Hey there, fellow skateboarding enthusiast! Are you ready to dive into the world of longboards? If you’ve been searching for that feeling of freedom, cruising down long stretches of pavement with the wind in your hair, then you’re in the right place.
Longboards are the perfect companion for those seeking a smooth and stable ride, whether you’re commuting, carving, or going for some downhill thrills. In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about longboards, including their different types, the benefits they offer, and tips for choosing the right one.
Key takeaways from this article:
- Discover the various types of longboards and their unique features
- Understand why longboards are favored for commuting, carving, and downhill riding
- Learn how to choose the perfect longboard based on your riding style and preferences.
So grab your helmet, hop on board, and let’s get rolling!
Table of Contents
Introduction to Longboards
Longboards are a type of skateboard that are designed specifically for cruising and carving. Unlike traditional skateboards, which are smaller and more suited for tricks and stunts, longboards feature a longer and wider deck that provides stability and a smoother ride. They are often used for transportation, downhill racing, and just enjoying a leisurely cruise around town.
One of the key characteristics of longboards is their size. Typically, they measure between 33 to 60 inches in length, making them significantly longer than standard skateboards. This extra length increases stability, allowing riders to maintain balance and control even at higher speeds.
Longboards also come in various shapes and styles, each tailored to specific riding styles and preferences. Some popular shapes include pintail, drop-through, and drop-down. Pintail longboards have a narrow, pointed shape, which makes them ideal for cruising and carving. Drop-through and drop-down longboards, on the other hand, have a lowered deck that brings the rider closer to the ground, providing better stability and ease of pushing.
Another important aspect of longboards is their wheels. Unlike skateboard wheels, which are smaller and harder, longboard wheels are typically larger and softer. The larger diameter allows for a smoother ride over cracks and bumps, while the softer durometer ensures better grip and traction on various surfaces.
Longboards are not just for experienced riders; they are also great for beginners who are looking to get into skateboarding. The stability and ease of control offered by longboards make them perfect for learning the basics and building confidence before attempting tricks on a traditional skateboard.
Longboards are a versatile and enjoyable type of skateboard that cater to a wide range of riding styles and preferences. With their longer length, stability, and smooth ride, they are ideal for cruising, carving, transportation, and even downhill racing. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, longboards offer a unique skateboarding experience that is worth exploring.
History and Evolution of Longboards
Longboards have come a long way since they first made their debut on the streets. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the fascinating history and evolution of longboards. Understanding the history of this skateboard type will not only give you a deeper appreciation for the sport but also shed light on the progression and development of longboards over the years.
The history of longboards can be traced back to the 1950s and 1960s when surfers in Hawaii and California sought a way to replicate the feeling of riding waves on land. Inspired by the surf culture, they began experimenting with longer skateboards, equipped with larger wheels, to imitate the fluid movements of surfing. These early longboards were essentially homemade, often crafted by attaching roller-skate wheels to a narrow wooden plank.
As the sport gained traction, longboards started to be manufactured commercially, giving rise to dedicated longboard companies. These companies began producing boards with improved designs, materials, and components. Longboards of this era were typically made from solid wood or fiberglass, which made them sturdy and durable.
In the 1970s and 1980s, longboarding experienced a decline in popularity as skateboarding moved towards shorter, more maneuverable skateboard designs. However, longboarding saw a resurgence in the 1990s, with riders rediscovering the joy of cruising and carving on longboards. This revival led to the development of specialized longboard shapes tailored for different riding styles and disciplines.
Today, longboards have evolved into a diverse range of styles, shapes, and sizes. Whether you prefer freeriding, downhill racing, or simply cruising around town, there’s a longboard for every type of rider. Deck shapes have also evolved to accommodate specific riding styles. Drop-through decks, for example, provide a lower center of gravity and increased stability, making them ideal for downhill riding. Pintail decks, on the other hand, offer a classic surf-inspired design, perfect for smooth carving and cruising.
Different Shapes and Sizes of Longboards
Longboards come in various shapes and sizes, each designed to cater to different riding styles and preferences. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, understanding the different types of longboard shapes can help you choose the best one for your needs. Below, we’ll explore some popular longboard shapes and sizes:
- Known for their classic, symmetrical shape.
- Ideal for cruising and carving.
- Narrower at the front and back, allowing for a smooth and stable ride.
- Suitable for beginners due to their stability and ease of control.
- Features cut-outs or mounting holes that allow the trucks to be mounted through the board.
- Provides a lower center of gravity, improving stability and making it easier to push and slide.
- Great for freeriding and downhill riding.
- Suitable for riders looking for more speed and stability.
- Typically shorter and wider than other longboards.
- Designed for everyday commuting and transportation.
- Offers a smooth and comfortable ride.
