“What longboard should I get?” is a pretty frequently asked question, and more often than not it gets the wrong answer. Who should you listen to? Your buddy who started longboarding not too long ago recommends a cheap Chinese import, but the quality seems questionable and it doesn’t look as good as other longboards you’ve seen. The guy from Zumiez keeps telling you how sweet those Mercer drop-throughs are, but they kinda look like they’re made out of cardboard.
There are ton of different styles of longboards to choose from, there’s not one single best longboard type, or most suitable option for a beginner. If you’ve ever wondered what all those cool looking boards are, your answer is here – in this article you’ll find a complete (and continuously growing) guide on board types. It includes information on each type of longboard, usage, recommended setups, pretty pictures and some cool videos.
Our guide includes standalone decks as well as complete setups, so look out for that. If you’re looking to buy a full setup, remember too complete it. You can read our articles on trucks, wheels and bearings if you plan on purchasing separately, to make sure you are getting the best of the best. You will also need some hardware and, optionally, some risers
If you feel like you need more information on what each thing does, check out our article on longboard deck basics. You’ll find information on what to look for depending on the intended modality and what some of the board features are for.
Once you find the perfect one, make sure you are cleaning and maintaining your longboard to ensure a nice, long life of the board.
Before we get too far in the weeds, if you’re a beginner looking to buy, let us help you figure out what size longboard to get.
The Different Types of Longboards
First thing to figure out is what kind of riding you want to be doing. If you’re just starting out it’s easier to pick up a board meant for cruising, like a pintail or a drop-through cruiser. Personally, I like to recommend single kick freeride decks. The shape is intuitive and good looking. It’ll be as easy to ride as an average pintail board, but a bit stiffer.
The stiffness plays an important factor if you decide to get into faster stuff. The kicktail means you can also eventually learn to ollie up and down curbs as well as learn some flip tricks.
We’ve written a helpful guide for choosing the best longboard deck for you. Feel free to check it out!
Modalities: Cruising, park, pool, street.
Cruisers are a classic type of longboard, a simple directional with a kick tail in the back to get up and down curbs. Cruisers are more appropriate for someone looking to have more fun on their commutes, small cruisers are very agile and can be used to do flip tricks and ollies effortlessly. Bigger decks offer more standing platform and can be comfier for long rides.
- Polar bear 105mm TKP trucks
- Marble Hawgs 63mm 78a wheels
- Bear Spaceballs bearings
This fun little cruiser is great for just about anything. It is small and agile but the kicktail has been designed to be very functional – skating street pulling dorky tricks is best done with a Landyachtz Dinghy..
There’s no end to what a cruiser can do. They offer a lot of play for how simple they are. Some people have even taken them to the hills and tried (and succeeded) going way too fast on them.
*We don’t recommend you try this; this guy is seriously very good.
Comes complete with:
- Paris street trucks 129mm
- Cadillac White Walls 59mm 78a
- Precision ABEC 3 steel bearings
The Miniglider is very able to handle slow freeride, it’s a great board to learn on. The fiber glass layers make the board very resistant though it has some flex.
The Holesom biscuit offers a ton of rocker, not only does it look really cool but also makes it comfier to ride. The rocker forces your feet be at an angle, making your stance more relaxed. The board itself is manufactured by Longboard Larry, you can trust the guys there to produce top of the line boards.
Modalities: Park, street, pool, techslide, freeride
The most popular shape of all time. The classic popsicle longboard
is 32” in length and of varying widths usually between 8” and 9”, they are completely symmetrical and have kick tails on both ends. They are the standard for park and street skateboards, though they are also used in longboarding. Even in a longer package, popsicle decks are still the best choice for doing flip tricks and skating pool. A popsicle deck offers a lot of versatility and can be also used for freeride longboarding with the proper setup. TKP trucks are a must for shorter popsicle boards (remember the three shakas rule).
Traditional popsicle boards have not changed much in the past two decades. In the world outside park and street skating, board companies have made slight adjustments to suit the riders better. Popsicle boards made by longboard companies usually feature slightly modified concave and shapes, small changes to make them more unique.
Landyachtz Loco series
Choose your weapon of choice. The loco series offers 4 different sizes ranging from a traditional 32” to a very freeride oriented 37”.
All loco series boards come complete with:
- Polar Bear TKP trucks (varying sizes)
- Street Hawgs wheels (varying sizes)
- Bear Spaceball bearings
Check out Kyle Martin ripping on his board:
Kawika Omoto promodels
Kawika Omoto rips both street and hills, his promodels are a reflection of his riding. Both popsicle decks, one oriented towards street and park longboard riding and the other a double kick freeride machine.
