Longboards : Deck Shape and Style Guide
We have one of the largest selections of longboards and longboarding equipment on the web, and a super staff and experts who will help you to make an informed decision.
There’s a lot more to longboards than meets the eye. Longboards come with different shapes, construction, and features, and they’re designed for various riding styles and abilities. So we’ve created this guide to take the guesswork out of longboard selection and get you on the streets as fast as possible!
Grab some juice and chocolate, take a seat, and read and learn about longboards.
Then you can take a look at our longboard shop and buy a longboard so you will be ready foooor ... LONGBOARDING!
To choose the right longboard setup, you are going to want to consider:
- Ability Level
- Styles of Riding
- Board Shapes
- Deck Styles
- Board (Shape) Features
Ability Level longboarding
What’s your ability level? There are longboard shapes, styles and setups that are specifically designed for each level of riding. It’s important to be realistic in assessing your level of shred to make your riding experience more fun and progression a breeze.
A board’s shape, mounting type, and flex depend heavily on your style of riding and your ability. Each section within this guide will discuss what features are best for each ability level.
But if you just started longboarding and want to make everything easier, you can check our beginners section, it is plenty of longboards for beginners:
Riding Styles in longboarding
Within longboarding there are different styles of riding. Whaaaaat? Yep, there are! Whether you want to cruise campus on the way to class, bomb the gnarliest hill you can find, or session a drainage ditch or park, different boards can make all of these things possible. Take into consideration where you live. If you reside in a city, you probably won’t be bombing too many hills, and if you live in a mountainous place, you’ll most likely be hitting hills, flats, and everything in between. Keep this in mind...
Cruising / Carving longboards
Cruising and carving are all about carving down gradually sloped streets, ripping through the quad on your way to class, and long distance pushes on flat or slightly sloped ground. If you’re just getting into longboarding, this is most likely the type of riding you’ve either already done on your friend’s board or what you’ll start doing on yours.
Shop Cruising / Carving longboards
Downhill longboarding is all about bombing hills as fast as you can while maintaining control. You are usually in a crouching or tucked position on your board for reduced wind-resistance and increased stability. Just like in freeriding, it’s not uncommon to break those wheels out in a slide to control your speed, so true downhill isn’t the best style of riding for brand new riders.
Buy Downhill longboards
Freeride longboarding means that you are riding hills with a fair amount of speed while styling it up with slides and curb hops, as well as sliding to control your speed on bigger descents. This style of riding requires quite skilled board control and comfort at high speeds, so it’s typically reserved for more expert riders.
It’s all about being creative, so you can pretty much ride whatever you want. Freestyle riding involves many technical skills such as sliding, board tricks, regular and goofy riding, and dancing, just to name a few. This type of riding is a good way for beginners to learn board control skills, but it’s also extremely enjoyable for advanced and expert riders.
Buy Freestyle longboards
There are two general board shapes that all other designs fall into. Both board shapes are beginner and expert-friendly.
These boards are only meant to go in one direction: forward. The most popular directional board design is the famous pintail, which doesn’t provide proper board feel or control while ridden switch. Carvers, cruisers and downhill boards are usually directional but there are some exceptions.
Longboard deck style play a key role in how stable the board is, how easy it is to foot-brake, and how easy it is to push on flat ground. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the board is off the ground, the higher the center of gravity will be, which translates to less stability and more fatigue while pushing and foot-braking. On the other hand, the lower the board is, the less leverage you have to toss quick carves and the more likely you are to bottom out on tight turns.
On a drop though board, the trucks are mounted “through” the board, which effectively lowers the deck height by the thickness of the board. This increases board stability and reduces fatigue while pushing/braking because you have to drop your foot less to contact the ground. These boards are great for long-distance riding (commuting), freeride and downhill riding styles.
All boards come with certain shape features that provide specific riding characteristics and help dictate each board’s intended use. These features include kick tails, wheel cut-outs, and concave.
Kick tails are what you see on both ends of regular skateboards. They allow you to lift one end of the board off the ground to perform tricks or hop curbs, as well as make quick turns. Longboards can have kick tails on just one end (on directional boards) or on both ends (on symmetrical boards). They are great for cruiser boards for last second pedestrian dodges and curb hops, and a necessity on many freestyle boards.
Wheel Cut-Outs / Wheel Wells
Both wheel cut-outs and wheel wells are all about preventing wheel bite, which is what happens when you corner too hard and your wheels contact your deck. This usually results in you getting thrown off your board (no bueno). Cut-outs generally allow you to turn the hardest because there is no way for the wheels to make board contact. Wheel wells allow you to turn sharp but will still allow for contact if your trucks are too loose, you don’t have large enough risers, or your wheels are too big.
Grip tape keeps your feet on the board, but concave helps quite a bit, too. Concave longboard essentially means that the edges or rails of the board are a little higher than the board’s center. When standing on the board, your feet will contour to this shape, increasing the contact area of your shoe, which in turn means more grip. The amount of concave usually depends on the designated riding style of the board: Downhill and freeride longboards generally have deeper, more extreme concave than cruisers.
Just like regular concave, W-concave keeps your feet planted on the board. It’s actually like having two concave sections next to each other, which provides a lot of grip. This feature usually only comes on more expensive downhill and freeride boards.