern.
The advantage of this technique is that it allows you to effectively control your speed even if you are traveling down a steep hill. Because of this effectiveness, carving is one of the favorite tactics of longboard riders and many longboards are specifically suited to take full advantage of the technique.
Longboards best for carving are typically concave and allow you to evenly distribute your weight for making turns. Here are the top recommended longboards for carving:
|Sector 9 Lookout
|Sector 9 Aperture
|Surf One Robert August II
Best Longboards for Cruising
If you are wanting to use your longboard for long distance traveling, cruising longboards are the ride of choice.
Likewise, if you are planning to ride your longboard over rough or varying terrain, cruising longboards will be the way to go. As a general rule, longer length boards are better suited for cruising.
Also, having a longboard that rides smoothly will be especially important since you will be on it for longer periods of time. Here are the top recommended longboards for cruising:
|Sector 9 Lookout
|Santa Cruz Land Shark
Best Longboards for Slalom
Very similar to carving in the general mechanics, slalom is a style of riding that involves weaving in and out to avoid obstacles.
Not only is it an enjoyable riding style that has been quickly gaining traction as a fun way to enjoy your longboard, slalom has long been an effective way of gauging a rider’s skill.
Longboards that are best suited for slalom will be equipped with standard decks, soft, gripping back wheels, and harder front wheels. All of this allows for the quick acceleration needed for making tight turns. Here are the top recommended longboards for slalom:
|Sector 9 Fractal
Best Longboards for Freeriding
Freeriding is the style you picture when you think of a longboard rider jumping in the air and landing back down on their board.
Freeriding is one of the most popular styles, and it is a great style to learn to show off your skills with a longboard. The best part is, it is a style that is limited only by your own creativity, allowing you to start out with simple tricks and move up to more and more advanced as you go along.
For freeriding, you are going to want to purchase a longboard that is durable enough to stand up to being landed on continuously. Here are the top recommended longboards for freeriding:
|Sector 9 Faultline
|Santa Cruz Drop-Down
Best Longboards for Downhill
Downhill racing is a quickly growing longboard sport and arguably requires the most skill of any of the riding styles. It is certainly the most dangerous, and care should always be taken to wear the proper protective gear.
Downhill racing is exactly what it sounds to be—riders position their longboards at the top of a hill and race to the bottom, making sure to maintain control of their board during the entirety of the descent.
During a downhill race, it is not uncommon for top speeds to be in excess of 70 mph. For downhill racing, you will want a longboard that is not only fast but also easy to control at high speeds. Here are the top recommended longboards for downhill racing:
|Sector 9 Natasha
|Atom Drop Deck
|Yocaher Drop Through
Best Longboards for Dancing
Dancing a longboard is another method of trick riding and is one of the first riding styles to come onto the scene. Dancing involves tricks such as boardwalking, spinning the board, sidestepping, changing positions on the deck, and many other stunts.
In order to pull off the most impressive tricks and allow for maximum creativity, you will want to purchase a board that is well-suited for dancing. Here are the top recommended longboards for dancing:
|Sector 9 Goddess
Sector 9 Longboards
Handcrafted in San Diego, California since 1993, Sector 9 longboards have been some of the most popular boards on the market for both pros and beginners alike ever since the company came onto the scene.
Sector 9 uses a wide variety of materials to make their boards, including bamboo, maple veneer, fiberglass, and carbon fiber.
Sector 9 prides themselves on being a very environmentally conscious company, and along with recycling everything they can, the company also powers their operation using electricity generated from wind turbines.
All of Sector 9’s boards are covered by a 120 day warranty against defects, though they are known for being extremely well-made. Along with quality, Sector 9 is also renowned for their quantity, with their catalogue of boards presenting plenty of options for all experience levels of riders.
The foundation of Loaded is said to have begun in the mid-90’s, though the company says their conception was more of a fluid process rather than something that can be pinned down to a specific date.
Starting then, the founders of Loaded were fitting trucks and wheels on every skateboard, snowboard, and scrap of wood they could find, testing designs and drawing up new ideas.
In 2000, the company rolled out their first original longboard design and has been creating well-received and innovative designs out of their base in Culver City, California ever since. Loaded’s design process is simple: they build the longboards they themselves would want to ride and make sure not to overlook what works.
