How to Choose The Right Longboard 

 September 25, 2020

By James Mason

how to choose a longboard

Longboarding is one of the most popular hobbies among youngsters nowadays. It is attracting more and more people because of all the fun and adventurous things you can do with it.

For a beginner, it is very normal to get confused to choose the right longboard for yourself. There are different types of longboards available in the market. All of them are different in look, shape or size.

But you don’t need to get all nervous about choosing the right longboard for you. It isn’t that hard to decide. Just start to narrow down your options as per your requirements. First, decide the style of longboarding you are going to do. There is a lot of longboarding style you can start with. Like:

  • Freestyling: It is more about doing tricks than riding distances.
  • Downhill Longboarding: It involves riding high hills and requires high speeds.
  • Freeriding: It means you will be riding hills while mixing it up with slides and curb hops.
  • Cruising: It involves riding down sloped streets, going to class or work.

In this article, I am going to guide you to choose the right Longboard for you. Let’s begin.

How To Choose The Right Longboard

Pick The Perfect Shape

Now that you decided your style, you need to choose the perfect shape of your board. They come in a wide range of shapes: Pintail, Bamboo, Dropdown, Drop through, Cruiser, etc. Now don’t get too overwhelmed by these options. You just need to know which shape is compatible with which style.

Riding StyleCompatible Shape
CruisingBamboo, Commuter, Drop down, Drop Through, Cruiser and Pintail.
Freestyling and FreeridingDrop down and Drop through.
DownhillSpeed boards, Cruisers, and Top mounts.

Along with shape, focus your concern on the width of the board as the width provides stability. Make sure there is enough room on the board to fit your feet. The width should at least be the same size as your shoe. Then you can decide how long you want your board to be.

Remember, the stability of the board will also increase with length. Now the height of the rider also affects the size of the board you should choose, but generally, the midsize boards are the safest choice for beginners.

Choosing The Deck

The deck is the area on the board where you will be standing the whole time of your ride. So after choosing the perfect shape and size for your board, it is time to check how each deck looks. Decks can come in either of these 3 formats: Camber, Flat or Rocker.

  • Camber: This type of decks has a rising style in the middle and is perfect for cruising.
  • Flat: It is perfectly level from starting point to the end and they don’t have kicktails. This type of decks is perfect for freestyling.
  • Rockers: This type of decks dips in the middle and is perfect for Downhill or Freeriding.

Besides the deck profile, do check the flexibility of the deck. If your intention is cruising, then soft decks will provide you better service as they are the most shock absorbent. For Freestyling, go for medium and for Freeriding or Downhill, go for a stiff deck. Then check whether the deck comes with a kicktail or not.

Though it’s not that important, kicktails enable you to make faster turns. It is handy for those who are interested in doing tricks. On the other hand, having no kicktails provides a more stable ride.

Match The Other Parts

After choosing the deck, now it’s time to select all the other hardware you need to complete your longboard. It includes Trucks, Wheels, Bearings, etc.

Trucks: Longboard trucks do the job of attaching the wheels to the deck. It also allows the board to turn and pivot on the axle. They are the T-shaped objects which will be mounted to the bottom of the board. Now you have to match the truck size with your deck size. Read this guide to know more about trucks in detail.

Truck sizeDeck size (Width)
130mm hanger and 195mm axel7-8” (18-20cm)
150mm hanger and 220mm axel7.5-8.5” (19-22cm)
180mm hanger and 250mm axel8.5-10” (22-25cm)
185mm hanger and 265mm axel10”+ (25cm or more)

Wheels: When trucks are to be matched with the decks width, the wheels need to be matched with the decks length. Like, the longer your board is the bigger your wheels should be and vice versa. The shape of the wheels is also important. Wheels come in two shapes: Square lips and Round lips. Square lips are more ideal for cruising when Round lips provide perfect tight turns with fast responding time. Read my offroad longboard wheels guide/ longboard wheels for cruising guide if you ever plan to buy one.

Wheels SizeDeck size (Length)
60-65mm34” (0.86m)
65-75mm42” (1.06m)
75-100mm50” (1.27m)

Bearings: They make your wheels spin. Bearings are rated by a standard called ABEC, the higher the ABEC is, the faster it will spin. Now for cruising, ABEC 3 is perfect when ABEC 5 is used for Freeriding and ABEC 5-7+ is the best choice for Racing and Downhill.

So those are the features you need to keep in mind when buying a longboard. You should also consider the longboard brand reputation. Now get the perfect one for you and start storming the streets and show your skills while having a good time.

Building a longboard is not a very difficult task. Read my longboard building guide to know the process.

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About the author

James Mason here. Surfing, skateboarding, and longboarding enthusiast currently living in Rio, Brazil. Started boarding since I was old enough to wear a helmet, except I often didn't. Think that explains a lot :)