Are you looking to buy a new longboard but can’t decide whether to get a pintail or a drop-through board? Is there a big difference between the two? Many newbies are usually confused about what to get for their first skateboard since there are different kinds of boards to choose from.
There are also a lot of factors to consider like the shape and size of the board, your purpose for riding, your skill level, and a lot more. So, it is only normal to be confused particularly the beginners. To help you decide, here’s what you need to know about drop-through and pintail longboards.
Characteristics of Pintail and Drop-through
Let’s define first the physical characteristics of a drop-through longboard from a pintail. This should give you an idea of what they look like when you start browsing for your first board.
As the name suggests, pintails can be easily recognized because of their pointy pin-like tail. Same as a surfboard, they have a wider nose, and the wheels poke out on the two sides of the deck. Pintails are top mount, which means that trucks are attached underneath the deck and the bolts are over the mount holes.
Drop-through longboards usually have a symmetrical shape, although there are some asymmetrical shapes, these are most of the time directional boards. Unlike pintail, drop-through has a rectangular shape that is wide and long. It also has small wingtips on both ends. Compared to pintail’s trucks, drop-through trucks are mounted along with the wingtips, and the baseplate is placed over the deck. The rest of the truck is at the bottom of the board.
Another difference is that drop-through has big wheel cutouts. The wheels are extended on the sides of the deck, which is farther away from the deck compared to the pintail.
Drop-through vs Pintail: Riding Behavior
The shape of the board and how the trucks are mounted can make a big difference in how the boards perform. They are not made that way because of aesthetic or because of style, but they are designed that way to suit certain riding behaviors.
With drop-through boards, the trucks are on top of the wingtips, so you cannot step on them. Your feet are placed in between the trucks. With pintail, on the other hand, you step over the front truck, since its trucks are top mount. Since your front foot is on the front truck, it makes turning easier and quicker depending on how far you lean.
It’s easier to avoid the wheels from touching your foot with a pintail deck as your feet are usually standing on the wider part of your deck. With a drop-through, there’s more chance of your foot catching the wheels if you come too near to the end of the board.
When it comes to stability, drop-throughs are more stable when riding fast or when pushing. This is because drop-through decks are lower. When riding, the lower your center of gravity is, the more stable your board will be. Pintails are a bit higher than drop-through since the trucks are under the board.
A drop-through has stiffer decks because it is meant to ride at a higher speed. Pintails, however, have more flex which makes them more responsive.
Since drop-throughs need better foot lock-in, they have a deeper concave compared to pintails. The concave of pintails is very mellow and sometimes even flat to give better grip when riding.
What Can You Expect from a Pintail?
Most riders love the cool and classic look that a pintail possesses. They look like a mini surfboard with their shape and design. Pintails are more suitable for cruising and relaxed ride.
Pintails are usually best for beginners, especially when trying to learn the basics. It’s a good board to start particularly when trying to improve your foot positioning and balance. This is because it has a narrower board than a drop-through, you have no choice but to work on your balance.
It will also force you to look for the right spots when turning to avoid falling off. Generally, pintails are more responsive and better at carving, resulting in smoother rides during slower speeds.
Since this is best for mastering the basic longboarding skills, once you’ve achieved that, you can expect a nice cruising and carving experience. You can also move on to other boards like a drop-through deck if you feel like learning new and more challenging skills.
Drawbacks of a Pintail Longboard
Pintails are somehow limited when it comes to riding styles. It is, however, one of the best boards for slow cruising and carving. Pintails lack the versatility that drop-through or other boards offer.
Because of the deck size and the very mellow concave or flat deck, it does not provide a good foot lock-in making it hard to run at high speeds. It is also not suitable for technical sliding and downhill rides.
Also, since it’s topmount, it would be hard to do distance skating, since it can be too tiring to push when the board is too high. It may cause your hips, lower back, and knees to hurt.
Another disadvantage of pintail is it doesn’t have functional kicks, and might be hard to maneuver in places with heavy foot traffic, or riding on and off the sidewalks.
If your goal is to do distance pushing, downhill, and freeride, then pintail is not the best board to use. However, if you’re only looking for a chill and relaxed cruising and to master your balancing skills, then a pintail deck is the one for you. Nevertheless, you can still ride fast, do distance pushing, and slide with a pintail board, but it may require more effort.
What Should You Expect In A Drop-through Longboard?
Intermediate riders somehow switch from pintail to drop-through longboards as they explore more riding styles and techniques. As mentioned earlier, the things you can do with a pintail longboard are quite limited.
