There are as many types of longboards as there are fish in the Oceans. And it’s not all mere fancy. Each type, configuration, and shape have a reason for being so. That means if a rider wants a longboard for different purposes, he will have to buy different kinds of longboards for the particular style of longboarding such as carving, commuting, etc. The longboard deck is of prime concern when getting one as it dictates the overall performance as well as the riding style. Longboarding has become the most favorite sport and undeniably the fastest growing youth sport. Here is an introduction to the different styles of longboards with an overview of their designs and types.
Types of Longboards
Longboards for Speed
Downhill longboarding is about speed since you can hit 50-65 mph. Extreme longboarders actually can hit 80-90 mph. Many elements such as your riding technique, potential to push and pump, the slope gradient, your weight, the design of the board you’re riding, your speed tuck and your braking potential; all blend to yield your true speed.
So essentially, when it comes to speed, we are looking at stability and turning ability. If you can’t turn, you will lose speed on curves and effective overall time. You will be riding lower and hence with heightened stability. They offer comfortable foot space as well as secure placement for going faster. Larger wheels are accommodated. Being heavier, they are difficult to turn. Advanced longboarders prefer smaller boards with topmount decks (trucks mounted under the deck) for easier turning at the expense of reduced stability as they are higher off the ground.
The Speed Boarding Tuck
Tucking is the body position adopted to minimize air resistance and plays a pivotal role in speed achievable. Your frontal form can be reduced by tucking your back knee behind your front knee. With your arms tucked behind your back, lean into your fore thigh.
2. Drop Through
The Drop-Through longboard comes highly recommended. It appears like any normal skateboard but has a cutout in the deck. The trucks fit affectively on the board because of the cutout. They are excellent for free-riding. Having become enormously popular as the longboard of choice, if there is a board suited for all-around longboarding, it would have to be a drop-through.
- For cruising at high speeds, a Drop-Through longboard is frequently used
- It provides a shallow platform thereby increasing stability for riding at high speed.
- Easily controllable and speed adjustable to your needs.
- Tops other skateboards where flexibility is evaluated and hence fitting for all sorts of skateboarders.
- It is the choice for low-speed carving.
- The right choice for free-riders as they allow the rider to slide over their boards as the center of gravity is low.
- Because of their flexibility, there is a sacrifice in strength as your weight is shared on all eight bolts.
- They are designed for cruising and carving and so are unsuitable for all types of skateboarders.
- Drop-through longboard type is more drifty because of its unique configuration so it is rendered unstable on varying platforms.
- Drop-through longboards being prone to drifting is a drawback for downhillers in action.
- They have a poor grip.
- You cannot achieve sharp turns as the front deck design is lower.
Carving is a technique that most longboarders would like to master. It is pretty tough though. It’s the closest to ocean surfing, its both technical and artistic bringing a great feeling of pleasure, motion, and freedom. Carving is about curves and speed. Carvers maintain speed naturally without having to push even on flat ground.
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Carving Board Features
What are we looking for in a good carving deck? Good response from your moves and a decent energy return from the deck.
- A mid-size deck in the size range 32”-42” works well for effective carving. Too small a deck and wheelbase, the more limited is the response to produce momentum. Too large and the rig becomes sluggish.
- Topmount decks offer optimal leverage over the trucks and turn reaction is superlative. e A composite of commuter style and topmount boards make for some of the high performance carving longboards.
- The best carving decks have a decent flex providing lively and energetic follow through.
- A cambered platform is another influential feature. Camber means the center of the board is higher than the sides so the deck slopes gently towards the edges. It gives the deck more spring and thereby acceleration when carving.
- Larger wheel clearances by generous wheel cutouts and wheel wells. Carving calls for tight turns and can cause wheelbite (wheels touching the board).
- Some boards feature sidecuts, that is the central part of the deck is narrower to minimize torsional stiffness between the rider’s feet allowing more control over turning radius.
4. Cruising Longboards
Cruising places the least demands on a longboard. It is akin to sauntering on a longboard. It is a leisurely style well suited for pleasant surroundings where you take in the air, gaze around and generally be a dude.
A pintail is the longboard of choice for relaxed cruising. A good choice is 40” or longer for stability. The deck style is a flat deck with moderate flex for easy cruising. Flex gives a comfortable ride as well as less joint stress. Choose big wheels for a balanced suspension feel.
Long-distance cruising, commuter cruising, and boardwalk cruising are some other forms, which use longboards different from our cool boardwalk cruising.
