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COMPLETE LONGBOARDS 

Since the surfers of California began to descend hills decades ago, this modality has developed a lot. Anything with wheels is synonymous with fun, but there are many disciplines of longboarding, and some longboards are more suitable than others according to what you want to practice: cruising, carving, downhill, freestyle, dancing... 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE LONGBOARD?

If you are going to buy your first longboard and you do not know how to choose, read on, we explain the main things you need to know to get the one that best suits you. 

 

TYPE OF LONGBOARD

The first thing is to be sure that what you want is not a skate. You can have a look at our Complete Skate Guide, or this article on our blog: Buy Your First Skate. 

The longboard is made to go out and have a walk (cruising), to descend roads (downhill), imitate surfing and skiing (carving), dance and spin on the board while it goes, or whatever you want at any moment (freestyle). 

You can use our filters to see the most suitable longboards for each style (downhill is in cruising). 

In general, there are a lot of shapes and sizes. Sizes are in a range from 22 inches to 47. Materials and constructions can also be very different: there are Canadian maple (rigid and resistant), bamboo (light and flexible), olive, reinforced with fiberglass, etc. 

 

Cruising Longboard

The perfect longboards to walk around. We can classify them mainly by their size. They are some very small, which are often called ‘penny’ (because of the brand that popularized them) or mini-cruisers.

They are usually made of plastic, very small (about 22 inches) and have the advantage of weighing less and being easier to carry in the hand. 

 The rest have very different sizes. Some people even classify them as something intermediate between skateboarding and longboarding, since the smaller ones do not adapt literally to what would be a ‘longboard’. In Fillow, however, we include them along with longboards because of the type of use that is given to them, normally more for trips than for tricks. 

The difference with skates and with the rest of longboards is manly the shape of the board. Although we can find them in very varied ways, the most common is that they do not have concave, so only the tail is in an angle, to be able to lift the cruiser by stepping on it. 

Cruiser’s trucks are usually also small, similar to skate trucks, but almost always high, or with risers, to allow the use of large wheels without these getting to touch the board. 

Wheels are larger than in skate, although in many models they are smaller than in the rest of the longboard modalities, or at least they have a narrower contact surface with the ground. It is important that they adapt as well as possible to the kind of ground where you will use it. For that, you have to take into account the width of the part that rests on the ground (depending on the shape of the wheels), the wider the more it adheres. The hardness of the material is also important (durometer). It is measured on the A or B scale, with a number that is higher as the hardness increases. Soft wheels adapt better to all types of terrain, but reach less speed. Harder ones are faster but more uncomfortable on shallow terrain. Here is an indicative table of hardness scales: 

 

A

B

100

85

95

81

90

76

85

71

75

62

That’s all you need to know, so now, just choose the one you like the most!


Carving Longboard

Carving is a style of skating, which is also called carving for example in skiing. It consists of sliding in a zigzag with the longboard. For this, we need that the trucks offer sufficient mobility to be able to turn the direction by changing the weight of the body from one side of the deck to the other. 

Also in this category we include the surfskates, designed to imitate the movement of the surfboards on the waves, so you can surf the asphalt on days or cities without waves. 

The surfskate trucks have had a great development in recent years, improving more and more. Currently, the best technology is offered by the swing trucks of the Yow surfskates, which also have the option of not doing that movement, to turn the surfskate into a cruiser whenever you want. 


Downhill Longboard

As we said before, downhill is the descent of roads, either calmly or at the maximum possible speed. It is the fastest, most exciting and also the most dangerous modality in all longboard practices, since it is usually practiced on open roads. It can be anything from a bold hobby to a true extreme sport, especially in races (‘slalom’).

The length of the deck varies a lot (between 37 and 43 inches). The shorter ones could make you feel more insecure, they are less stable at high speeds, but on the other hand, the longer ones are more difficult to handle, in curves for example. 

In this modality it is interesting to choose a thin and rigid deck, the flexible varieties are discarded. 

If you are a beginner, you will appreciate the stability offered by ‘drop through’ longboards. They have the trucks mounted at the same height as the deck (not under it), so the center of gravity is lower. 

For intermediate or advanced levels, a longboard that has the trucks mounted under the board (‘top mount’) would be more advisable, because they are faster, they offer better grip in curves and it is easier to brake them.

They are also perfect to start with, as long as you go with caution. Some have cuts under the deck, near the wheels, to avoid ‘wheelbite’. 

Downhill is usually made standing on the board, crouched to reduce the resistance against wind, although there are also those who do it lying on their backs, with their feet in front, which is the most aerodynamic position and offers great control over the board. The second option may seem even more daring, but it can actually be more boring, since you do not see what happens and the control is so good that it is not difficult to get bored. 

The sensation of speed is incredible, although if we go to exact data, in reality it is not so much for what we are used to: 100 Km per hour, or up to 128 if you try to beat the world record. But of course, you will be alone against the wind, and without water or snow to cushion a possible fall. A helmet is essential, and all other protections, highly recommended. 


Freestyle

Freestyle or freeride or slide or whatever you prefer to call it, because it is based on doing what you most want. Within this modality we include dancing, a practice that is becoming very fashionable. It consists of making steps and spinning on the board as it goes. 

For this practice, you should look for a deck to be rigid and quite long (ideal 38-42 inches). The width is less important, it generally goes in relation to length, and it is between 8.5 and 10.5 inches. Any of these measures will be fine. To achieve maximum stability, you can choose a ‘drop platform’ longboard. In these decks, the part between the trucks is lower, so the center of gravity is lower and therefore more stable.

For dancing you may prefer a flat longboard, or maybe you want it to be as light as possible. In that case, we recommend the ‘drop through’ ones. They are flat, the holes make them lighter and they also have a low point of gravity. 

As for the wheels, those with straight edges will keep you moving in a straight line more easily, that is great for dancing, but for freestyle round edges are preferable, as they make turns and curves easier.