Longboard Buyer’s Guide
is loved by both kids and adults all over the world, and can provide hours of fun. Plus, it’ll get you active, into the fresh air and provide an often needed rush of adrenaline! Many people love commuting to work on their longboards.
Choosing the best longboard is one way to ensure you get the most from the hobby. The wrong size, style or design will not only make the hobby far less fun, it might also lead to a few injuries! Follow this buyer’s guide to help you find the best longboard for anyone - from young kids to seasoned longboard users!
Longboards do not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach. While skateboards
usually measure up to 30 inches in length, longboards are a lot, well, longer. A 46” deck will give you a good amount of stability on long straight roads, while a shorter 40” deck will give you good control around corners. These will suit people of average height.
Longer boards are heavier and have more space to stand on which makes them better for beginners. They are harder to control around turns, but they are great for straight, downhill roads. You will also have to work hard to do any tricks!
Shorter boards are lighter, and have less room to stand on which makes them better for intermediate to advanced skaters. They have slightly less stability, but are easier to turn and comfortable to ride. Tricks are far easier on a shorter longboard!
When it comes to the width, you’ll need to know whether your feet are big or small! Small feet will benefit from a narrow deck to help them steer, while wider feet will need more space to increase stability on the board.
Your longboard should be durable and good quality to not only save you money, but also ensure your safety! Every component should be high quality, from the deck to the wheels to the trucks. Most common materials for the deck are layers of bamboo and Canadian maple, but other strong materials are available. Wheels are usually made from soft PU, and the size of the wheels will determine the comfort of the ride on different terrains.
Buying from a reputable brand will ensure your longboard is durable, but make sure you look after your board as best you can. While beginners will likely have a few tumbles, your longboard should stand the test of time if taken care of properly. See the tips below for how to keep your longboard in tip top condition.
A heavy longboard will be difficult to carry around. They’ll be harder to do tricks on but can make for a smooth and stable ride around town! If you’re planning on carrying your board round with you during the day, opt for something lightweight. The deck material, size of board and type of wheels will impact the weight of your board.
Longboard decks are made from a range of materials. The most popular are maple, bamboo and carbon fiber. Maple is sturdy and durable, but lacks the flexibility of bamboo. Bamboo is very lightweight making it perfect for riding while also making your longboard more portable.
Carbon fiber is the most expensive material thanks to its foam core. Boards with a carbon fiber or fiberglass deck are very lightweight; designed for fast acceleration and easy turns. Beginners don’t need to worry too much about the deck material.
It goes without saying that your wheels should be good quality. Longboard wheels are usually made from softer materials than the wheels on skateboards, as they’re not used so often for tricks.
Most longboard wheels are around 70mm in diameter. Larger wheels will accelerate slower but have a faster top speed, while smaller wheels will have a slower top speed but more acceleration. Try not to worry too much about your wheels if you are new to the hobby. Instead buy yourself a longboard that’s stable and designed for beginners.
If you are a heavier rider, make sure you are not exceeding the max weight limit. You may need to buy a longboard specifically designed for heavier riders. Buying from a reputable brand will ensure your longboard is good quality and long-lasting.
Grip tape can be bought separately if your longboard doesn’t already have it. This will help keep your feet in the same position on the board, and is great for making your ride more comfortable - as well as safer. Where possible, buy a pre-gripped board as putting on your own grip tape can be a little fiddly if you don’t know what you’re doing.
While longboarding isn’t necessarily a dangerous hobby, it can still cause a few minor injuries if you’re not careful. Longboarding at high speeds will carry a higher risk. If you’re a beginner, learn to control the board and your speed before you venture out or attempt any downhill stretches!
With longboarding, the biggest risk is being taken out by a pebble. There’s little you can do to avoid this (other than only riding on smooth surfaces), but wearing wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads can prevent injury. Ensure you stay on top of any signs of wear and tear, a longboard in tip top condition is far less likely to run out of control.
If you are longboarding on your commute amongst other cars, a helmet is essential. Make sure you are confident and competent on the board and have mastered braking before heading out onto the roads. Stay alert, and follow road signs as if you are driving a car.
In terms of what to look for when it comes to buying the safest longboard, choose one that fits the size of your feet, that you can easily control and is comfortable to ride. Reputable brands will have longboards that stand the test of time, making them safer for longer.
What is the difference between a longboard and a skateboard?
Longboards are very similar to skateboards, but they are not the same. Longboards generally have much bigger decks, as well as longer wheelbases. This makes them easier to get used to, making them a great option for beginners .
Longboards are specially designed for turning and cruising at higher speeds over long distances, while skateboards are great for mastering tricks. Longboards are usually easier to balance on.
How do you ride a longboard?
Find a smooth, flat surface (with no cars!) and place your longboard on the ground. If you’re a total beginner, I recommend you have someone there to hold onto until you find your balance. Place your standing foot just past the halfway point on the board.
Push off gently with your other foot trying to keep the movement smooth. As the longboard moves, place your pushing foot onto the board shoulder width apart from the front foot. Keep your knees bent to maintain control and your centre of gravity low. When you start to slow down, give the board another push, hovering over the surface of the road before smoothly pushing off.
Turn by leaning your body gently in the direction you want to go, while keeping your knees bent and your core strong. Longboards are very responsive so won’t require much to make them turn. You’ll eventually find turning very intuitive, but it may take a little practice.
How do you stop a longboard?
To brake, leave your standing foot on the board and bring your pushing foot in contact with the ground very slowly. Don’t slam your foot down or you will fall off! Gently hover your pushing foot over the ground, increasing the pressure as your start to slow down gradually.
How do you maintain your longboard?
Provided you buy from a reputable brand, your longboard should last for a while. Extend its life by maintaining the deck and wheels, and you’ll save money long term. Too much water and sun will break the deck and cause it to crack. Do not leave your longboard outside in the sun for too long or anywhere that it might get wet.
Clean your longboard by detaching the trucks, then using a brush and soapy water to brush in small circles. Then rinse off the board, using a water and sponge to rinse the bottom. Dry the longboard thoroughly with a towel, and leave to dry for another 3-4 hours before use.
Longboard wheels will eventually start to show signs of wear and tear, and these should be replaced for your own safety. Your wheels will deteriorate more on one side than another, so rotate your wheels around the board to keep their use even. Wheels are very easily replaced and should be done as soon as you notice your longboard performing differently.