Longboards come in plenty of shapes and sizes. While some offer great durability, some are based on the user’s aggressive riding needs.
Amongst all the different varieties present in the market, cruiser longboards are the best choice if you are just getting started with your longboarding journey.
There are a lot of dynamics that come into play when choosing the ideal longboard. Since you are a beginner, riding through downhills or at high speeds is something you should steer clear from, due to safety concerns. That being said, this article will guide you in buying your very first longboard and will help you make an informed decision. Let’s get started.
What’s Your Longboard Riding Style?
The first and foremost parameter that you should take into consideration is the riding style. We have three different categories in this division, which are as follows:
These kinds of boards are built for professionals only as they are ideal for riding at very high speeds( 45-65mph). One needs a lot of practice and skills to master and control these boards at high speeds.
They feature a top-mounted deck for added stability and precision. Although if you want more comfort while riding, you can get a drop-through deck installed. When riding down a hill, the last thing that you want is to feel wobbles underneath your feet at high speeds. Thus, these longboards sit close to the ground and keep your center of gravity highly stable.
To convert a drop-through deck into top mount, simply mount the deck underways instead of at the sides and you’ll have a top mount ride.
Freeride boards go hand-in-hand with downhill boards. They are designed to achieve high speeds and perform technical maneuvers. For freeriding, a deck size of at least 38-42 inches is preferred by pro longboarders. As the length increases, the width will too. This, in turn, offers greater stability and turning capacity.
Furthermore, you can pick between two deck choices with these longboards: Drop through and drop platform. The former is ideal for an intermediate rider with slimmer construction and low flex, while drop platform boards have a low platform. Beginners can easily use them for daily strolls.
This is the type of board that you should buy if you are an absolute beginner. They also come in a ‘mini’ variant which measures around 25-30 inches in length and is highly portable.
While purchasing your board, keep in mind that shorter boards are quick turners, and longer ones are great for carving at high speeds. Newbies should also avoid boards that are flexible and concave. Going for a stiff board without a kicktail will make the learning curve easier for you.
What’s Your Longboard Budget?
If your budget is less than $100, then the best option is to purchase digitally. Amazon offers a wide selection of boards for this price. The best longboard brands in this price segment are Volador, Retrospect, and Magneto.
That being said, the boards that we reviewed from Amazon in this price range had poor bearing quality.
Many people also forget to factor in the shipping prices when buying a longboard. Purchasing from a local store may prove to be a better alternative in this case.
If you fall in the mid-tier category ($100-$200), then you might be able to throw some solid and long-lasting boards in your backpack. Recommended brands are Sector 9, LandYachtZ, Globe, and Arbor Skateboards.
For those who have more money to spend ($200+), brands like Loaded ( our personal favorite) and LandYachtZ are some excellent options.
Where Are You Going To Be Riding?
Concrete or cobblestone? Cruising to work or riding on a rural farm? Your environment is an essential factor that you should consider before buying a board. Urban longboarders require a board with soft wheels and a compact deck. In contrast, offroaders do better with longer boards.
Most of the boards available in the market are made up of Baltic birch or maple. They are joined together by various layers of veneers which are stacked on top of each other. If a board has more veneers, then it is considered highly stiff.
If you are looking forward to doing some tricks on your board, buying a bamboo longboard might be a good idea. Bamboo boards are known for their soft flex and spring-like features.
Higher-end boards also come with premium materials such as carbon fiber which adds rigidity and improves aerodynamics.
|Type||Longboard size||Rider Height|
|Cruising||30-40”||5 Feet 10 inches|
|Cruising||40+”||5 Feet 10 inch+|
|Downhill||35-42”||Up to 5 Feet 10 inches|
|Downhill||42+”||5 Feet 10 inches +|
|Freeride & Freestyle||38-42”||Up to 5 Feet 10 inches|
|Freeride & Freestyle||38-42”||5 Feet 10 inches +|
|Wide boards||Narrow boards|
|Have more space to stand||Pose a challenge if you have large feet|
|Excellent for turning and free riding||Less turny due to low pressure on the blushings|
The size of your feet can also affect how well you balance your board. People who have smaller feet generally benefit from a narrower deck. As a general rule of thumb, the deck width you require is two minus the length of your shoe in inches.
|Large wheelbase||Short wheelbase|
|Highly stable||Fiddly at high speeds|
|Less responsiveness||More responsive and better at turns|
|More magnanimous while sliding||Less magnanimous while sliding and drifting|
There you have it. Now that you know all about different kinds of boards and can hopefully make the decision easier when making your purchase, consider buying from a local vendor. If you buy online, you will miss out on the buying experience.
As a beginner, you should not worry much about the advanced tech specs such as pivot angles, flex rating, truck types, etc. They will only fluster you and are not highly crucial for a beginner.
Get your board and get going!
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