Looking to get the perfect longboard to suit your personal longboard style? Here’s our guide will help take you through what you need to know to make an informed purchase on a longboard and achieve maximum mileage for your ride. While you digest the information, do note that these are merely suggestions. At the end of the day, you are the user and you should always get one that you feel most comfortable with. We have outlined some of the more common riding styles such as cruising, carving, freestyle, free riding, downhill, slalom, hybrids and included some general advice on the type of deck, truck and wheel you might use for each style. Choose a good longboard brand and have fun!
This is the most common style of longboarding and is often all about just getting from A-B or just rollin’ in style. You should get shorter cruiser decks less than the 38″ range for easier transport such as Mini Cruisers and Old School shapes. Otherwise, go with a 48″ in plus deck and strut some fancy footwork for that 70s long deck inspired ride. A kicktail will help when pushing around town for quick turns, stopping and end of the board awareness for some of the less advanced riders. For your trucks, try to match the width of your deck for a well-balanced ride. Softer, larger wheels will work well on absorbing cracks and bumps for a smoother ride but do wear down quicker and don’t travel as fast as a harder wheel.
A carving setup will be optimised turnability and often said to have a more surf-inspired feel. Carving is really a sub-style of freeriding but many boards are built with specific tech for carving so we’ve included it on its own here. Wheelbase and wheelbite are two things to keep in mind when looking for carving deck. A wider wheelbase will give you a wider carve radius but not perform as quick on sharper deeper carves. Reverse kingpin setups are most common because they provide the smoothest response and a more fluid turning feel. The wheel grip is important when carving to control your side to side momentum without sliding out so a moderate diameter 70-76mm wheel on the softer side 75-86a typically perform best.
Dancing, boardwalking, nose and tail footwork and tricks galore. Freestyle has many different varieties that fall under its general definition and will often even include many some of the freeride disciplines like sliding. Get a deck with some concave to it to better lock in your feet while sliding. For wheels, stick in the 65-72mm and 78-82a range for best control to grip combo that will still allow to break out a good slide. Going too large with the wheels will feel awkward in manuals and technical footwork riding.
Freeriding is often defined as going downhill without the racing element. So that will include deep carves, hard slides and high-speed riding. Stability and turnability are key when freeriding hence a 38-42″ length and 8.5″-11″ width and stiffer deck will work well to keep stable when going fast while keeping within a good wheelbase for turnability. Go for 70mm+ and 78-89a wheels depending on how advanced your riding is. Larger and harder wheels at high speeds can be pretty quick and not as grippy so if you’re just getting started, consider yourself warned.
Find a hill and race down it as fast as you can. First one down wins if you’re downhill racing, otherwise, you’re really just freeriding. Be careful, though… sliding out at 40+MPH without protection can be dangerous. For decks, we recommend stiffer but lightweight ones with 38″-42″ length. Select trucks that are low and on the wider end, having a lower centre of gravity adds more control at high speed to prevent sliding out. Wheels wise, go for sharp lip, wide, 70mm+ around and 80a-86a models. This combination will help you find a balance of maximum speed without losing grip.
To help you wiggle your way through the cones or other obstacles, go for shorter decks with a stiffer end for precision quick carves. Truck with narrow end will allow for a quick and rigid response and angled risers are also common to enhance turnability. You should go for wheels with good grips to handle the sharp turns.
Last but not least, hybrid is the happy medium between a traditional twin trick board and a longboard. These decks are typically traditional twin or blunt type shapes that are in the 29-33″ range. You will find a more accentuated kick tail than any of the other deck styles to initiate ollies and a sharp concave shape for flip tricks. The 129-149mm (5″-5.8″) width range is common and more durable variety is recommended if you plan on getting into grinds and such. Keep the wheels in the 58-62mm range. This size will be small enough for flip tricks and technical riding but large enough for smooth transition riding and keeping speed and momentum on the banks.
We hope our sharing will help you make an informed decision when you make your purchase. Be safe and have fun!