Thus far, it has been an effective methodology with Loaded’s catalogue of longboards currently stocked full of beautifully designed boards for all skill levels of riders.
Arbor was started in 1995 as a company focused on producing snowboards. In 1998, they branched out and began to produce skateboards and longboards.
Since then, Arbor has continued to make meticulously designed and beautifully crafted snowboards, skateboards, and longboards, as well as their own line of apparel. Arbor employs a team of designers and artists to handle every aspect of a new board, bringing the board from concept all the way to production and ensuring that it is as gorgeous as it is functional.
The company prides themselves on perfectly blending forward thinking design and old-school craftsmanship, and if the popularity of their boards is any statement, they seem to have struck the perfect balance between the two. Arbor boasts a large selection of longboards in a variety of deck designs and artistic patterns, all of which are manufactured with environmental friendliness taken into the utmost consideration.
If an Atom longboard still isn’t affordable enough for you, consider purchasing a Quest longboard. These boards may not have all the bells and whistles of a higher end longboard, but their cost alone makes them an excellent choice to consider, especially if you are new to the world of longboarding.
Quest has a large catalogue of longboards to choose from, with most all of them costing less (and some much less) than $100.
Despite being less expensive than most of the major companies on the market, longboard reviews of Quest boards are still almost always positive, with many customers saying they ride better than any of the more expensive longboards they have previously owned.
This level of quality combined with their affordability make Quest longboardsthe board you are most likely to come across, whether you are out on the street or walking through a store.
Atom was founded on one primary principle: affordability. Yet unlike many cheap, knock-off boards that barely even roll, the designers at Atom still put quality at the top of their goals.
Atom has taken meticulous efforts to determine where it’s okay to cut costs and where it is a better idea to go ahead and splurge a little, resulting in a catalogue of longboards that perform exceptionally and cost less than most any of their competitors.
Since 2005, Atom has been crafting these high-quality, affordable longboards out of their base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with no sign of slowing down.
Of all the longboards for sale today, Atom longboards are by far the most effective at maintaining a perfect balance of performance and cost, allowing them to remain one of the most popular companies in the business.
If you are on a budget, or if you simply enjoy the idea of getting a great board without spending a fortune, Atom is the company of choice. Some of Atom’s most popular longboards include the Drop Through, the Micro Drop, the Drop Kick, and the Pintail.
Started by skaters with skaters in mind, Landyachtz was formed in 1997 by two college buddies who both shared a passion for longboarding and designing their own boards.
Today, Landyachtz is located in Vancouver, Canada, where it continues to be staffed entirely of skating enthusiasts who are known for transferring their passion into every task they do.
Having moved past the days of working out of a garage, Landyachtz is now one of the most recognizable brands still around and is known for sponsoring some of the world’s most successful riders and helping organize countless longboarding events.
Landyachtz founders attribute much of the quality of their longboards to the terrain in which they were tested—a rough, punishing stretch of country that could only be successfully conquered by the finest, most well-made longboards.
Today, their boards are still tested to the limits and still live up to the same standards that riders have grown to expect out of their boards, leading to a flood of longboard reviews praising their workmanship and quality. Today, some of Landyachtz’s most popular longboards include the Switch, the Switchblade, the Battle Axe, and the Pinner.
Madrid is one of the oldest longboard/skateboard manufacturing still around today, boasting that they have been in the market ever since someone first decided to stick wheels on a piece of wood.
Founded in the late 1960’s in Norwalk, California, Madrid has been designing and manufacturing boards for over fifty years with no sign of slowing down. Today, they are located in Huntington Beach, California, where they continue to produce some of the most attractive and functional longboards you could find.
Madrid states that they have stuck to a methodology of tried-and-true tradition combined with modern innovation, and their selection of high-quality longboards certainly reflects the decades of experience the company has at designing boards that people will want to ride.
Their large selection of longboards include boards designed for every major use and level of skill you could want to find. Some of Madrid’s most popular longboards include the Squid, the Missionary, and the Dream Bird.
If you’ve ever wondered which of the longboard companies puts the most dedication into innovation and driving their designs forward, the answer is Original.
Since being founded in 2002, Original has made it their primary emphasis to create longboards that are perfectly suited for their intentions. Original recognizes the difference between a longboard and a skateboard, as well as the advantages that a longboard can have when it is properly designed.
