Different Types of Longboards Explained

There are many different types of longboards and ways of categorizing them. This can be extremely confusing for someone who’s just getting started in longboarding. The following are some of the questions that beginners tend to ask: What are the differences between the various longboards? Why are some shorter than others? Why are some recommended for cruising and not downhilling?

As you can probably imagine, there are dozens of different ways to categorize longboards out there. To provide a good overview, we’ve come up with 3 different ways that longboards can be categorized. You’ll note that these are by no means “official” ways of grouping the different types of longboards, but rather, these are the ones that make the most sense to us and other longboarders. Let’s go over these one by one!

Different Riding Styles

One of the common ways to categorize longboards is by the riding styles it is designed for. Some longboards are equipped with components that are suited solely for the purpose of cruising around and commuting from one place to another while other longboards are designed for downhill racing. Skateboarding companies equip different longboard parts to longboards which are designed for different riding styles. For example, longboards designed for downhill riding have stiffer (less flexible) decks as well as larger and harder wheels. Among the common riding styles that you’ll see for longboards include cruising, carving, freeriding/sliding and downhill riding. There are also certain longboards that are versatile in the sense that they can handle various different types of riding styles. These longboards may not have the ideal longboard parts for any given riding style, however, their design and parts specifications which usually fall somewhere in the middle range make them versatile. For example, such longboards have wheels that are not too hard nor too soft.

Component Specific Differences

Depending on how detailed you want to get, the different types of longboards can also be discussed in terms of component specific differences. Below are some of the differences that one will find in specific longboard parts.

Longboard Deck

Longboard decks are by far the most common form of comparison between two different longboards. Among deck specifications that are usually compared include deck length, shape, mounting configuration and material. Each of these are discussed briefly below.

Deck Length

Longboard deck length are usually in the range of 36 inches and 60 inches. However, “mini longboards” typically measure shorter than 36 inches. These shorter longboards are usually used solely for cruising and commuting purposes.

Deck Shape

There are many different shapes you’ll find in longboards. Some of the common longboard shapes include pintail, fishtail, blunt, twin and cutout. Each of these shapes bring different advantages to the riding experience, as some deck shapes are ideal for certain types of riding styles. For example, pintail shaped deck are ideal for people who want to cruise and carve.

Deck Mounting Configuration

A good amount of people categorize longboards by the way the deck is mounted onto the trucks. There are a few ways that this can be done: top, drop through, drop down and double down mounting configurations. The drop through, drop down and double down mounting configurations allow the deck to be lowered closer to the surface of the ground which increases stability.

Deck Material

The material in which the deck is made of can vary from longboard to longboard. Maple hardwood is usually the most common type deck material as it provides rigidity. These usually come in variations in terms of how many layers (ply) are used. Aside from maple hardwood, bamboofiberglass and carbon fiber are also used in the construction of a longboard deck.

Of course there are other deck specifications that are important but are less common when talking about the different longboard types. These include things such as deck width, wheelbase, concavity and deck camber.

Longboard Bearings

Next up are longboard bearings which are usually used to compare longboards in 2 different ways.

ABEC Rating

Precision bearings which are used in the construction of longboards are usually assigned an ABEC rating of 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9. A higher rating represents smaller tolerances, greater precision and accuracy and therefore a higher performance.

Bearing Material

The material of the bearing used in a longboard is also often used to compare different longboards. The two main bearing materials are stainless steel and ceramic.  Top performing ceramic bearings are premium bearings that are much more expensive when compared to stainless steel bearings.

Longboard Wheels

The two major wheel specifications that are used in the comparison of different longboards are wheel diameter and durometer rating.

Wheel Diameter

This refers to how big the wheels are. These are often looked into for a longboard with larger wheels translate to a higher top speed. On the other hand, smaller wheels correspond to a higher acceleration, but lower top speed.

Durometer Rating

The durometer rating of a longboard wheel defines how hard or soft a wheel is. Harder wheels are suitable for sliding whereas softer wheels are commonly found in cruising and downhill racing longboards.

Aside from the wheel diameter and durometer rating, a few other things that defines a longboard wheel include contact patch (width of the wheel), lip profile as well as wheel core setting. These are used infrequently in terms how people usually describe the different types of longboards around.

Cheap vs Expensive Longboards

The last major way that defines the different pre-assembled longboards is price. As we’ve went over in this article, longboards can cost anywhere from $50 to $300+. More expensive longboards are usually made by well-known brands and come equipped with premium quality longboard parts for optimal performance. We won’t go into the details in this article, but be sure to read more about the different price points for longboards here.

Next Steps

Now that you’ve learnt more about how people talk about the various types of longboards out there, you should have more confidence the next time you engage in a conversation about longboards. Be sure to share our infographic and check out the best longboards of 2015 if you are looking to get a longboard soon! Have fun longboarding!