- Easy to maneuver in tight spaces.
- The trucks are mounted on the top of the deck.
- Provides a higher center of gravity, allowing for greater control and responsiveness.
- Best suited for downhill riding and tricks.
- Requires more skill and balance compared to other shapes.
- Features a lowered platform where the standing area is positioned between the trucks.
- Offers enhanced stability and control, making it ideal for downhill racing.
- Allows riders to tuck in comfortably for high-speed runs.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Perfect for shorter commutes and quick rides.
- Offers a great balance between portability and stability.
- Suitable for riders who value convenience and maneuverability.
- The shape and design of the board are identical on both ends.
- Allows for riding in both directions, making it suitable for freestyle tricks and dancing.
- Offers versatility and freedom of riding styles.
- Features a dropped platform between the trucks, lowering the rider’s center of gravity.
- Provides stability and control, even at high speeds.
- Suitable for downhill racing and freeriding.
- Similar to drop-through boards but in a smaller size.
- Offers good stability and maneuverability.
- Ideal for riders who want the benefits of a drop-through board but prefer a smaller deck size.
- Combines elements of drop-through and drop-platform boards.
- Features deep drops at both ends, providing an ultra-low center of gravity.
- Offers maximum stability and control, particularly during downhill rides.
It’s important to note that the above list is not exhaustive, and there are many other shapes and sizes available in the market. When choosing a longboard, consider your riding style, skill level, and personal preferences. Experimenting with different shapes and sizes can also help you discover new riding experiences and expand your skills.
Choosing the Right Longboard for Your Riding Style
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, selecting the right longboard can greatly enhance your riding experience.
Here, we will discuss some important factors to consider when choosing a longboard that suits your riding style.
- Pintail: Ideal for cruising and carving, pintail longboards have a narrow, pointed shape that provides stability and maneuverability.
- Drop-Through: Known for their stability and speed, drop-through longboards are great for downhill riding and freeriding. The trucks are mounted through the deck, lowering the center of gravity.
- Twin Tip: Suitable for tricks and stunts, twin tip longboards have symmetrical shapes with kicks on both ends. They are versatile options for various riding styles.
- Shorter Boards: Typically ranging from 28 to 32 inches, shorter longboards are highly maneuverable and easier to carry around. They are great for city commutes and tricks.
- Medium-Length Boards: Ranging from 32 to 42 inches, medium-length longboards strike a balance between maneuverability and stability. They are suitable for cruising, freeriding, and freestyle tricks.
- Longer Boards: Ranging from 42 to 60 inches, longer longboards provide stability at high speeds and are ideal for downhill riding and long-distance cruising.
- Stiff Flex: Suitable for riders who prioritize stability and speed, stiff flex longboards offer minimal flex and are ideal for downhill racing and heavy riders.
- Medium Flex: Offering a balance between stability and responsiveness, medium flex longboards are versatile options for various riding styles, including freeriding and commuting.
- Flexy: Characterized by high flex, flexy longboards are suitable for riders who prefer a lively and responsive ride. They are great for carving and cruising.
- Short Wheelbase: Provides quick turning and responsiveness, short wheelbase longboards are great for technical riding styles, such as freestyle and street.
- Medium Wheelbase: Strikes a balance between turning and stability, medium wheelbase longboards are versatile options for different riding styles, including carving and commuting.
- Long Wheelbase: Offers stability at high speeds and is suitable for downhill racing and long-distance cruising.
Wheel Diameter and Durometer
- Diameter: Larger wheels (70mm or above) offer higher top speeds and roll over cracks and debris more easily. Smaller wheels (less than 70mm) provide increased maneuverability and are great for tricks and technical riding.
- Durometer: Softer wheels (78A to 87A) provide better grip and maneuverability, making them suitable for cruising and carving. Harder wheels (88A and above) are faster and more durable, ideal for downhill riding and sliding.
Remember, these are general guidelines, and personal preference plays a crucial role in selecting the right longboard for your riding style. It’s always a good idea to test out different types of longboards before making a purchase.
Longboarding Techniques and Riding Styles
When it comes to longboarding, there are various techniques and riding styles that riders employ to enhance their skills and overall experience. Let’s delve into some of the most common techniques and riding styles in longboarding:
- Carving: Carving is a fundamental technique in longboarding, and it involves making smooth, flowing turns while maintaining control and speed. Riders shift their weight from side to side, using the entire length of the board to generate momentum and maintain stability. Carving is not only an essential skill for maintaining balance but also adds a sense of style and fluidity to the ride.
- Downhill: Downhill riding is all about speed and adrenaline. It involves descending steep hills or mountains at high speeds while maintaining control and balance. Downhill riders often tuck their bodies low to reduce wind resistance, wear appropriate safety gear, and have a deep understanding of foot placement and weight distribution to ensure a safe and thrilling ride.
