Choosing the right longboard can be confusing. There are so many different styles, sizes and shapes available and as a beginner it can look overwhelming. Even when you are an intermediate or experienced rider there are many things to choose from.
To make things easy, start with understanding your preferred riding style and the most common shapes. That way you can choose which board you need. The better you understand the styles and the shapes, the simpler it is to choose the right longboard.
What is your longboard riding style?
Cruising and Carving [Beginner]
- Used for a fun form general-all purpose way of transportation. It is a board that can take wide turns so you feel like you are surfing on concrete. It will get you from A to B and has gentle rides.
Freestyle [ All levels ]
- This is one of the oldest styles, original used in skateboarding. Freestyle riding involves many technical tricks on a flat surface. It is all about creativity: dancing, goofy riding, sliding, board-tricks, and regular riding. This style is fine for beginners as well as advanced longboarders.
Free ride [Intermediate]
- This is for performing maneuvers downhill – for example quick sliding in various speeds and technical tricks in quick succession with one another.
- Speed, speed, speed! This style is used to ride down the hill as fast as you can. Bombing the hills and going fast while maintaining control. You are using a crouch position to get more speed. If you are a beginner it is best to take it slow with this style until you gained some more experience.
Which longboard shape should you get?
Based on the style you choose above, you can now look at the shapes. There are 2 general longboard shapes that all designs fall into. Both shapes are for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders.
Directional : these boards are meant to go into one direction: forward. The most popular one is the pintail.
Symmetrical : these boards look the same no matter how you facing it. The back looks the same as the front. These boards are commonly used in free-riding and freestyle.
Boards come in different deck styles for every riding style. Here are the top 3 common deck styles:
- Cruiser – the board is flat and these are the most popular ones.
- Drop down – the board is "drops down" between the wheels and is very low to the ground, which makes it very stable – great for cruising and free ride activities.
- Drop through – the trucks are mounted through the board, which lowers the deck – for long-distance riding, free ride and downhill.
Both directional and symmetrical boards come in these 3 deck styles.As you see, there is some overlap between the shapes and the riding styles. In the end it's your personal choice which one you like best. Many shapes are right.
If possible try a few longboards before buying, so you know which one suits you best. What is the best board for your friend does not have to be the best board for you.
Go shred it and have fun!