Longboard has so much variety and you don't know what to choose from for your first longboard? Here is a few info you might want to know before ordering online or stepping in a Skate shop.
Beginners - What’s the right longboard for you?
It just hit you, you’re dreaming about it every night, your friends already have one, it’s an obsession … You want to get your first longboard!!!
But here the thing, there are just so many out there! You don’t know what to start with and of course you want to make the right choice. So stay right with me and I will guide you through it!
We say that nature have all shapes and colors, it’s the same with longboarding. They’re pretty much all good to start with but you might prefer some characteristics over an other so let’s start with the shapes!
MINI-CRUISER / CRUISER
Very trendy the mini cruiser is one of the favorite in any shops. Usually every brands has a large selection of graphic for the same model so it gives you more options -yes graphic is something you have to like, it’s like a piece of art, truly.
So what’s great about mini-cruiser boards is that they are easy to carry around due to their small size. Fit easily in a suit case if you want to bring it in your next destination. Or fitting perfect on a skateboard backpack and it’s why most DU student go for that kind of shape.
As they have a short wheelbase they are also very nimble, it gets real fun specially if you are facing a crowded side walk.
As it’s a small board it’s very sensitive and tricky. Mini-Cruisers can be hard to handle at first. Some models offer a larger deck than others where you wonder how you can fit both feet on. It’s also harder to figure out your back and forth balance and will definitely give you the adrenaline rush of your life time if you decide to take it down a hill.
The longboard pintail is one of the most classic shapes of all. With its surfy lines it will seduce you and make you feel like a true longboarder.
Extremely esthetic, pintails are very pretty boards. They come in different length and width, and are usually wider in the front and narrowing to the end into a thin tail. They are very comfortable boards and offer plenty of space for your fit. As they are topmount you can place your front foot right over the front truck which gives you an awesome maneuverability. They are also very stable, specially if you go for the longer wheelbase. Perfect as well if you have usually a short stance (space between each feet while standing on the board)
Long shapes are sometimes hard to carry around. Due to its pointy nose and tail they can split and delaminate if you bash them against walls and curbs.
THE DROP THROUGH or DROP CUT
The longboard drop-through is a great choice for the commute! Drop through boards usually have a narrower cut around the truck area and a hole in the middle of each mounting holes to be able to set the base plate on the board and mount the hanger from under it. Which make them lower to the ground!
As they are lower to the ground they are easier on the hips and knees to go reach the ground for pushing. It’s why if you are looking to swallow miles with your board, drop-throughs are a great pick! They come in all kind of length, flex, some have kick tails, some don’t have a tail. Also they give you the opportunity to set them up with very turny trucks ( like gullwing Side Winders or Carver Trucks) due to the wheel cut around the front and the back of the board. You also can go with big size wheels.
Hard to find cons with this shape, it’s one of the favorite and all around discipline board. The only thing we noticed with drop through shape is that they are more fragile specially around the truck and it appears that after a years of loyal services the board can collapse right behind the truck as it’s a narrower construction and exposed to a lot of pressure they break. Also the nose and tails, when not having kicktails can chip and break.
The SIDECUT TOP MOUNT
You will find some similarities between a drop through cut and a sidecut board. Sidecut boards are just not dropped, they don't have the hole to set up the baseplate from the top of the board. And call it TOP MOUNT because the board is mounted on top of the trucks.
You can set up these boards with big wheels and very turn trucks without being scared of a wheel bite thanks to the cut around the wheels. And they will be more solid than a drop through.
Not as low to the ground a sidecut top mount will be a little bit more tiring to push on.
THE DROP DOWN and DOUBLE DROP (drop through and drop or rocker)
The double drop board is like a drop through board but with and additional drop in the 3D shape of the board. Same specification than the drop through, just that it’s EVEN LOWER to the ground. Long distance pushers love this kind of shape!
Same than a regular drop through.
As fragile as a drop through but also easy to scratch the bottom while going over obstacle like curbs and bumps.
Dancing board are HUGE. They are some of the longest shapes you can find out there. Most of them have a double kick tail and barely have concave which make them extremely comfy and very stable.