Bamboo longboards without saying, are very flexible and featherweight. No wonder, the youngsters simply go gaga over bamboo longboards. And you get to make a statement; they are organic. Going on a picnic or a trek and want to lug your board, no problems since they are so light. The great drawback is in changing the wheels but that is not so much of a problem given that bamboo longboards are very inexpensive.
6. Pintail Longboards
Pintail longboards have a teardrop shape that allows deep carving with a minimum risk of wheelbite. For cruising and carving on flat surfaces and hilltops, they are the numero ono choice. It is a good choice for beginners because of the roomy platform for the rider’s feet and overall length. A pintail longboard is high because of top-mounted trucks. They are generally 38” to 46” in length and 9” to 10” wide.
The height of the rider is another factor that plays a decisive, significant role in choosing the correct longboard. The length of the board should match. Foot size is proportional to height. Your feet should sit well on the board and not be dangling out. Your weight is another consideration as it impacts the overall flexibility of the board and how well you can maneuver. Heavier riders should choose a larger board and vice versa.
7. Fishtail Longboards
These are easily recognizable with the trademark cleft in the tail, hence the name fishtail. Fishtail longboards are actually Pintails with the difference that sharper turns are possible. This is because of steeper radial concave, they outplay a kicktail. More heel and toe control because of its low flex and sharper concave. Intensive wide carving and easy speed checks are made possible. And you have to give it to them; they are snazzy, classic surf style.
Durability and stability are the trademarks of Blunt longboards. The blunt design is simply a result of blunting the nose and tail parts of a Pintail. They are not suitable for sharp turns and so are unsafe for hill riding. Larger wheels are generally used proving stability. One can safely go longboarding with these boards. It has little flex and is safe for beginners who can learn the basics of longboarding easily. People on the larger side also find it more comfortable to use.
9.Mini Cruiser Short Longboards
It may sound like an oxymoron, but these longboards are actually short skateboards. Although if you know their differences, this might not be so obvious. If its 33” or lower in length, it is considered a short longboard.
The smallest longboard is undoubtedly the mini cruiser board. They are also referred to as compact cruiser boards. To give you an idea, their length is 33” as compared to 45” plus for other longboards. The stability of these boards is very low and hence can be used only by advanced and experienced longboarders. Another advantage is being lightweight, they are portable.
10. Twin Longboards
The traditional design of longboards is the twin skateboard, a modified design for multi-directional street skating. By using a design giving the deck additional width earned these boards the handle, twin boards. Its design is attractive witha curved nose and tail structures. The stability is high and therefore is used by professionals. Sharp turns and cuts are made permissible and so it may be used for downhill riding. The board is also suitable for executing tricks. Also for freestyle riding because of their better stability. Make sure, if you are planning to buy one, that the wheels are of the large, soft type.
11. Cut Out Longboards
The cutout longboard is advanced with a superb design coupled with ample wheel clearance. The blueprint is of a wide base and completely narrow edges due to deep cutouts. Hence they have earned the name Cut Out longboards. The functions are quite similar to Dropdown longboards with high stability. They are used extensively in freestyle and downhill driving. With a large wheel clearance, they are bi-directional. The trucks are drop-through to lower the board.
12.Drop Down Longboards
Drop-Down longboards carry good stability with their lower nose and deck. Pushing becomes easier making it conducive for a long comfortable ride. Ample wheel clearance is a feature of drop-down longboards paired with cut out shaped decks.
13. Speed Board Longboards
These rigs are expressly built for zipping. And the other wonder is the high stability the higher the speed. The tail region is kept sharp with a blunt nose. These high-performance boards offer variable width.
14. Topmount Longboards
Topmount or Drop Through longboards is dependent on attaching the trucks to the deck. In Top mount longboards have the trucks mounted directly to the bottom of the deck. This permits the rider by the increased capability for aggressive turning. They present an issue of wobbling as a fallout of the height above the ground. Riders can, for jacking up stability, put in separate bushings, wheels, and trucks. It’s of course basically a hit and trial endeavor.
15.Double Drop Longboards
The double drop longboard is much embraced by hill riders. It is an amalgamated advanced design derived from drop through and drop deck longboards. These too are speed machines with the speed easily manipulated, owing to the low center of gravity.
16. Dancer Longboards
Yes, you heard right, grooving on a longboard. It takes some time to get a hang of it and was introduced by Rodney Mullen. It makes you finer downhill or freeriding as balance improves. Seriously any board will suffice to get you off the marks.
