The main difference between a longboard and a skateboard is the size.
That’s probably not much of a surprise.
However, there are some other differences as well, and these are often just as notable, completely changing how the skateboards ride and feel.
If you’re sure whether you should buy a longboard or a skateboard, this is the guide for you.
Difference Between a Longboard and a Skateboard
There are a few key differences between traditional skateboards and longboards, including:
Size & Shape Of Longboards & Skateboards
The size is the most obvious difference between a longboard and a skateboard.
Skateboards are usually between 28 and 34 inches long and between 7 and 10 inches wide; longboard skateboards can be anywhere up to 60 inches long and 10 inches wide.
There is also such a thing as a short longboard, which offers the high speed, easy-riding capabilities of a longboard without the cumbersome size.
As for the shape, skateboards arc at both the tail and the nose while longboards narrow to a curved point.
Longboard Wheels Vs Skateboard Wheels
When it comes to longboard vs skateboard wheels, it can be summed up as the following:
Longboards have bigger and softer wheels; skateboards have smaller and harder wheels.
The larger and softer wheels make longboards great for generating high speeds and ensuring you have a smooth ride.
The smaller wheels on a skateboard make it easier to perform tight turns and tough tricks.
Cruising On A Longboard Vs Tricks On A Skateboard
The main differences between a longboard and a skateboard are not how they look, but how they feel and ride.
A skateboard offers more deck flexibility and movement, making it easier to land tricks.
A longboard offers more stability and can reach higher speeds.
Big soft wheels mean that a longboard is good for downhill speed and general cruising but bad for even the most basic tricks.
A short and wide profile means that a regular skateboard is not great for cruising leisurely over long distances but is great for landing tricks.
Is A Longboard Skateboard Good For Beginners?
Most beginners opt for a traditional skateboard.
It’s the style that they associate with the sport and they also have their eyes set on the skatepark and their minds on learning new tricks.
Is It Easier To Skateboard Or Longboard?
There are many different styles of skateboards to choose from, but the learning curve is steeper with a skateboard meant for street skating.
You’ll need to devote a little more time to getting used to the skateboard and will experience many more falls.
Is A Longboard Safer Than A Skateboard?
Longboard riders experience fewer injuries, even though they ride longer distances and at greater speeds.
Can You Put Longboard Wheels On A Skateboard?
You can, but you probably don’t want to.
You will have the following problems if you put longboard wheels on a skateboard:
- Longboard wheels are bigger than the wheels that go on a street skateboard. Longboard wheels will give you less space between the board and the top of the wheel limiting your ability to turn. If you have loose trucks you may end up pushing the board into the wheel which will result in an abrupt stop and picking yourself off of the ground and maybe a trip to the ER.
- Let’s say you get rise pads to avoid the clearance problem above. Longboard wheels are sticky. You won’t be able to get much speed with the bigger, stickier wheels. Also, adding risers raises your center of gravity which compromises your balance.
- What you looking to do by adding longboard wheels to a regular skateboard anyway? You don’t get the benefit of speed like you do from a longboard and you don’t get the benefit of doing tricks like you do from a street skateboard. You basically get the worst of both worlds.
Get a longboard or a street skateboard or get both, but don’t Frankenstein them together.
Summary: Difference Between a Longboard and Skateboard
It’s often said that longboarding was invented by surfers keen to make skateboarding a little more like surfing.
A regular skateboard is shorter and more maneuverable.
It’s designed to be ridden in skate parks and can help you to grind, jump, and perform tricks on half pipes.
A longboard, on the other hand, is designed to provide a stable riding experience—cruising at high speeds, riding long distances, and generally getting from A to Z.
If your goal is to race downhill, gain maximum speed, and enjoy some long-distance cruising, pick up a longboard.
If you’re looking to nail tricks at the skate park and on the street, it’s all about conventional skateboards.