How to size a longboard

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How to size a longboard – ultimate guide

Skateboards and longboards are not the same thing. The claim may appear to be self-evident, yet the issue is more complicated than you might imagine. Skateboards are more suited for intense bursts of motion and doing tricks, whilst longboards are better suited for longer distances and higher speeds.

In addition, while skateboards are more nimble, they are also less stable, and longboards are more stable but less maneuverable. Longboards are a subtype of skateboards, with the most noticeable distinction being its construction rather than its size, as one might think. Skateboards are typically around 30 inches long, with a width of around 7 inches, whereas longboards can be anywhere from 22 to 45 inches long, with an average width of about 9 inches.

How to choose the right Longboard size?

If you’re thinking about buying a longboard (especially if it’s your first), there are a few things you should consider: length, width, flex, style, form, and a few other aspects. Naturally, this will be determined by how you want to use the board. Remember that, unlike skateboards, which are primarily used for tricks and turns, longboards are ideal for a variety of other activities, including commuting, hill-bombing, street-carving, and, yes, tricking.

Longboards are divided into four categories based on the type of longboarding they are used for and related specifications: cruising (or carving), downhill, freeride, and freestyle (although this is roughly speaking, and some longboarders may argue for a different division). Before we get into the specifics and recommendations for each, let’s go through the deck specifications and how they effect the board’s performance.

First and foremost, the length; the rule of thumb is that the longer the board is, the more sturdy it is. The shorter the board, the less stable it is, but it is also more nimble, allowing you to carve streets and turn corners more quickly.

When it comes to deck size, the width of the board follows the same rule of thumb: the broader the board, the more sturdy it is. Given the huge range of longboard sizes (22 to 45+ inches), it’s only natural that the width should follow suit. Smaller longboards are around 7 inches wide (like a skateboard), while larger ones can be up to 9 inches.

Longboard size isn’t the only factor to consider; board flex, or the ability of the board to absorb shocks and offer a springy feel when riding, adds energy to pushes and carves. The flex, of course, has an impact on the board’s overall stability. There are three types of longboards: soft, medium, and stiff, with the choice mostly based on your favorite longboarding style.

Naturally, you should think about the style you desire, as well as how low you want the deck to go. Top-mount, drop-through, drop deck, and double drop are the options, with the order indicating the level of stability each style gives, from least to greatest.

Additionally, the lower the drop, the less energy you’ll need to push or break. The top-mount design, as you might expect, has the deck above the trucks, whereas the drop-through style has the trucks installed through the board (story twist!). The deck sits below the truck area on drop decks, and you can guess what the double drop does.

The shape is an important factor, although it is not the most significant. It basically determines what you can (and cannot) do with your board, and there are only two options: directed or symmetrical. The first is ideal for carvers, cruisers, and downhill longboarders, while the second (also known as a twin board) is ideal for freeriding and freestyle longboarding.

Sure enough, there are other features you need to take into account – if the board has a kick tail (good for tricks, but nonessential), or the type of indent (enhances the grip your feet have on the board).

So, what are the best longboard sizes for different longboarding styles?

 Let’s do this by the numbers.

Cruising

Whether you plan on carving down sloped streets, cruising through the campus on your way to lectures, or just traveling long, flat stretches visiting your significant other living one county over, you need stability and comfort.

As far as the length goes, anything between 28 and 46 inches is OK, with the shorter boards being better for quick turns and sharp angles, and longer ones for carving at higher speeds due to greater stability. Moreover, longboards between 28 and 32 inches are ideal if you’re looking for the kids first, or if you’re a short rider, but tall boarders can also opt for these if they’re seasoned and confident enough.

Speaking of beginners, the most recommended size would be between 32 and 42 inches, irrespective of your height. So, if you’re tired of borrowing your friend’s board for short cruises (or they are), you might want to go for something in this range. On the other hand, if you need something for a longer, more relaxed ride, don’t be afraid to go over 40 inches. Keep in mind, though, that the weight grows with the length.

Downhill

Downhill longboarding is the most competitive aspect of the whole activity, and counts as a sport in its own right, with boarders developing speeds of about 50mph. If you like bombing hills as fast as you can while maintaining some degree of control, then you need the right board to help you. What you need is a longer board, 36 inches and above, with a drop through the deck, w-concave and square-lip wheels. If you’re just getting started with downhill boarding, you might consider a 40-inch long board or longer, just to be on the safe side. A word of warning, though – don’t begin longboarding with downhill; for your own safety, practice a good long while before even thinking of this.

Freeride

Freeriding implies riding hills at a decent speed, spicing it up with some slides and curbs, so it requires some skill and comfort with high speeds. Naturally, this also requires a stable board, so anything between 38 and 42 inches is ok. Don’t go below 38 inches, so you don’t compromise the stability, but also don’t go above 42, so you keep the maneuverability from becoming too cumbersome.

Freestyle

Freestyle really doesn’t have any requirements, as the title might suggest. It’s open to both newbies and pros, the only limiting factor being your proficiency. Freestyle is all about creativity, so your board needs to be the right combo of stability and nimbleness, and the biggest decision would actually be choosing the design and color pattern. 

Conclusion

That’s all I have for now; I hope this post has helped you find the best longboard for you and that you enjoy the ride as much as we do. 

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