Today we are going to talk all about the longboard, the "cousin" of the skateboard, a means of transportation (and fun) that has the smoothness of surfing and the speed and simplicity of a rolling cart.
With a longboard, you don't have to worry about spending hours training manoeuvres, you can just enjoy the bends in the road, or the wind in your face on a long descent - but you can learn a few tricks, if you want. In fact, there's a myriad of things you can do on a longboard, and there's an ideal model for each of them.
In this Guide, we will show you those possibilities, and especially the varieties that fit each of them. Shapes, trucks, bearings, buying tips, we'll show all that too. So go down this text like a long man on a slope, enjoying the moment, but with a lot of attention.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Longboard: Our Picks
- 4 Buying Guide
- 5 Buying criteria: What to notice before buying your longboard
- Wear safety equipment (helmet, elbow and knee pads) every time you ride your longboard.
- Stay tuned: don't confuse Cruising, a type of longboard, with Cruiser, which is a variety of skateboard (and longboard) assembly.
- The price of a longboard varies from £200 to £500 for pre-assembled models. The custom ones can reach three digits, if more sophisticated.
The Best Longboard: Our Picks
The practice of longboarding in Brazil and around the world explores the "counterculture" of skateboarding and its competitive and media growth. The slopes have given way to the hills and the acrobatics to speed, rescuing the pleasure of "rolling", but without losing its sportive and aesthetic vein.
This is because longboard includes several modalities, with different purposes and movements. So, adaptations are necessary, in the length of the shapes, in the hardness of the wheels, in the adjustment of the trucks. In the Shopping Guide below, we will explain all this diversity and variety, as well as explaining the advantages and disadvantages.
What is a longboard?
Technically speaking, the "longboard" is similar to a skateboard (also called "board" in English), differing only in the size of its board, the wooden or carbon fiber structure on which the feet rest.
While a skateboard is between 80 and 90 cm long, a longboard measures around 70 cm to 2 metres, with its width varying from 22 to 28 cm. The wheels and trucks - pieces which connect the shape (board) to the wheels - are also wider.
As for the lexical question, the name refers to its origin, when, in the 50s, kids from California adapted their surfboards to slide across the asphalt on days when the tide was bad.
Finally, in terms of sport, the activity is based on the dynamics of a skateboard with a larger board, which is not used for acrobatic manoeuvres, but which provides stability for high-speed movements and allows for the sinuous aesthetics of surfing, even far from the waves.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a longboard?
Then, there is the stability that only it has, making high-speed modalities possible and its use as a means of transport. Finally, the longboard is a great alternative for those who enjoy skateboarding, but not necessarily its manoeuvres.
At the same time, if you like to go for a ride but also risk a maneuver or another, the longboard can be a little frustrating. There are tricks to do, but they're quite different from street flips and vertical spins.
Another disadvantage is the practicality of its use, hampered by its size, being difficult to carry, store, transport, handle, in short. A common problem to all board sports and on all of them as well, its maintenance must be constant, adjusting and changing parts periodically.
Downhill, Street, Dancing or Cruising?
However, the configurations of the pieces have a purpose, which is to enable the model for some modality, among Downhill, Street, Dancing or Cruising. These are the ones that end up, in an objective way, differentiating the types of longboard.
Let's start with Downhill, which in English means "down hill". It is the modality that goes downhill, and that most involves speed (but not only that, as we will see in the next part of the Guide).
So, longboards are configured not only to achieve speed, but to make the necessary movements with efficiency and safety. This means that they have a lower height in relation to the ground, to have more stability, as well as less flexibility on the board, for more control.
Longboard Street is the modality most similar to skateboarding itself, and the rarest as well. It consists of doing maneuvers on tracks and obstacles, so its format is also the most similar to skateboarding, with medium flexibility, medium height and more accentuated curves on the shape.
The name Dancing is very faithful to what is done in this modality. With the widest and longest boards on the market, this model enables its users to perform body manoeuvres, with jumps, spins and slides to be landed on it. A dance on four wheels, practically.
The Cruising is the "anti-modality", the roll for the roll, in hills, streets, parks, etc. Flexible shapes and a shape closer to a surfboard, looser trucks and intermediate hardness wheels usually characterize this type of longboard.
|Configuration||Control and stability||Closer to skateboarding||Longer and wider||Flexible and looser|
Longboard Downhill: Speed, Carving or Freeride?