You might also like: TOP MOUNT DOUBLE KICK, MICRODROP DOUBLE KICK
The “classic” longboard. Pintail style longboards are the most basic longboards, it’s the shape that most often comes to the general public’s mind when someone mentions longboards. Pintails are simple, there’s no better way to describe them; their key feature is having a “pin” shaped tail. The concave is relaxed and they tend to be flexy. There’s not much use for them other than cruising.
Picture: Article by Landyachtz to get you stoked about pintails.
Most riders out there learned to skate on a pintail. It’s easy to fall in love with them even though they will only provide you with fun during a small step of your journey while learning.
Pintails make for some aesthetically good looking boards and some people will still ride them for cruises around the city or for commuting; anything kind of activity where your nicer freeride boards shouldn’t be taken.
Comes complete with:
- Paris 180mm 50° trucks
- Divine Road Rippers 70mm 78a
- Riviera bearings
The Riviera Soul Patrol is the best bang for your buck as far as new complete pintail longboards go.
- Bear Grizzly 852 180mm 52° trucks
- Mini monster Hawgs 70mm 82a
- Landyachtz speed bearings
Also related: SWALLOW TAILS
The commuter style longboard is a “newer” shape and type of longboard that is exclusive to longboarding. The trucks on commuters are placed at the ends of the deck, giving it a longer wheelbase and therefore giving them better stability. They have cut outs for extra wheel clearance, commuter style decks are not very prone to wheel bite. Drop-through commuters feature drop-through mounts, holes on the board for the trucks to be mounted through it. They ride a lot lower than regular single kick cruisers and pintails; this makes them comfier for pushing, but also less agile.
Complete setup with:
- Atlas 180mm 48° trucks
- Cloudride Cruiser 69mm 79a
- Cloudride bearings
Complete setup with:
- Paris 180mm 50° trucks
- Bustin sniper Five-o 66mm 80a
- Bustin bearings
Complete setup with:
- Paris 180mm 50° trucks
- Divine Street Slayers 72mm 78a
- Riviera bearings
The Kung Fu Kitty has some camber; mixed with its light flex, the board makes for a fun pumper and carver. A good choice to take on beer runs.
Looking for drop-through freeride decks? Click on the links, they’re under drop decks – these are flexy cruisers not best suited to be taken to speed: DROP DECKS
Big Double Kick
Modalities: Freeride, freestyle.
Somewhat harder to categorize are all the double kicks used in longboarding, for this section it’s big double kicks: larger double kick boards with concave that is not too aggressive, these kind of boards tend to be hybrids that cover the bridge between freestyle and freeride.
Big double kicks have become a top choice for freestyle, the shape is convenient and reliable. Since the boards are either top mount or only have a bit of micro drop, the tails are easier to use than previously popular freestyle decks – like drop though or double drop through double kicks.
The same advantages carry out to freeride; though microdrops are preferred to feel more locked in.
A pricier option that’s nothing short of quality. The Loaded Tesseract is a go-to quiver killer for a lot of riders. Be warned that it has some light W concave and that might not be comfortable for all riders.
Deck only, we recommend:
Landyachtz’s take on the big double kick hype. The 2017 tomahawk is built using hollowcore technology, making it very light for its size.
The manifest is the result of a collaborative project conducted by Comet. It was designed by riders for riders. The board is sold as ‘deck only’’.
Clutch boards are a bit of a rarity. The big bacon fits right into the big double kick/mild concave category. Don’t be afraid of the “bacon” bends, this board is absolutely rock solid – those are relief points for rocker. Its biggest problem is how heavy it is.
Muir skate sells them with a regular wood finish; if you want to get your hands on something fancier, check out the Soda Factory Silverfish thread.
Single Kick Freeride
Modalities: Freeride, street
Picture by Longboard-Life
Think of single kick freeride longboards as slightly bigger, wider cruisers with more aggressive concave typically geared towards freeride. The use of flares is common, though not all will have it. For a lot of riders having a directional shape changes their mentality on what is to be done on a board; even though the concaves used in single kick freeride boards are pretty universal, having the directional shape gives it a new purpose.
Normally, more aggressive concave is used for freeride boards that are mean to go faster to keep the rider locked in while doing all sort of slides. Well defined pockets are key to faster freeride for a lot of riders, though it’s all about preference.