From there, they have gone out and created longboards that are made to give the smoothest ride and maximum ability. Inspired by snowboarding and surfing, the founders of Original wanted to emulate the fluid movements of these sports on the pavement and set out to design longboards that would allow them to do just that.
Today, their selection of longboards contains some of the most beautifully-crafted, fun to ride boards that you will be able to find, and the company states to be in continuous evolution as they strive to design more and more longboards that will maximize rider enjoyment to add to their catalogue.
Though it will be interesting to see what longboards Original designs in the future, some of the current favorites they produce include the Apex, the Arbiter, and the Freeride.
Rayne is a company that claims to be based on three fundamental cornerstones: Quality, Progression, and Authenticity.
For every longboard they make, Rayne strives for a board that meets the standards of cutting-edge quality, a progressive level of innovation that drives themselves and the rest of the industry forward, and authenticity that stays true to the brand and reputation that they first started back in 2004.
With these cornerstones as their primary goal, Rayne has launched a wildly successful brand stationed out of Vancouver, Canada.
On one subsection of their main website, Rayne lists out and describes all of the technological innovations that go into each of their boards and the advantages that each provide, and while it is a lengthy read, it is a great insight into just how fine-tuned a Rayne longboard really is.
With a large selection of longboards employing each of these innovative design features, it’s easy to see why Rayne has grown to be one of the most respected longboard manufacturers despite being a relatively young company.
Some of Rayne’s most popular longboards include the Reaper, the Supreme, and the Nemesis.
Riviera is a company that boasts as not being bound by any rules, and though the longboards that they design are certainly held to certain standards of expectation, their selection of longboards include some of the most diverse and beautifully unique boards that you can find today.
They are a company founded by skaters that still take pride in their skater roots, and everything from the design of their website to the artwork on their boards strives to tap into that spark of nostalgia associated with cruising a longboard down the road on a cool summer evening.
As a company, they remain incredibly active in both sponsoring riders and hosting longboarding events, and as individuals, each member of the team is highly involved in skating as a hobby and a passion.
Their wide selection of longboards contains just about any type of board you could want, no matter where and how you intend to ride it or how experienced with skating you are.
Some of the most popular longboards in Riviera’s selection include the Drop-Thru, the Gemini, the La Rana and the Ursa Minor.
Santa Cruz Longboards
Specializing in both longboards and their own line of apparel, Santa Cruz produces a large line of unique longboards to satisfy every possible rider in terms of both intended use, skill level, and budget.
Their company is currently the oldest skateboard manufacturer in the business, and that experience can certainly be seen in the design of their boards.
Located in Santa Cruz, California, the company is known for creating high-quality longboards while keeping costs affordably low and has built a world-wide reputation among both professional and amateur longboard riders alike.
Santa Cruz’s operation may be a little more corporate and a little less personal than some companies, but that has allowed them the resources to produce a massive catalogue of longboards specifically tailored towards customer satisfaction.
Some of the most popular longboards that Santa Cruz currently offers include the Rasta Drop Thru, the Cruzer, and the Land Shark.
Founded in 1994, Gravity has carved out a reputation as being a company with two focuses: fun and environmentalism. The company’s goals can be almost entirely condensed to producing rider-friendly longboards in an environmentally friendly way.
The list of green technology that Gravity employs in their longboards is extensive, including using recycled materials, biodegradable materials, and non-filament fiberglass that does not produce airborne particles that could be breathed in.
All of these environmental efforts has not gotten in the way of Gravity producing great longboards, however. Their selection of longboards include some of the most well-loved boards on the market today, and they are constantly striving towards new and better ways to produce a longboard that will be more enjoyable to ride.
All of this has led to a selection of longboards that are some of the most popular choices on the market for those who are environmentally conscious and those who simply love a great longboard.
A few of the best-selling longboards from Gravity’s catalogue include the Drop Carve, the Double Drop, and the Miura
Gold Coast Longboards
Gold Coast is a company that describes their approach to producing longboards as having a love for beautiful design and creativity at its very heart. They say they specialize in “fun on four wheels” and offer a large catalogue of beautifully crafted longboards for all varieties of functions and all different skill levels of riders.
Along with their longboards, Gold Coast also designs their own line of apparel, their obvious love for creative designs as apparent in their clothing as it is their longboards.
Gold Coast has an individual in charge of each aspect of their Longboards production, from the artwork that goes on it to the rigorous testing they put it through.