Stability is for sure one of the best things on a dancing board. It’s so big you can put your feet anywhere on it and you won’t be thrown out of balance. If you want to get into dancing tricks there are some very evolved once out there but man, if you never cruised on a dancing board in your like you are missing out. Best flowy feeling ever.
If you are looking for a board to cruise around campus, a dancing board might not be the best pick. It gets in the way due to its long shape, will fit hardly in a locker and you will feel like a elephant in a porcelaine shop while rolling on a crowded side walk. Dancing board can be easy to maneuver but will do much larger turns than a shorter wheel base board. Happened to me that going through a couple obstacles in the city i stuck my rear wheel into a pole while going around people. Which would have not happened with a mini cruiser.
Like the name tend to tell you what’s up, yes it’s about DOWNHILL. Mostly shaped like a bomb shell with a deeper concave, it can be added a lots of different features to a downhill shape. They either way be drop through, have a rocker, a W concave, high wheel well and more 3D mold details to get the precision leverage you need while going downhill. But the big common point in downhill shapes is that they are STIFF, extremely stiff.
I can get around town on my downhill board, they are very comfy and stable and happened that some beginners will choose this shape because of this reason. They are also very solid. They either have more plies than some regular longboards and also can be added some variable component as carbon or fiberglass. It’s really hard to break a downhill board, they will last forever!
Some are HEAVY man! If the construction is about 9 plies of maple and some carbon here and there you can get high in the lbs. But hey it’s to bomb hills! But not all of them are very heavy, some use foam core technology to make them as light as a feather, or others with bamboo dont weight more than a regular longboard.
They also have mostly 0 flex. So if you are looking for a bouncy board, downhill shapes are a no go.
Hybrids are rad. They are a mix between a longboard, a cruiser and a large street deck. They can have some flex or be really stiff. They can have a long wheel base or a smaller size. And they have 2 very angled kick tails.
If you like to pop ollies here and there. Be able to go around the city but also drop it in a skatepark, it’s what you go for. The longer shapes are also great to freeride and slide. So when you are a bit indecisive about what direction to go that would be a good option.
They do not come in drop through shapes.
So once you figured what style you want to go for, you got to get one which fit you and that you feel comfy on. This last point might be the most important one. When you step on a board and if it doesn’t feel right it might not be the one for you. Everybody can feel it even if you never skated before. So follow your guts and get the one which make you feel at home! Best is to drop by your local shop to try them out! It might seems like a big headache because sometimes you have too many to choose from. So get a small selection of the shape you want to go for then pay attention to this different details:
-The flex: some people love to have a flexy board and some just don’t because it makes them feel out of balance. It’s very relative to one an other so you definitely have to make sure which one make you feel balanced.
-The concave: The concave can be very deep on a longboard or there can be none. When you have a very flat deck it can be harder to “stir it” because concave give more leverage on your toes and heels. And on the other hand a very deep concave can be not so relaxing for your feet. So step on the board and if you feel any kind of weird angle, discomfort, it might not be the right one.
-The width : What’s your shoe size? the perfect fit for a a board width is when you heels and toes can access to both side of the board. When you have tiny feet you can end up moving your feet around quite a lot if you are on a wide board. Then when you have larger feet a wider set up will definitely offer you more support.
-The wheelbase: The shorter you go the sharper the turn but also the less stable you are. The longer the wheel base, the wider the turn and the most stable you are.
-The components: maple, bamboo, fiberglass, carbonfiber … these might affect a lot of what you feel when you skate on a board and some having a composite sandwich tend to have a bigger lifetime than the one only made out of wood.
-The set-up: Usually first entry level longboards come already set up and most good brands out there put really good quality components on them. If not, best is when you choose the deck you want and know what you want to do with it, contact your local skateshop to ask them what's best! Otherwise i will come up soon with an article about basics about wheels and trucks.
I hope this article helped you getting all the info you need about longboard. If you still have questions you can hit us up at Boardlife. firstname.lastname@example.org, give us a call or best come by the shop and we will guide you through to find the best set up for you!