A compressed package of all you really need for freeride. Some light flares, a tight wheelbase and generous kicktail for pop tricks and blunt slides.
Arguably one of the best single kick freeride decks. Beware of how aggressive the concave it, it is not for everyone, but it locks you in like no other.
Sold as deck only, to complete this setup we recommend:
Comfortable, lightweight and well-constructed. Flip tricks are not recommended since the flares are easily damaged.
Top mount Speedboard
The classic downhill board. A top mount with a directional shape and a (usually) large standing platform– concave can vary though it usually stays simplistic. Top mounted speed board longboards have been one of the most popular types of boards for downhill, they just work. In the gravity sports world, they are a prime example of the KISS principle: keep it simple, stupid.
Picture: Jimmy Riha on his S9 Javelin at Verdicchio. See more pictures and read about the race here.
New construction techniques meet old simplistic design.
Clutch/Soda factory is well known for their unique decks. The KBSB is no different; the hips at the back pocket and the wheel cutouts in the front one give a distinct look. But what really sets this board apart is the concave, it has double W concave in the back – or as Rus Owen calls it, cleavage cave.
The preferred setup for Soda Factory fans is Don’t Trip trucks and Phat Deanz wheels; but since Don’t Trip are precision and Phat Deanz went out of business, we recommend this set up:
Video: Calvin Staub showing that fancy concave is not all that necessary to rip
The Madrid 50cal is Calvin Staub’s (aka Kitty Cal) promodel. The board is very simple from shape to concave. The light W is the only feature this board has.
The complete comes with:
- Caliber II 180mm 50° trucks
- Venom 72mm 80a Cannibals (not cobra core)
- Cadillac bearings
The most basic meat and potatoes of downhill skating meet elegant and solid construction of today. There are not extravagant features on this deck, it just easy to use and ready to go.
Drop-through Double Kick
Modalities: Cruising, freestyle.
When longboarding eventually found its way into street skating some modifications had to be done to accommodate for the long wheelbase and the trucks being higher than TKP trucks, which at that time were the only thing that were being used for street skating. Having trucks mounted drop-through style significantly lowers the board, getting it to the point where a shorter skateboard-like tail could be used. This was a pretty good fish for a while; until recently, double drop longboards were the most commonly used boards for freestyle.
Picture: Restless team rider Charles Ouimet on the Restless Splinter
Double drop through longboards tend to be more pricey than drop-through commuters since they are designed to take a lot more abuse. The boards as still as comfy to push as commuters but the kicktails give them more play by giving you the ability to pull some freestyle and street tricks.
There are certain problems with double drop longboards that are addressed with some newer board types. You can read about them on DOUBLE DROP-THROUGH and BIG DOUBLE KICKS boards.
The Moonshine County Line is by far the most resistant double drop longboards we were able to find. The urethane rails protect the board from impact and the wider kicks means a longer life.
The slightly larger than usual platform also means more room to do some longboard dancing on it, the concave is very mild and comfortable so it doesn’t feel crowded at all.
The best bang for your buck for this kind of board. The Restless Splinter is the more traditional drop-through double kick design.
For a complete from the website we recommend choosing:
- Paris 180mm trucks
- Divine Road Rippers 78a wheels
The DB Dyad has a more freeride oriented platform. The concave is more aggressive and has wheel flares, which make it not too ideal for flip tricks.
Comes complete with:
- Atlas 180mm 48° trucks
- Cloudride Cruiser 69mm 79a wheels
- Cloudride Abec 7 bearings
What about Electronic Longboards?
Electronic longboards are all the rage right now! We’ve gone ahead and written an exclusive article identifying and reviewing the best electronic longboards. There is a big time demand for the electronic version of the classic longboard riding style, and it’s been a race for brands to enter the market as fast as they can.
Unfortunately there’s a lot of trash out there that is both poorly reviewed and faulty. If you’re considering building a board of your own, or going with a pre-built, definitely take a look at our list linked above so you don’t end up with a dud. Eventually these brands will start to get it right we hope, but for now just be careful, check in with people in longboarding communities online, and read reviews.
Each feature in the board does something specific to enhance the ride in a certain way. For each discipline, riders will prefer some board types over others.
Longboard Deck Basics
- The wheelbase is the distance from one inner mounting hole to the other.
- The rails are the edge of the board.
- The nose is the front kicktail.
- The tail is the back kicktail.