As a serious pursuit, dance longboards are pretty long, longer than a downhill, cruiser or freeride board arrangements. After all, you need some stepping space. They have a double kicktail to pop them up easily. For a better dancing board, a soft flex is the order, but not too soft. The key factor, weight. Longer boards will weigh more but dancing boards have to be easily maneuverable. So you should hunt for one that is light for its length.
17. Freeride Longboards
This is a lone survivor. They are still fun at carving and cruising but tend to be unforgiving and not responsive enough. Freeriding is a demanding discipline with sliding and more speed than the two. They come in all possible shapes, designs, and shapes however with smaller wheels. You require smaller wheels for sliding which is to let the wheels lose grip so that you slide sideways. The wheels are made of urethane and leave lines called ‘thanes’ behind their track. Freeride boards are often drop through decks. So naturally, they sit closer to the ground with solid stability, just the thing for sliding and momentum. They feature varying concaves and cambers for sure placement of feet. Some are built with a double drop, the result being further lowering of the board.
18. Push / Commuter Longboards
The Push board is a lone breed. Its sole purpose is distance and commuting. They ride super low for ease of pushing and are double drop with drop-through truck mount. The wheels are midsize with narrow trucks
E-skateboarding sounds pretty ugly, but that’s what it is. Everything that applies to normal skateboarding applies save that motive power is supplied so no pushing or kicking.
Some important facts that you need to know:
Payload – Electric skateboards can take loads from 200-330 pounds safely. This is dependent on the structural factors. Do refer to your manual to see “what is the load-bearing capacity of your electric board.’’ Don’t overload for a various number of reasons enumerated below:
- Safety reasons – Braking distance increases with load. Anyone will tell you that being able to brake on time is a life-saver. By overloading, you can damage the brakes putting yourself in severe risk. Additionally, overloading can warp or crack the deck if structural integrity is exceeded.
- Performance and Range – The electronics, brakes and gears have been set to give the ultimate riding experience. A fully loaded board will hamper performance. It will reduce range and pull down your speed. Hill climbing ability is compromised and stopping distance increased. If you are carrying groceries or anything hefty, factor that in.
- Lifespan – Load makes the engine work harder thereby draining the battery faster. If this is a oft repeated cycle, the parts are subjected to strain almost continuously decreasing lifespan.
Heavy riders need to consider:
- A board with a powerful motor
- A large battery
- Good trucks and strong decks
Electric board decks are now made of carbon fiber, fiberglass or Kevlar. On electric boards stand on the trucks but never at the center.
Charge time – On average, it takes 2-5 hours to fully charge an electric skateboard depending on size of battery and power output of charger.
Can they be carried on airplanes – This question crops up because you may want to carry it with you during your holidays. But it has a big Lithium-ion battery which has been known to be a cause for explosions. The good news is yes, airlines allow the carriage of electric skateboards.
The capacity of the battery should not exceed 160Wh. Having reserved the last say, many airlines do refuse to carry them. End of story. Check in advance and get it on paper.
Weight – Electric skateboards can weigh anywhere between 6.8 to 12.8 kg depending on motor, battery, deck types, and trucks.
Range – On the average it is 12-20 miles but is affected by many factors – rider’s weight, average speed, uphill, downhill, weather, wind, motor power, and wheel size.
Cost – Electric skateboards vary from $400-$2000.
Longboard Deck Shapes
There are multiple shapes for longboards marking different styles of longboards. The most common longboard shape names would include the long leaf or long oval shape, the fish tail, the blunt, the cut out, the drop down, top mount, speed board and so on. The long oval shape of longboard is seen in cruiser boards while the downhill boards are somewhat blunt in nature. Longboard names are given depending on their shapes. Longboard styles and shapes have ergonomic aspects that correspond to the nature of their uses. This is why different types of riding boards in this category vary in size and shape. So, much depends on longboard decks types.
What Type of Longboard Should You Choose?
Assuming you are a rank beginner, your target is to get the hang of longboarding primarily. To get the basics, choose a Pintail because it is quite an all-rounder among other deck types and importantly is a safe ride. As you gather momentum in your longboarding abilities, one can branch into a select stream.
Now to Conclude Our Ride
That was a concise report of longboards out there. The sport itself is captivating and captures the essence of freedom with a hefty dose of skill thrown in. If you’re not a longboarder yet, it’s about time you dug in. Never mind your age, all you need is a reasonable level of fitness. And never forget safety gear. Always wear a helmet. You would look really stupid by trying to be daring and then take a spill that in turn takes off skin aplenty.
Don’t forget to check out our reviewed longboard gear and accessories that might interest you –