Each of these individuals are long-time longboarding fanatics, and it is easy to recognize the passion that they put into their work.
This passion has led to a selection of longboards that are praised for both their functionality and aesthetic value. Some of the most popular longboards from Gold Coast’s selection include the Salvo, the Origin, and the Pressure.
Surf One Longboards
Located in Santa Barbara, California, Surf One offers a catalogue of both skateboards and longboards, both of which are pleasing to the eye and equally pleasing to ride.
Of all the longboard companies in the industry, Surf One longboards are far and above some of the most well-reviewed boards you can find. Riders all across the world praise how smoothly they ride and how appealing their design is, so much so that Surf One devotes an entire page of their website to listing the testimonials of riders who have purchased one of their boards.
Along with having a selection full of great, well-reviewed longboards, Surf One is also one of the few companies that offers a lifetime warranty against defects on all the longboards they produce—a testimonial in itself of the durability and craftsmanship of Surf One longboards.
Some of the most popular longboards that Surf One sells include the Robert August, the Robert August II, and the Classic.
Founded in 1994 by Australians Peter and Stephan Hill, Globe was founded on the concept of providing skaters with all of the equipment they will need at the highest possible quality.
Today, Globe is based out of Torrance, California and is responsible for designing apparel, skateboards, longboards, and footwear that many professional riders as well as their large customer base of amateur and beginner riders employ.
Their selection of longboards is large, offering plenty of options to all skill levels and riding styles, and continues to grow as the years go by. Each of their longboards are expertly crafted out of either maple or plastic, and some have been outfitted with wild features such as a bottle opener tucked under the deck.
While features such as this may attract some, they are more of a testament to Globe’s funky sense of design than anything else. It is the quality and craftsmanship of their boards that keeps their customers coming back and that has also earned their longboards the distinction as being among the best available today.
Some of Globe’s most popular longboards include the Geminon, the Prowler, the Arrowhead, and the Arcadia.
Krown longboards have to primary distinctions that set them apart from the competition—they are beautifully designed, and they are affordable.
By the looks of these boards, it could be easy to fool someone into thinking you spent much more than you actually did, giving them a wonderful appeal to those wanting to buy a gorgeous longboard that won’t cost them hundreds of dollars. But don’t let their attractive design and low price tag fool you into thinking Krown longboards don’t ride well.
Their boards are praised by riders everywhere as providing a smooth, excellent ride as well as being durable enough to hold up to punishing tricks and stunts.
This trifecta of aesthetic appeal, functionality, and affordability has made Krown’s selection of longboards some of the popular boards around today, especially among those looking for their first good longboard.
Some of Krown’s best-selling longboards include the Wood Sunset, the Freestyle Elite, the Krex 2, and the Sunset City Surf.
Located in Chino, California, Yocaher is yet another company who has carved out a name for themselves as one of the top longboard brands by providing high-quality longboards at an extremely affordable cost.
With so many companies now producing top-of-the-line longboards for less than $100, it is a great time to be alive as a longboard rider. Thanks to companies like Yocaher, the days of having to worry about affordable meaning low-quality are all but gone.
Each longboard in Yocaher’s impressively sized collection are wonderfully crafted and designed to provide riders with a fun, easy to enjoy riding experience.
Their longboards are a joy to look at and even more of a joy to ride, and longboard reviews of their products are almost always full of nothing but praises.
Without a doubt, Yocaher is a great company to consider, even if you aren’t on a tight budget. Some of the most popular longboards from Yocaher’s impressive collection include the Professional, the Low Rider, the Pintail, the Kicktail, and the Mini Cruiser.
Longboard Protective Gear
In order to stay safe while longboarding, especially when traveling at high speeds, you will want to be wearing the proper protective gear. Below is a list of each type of gear and how it is commonly used:
The helmet is the most essential part of a longboard rider’s protective gear. An unexpected fall from even low speeds can lead to a rider’s head impacting hard against the pavement, resulting in severe injury.
To guard against this, you will want to invest in a quality helmet that has the proper amount of internal padding. When choosing a helmet, you will have two options.
The first is a simple helmet, which protects the crown and top of the head. The second option is a full-faced helmet, which covers the entire head and face. This is the helmet that is preferred (and often required) for downhill racing.
Slide gloves allow you to put your hands down on the ground while traveling at high speeds without suffering cuts and burns.
