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Skateboard vs Longboard for Commuting: Why Longboard Wins

skateboard vs longboard for commuting
Written by Brian G Smith

While ordinary people tend to associate the term “skateboard” with almost any board they come across, it is critical to understand the differences between skateboards and longboards. Both have specific characteristics that make them suitable for a variety of situations and riding techniques. Longboards have gained popularity in recent years due to their distinctive features and designs, while old-style skateboards provide the minimalism of a hardwood deck and hard wheels.

Main Differences Between Skateboard vs Longboard

1. Size

Considering the name “longboard,” there seem to be no mysteries when we glance at the sizes of the two boards.  Skateboards are shorter, measuring around 28-30 inches in length. To accomplish tricks, leaps, and quick twists, the corners of their deck, or upper part of the board, fold back. Their nimbleness makes them very unstable for newbies as they learn to skate.

Longboards are generally longer and broader than skateboards and available in many types and sizes. Their length can vary from 33 to 60 inches. The level deck’s vast size provides plenty of room for riders to lay their feet. Beginners will feel a lot more comfortable and learn their balance more quickly as a result of this.

2. Wheels

The variation in the wheels comes next. The skateboard’s wheels are narrower and rougher than those from the longboard. These wheels are great for grinding and doing acrobatics, but they are quickly damaged by uneven roadways. When confronted with paving stones and other debris, it is common for newbies to lose their balance.

Large and smooth wheels are one of the longboard’s most well-known features. This design of the wheel provides a more comfortable and quieter riding. You won’t be able to notice or feel the vibrations at the roadway as you might on a skateboard. A longboard’s wheelbase, which is the distance between the base of the front wheels and the base of the rear wheels, is usually longer. This makes sharp maneuvers more difficult than a skateboard. Sharp turns, on the other hand, should not be required for a daily trip as they are at the skateboard park.

3. Ways of Getting on The Board

Beginners will generally find it simpler to maintain their balance and remain steady on a longboard than on a skateboard. Longboards and skateboards both gain their initial momentum by pushing off the surface with one leg. Classic skateboards are perfect for ramps and sharp corners, and their small weight allows them to perform jumps and flips. Unfortunately, the same characteristics make them very unstable and uncomfortable as well.

Longboards, on the other hand, are built for transportation, so riders could ride for miles on every flat surface. That is not the only benefit of using a longboard for riding. Another consideration is the level of energy required to keep the board running since they are ideal for both downhill and cross-country.

4. Pushing

You begin moving and maintain going on a skateboard by pushing off the surface with your foot. To keep going, you’ll need this at all times during your ride. The rider may use a lot of energy as a result of this. A longboard, on the other hand, does not require this sort of movement. If you’ve ever watched someone ride a longboard, you’ll realize that they maintain their feet mostly on board. This is especially important while traveling at high speeds. If the rider had to make constant contact with the ground while going at such a high speed, it would be extremely dangerous.

When surfing a longboard, there are a few methods for increasing and maintaining speed. It’s easy to get started by pushing with your foot and then relying on gravity to keep moving. On flat sections of terrain, you can use a technique known as “pumping” to maintain your pace.

5. Pumping

Pumping styles vary, but in principle, they include spreading your weight in cycles across your body, utilizing your weight to generate a wave of momentum that transfers to a movement for your board. It takes a great deal of subtle physical movement and coordination, and that’s something you must work on and improve over time.

As your pumping skill improves you’ll be able to maintain your longboard going with much less energy compared if you had to constantly push to get it going. You’ll be able to travel long distances at fast speeds just by shifting your weight on the board after you’ve mastered this technique.

Characteristics of Longboards/Skateboards for Commuting

1. Pushability

You would like a commuter board that is good at pushing, which means you want the maximum speed and duration for your push efforts with the least amount of sweating.  Low-riding-deck boards seem to be the most pushable. Your pushing leg will have to lean less (less crouching) to reach the surface if you ride very near the ground. The boards with the lowest decks are drop platforms, drop-through decks, as well as double drop boards.

