How To Choose the Right Longboard

How To Choose the Right Longboard

Find yourself on the right longboard using this quick guide to longboard styles.

This guide will take you through what you need to know to make an informed purchase on a longboard and achieve maximum stokage with your ride. As you read through this, rememeber that these are just suggestions and not ultimate end all be all solutions to the perfect setup. Strict rules need not apply in longboarding. However, following this guide will at least let you make a more informed decision on what type of gear works best and in form you on what to look for if you’re lost.We’ve outlined some common riding styles you’ll hear other longboarders talk about on the streets and included some general advice on the type of deck, truck and wheel you might use for each style. Onward!

cruising

The spectrum of crusier boards is about as vague as longboards styles get. You’ll find all different types of super long crusiers, mini-crusiers, old-school crusiers and everything in between. This is the most common style of longboarding and is often all about just getting from A-B or just rollin’ in style.

cruiser decks

  • Shorter deck in the less than 38″ range for easier transport – Mini Cruisers and Old School shapes are common.
  • Otherwise, go with a 48″ in plus deck and strut some fancy footwork for that 70s long deck insipred ride.
  • A kick tail will help when pushing around town for quick turns, stopping and end of the board awareness for some of the less advanced riders.

cruiser trucks

  • Match the width of your deck for a well balanced ride.
  • Or break the rules and find your style that suits your fancy.

cruiser wheels

  • Softer, larger wheels (<86a and 62mm-70mm) work well on absorbing cracks and bumps for a smoother ride but do wear down quicker and don’t travel as fast as a harder wheel.
  • Just be sure to not go too large for your deck or you might fall victim to wheelbite.

carving

The art of the turn is exercised to its maximum potential when carving. A carving setup will be optimized turnability and often said to have a more surf inspired feel. Carving is really a sub-style of freeriding but many boards are built with specific tech for carving so we’ve included it on its own here.

carving decks

  • Wheelbase and wheelbite are two things to keep in mind when looking for carving deck.
  • A wider wheelbase will give you a wider carve radius but not perform as quick on sharper deeper carves.
  • 35″+ lengths are common and many folks like a deck with concave and flex to really dig into those sweet wave like carvs.

carving trucks

  • Reverse kingpin setups are most common because they provide the smoothest response and a more fluid turning feel.
  • Get extra smooth with double kingpin trucks like Gullwing’s sidewinder for an even more awesome carve.

carving wheels

  • Grip is important when carving to control your side to side momentum without sliding out.
  • A moderate diameter 70-76mm wheel on the softer side 75-86a typically perform best.

freestyle

Dancing, boardwalking, nose and tail footwork and tricks galore. Freestyle has many different varieties that fall under its general definition and will often even include many some of the freeride disciplines like sliding.

freestyle decks

  • Get a deck with some concave to it to better lock in your feet while sliding.
  • Deck’s with a nose and tail help with manuals and kick turns.

freestyle trucks

  • Drop-Through or lower trucks are best for controled slides and more stability on technical trick riding.

freestyle wheels

  • Stick in the 65-72mm and 78-82a range for best control to grip combo that will still allow to breakout a good slide.
  • Going too large with the wheels will feel akward in manuals and tecnical footwork riding.

freeriding

Most will define freriding as downhill without the racing element. So that will include deep carves, hard slides and high speed riding.

freeriding decks

  • Stability and turnability is key when freeriding.
  • A 38-42″ length and 8.5″-11″ width, stiffer deck work well to keep stable when going fast while keeping within a good wheelbase for turnability.
  • A cutout shape with deep wheelwells is most common to prevent wheelbite at high speeds and deep carves.

freeriding trucks

  • Drop-Through trucks will give you the best performance in terms of stability as they lower your ride height/center of gravity.
  • Go with a reverse kingpin style if you prefer a more fluid turning ride or a standard kingpin if you want a bit more response.

freeriding wheels

  • 70mm+ aand 78-89a depending on how advanced your riding is.
  • Larger and harder wheels at high speeds can be pretty quick and not as grippy so if you’re just getting started, consider yourself warned.

downhill

Find a hill and bomb down it as fast as you can. First one down wins if you’re downhill racing, otherwise you’re really just freeriding. Be careful though… Sliding out on your ass at 40+MPH without protection makes future #2’s very uncomfortable.

downhill decks

  • Stiff and light with 38″-42″ length.
  • Stability at speed is paramount. The longer and flexier the board the less stable it rides but too short will not have an adequate wheelbase to keep stable around turns.

downhill trucks

  • Low and on the wider end. Having a lower center of gravity adds more control at high speed to prevent sliding out.

downhill wheels

  • Sharp liped, wide, 70mm+ around and 80a-86a ish. Find a balance of maximum speed without loosing grip.
  • The sharp lip and wide contact patch provide grip.
  • The larger wheel will ride faster.
  • The softer wheel will provide more grip but also slow you down where a harder wheel might not grip enough for a lighterweight newbie.

slalom

Wiggle your way through the cones or other obsticles. The fastest rider wins! This style was super hip the 70s and is making a comeback with more and more riders getting on the slalom end of the longboard scene.

slalom decks

  • On the shorter and stiffer end for precicion quick carves

slalom trucks

  • On the narrow end for quick and rigid response.
  • Angled risers are also common to enhance turnability.

slalom wheels

  • Get em grippy so you don’t slide in to them cones!

hybrids (bowls, banks and transistions)

The happy medium between a traditional twin trick board and a longboard.

hybrid decks

  • Typically traditional twin or blunt type shapes that are in the 29-33″ range.
  • You’ll find a more accentuated kick tail than any of the other deck styles to initiate ollies and a sharp concave shape for flip tricks.

hybrid trucks

  • Traditional skateboard style trucks are common and should match the width of the deck.
  • The 129-149mm (5″-5.8″) width range is common and more durable variety is reccomened if you plan on getting into grinds and such.

hybrid wheels

  • Keep the wheels in the 58-62mm range. This size will be small enough for flip tricks and technical riding but large enough for smooth transition riding and keeping speed and momentum on the banks.
show comments

have an opinion on this post? share it!

show related articles

similar posts in longboarding

Best Downhill Longboards 2016

If you've got a need for speed then your next downhill longboard is definitely on this list. We break down the best downhill longboards for summer 2016.

Best Cruiser Longboards 2016

A good cruiser board is like a best friend that you can stash in your locker. We made a list of our favorite cruiser boards for summer 2016 so you can find your next "best friend".

Best Carving Longboards 2016

The results are in - we've got a list of the industries best carving longboards for summer 2016!

Loaded Longboard Review 2016

Doing it better than so many brands, since 2000, Loaded has perfect the art of longboard technology. We break down what makes them the best and which boards are our personal favorites.

more longboarding articles >