This is not only great if you need to make an emergency stop, but it also allows you to perform a number of cool looking tricks that require you to place your hands on the ground.
Also, if you ever fall, slide gloves will allow you to catch yourself without injuring your hands.
Pads are designed to protect every critical part of the rider’s body, including the elbows, knees, wrists, and the palms of your hands. Often during a fall, it is these areas of the body that will be the first to hit the ground and absorb the majority of the impact.
Because of this, it is important to cover them with good protective padding, especially if you are traveling at very high speeds.
If you are performing complicated tricks or using your hands as brakes at very high speeds, you may want to equip them with even more protection than slide gloves.
For this, there are pucks. Pucks are a durable pieces of hard plastic than can be attached to your slide gloves to provide your hands with additional protection against the pavement.
There is a reason that motorcycle riders often wear leather clothing, and that reason is road rash. Road rash is the excruciating injury that is caused by sliding across the asphalt, resulting in abrasive scrapes and friction burns on the exposed skin.
If you are riding at speeds where road rash might be a concern, you may want to consider purchasing a leather suit. The leather is thick enough to keep from being burned away by the friction, protecting you against the asphalt should you ever go sliding across it.
Longboards for Girls
When it comes to longboard riding (as well as many other things, of course) girls can do anything a guy can.
With more and more women becoming attracted to the sport, many good longboard companies, (and some not so good ones) are starting to take advantage of this new market by offering longboards that are specifically tailored towards girls. On one hand, this is absolutely fine.
Women may very well prefer a different style of artwork on their longboard than men and may appreciate a longboard that is made with them in mind. Concerning the functionality of the longboard, however, there is no discernable difference.
And no matter what a marketing scheme tells you, there is certainly no one longboard that is “perfect for girls”. Girls, like guys, are going to have different riding styles, different levels of skill, and different expectations of their longboard.
With this being the case, they would benefit greatly to consider a wide array of longboards rather than just those that are specifically marketed towards women. Longboards for girls should include just as many options and board types as longboards for boys.
For instance, if you are a girl who enjoys carving, you will want to purchase a good longboard that is well-suited for this riding style and avoid unnecessarily limiting yourself to just the longboards that are marked as being “for girls”.
While there are a number of good longboards for girls, there is a much larger amount of great longboards that can be ridden by either gender. Whether you are male or female, finding the top longboard for you is a matter of analyzing what you want to do with it and choosing a longboard that fits your unique tastes and riding style.
What gender the board is marketed towards should have little place in your choice.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Longboard
In order to ensure that you purchase the best possible longboard for your specific style, taste, and requirements, here are a list of the top factors you will want to keep in mind:
Some longboards can be well-suited for more advanced riding styles and difficult for a beginner to master while others can be made to be easy-to-ride as well as durable to stand up to a beginner’s mistakes.
Before you begin your search for a longboard, consider your own ability level and then look for a board whose mounting type and flex are tailored to your skill and expectations.
The superior longboards for different riding styles is something we have already taken an extensive look at in this guide, but it is still an important factor that you will want to keep in mind when purchasing a longboard.
If you buy a longboard meant for carving to use as a downhill racing board, chances are you are going to be disappointed. Fortunately, most longboards are plainly marketed as being suited for varying types of riding styles, and to make things even simpler, I’ve already pointed out my top recommendations for each of the major riding styles.
Determine which style you will be doing the most and pick a longboard that is perfectly suited for that type of riding.
Longboards come in two basic shapes, with each having its own set of advantages. The first of these is directional boards. These longboards are not symmetrical in their shape (the front and back of the board are shaped differently) and are meant to be ridden in only one direction.
Carving longboards, cruising longboards, and downhill longboards are usually directional. The second shape is twin, meaning that the board is symmetrical in that the front and back are completely identical.
This shape of board is well-suited for trick and stunt riding such as freestyle and dancing, although there are many directional boards that are just as well suited for these styles of riding.
There are four different types of longboard deck styles. The first of these is the top mount. The top mount is the traditional deck style with the deck of the board mounted on top of the truck and remaining above it across the length of the board.
This style has good turn leverage and is the most affordable, but is also less stable. The second style is the drop through. In a drop through longboard, the trucks are mounted through the board, effectively lowering the height of the deck. This leads to a much more stable ride, and the rider experiences less fatigue while pushing or braking. Next is the drop deck.
