Are you starting to feel like the longboard has become an extension of your feet? Or have you been dreaming about places like the Green Lake Park in Seattle? That’s probably a sign that you’re slowly becoming a longboard enthusiast. And being an enthusiast would mean having the penchant to know everything that’s longboard-related.
Would you like to know about the different types of longboards? When it comes to choosing the best one, just remember that there are “different boards for different folks”!
The History of Longboarding
Which came first, skateboarding or longboarding? The answer is – yes, you guessed it right – longboarding. Longboards came into existence when Preston Nichols made one in the 1940s as an alternative to surfing at sea. People then started longboarding on hard pavement as soon as sea waves started to become too dull for surfing.
Then came the late 1950s when longboards evolved into something that has roller skates thus giving birth to skateboards. These skateboards looked somewhat similar to longboards although the size was changed for convenience.
Today, the look of longboards is not the only thing that’s changed. It has also become more user-friendly as it comes in many different designs to be able to suit everyone’s preferences.
So, what are the different types of longboards? Here they are:
What’s your riding style? Are you a newbie? What skill do you plan to master first? All these things have to be taken into consideration otherwise you may not be able to achieve the best longboarding experience. Read on to know which longboard will suit you best.
Drop Through Board
Drop through boards usually come between 38-44 inches in length. Is it okay for beginners to use drop through boards? If you’re a beginner, you may settle for a 41-inch drop through longboard.
Drop through longboards are ideal for freeriding. It provides riders the chance to slide over their boards without the need to worry about the center of gravity. This board is also useful for those who go for cruising at faster speeds. You can control and adjust it so easily.
Drop throughs are also perfect for low-speed carving. In fact, drop through is also referred to as the all-around longboard.
What do we mean by carving? It is when a person shifts his body weight to the toe or heel edge of his foot so that his board will be able to run in an S pattern. With this stance, the rider gains better control over his board. So, instead of allowing the board to run in a straight direction, carving enables him to ride in a wavy direction.
Carving boards must have a mid-sized deck, ranging from 32 to 42 inches. Note that using a board that is smaller than the recommended size could mean limited ability to respond at a right momentum. On the other hand, using a board that’s longer than 42 inches for carving would only make one’s performance too sluggish.
Carving is among those skills that are a bit tough to master. Thus, the need for the right board to use. It is much like ocean surfing, with artistic and technical skills combined to be able to experience speed and curves with much pleasure and freedom. Longboard enthusiasts who do a great job at carving are able to push through even on flat ground.
Longboards used for downhill riding must have deck lengths between 37-43 inches.
What if a longboard used for downhill riding is longer or shorter than this? A deck that’s shorter than this would make one’s ride unstable especially when running at high speed. If the deck is also longer than the specified length, the rider will not be able to achieve the needed maneuverability.
In terms of downhill longboarding, it is a must that your board is capable of running at high speed. The speed that we’re talking about here is 50-65 mph. Extreme longboard riders even go as fast as 80-90 mph. In addition to speed, longboards for downhill riding should also be able to perform optimally even when turning. Using a longboard that lacks this important characteristic will make you lose stability and speed as you run through curves.
What does it really mean when we say cruising using the longboard? It would mean relaxed riding without any plans of running at super-fast speeds or doing any tricks. This is why it is the least demanding longboarding activity. Many people do this if the only aim of longboarding is to go from point A to point B.
If you want to ensure stability, opt for the one that is at least 40 inches. Decks meant for cruising should be flat while also possessing moderate flex. Big wheels are also ideal for cruising as it provides a balanced suspension feel.
Why is it called pintail longboards? It’s because this type of board has a pointy nose that has aerodynamic benefits. It also has a teardrop shape and larger wheels that allow the rider to go at high speeds. It should be between 38 to 46 inches in length and 9-10 inches in width.
Are pintails great for beginners? Yes, they can also be great for beginners as they offer plenty of room for the rider’s feet. Pintails are also known to be versatile. You can use them for carving or for cruising.
Fishtail boards can be easily identified by their split tail. Fishtails are good for carving. Its split tail makes it very easy for the rider to take long rides and sharp turns.
Longboard pros refer to fishtail boards as the aggressive version of pintails. But what makes fishtails more aggressive than pintails? Making sharper turns is something that is not possible when you’re riding on pintails.
Blunt longboards, as the name suggests, do not have any pointy nose and tails that you see on fishtails and pintails. This type of board is not ideal for rides that require sharp turns. It is also deemed unsafe for downhill riding.
Is it okay for beginners to use blunt longboards? The answer is yes. Blunt boards are helpful for beginners who are still learning the basics. People who have larger body built would also find blunt boards more comfortable to use.