- Boards have different flexes ranging from extremely springy to rock solid.
The most noticeable element of a board is its shape. There are a wide variety of shapes boards can come in; some are functional while some, not so much. Assuming you’re not buying the Santa Cruz foot shaped skateboard, there are two main types of longboard deck shapes.
Symmetrical boards have horizontal symmetry, both ends are the same. The most popular symmetrical board design is the popsicle deck, your average street skateboard. Symmetrical boards are meant to be ridden either way. If the shape is symmetrical, more often than not, the concave is too. Symmetrical board designs are preferred for street and park skating, as well as freeride, freestyle, techslide and dancing.
Directional boards are asymmetrical through its horizontal axis. The front and the back are not the same. Asymmetrical boards are meant to be ridden one way. Though not very common, directional concave can be found on some freeride and downhill decks. In slalom and downhill, it is more common to use directional boards. Minis are usually directional too- for more info on those check out our best mini longboards article.
There are also some adapted boards that only make sense to be ridden one way. Some board features, like built in wedging or middle drops, are meant so that the board is set up in a specific way and ridden in one direction only. The features enhance the ride, but also make it uncomfortable to ride the deck switch.
The Omen Phoenix has a middle drop. The way it’s supposed to be ridden forces your front foot to sit higher than your back foot. This gives you less leverage over the back truck and more over the front truck, increasing stability.
Truck positioning is something that easily catches the eyes of beginners. Some have never seen trucks mounted through or flushed into the board, and all these things look exciting. There’s a reason for each type, and they all affect to way your board will ride. If you are in the market for a great set of trucks, check out our post on the 13 best longboarding trucks.
The most common way any deck is mounted is by top mounting. The trucks are simply on top, the way you typically see them. A true top mount board is more agile and responsive than the other types, assuming you’re using the same trucks on the same wheelbase. This is because you get more leverage over the trucks, turning is easier and snappier.
With drop-through decks, the trucks are mounted through the board. This is a concept almost exclusive to longboards; it’s more common to see in LDP (long distance push) and certain cruisers. Some downhill and freeride decks have this option, but it is rarer to see. Since the platform is significantly lowered, there is less leverage over the trucks but a lot more stability.
Some people dislike drop-through boards, as the turning can feel sluggish. Since the platform is supported by the screws instead of the truck baseplates, it is recommended to use something to distribute the weight, such as wider washers or support backing frames. A deck adapted for drop-through boards can almost always be mounted with the trucks on top too.
Boards can be differentiated by their platform positioning. The platform is the part of the board that you stand on.
A top mounted deck that isn’t lowered anywhere means the board is a true top mount. The standing platform isn’t lowered and there’s as much leverage on the trucks as can be. A true top mount has the potential to be more agile than any other type of longboard deck.
Drop-through decks can also have a platform with no lowering. It would be a lot less responsive than a true top mount but the stability is increased. The simplicity of this type of deck makes for an easy choice for beginners since they tend to be cheaper.
A lowered platform is also called a dropped platform. A deck with a drop has its standing platform lower than the area where the trucks are mounted. This can include microdrops and flush mounts.
As Zak Maytum, a downhill longboard racer from Colorado, once said, “You never go full top mount” (at least if you plan on going fast). Like everything in skating, this is just preference, but a lowered platform gives you that extra stability that is nice to have sometimes.
The Omen Chief has a very deep drop as well as built in wedging. The directional truck setup forced by the wedging makes it one of the most stable and comfortable rides out there straight out of the box.
Zak Maytum’s pro model features deep flush mounts and a rocker platform. While it is still a top mount, the platform is slightly lowered. This, coupled with the longer wheel base makes for a more stable ride.
Drop through boards with a lowered platform are called double drop-throughs. Double drop-throughs are lower than most other decks. There are some top mounted drop decks with an extreme drop. It’s not uncommon to see them in LDP, where the lower the board is the more comfortable the pushing is going to be. Some people like them for freestyle and it’ll come with kicktails for that. Double dropped decks are eye catchy for beginners that have never seen them, but keep in mind that they have the same problems regular drop-throughs have.
Looking at all the different types of longboards can be confusing. But if you focus on what type of riding you plan on doing, just use our guide and you’ll make a much more informed decision. To get a nice long life out of your deck make sure to clean and maintain it properly. Along with the board itself, it’s helpful to pick out a great pair of longboarding shoes. If you’re looking to take longboarding seriously, going with a durable shoe made for skating will be quite helpful.