In a drop deck longboard, the deck is shaped so that it drops down lower than the top of the trucks.
This also leads to a more stable ride and less fatigue while pushing or braking. Lastly, there is the double drop. The double drop is a combination of the drop through and the drop deck styles and is designed in such a way as to get the rider’s feet as low to the ground as possible.
This style is ultra-stable and perfect for downhill riding.
Board (Shape) Features
Each board is going to come with a certain set of attributes that make it especially suited for a specific type of riding.
The first feature that a board may have is a kicktail. A kicktail refers to the raised portion on both ends of the board that allows the rider to lift the board off the ground and perform tricks. The second feature is the concave of the board.
Generally, boards for downhill riding are more concave, meaning that they have higher sides that allow the rider to better stay on the board. Next are the wheel wells, which are cut-outs in the board that are in place to prevent the wheel from biting into the wood.
Lastly, there is the W-concave, which is basically two concaves on the board and is also in place to allow the rider to better maintain his balance while riding.
Board Length and Wheelbase
The length of your longboard is an important feature to consider, as it plays in an important role in how stabile the board is as well as how quickly it can turn.
Longer boards are going to be more stable, while shorter boards will be able to turn faster.
The material that the board is made out of plays an important role in what functions it will excel at.
The first of three most common materials used is a veneer, which involves gluing together multiple strips of wood. This is the most common and most affordable construction for longboards.
The second material used is bamboo. Bamboo longboards are usually lightweight and have a medium flex. Lastly, there is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber longboards are lightweight and extremely stiff.
They are the preferred longboard for downhill riders.
Flex refers to how stiff the board is. There are three different levels of board flex, each coming with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
The first is soft flex. Soft flex boards have a lot of shock absorption, making them extra forgiving on bumpy roads, however, they are less stable at high speeds. Soft flex boards are the excellent longboards for beginner riders and are also preferred for many tricks. Next is medium flex longboards.
Medium flex longboards strike a middle ground between absorbing shock and being stable at high speeds, and are preferred for riding styles such as long distance and carving.
Lastly, there are stiff flex boards, which are ultra-stable at high speeds, but not very forgiving on bumpy roads. They are the preferred longboards for downhill riding.
Longboard trucks are the metal components that attach the wheels to the base of the board. While there are several parts that make up a longboard truck, the most important two to pay attention to are the kingpin and the bushings. The kingpin is a bolt on the longboard truck that can be adjusted for stiffer or looser turning.
The bushing are rubber pads that are nestled in the truck. A more flexible bushing is going to make turning easier, however, a stiffer bushing provides more return energy.
The most important things to keep in mind concerning a longboard’s wheel are the shape of their edges and their size. Larger wheels allow for faster top speeds, while smaller wheels allow for quicker acceleration.
Wheels that are shaped such that their edges are rounded make for easier sliding, freeriding, and cruising, however, wheels with straight edges grip the pavement better, giving you more control in tight turns and at high speeds.
Bearings allow the wheels of the longboard to spin freely without undergoing too much friction.
You will want to purchase a longboard that is equipped with bearings that are not only smooth and well-polished, but also durable, as these are often the first part to wear out.
Why is it Important to Have the Best Longboard?
You wouldn’t have to look very hard to find longboards for sale that are much cheaper than any of the longboards made by the top longboard brands out there today.
Unfortunately, though these boards may initially appear to save you money, their quality is usually lacking and purchasing them will most likely end up costing you in the long term, as you will be frequently replacing parts, and, in some instances, the entire board. Yet having the top longboard is even more important than simply getting a longboard that will last you a long time.
By purchasing a high quality longboard, you will be more likely to enjoy the riding experience. Good longboards will ride smoother and turn easier than a cheap knockoff, making them well worth the extra money spent.
Even if you are on a budget, there are still a number of great longboards made by good longboard brands that cost much less than $100.
No matter how much money you spend or what type of longboard you are looking to buy, purchasing a longboard that is the best for you is highly important if you want to get the maximum amount of enjoyment out of the hobby.
How to Tell a Cheap Longboard From a Good One
If it is important that you get a good longboard, how is it that you discern a high quality board from a cheap imitation? Sometimes, price can be a good indicator, however, price alone is not enough.
There are a large number of high quality longboards that are very affordably priced. The first thing you can do is to look at longboard reviews.