Are bamboo longboards durable? Bamboo longboards are durable compared with boards made from low quality maple wood. However, compared to American maple wood, bamboo is less durable.
Bamboo longboards are more flexible and more agile compared to longboards made from maple wood. It is also lightweight and fast. People who love everything organic would find this kind of longboard as the perfect choice. The only issue with bamboo longboards is that riders will have difficulty changing its wheels.
Can I just use any longboard for dancing? Although any board will do you well when it comes to dancing. But if you’re looking to have “dancing on longboards” as a serious pursuit, choose the one that is longer than what you use for cruising, downhill riding or freeriding. To ensure the best dancing experience, go for the dancing longboard.
What’s the ideal size of longboards for dancing? Its length should be between 60-70mm. However, a lot of people find the 65mm longboard to be the best for dancing. Go for longboards that have bigger wheels. This allows the board to roll longer without the need for frequent pushing.
Dancing boards should have soft flex. Its softness should be just enough. Too soft and you may have difficulty gaining good balance while grooving. These longboards should also possess the best maneuverability.
Frequently Asked Questions about Longboards
What materials are commonly used for longboard decks?
Maple wood, bamboo and carbon fiber are among the most common materials used for making longboard decks. Maple boards are reliable and are known to last long even when used too often.
Longboards made from maple wood are known to be sturdy. But bamboo longboards are more flexible and are also ideal for transportation and carving. Moreover, carbon fiber longboards are the most expensive type.
Is a longboard better for beginners?
Longboards and skateboards are both deemed great for novice riders. However, some studies show that longboards are better for beginners. This is because longboards offer more stability. Plus, their softer wheels make cruising a lot easier compared to skateboards.
Does size really matter when choosing a longboard?
Yes, board size matters a lot in longboarding. This is true especially for newbies. Longboards that are between 32” to 42” are highly recommended for beginners. This size is perfect enough for those who are cruising and carving.
Is it okay to go longboarding at night?
Yes, you can definitely go for longboarding at night but you need to make sure that your board is equipped with head and tail lights to keep yourself visible even in poorly lit parks and roads. These will make your board visible for people coming from behind you and in front of you.
There are many types of lights for longboards. These include LED color lights, under glow lights, etc. There are also longboard lights that do not need batteries since they’re powered by kinetic energy. This would mean that for as long as the wheels are spinning, the lights will also continue to glow.
What are longboard wheels made of?
Longboard wheels are made from polyurethane which is a type of petrochemical. Wheels made from this material possess great grip and roll speed. Polyurethane wheels also have good ability to slide.
How do I choose the best wheels for my longboard?
There are several factors to consider when choosing the best wheels for your longboard. These are wheel diameter, contact patch, core size and shape and durometer.
The first thing to consider is the wheel size. See to it that the size of the wheels fit your setup perfectly. The most common diameter size for longboard wheels is 70mm. Other longboards have wheel sizes that fall between the 64-80mm diameter.
What is meant by contact patch? Contact patch refers to the surface of the wheels that have direct contact to the ground. A big contact patch gives more grip and is suitable for downhill riding. It also gives you better control.
The durometer indicates the softness or hardness of the wheels. Longboard wheels usually have a durometer of 75-88a. Longboards have softer wheels compared to skateboard wheels which have durometer of 95-101a.
The core size and shape of the wheels impact the overall performance of the longboard. Core placement could either be center, side set or offset.
How do I choose the best deck size and wheelbase?
Bigger decks should have a longer wheelbase. This type of setup ensures that your wheels do not wobble when you’re running at a faster speed.
Are higher decks better than lower decks?
Deck heights have a huge impact on the overall feel of the ride. Higher decks will tend to be harder to brake on because they place more distance for the foot. They also have lower stability. On the other hand, lower decks are more stable and are easier to brake on.
Are ceramic bearings better?
Yes, they are. However, they are more expensive compared to normal bearings. Ceramic bearings are frictionless. But with regular maintenance, standard bearings will do just fine. Make sure you always keep them properly lubed.
Do flexier decks make better speed?
No, flexier decks are better if you are into pumping and carving. One thing is certain and that is flex and speed never go well together. This would mean that if you’re riding at high velocity, choose a board that has low flex. This is because the faster your longboard runs, the stiffer your deck should be. This way, you can be assured that you are standing on a stable deck while speeding.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that no board does it all. So, before you buy one for yourself, remember what you learned about longboards from this article. Lastly, nothing beats the feeling of being able to ride on it before paying. So, as much as possible ride on it to get a feel of how your body moves with the longboard.