Since drop-throughs tend to be lower due to their drop-through mount, your center of gravity is also lower making it more stable especially during high speeds. The trucks are also less fidgety.
If you are looking to do more technical moves or hard slides then it is more achievable in a drop-through than a pintail. This is because it can lock your feet in securely with its deeper concave.
Almost all drop-throughs have kick tails making it easy for riders to cruise around tight city space, steering clear of obstacles or people, and even moving around on sidewalks.
During tight turns, drop-throughs has a lesser chance of wheelbite because it has better clearance. You can also carve just the same with a pintail because of its slight flex.
When it comes to commuting or traveling longer distances and pushing, drop-through has a better advantage. It’s easier because your foot is closer to the ground, plus the board is easier to control.
Drop-throughs are also more portable than pintail due to their size. There are shorter drop-throughs that you can easily carry under your arms or put in your backpack.
Technically, drop-throughs are more versatile than pintails, as you can do several riding styles with ease. Also, they are more functional than pintails.
Disadvantages of a Drop-through Longboard
Just like pintails, drop-through is not perfect and it also has its limitations. One of which is that it is not that strong when it comes to the distribution of weight. This is because it has more flex.
Another disadvantage of a drop-through board is it may hinder you from performing sharper turns due to its low deck design. The bottom of the board tends to touch the ground during sharper turns.
It has a lesser grip compared to pintails due to its rocker or deeper concave. Because of the unique structure of drop-throughs, it does not provide the stability that a board needs on different platforms.
The design of drop-through is intended for riding at higher speed, so it may not be suitable for many skaters, particularly the newbies.
Drop-Through vs Pintail: Environment, Style, Purpose
Is it getting clearer which board you’re supposed to buy? Are you ready to decide if you are more of a cool and chill cruiser or you’re more of the adventurous type that loves the thrill of speed? Either way, this may help clarify things better for you.
Love speed that much? If you live in a hilly area, then drop-through is the name of the game. Since they ride low, you’ll get enough speed to zoom down those hills in your area without losing balance. Because of the lower center of gravity, you can expect more stability with your board.
Carving and Relaxed Cruising On Flat Grounds
If surf-style cruising is your thing, whether bored of waiting for the waves or just enjoying the ground while doing your surfer moves, then pintail is the one. Being top mounted, it can offer deeper carving without worrying about wheel bite. A symmetrical pintail shape is the best when performing deep carves.
If you want to explore city by city, drop-through is the right choice for you. Long-distance pushing is more bearable and less painful with a drop-through due to its low ride design. Even if you ride for long hours, it will not strain your legs and hips too much. They are also better at cruising along busy streets and at dodging obstacles along the way.
Short Distance Commutes
For shorter trips and mellow cruising, grab your pintails. They are easier to navigate and carving is easier. Getting around campus or from home to the office is more stylish with a pintail.
There is no doubt that you can slide on both a pintail and a drop-through, however, if you’re looking at mastering your power slides, then might as well choose a drop-through. Whether you are just learning how to slide or you’re perfecting your deep slides, you can never go wrong with a drop-through. The concave of a drop-through board will give your foot better lock-in making you feel more confident and comfortable.
Fast Riding on Sharp Slopes
Rides can sometimes be slopey and you may want to pick up with your speed. Riding on the steepest slopes will be more manageable with a drop-through. Thanks to its low ride design and more concave structure, it secures your feet better and provides a lower center of gravity.
Things To Consider When Deciding Which Longboard To Choose
Have you decided whether you are a pintail kind of rider or the other way round? Don’t be too hard on yourself if you still can’t decide. Plus, you can always get both types of longboards if you want.
One of the first things to consider when deciding is your skill level. Are you new to skating? Do you think you have mastered your stance and balancing skills and ready for a faster board? Your skill level plays an important part when choosing the right board.
Another thing to consider is your goal or purpose for riding. Are you interested in learning technical flatland tricks? Or you just want to cruise around in a relaxed and calm environment? Maybe you are more interested in commuting long distances. Your answers to all of these questions will give you a clearer idea of what you truly want.
Once you’ve decided whether you’re getting a pintail or drop-through, the next thing you need to do is find the right pintail or drop-through board. When scouting for one, check the size, flex, quality, and price to get the best value for your money.
Are you ready to buy your first pintail or drop-through board now? Whichever board you prefer, both have their pros and cons and it’s mostly all about what your purpose is in riding. You can even have both boards so you’re always ready to go wherever and whatever you feel like doing. Just remember pintails are for a surf-style feel and mellow cruising, while drop-throughs are more versatile and for a long-distance commute.