- Freeriding: Freeriding is a versatile riding style that allows riders to express themselves and explore various techniques. It involves performing slides, spins, and tricks on flat ground or gentle slopes. Freeriding offers opportunities for creativity, as riders can experiment with different slide variations, such as stand-up slides, hand-down slides, and colemans, to name a few.
- Dancing: Dancing is a unique riding style in longboarding that combines dance-like footwork and tricks while cruising or freestyling. Riders showcase their balance, coordination, and creativity through fluid movements and spins on the board. Dancing is often accompanied by music, enhancing the rhythmic nature of the ride and adding a level of artistic expression.
- Slalom: Slalom riding involves navigating a course with a series of cones or obstacles placed closely together. Riders must maneuver through the cones using quick turns, precise footwork, and strategic weight shifts. Slalom helps develop agility, control, and responsiveness, making it a favorite among competitive longboarders.
- Distance Cruising: As the name suggests, distance cruising focuses on covering longer distances efficiently and comfortably. Riders often choose boards with larger wheels and a more stable setup to glide smoothly over various terrains. Distance cruising allows riders to explore their surroundings, enjoy scenic routes, and embark on adventures with friends while keeping a relaxed pace.
Each riding style requires specific techniques and skills, and riders often develop their own unique approach by combining different styles. It’s important to note that safety should always be prioritized, no matter the style or technique. To improve your skills, consider practicing under the guidance of experienced riders, attending longboard clinics, and constantly challenging yourself to try new techniques and riding styles.
Whether you’re drawn to the speed and thrill of downhill riding or the creativity and expression of dancing, longboarding offers a wide range of techniques and riding styles to suit every rider’s preferences and abilities. So grab your board, find your own style, and hit the pavement with confidence and excitement!
Longboard Maintenance and Care
Taking proper care of your longboard is essential to ensure its performance, longevity, and safe operation. Regular maintenance and care can help prevent unnecessary wear and tear, protect your investment, and keep you riding smoothly. Here are some important tips to keep your longboard in great shape:
- Cleaning your Longboard: Regularly cleaning your longboard is crucial to remove dirt, debris, and grime that can accumulate over time. Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe down the deck, trucks, and wheels. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as they can damage the board’s finish.
- Checking the Trucks: The trucks are the metal components that hold the wheels to the deck. Regularly check the trucks for any signs of damage or wear. Tighten or loosen the trucks as needed to achieve your preferred level of responsiveness and stability. Lubricate the pivot cups and bushings periodically to ensure smooth turning.
- Inspecting the Wheels: The wheels are an important component of your longboard, and their condition directly affects your ride quality. Inspect the wheels for signs of wear, flat spots, or chips. Replace worn-out or damaged wheels promptly to maintain optimal performance and prevent accidents.
- Lubricating the Bearings: The bearings are what allow the wheels to spin smoothly. Over time, dirt and moisture can affect their performance. Clean the bearings regularly using a bearing cleaner or isopropyl alcohol. Once cleaned, lubricate the bearings with skateboard-specific lubricants.
- Protecting the Deck: The deck is the main part of your longboard, providing stability and support. Protect the deck from dings and scratches by applying a clear grip or using grip tape. If you notice any cracks or damage to the deck, it’s important to repair or replace it promptly to avoid any potential safety hazards.
- Storing your Longboard: When not in use, properly storing your longboard can prevent unnecessary damage. Keep it in a cool, dry place to avoid moisture and extreme temperature fluctuations. If you’re traveling, use a padded bag or backpack designed for longboard storage and transportation.
- Regular Check-ups: Even with regular maintenance, it’s important to have your longboard checked by a professional from time to time. They can assess the overall condition of your board, make any necessary adjustments, and ensure that it’s in top shape for your next ride.
Remember, proper maintenance and care go a long way in ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of your longboard. By following these tips, you can keep your longboard in excellent condition and enjoy countless smooth rides. Happy shredding!
Popular Longboarding Brands and Manufacturers
When it comes to longboarding, there are several popular brands and manufacturers that have built a reputation for producing high-quality boards. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to get into longboarding, it’s important to know which brands to look out for. Here are some of the most popular longboarding brands and manufacturers:
- Sector 9: Sector 9 is one of the most well-known longboarding brands in the industry. They offer a wide range of longboards suitable for all types of riding styles, from cruising and carving to downhill racing. Sector 9 boards are known for their durability, stability, and smooth ride.
- Loaded Boards: Loaded Boards is another top brand in the longboarding community. They are famous for their innovative designs and premium craftsmanship. Loaded Boards are often praised for their flexibility, responsiveness, and overall performance. They offer a variety of board shapes and sizes to cater to different preferences and disciplines.