Customer feedback on various longboards is a great way to tell if the board is a high quality or poor quality.
Second, you can’t go wrong by sticking with the best longboard brands, almost all of which we’ve already looked at in this guide. These brands have been producing excellent longboards for years and have earned a reputation as always delivering great longboards that ride smoothly and are extremely durable.
While many cheap, low quality longboards are marketed to seem as if they are excellent products, by reading customer reviews and purchasing from reliable brands, you should have no problem ensuring that you get a longboard that will look and ride like a dream.
Tips on Choosing the Best Longboard
Along with considering all the various factors that go into a good longboard, there are still a few crucial tips that you will want to keep in mind during your decision making process.
In order to ensure that you purchase the perfect longboard for your needs, here are the top tips for choosing a good longboard:
Tip 1: Choose a Longboard Whose Flex Matches Your Experience Level
A board with a softer flex is going to be much more forgiving to a beginning rider.
Since the advantage of a stiffer flex is more stability at high speeds, and since a beginner rider isn’t likely to achieve very high speeds until they gain experience, there is every reason for beginners to desire a longboard with a softer flex.
As you start riding at higher and higher speeds, a stiffer flex will become the preferred option.
Tip 2: Keep in Mind that a Longboard is a Long-Term Investment
If it comes down to saving a few bucks or getting a longboard that will serve you best, always go with the better board. There are some great longboards out there made by reputable companies that are highly affordable.
However, if you need to spend a little more to get the best board for you, then keep in mind that a good longboard is an investment meant to last you for a very longtime.
Longboarding is a hobby that you can enjoy as long as you are physically able, and, if you buy the right longboard and don’t ever want to make a major switch in your riding style, a good longboard can last you a lifetime.
Taking that into consideration, it is far better to purchase a longboard that is the best fit than one that costs the least.
If an inexpensive longboard is a good fit for your riding style, then that’s great. If you have to splurge a little, then just remember that it will be a purchase that will be serving you for many years down the road.
Tip 3: Pay Extra Attention to the Deck Style
The deck style may not seem all that important at first glance, but each different style can drastically change what functions the longboard will perform best at.
Because of this, it is important to pay close attention to the deck style of the board you are considering, whether it be top mount, drop through, drop deck, or double drop, and purchase a board whose deck style is compatible with your riding style.
Tip 4: Aesthetics are Important
While the look of your longboard isn’t nearly as important as how well it rides, it does pay to get a longboard that looks and rides great.
Good longboards are a work of art, and that is why many companies have an entire team of artists dedicated to their aesthetic design. Above all, choose a longboard whose ride you will be able to enjoy, but after that, there’s no shame in finding one whose artwork inspires you as well. If your board rides smoothly and looks great, chances are you will enjoy it all the more.
What is a Complete Longboard?
A complete longboard is one that comes fully assembled with wheels and trucks. This is the option you should look for if you are wanting to purchase a longboard that is ready to ride as soon as you take it out of the box.
Another option would be for you to purchase the longboard deck, truck, and wheels all separately and assemble them yourself.
This is the preferred route for people who are wanting to customize their longboard with a specific set of components that are better suited to their liking. For most however, especially those just getting started in longboarding, buying a complete board is the simplest and most effective way to go.
What is the Correct Way to Stand on a Longboard?
Getting the proper stance down is a crucial first step in riding a longboard. First, you will want to decide for yourself which foot you put out in front and which one trails.
Having your left foot forward is referred to as “regular foot” as it is the most common. Putting your right foot forward is called “goofy foot”, and there is a big debate over which one is more advantageous. In the end though, it is really a matter of personal preference.
Once you’ve determined the positioning of your feet, where you place them is the next important step. You will want to have your front foot placed directly behind the front truck and your back foot about a shoulder’s width distance apart from it.
When you start riding, your front foot will be at about a 45 degree angle to the edge of the board, and when you push off with your back foot, it will pivot so that your toes point towards the end of the board.
Push off a time or two, then step back onto the board with both feet. From there, you’ll be cruising away!
I’m Heavier/Taller Rider. What Board Would be Best for Me?
If you are 200+ pounds, you will definitely want to consider a longboard where strength of construction is a priority. If the board is made out of veneer, look for one that has more layers of wood (essentially a thicker board).
