Which longboard should you buy? It’s an important question, as there are many different varieties and they all offer a unique blend of style, performance, and suitability. The one that’s right for you will depend on everything from your skill level to the exact purpose of the board.
With that said, let’s look at the different types of longboards to help you find the best one.
The Types of Longboards
Longboards are generally built for speed, balance, and distance. They’re not made for tricks and vert skating, but there are still variances in manufacturing and shape that can dictate how useful they are at performing certain jobs.
The downhill board is one of the most common types of longboards and one that is great fun to ride.
Downhill longboards are built for speed and can reach over 50 mph, with the best boards and boarders attaining speeds in excess of 70 mph.
The board won’t do all of the work for you, though. Reaching such high speeds requires a lot of rider skill and experience, as well as the right terrain. Downhill boards will keep you stable and comfortable as you tear up the terrain.
Carving longboards are the closest thing you can get to a surfboard on wheels. These boards are all about speed and sharp turns. Carving longboards have good flex and big wheel wells, creating a board that can carve up the roads like a surfboard on the water.
As the name suggests, cruiser boards are all about enjoying the ride. They are fast, stable, and comfortable, with big wheels, a large skateboard deck, and moderate flex.
If you’re looking for a board to traverse long distance, cruising longboards are perfect.
Mini cruisers offer all of the benefits of cruising longboards but in a lightweight and compact form, allowing you to pop them in a backpack and carry them around.
You can ride a mini cruiser to work, slip it in your backpack or by the office door, and then wait until you’re ready to return home.
The pintail longboard is a unique longboard type that’s shaped like a teardrop and is perfect for cruising on flat surfaces and racing downhill. These boards are long (typically up to 46 inches) and provide a lot of space for the rider’s feet, while allowing for easy carving and mobility.
The drop-through is one of the most popular types of longboards and is designed for high-speed cruising. It is so-named because it has a cutout in the deck.
The fishtail is basically a pintail longboard with a cutaway in the tail that resembles a fish’s tail. It’s a carving longboard that gives the rider a lot of control over long and sharp turns.
A twin longboard is a cruiser that offers some freestyling ability, delivering the best of both worlds for a downhill riding style that blends tricks, speed, and cruising.
Drop Deck Longboards
A board that is built close to the ground to provide greater stability and allow for easier pushing.
As the name suggests, freeride longboards are made for freeriding. They are limited in that they are not best-suited for carving and stability, focusing more on speed and sliding.
Freeride longboards use a variety of longboard deck shapes, including drop deck longboards and drop through longboards.
How Many Types of Longboards are There?
It depends on what you define as a type, and on how specific you want to get. Generally, they can be separated into a dozen or so categories, including cruiser boards, freeride boards, and pintail longboards. But there are many ways that the skateboard deck can be adapted, the trucks can be fitted, and more.
Are these completely different types of longboards or just the manufacturer’s way of making their mark? That’s where things get complicated.
Which Longboard is Best for Beginners?
There is no specific board type that is best suited for beginners. As a newbie skater, it’s more important to find a board that is durable, stable, and feels right. It should have a light to medium flex, plenty of space, and a longer wheelbase.
Cruiser longboards are a good option and one that can suit pretty much any riding style and experience level. They are great for downhill riding and general cruising, and there are lots of different options on the market. However, it’s best to focus on something that feels right, looks good, and is within your budget.
Don’t get too caught up in the minor details.
Summary: Choosing a Type of Longboard Deck
The design of the skateboard deck is the main thing that differentiates longboards from one another, but the size of the wheels, the height of the deck, and the material used to construct the deck and trucks can also impact performance.
If you’re not sure which longboard type is best for you, ask the assistant at the skate shop or pay attention to user reviews. Generally, all longboards can be used to cruise, race, and carve, so it’s not a complete disaster if you buy the wrong board type. However, it’s worthwhile investing in an ideal board type to suit your needs.