Some unique long-distance pushing boards are constructed of a carbon-fiberglass combination that converts your force into board momentum very efficiently. For commuting, wheels of at least 70 mm in diameter, preferable 75 to 76 mm, with excellent bearings will keep you going quicker and further with a single push.

2. Riding Comfort

Your commuter wheels should be soft enough to easily glide over the roadway, sidewalk, and pavement imperfections like cracks and sewer covers, and also to buffer any irregularities on them. By decreasing friction, high-quality bearings would also make your ride smoother. Longer boards have a reduced resonance frequency, which reduces the energy of minor obstacles, which makes them more comfortable to ride. The space between your legs and the bearing also contributes to absorbing the energy of the obstacles.

3. Maneuverability and Stability

You’ll go faster on certain lengthy flat and downhill sections if you travel long distances. The length and width, as well as the wheelbase of the board, are essential variables in maintaining stability at high speeds.  Boards with a length of 40 inches or more are very stable and less prone to wobble when moving at high speeds. Trucks that are tight and don’t move too much are best for stability.

If you commute mostly through crowded metropolitan areas and busy sidewalks, you may want the maneuverability and turnability of a smaller board to get past crowds. Trucks with a good turning radius and reactivity are also necessary for metropolitan commuting. Aside from length, board height has an impact on maneuverability, since higher indicates more maneuverability. Some push boards are top-mount, which means they are higher off the ground than ordinary push boards. We’ve found that low decks are excellent for pushing, but there is still a compromise in turnability. So, depending on your commute type (metropolitan/long distance/road), you’ll have to make a decision.

4. Storability and Portability

When picking the perfect board for commuting, it’s vital to think about how compact it is. If you’re traveling across town, you’ll frequently have to take up your board and walk a while before getting back on it. You’ll be taking your board into stores if your commute includes doing errands.  If you only travel to and from the office, you will still have to undertake some stair climbing or walking between each side of your commute.

Longer boards are typically heavier, whereas smaller boards are lighter — except for carbon boards, which may be ultralight considering their length.  Again, there is a choice to be made: longer boards are more difficult to transport and store, but they provide a considerably superior experience for open long-distance travel. If you plan on carrying your board a lot, a deck greater than 40 inches is generally not a good idea, however, some people have no difficulty bringing their 50-inch board into restaurants and shops.

Skateboard vs Longboard for Commuting

Skateboards vs Longboards

Skateboards are generally more about performing challenging acrobatics. They are manufactured with that in mind, so there isn’t much thought given to commuting across the market. To be honest, current wheels and bearings provide more push-efficiency than the earlier versions of a skateboard.

Longboards are generally preferred to commuters since their larger and smoother wheels glide perfectly over bumps, cracks, and uneven roads. They smooth your journey, and a wider deck with greater flex absorbs shock, providing you a pleasant quick smooth cruise with more space for your feet. Before purchasing any board, consider your interests, riding habits, and the skills you wish to develop. This is extremely important to know since it affects whether you should choose a longboard or a skateboard.


1. Is It Safer to Ride a Longboard Than a Skateboard?

Ans. If you’re surfing a longboard for commuting and get stuck in traffic, you’re more likely to die. Longboards, of course, are preferable in the case of an accident such as falling off your board and striking the ground.

2. Is It Simpler to Ride a Longboard or a Skateboard?

Ans. Learning to skate on a standard skateboard is more difficult than learning to skate on a longboard because of its smaller deck and narrower wheelbase, which makes the skateboard very unstable.

About the author

Brian G Smith

“Hey, are you out of your mind?” - this is what I often hear when people see me performing some really dangerous stunts. While most people use scooters to commute, I use mine to hone my stunting skills. Yes, that’s me, Brian Smith. I’ve a small group of like-minded people in my team that love to do all sorts of stunts with their kick scooters and skateboards. My fans also ask me to teach them a thing or two every now and then. This is why I am here. In my leisure time, I like to write about what I do with my scooters and what I am going to do next. One thing I want to say to all my fans - Don’t hit the streets without proper information and training..

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