Also, some composite materials such as fiberglass or carbon fiber are quite strong and can allow you to have a thinner, lightweight board that will still be sturdy.
For taller riders, the primary concern is the width of the board, as taller people generally have larger feet. If you are much over 6 foot tall, look for a longboard that is in the 9’ to 10’ width range.
What Kind of Wheels Should I Get?
The type of wheels that will be best for you depends entirely on your riding environment and preferences. When choosing wheels, you will have options in both the wheels’ size and their hardness.
Larger wheels allow the longboard to travel at faster velocities, however, they have slower acceleration.
Smaller wheels are the inverse of this, having lower top speeds but faster acceleration. Concerning the hardness of the wheels, which ones will work best depends largely on what type of road you will be skating on. Harder wheels will be faster on a completely smooth track such as what you might find at a skate park.
Softer wheels, however, will be faster over the bumps and cracks of a worn sidewalk. Also, the edge shape of the wheels is important to note. Rounded edges allow for more lateral movement and are great for performing tricks.
Straight edges grip the pavement better and allow for more stability at higher speeds.
What is the Difference Between a Longboard and a Mini Longboard?
The short answer is that a longboard is longer than a mini longboard. Concerning their purposes and advantages, however, the differences between them becomes a little more complex.
Longboards, which are usually 34” to 60” in length, are more stable and are used for long distance riding, cruising, carving, freeriding, and downhill.
Mini longboards are less stable, but more compact and generally preferred for purposes such as traveling to class and other instances where you have to carry your board in with you after your trip.
Despite the fact that they are naturally less stable, many mini longboards are equipped with features that can make them almost as stable as a regular longboard.
Is it Important to Wear Protective Equipment When Longboarding?
If you intend to ride at very high speeds, then the right protective gear is essential. Depending on what style of riding you are doing, longboarding can reach speeds that are nothing short of deadly.
In downhill riding, you may very well be traveling fifty or sixty miles per hour. Because of this it is highly important to wear the proper protective gear at all times.
At the very least, you will want to have a helmet, pads, slide gloves, and you may want to consider wearing a pair of motorcycle leathers as well to prevent a nasty road rash should you ever go sliding across the pavement.
When, not if, you do eventually fall off your board, you’ll be glad you were wearing the proper gear to keep you safe.
How do I Take Care of My Longboard?
If maintained properly, a good longboard can easily last you a lifetime. In order to get the most years out of your longboard, there are certain steps you will want to take to take care of it.
To start, it is recommended that you do not ride your longboard through puddles, sand, or in the rain.
Also, you will want to check the bearings of your longboard once every two to three months to make sure they are spinning properly. Do not hesitate to replace your bearings as needed, as doing so will greatly prolong the life of your board.
Next, you will want to make sure your bushings are still flexible. To do this, set the board facing grip tape down and press down on it with your heel. If it rebounds to its center position, your bushings are in good working order.
If not, you will want to consider replacing them. Also, consider changing your axle and kingpin nuts at least once every year. Lastly, readjust and reapply your grip tape as needed.
Where Can I Buy a Longboard?
You can find longboards for sale at a variety of retailers, ranging from sporting goods stores to skate shops specifically dedicated to skateboards and longboards.
Along with these, however, longboards can also be purchased online, either directly from the manufacturer or from a retailer such as Amazon.
For most people, this is the best way to purchase a longboard. Retailers such as Amazon often offer large discounts on their longboards, and even when they do not, their prices are usually much cheaper than you will find at a physical store.
Along with this, ordering online gives you direct access to customer reviews, which are valuable sources of information on the quality of the longboard you are considering.
For these two reasons, ordering longboards online is becoming an increasingly popular choice and for most people is the best way to purchase a longboard.
Making The Right Decision
Choosing the perfect longboard for you shouldn’t have to be a difficult task, however, it is highly important that you purchase the right one.
One of the most important things you can do when purchasing a longboard is to stick with the top longboard brands. Buying from these longboard companies is the first crucial step in ensuring that you get a high quality longboard.
After picking the right company, carefully consider your riding style and experience level.
Based on these two factors alone, you should be able to easily narrow down what types of features you want your longboard to have. From there, read a few longboard reviews and pick a board that looks as great as it rides.
Once you have the perfect longboard picked out, purchase it and start enjoying the adventure and exhilaration of the wonderful sport of longboarding.