In all of them, the speed acquired in the most varied descents is what guides the movements and consequently the configuration of the model, but only in Speed, in which, obviously, speed is the end of the modality itself.
- Downhill Speed: These longboards need to be very stable, with very tight trucks, soft wheels - which have greater traction - and a low centre of gravity, due to a lower height between the shape, which should be rigid, and the ground.
- Carving: Here the objective is to take advantage of the width of the slopes and control the speed of the descent from large curves. Thus, the wheels must be a middle term between hard and soft, as well as the shape must be between rigid and flexible, besides having a more curvilinear format.
Another important point is that the model should prevent the wheel from coming into contact with the shape, which in a curve means abrupt and dangerous braking.
- Downhill Freeride: It is a middle term between Speed and Carving, which seeks curves and high-speed maneuvers on the downhill. It is perhaps the most popular modality. To facilitate slides, the shape of this model is usually symmetrical, without a defined front side, the wheels must be hard, and the height between the board and the ground, low.
|Shape||Rigid and low||Intermediate and curved||Symmetrical and low|
What is the difference between longboard, skateboard or cruiser?
More than paying attention to the technical differences between them, which we've already talked about a bit further on in this guide, and which, in the end, is more about the sizes of the components, we're going to talk about their "ideal" use.
Skateboarding, for example, with its huge community and relatively numerous parks and tracks, may be the best for you to enjoy sportily, training your manoeuvres daily and exchanging experiences with other skateboarders.
The longboard, stable and to some extent simple, is perhaps the best choice if you just want to enjoy the glide of the wheels, the wind in your face, the movement of the turns.
The practicality of the cruiser, on the other hand, makes it ideal for those who always thought they could walk to the bakery or the bus stop on four wheels, but without having to carry almost two metres of wood for the rest of the day.
How much does it cost?
There are also professional models, assembled with parts of different brands and handpicked by the user and/or specialised shop, which can reach up to £1,000 or even £2,000.
Buying criteria: What to notice before buying your longboard
What we at MONEDEROsmart most want is to help you choose your ideal longboard model. To do this, we have put together a list of criteria - elements you should note before proceeding with your purchase.
- Shape (board)
Now, we are going to talk about each of these items, in the most complete and succinct way possible. With the right information in hand, the better your choice will be.
In fact, it is hard not to notice the shape, the most visible component of the longboard. The question here is to know how to identify the right elements for the type of ride you intend to do.
The flexibility of the board, as we said, will define the stability of the model, being the more rigid, the more stable. The length of the board, in turn, is inversely proportional to the agility it provides.
Finally, the curvature dictates the model's ability to perform manoeuvres and other faster movements. The more curved, the greater the control your feet have over the board.
With wheels, you have to pay attention to their softness and size. The softness, measured inversely proportional by the ASTM unit, or just "A", talks to the friction of the wheel, in this case proportionally.
And the greater the friction, the lower the ability of the longboard to slide.
The size, in turn, despite also influencing the wheel's grip on the ground, is more a matter of fitting. It should follow the distance between the shape and the truck (the bigger the size, the greater the distance).
If the measurements are disproportionate, the chances are high that the wheel will touch the shape during turns, which would cause hard braking and a probable crash for the user!
The truck criteria follows the same logic as the shape, with its details directly interfering in the longboard's performance. Its width, for example, is proportional to the stability it gives to the model.
The angle of the base of the truck, in turn, interferes in the stability of the turns. The bigger and more open the angle, the easier it is to make sharp turns, while smaller, closed angles guarantee more stability and control in big and fast turns.
The materials used in each component will influence not only the performance, but the durability of the longboard. For the shapes, prefer those made of ivory, maple, or even bamboo. Complements such as carbon blades are welcome.
For trucks, there's no mistake: aluminium. They need to be light, resistant, and nothing better than aluminum for that. On the wheels, run away from those that are not made of polyurethane, material that revolutionized the sliding not only of the longboard, but of the whole industry of the four wheels.
(Source of the highlighted image: MESSALA CIULLA / Pexels)