- Landyachtz: Landyachtz is a brand that has gained popularity over the years for its high-quality longboards. They focus on producing boards that are not only durable but also perform exceptionally well. Landyachtz offers a diverse range of longboards, including freestyle, freeride, and downhill options.
- Arbor Collective: Arbor is a brand that is known for its commitment to sustainability and environmental consciousness. They produce eco-friendly longboards using sustainable materials, including bamboo and recycled glass. Arbor longboards are known for their durability, responsiveness, and smooth ride.
- Rayne Longboards: Rayne Longboards is a Canadian brand that specializes in manufacturing high-performance longboards. They are known for their precision engineering, advanced construction techniques, and attention to detail. Rayne offers a range of longboards suitable for different riding styles, from commuting to downhill racing.
- Loaded Carving Systems: Loaded Carving Systems focuses on producing longboards specifically designed for carving and cruising. They offer a variety of board shapes and flex options to enhance the carving experience. Loaded Carving Systems boards are praised for their maneuverability, smoothness, and stability.
- Original Skateboards: Original Skateboards is a brand that has been around since the early days of longboarding. They offer a wide variety of longboards for different riding styles, including downhill, freeride, and cruising. Original Skateboards are known for their quality construction, performance, and value for money.
- Santa Cruz Skateboards: Santa Cruz is a well-known skateboard brand that also produces longboards. They offer a range of longboards suitable for various disciplines, including cruising, freestyle, and downhill. Santa Cruz longboards are recognized for their durability, stability, and iconic graphics.
- Atom Longboards: Atom Longboards is a brand that aims to make longboarding accessible to everyone. They focus on producing affordable boards without compromising quality. Atom Longboards offer a wide range of options for all skill levels, including beginners.
These are just a few of the popular longboarding brands and manufacturers in the market. Each brand has its own unique style, construction techniques, and target audience. Exploring different brands can help you find the perfect longboard that suits your riding style and preferences.
In my opinion, longboards are the epitome of freedom and creativity in the skateboarding world. They offer a whole new dimension to skating, allowing riders to glide effortlessly through the streets or carve smooth lines on hills. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, longboarding provides an exciting and versatile way to explore the world on wheels.
One of the things I love most about longboarding is the sense of community it fosters. Longboarders come from all walks of life and gather together to share their passion for this unique form of skateboarding. From local meetups and events to online communities, there’s always someone to connect with and learn from. The camaraderie and support within the longboarding community are truly inspiring.
Lastly, the sheer exhilaration of cruising on a longboard is unparalleled. The feeling of freedom, the wind rushing through your hair, and the adrenaline pumping through your veins are second to none. Whether you’re cruising along the beach boardwalk or bombing down a steep hill, the thrill of longboarding is addictive. So, if you’re looking for a new way to experience the joy of skateboarding, I highly recommend giving longboarding a try. Trust me, once you hop on a longboard, you won’t want to get off!
Common Questions with Answers
What is a longboard?
A longboard is a type of skateboard that is longer and wider than traditional skateboards. It’s designed for cruising, transportation, and downhill riding.
How long are longboards?
Longboards typically range in length from 33 to 60 inches. The length you choose depends on your riding style and preferences.
What are the benefits of riding a longboard?
Riding a longboard offers a smoother and more stable ride compared to a regular skateboard. It’s great for long-distance travels and carving through streets.
Are longboards suitable for beginners?
Yes, longboards are often recommended for beginners due to their stability and larger deck size. They are easier to balance on and provide a more comfortable riding experience.
Can I do tricks on a longboard?
While longboards are primarily designed for cruising, some tricks can also be performed on them, such as slides and dancing moves. However, longboards are not as suitable for advanced tricks compared to traditional skateboards.
What types of longboards are there?
There are various types of longboards, including cruising longboards, downhill longboards, freestyle longboards, and carving longboards. Each type is designed for specific riding styles and preferences.
What factors should I consider when choosing a longboard?
When selecting a longboard, consider your intended riding style, your weight, the terrain you’ll be riding on, the board’s flexibility, and the type of trucks and wheels you prefer.
How do I maintain a longboard?
Regular maintenance includes cleaning the bearings, tightening the trucks if necessary, replacing worn-out grip tape, and inspecting the board for any damage. Keeping your longboard clean and dry will prolong its lifespan.
Can I customize my longboard?
Yes, longboards can be customized to suit your personal style. You can choose different deck designs, grip tape colors, and even upgrade the trucks and wheels to enhance your riding experience.
Is riding a longboard dangerous?
Like any sport, there is always a risk of injury while riding a longboard. Wearing protective gear such as a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads can greatly reduce the risk of injuries. It’s also important to ride within your skill level and follow traffic laws and safety guidelines.