A great longboarding experience happens when you pair your riding style with the right type of board. A suitable longboard brings together various features that foster stability, maneuverability, and speed control.
Longboards come in a variety of deck shapes, materials, board length, and board width. Different longboards may also have different wheels, wheel shapes, wheel cores, and truck sizes. Truck-mounting style and bushing type and hardness are other aspects that can set boards apart.
Longboard manufacturers organize these features and aspects in a way that supports a specific riding style. That said, some board types function across multiple riding styles. For example, a freeride longboard may work well for downhill riding. And many carving longboards are great for cruising.
In this post, I explore at least 15 different types of longboard designs. You’ll also learn several ways of mounting trucks to a longboard. What’s more, I describe various longboard riding styles and explain why a certain board type would work best for that longboarding style. Finally, I list out a few longboarding brands that make decent longboards.
15 Different Types of Longboards
Let’s roll, shall we?
1. Downhill Longboard (Built for Speed)
Downhill longboards do one thing exceptionally well — speed going down hills.
A DH longboard is one of the stiffest boards you can ride. This board works best when the trucks attach to the deck through a top mount. This truck mounting style doesn’t necessitate cutting holes into the deck.
Downhill longboards come in different concave styles, but the “W” concave is the most common. The W concave features a low “ridge” in the center and makes for different foot placement options and better board control.
Related: Choosing Longboard Wheels
And because downhill longboards are essentially speed boards, most downhill riders attach a foot stop on the deck’s topside. This foot stop serves to keep your feet firmly held on the board for safety and overall stability.
As for the wheels, DH longboards tend to be large and moderately soft. These wheels are typically 70 to mm-75 mm tall and have a contact patch of 55mm.
Durometer-wise, the wheels are in the 78A-80A range. Square-lipped wheels with an offset core are pretty much the standard.
You never want to thud into asphalt or rough pavement without adequate protection while downhilling at 60mph!
2. Cruiser Longboards (Good for Carving & Cruising)
Cruiser longboards are the simplest or most basic longboard type. You simply stand on your board and just roll around.
This board type is great for short rides in the neighborhood and parks though you can also use them to navigate busy streets.
Like downhill longboards, cruiser boards are top-mounted, meaning the board sits on top of the trucks. They also feature wide trucks and decks for stability as well as a pintail shape, pretty much like surfboards.
These boards have big, smooth wheels (75mm+) with a wide contact patch (55mm). That’s why these wheels seem to roll effortlessly. The wheels may be square-shaped or round-shaped/lip-shaped with an offset core.
The duro hovers between 75A and 80A, which means they’re considerably soft and absorb shocks well. These wheels are designed to offer tons of grip, which means they’re not hard enough for sliding.
You can use a cruiser for carving, or a carving longboard for doing leisurely road cruising. I recommend a cruiser board for beginners and younger riders. But experienced riders also cruise some of the time.
3. Carving Longboards (Good for Carving & Cruising)
Every longboarder craves to learn and eventually master carving. Carving can be quite difficult. But with the right board type — a carving longboard — you’ll soon be carving the daylights out of that smooth road to your work.
Carving longboards sit high off the ground and are designed to let you smoothly lean into neat, quick turns. To prevent wheel bite, carving longboards have wheel wells cut into them.
Wheel-bite is when your deck and wheels touch during a ride. And that can have you thrown off.
Having a wheel well or cutout reduces wheel bite while enabling you to perform deeper carves and run bigger wheels. Spacers are another way to prevent wheel bite…and bad falls.
But what’s the difference between carving longboards and cruisers? Cruisers and carvers are pretty similar. However, carving longboards typically have a more pronounced concave. This sharper concave holds your feet firmly in place so that you can carve safely.
Also, carving longboards are cambered. This means the highest point on the deck is around the middle. This design makes cornering and pumping that much easier.
As for the wheels, they are super-soft, just like cruising wheels at 75A-80A duro. Softer wheels roll smoother and provide tons of traction. But more grip means increased slide resistance.
4. Dancer Longboards (for Board Dancing)
Longboard dancing is pretty popular in Europe, and a tribe of happy longboard dancers recently emerged in the United States.
But what’s a dancing longboard? Is longboard dancing hard? Longboard dancing is a highly creative and expressive kind of skating. Longboard dancing combines the technical capabilities of skateboarding with the fluidity of rhythm and dance.
Dancing on a longboard is a pure art form that requires lots of skills to master. And yes, longboard dancing is hard. But practice makes perfect.
Dancer longboards feature a spacious platform that arches upward around the center. Put another way, a dance board has a bit of camber. This arched board becomes a more responsive pre-loaded deck with a springy feel.
It’s a big board that provides adequate room so you can spin, boardwalk, cross your feet, and perform other longboarding tricks.
Since longboard dancing entails moving your weight around the board a lot, the deck should be strong enough. The top decks are super-strong and absorb impacts from your jumping and stepping well.
Dancer longboards also feature a nose and a kicktail so you can land shuvits, manuals, and other tricks easily.
Wheels? Since this longboarding style involves doing tricks, you need relatively hard wheels. A duro of 80A to 86A should be OK. If you want a specific number, I’d choose 83A+ wheels.
One bad thing about dance longboards is that they are huge and not super portable.
When it comes to doing flatland longboarding tricks, go with a dance board. It’s also good for bombing small hills every once in a while. For anything else, get a different board type.
5. Commuter Longboards/Push Longboards (Best for Transportation)
Longboarders of all skill levels can use push or commuter longboards. A push board is pretty easy to ride, and it’s the perfect choice for commuting to work or college.
Commuter longboards sit low to the ground, which makes them stable and comfortable for long rides. Push longboards can only be used for either short or long commutes. They’re not designed for anything beyond basic commuting, not even carving.
If you try to carve on a push board, the odds are your deck will come into contact with the ground. And you might end up diving to the ground face-first.
This board comes with mid-size wheels attached to narrower trucks, which makes for easy and comfortable pushing. Because the trucks are narrow-ish, you’re less likely to catch a wheel and fall.
6. Freeride Longboards
I’m sure you’ve seen those nice thane lines left behind by longboarders. This longboarding tribe is called freeriders.
The thane lines happen when you break into a slide. Breaking into a slide causes the hard urethane compound in the wheels to release, spewing the so-called thane lines.
Freeriding is a type of longboarding style that blends cruising with carving. But freeriding is faster than either cruising or carving. And there’s more sliding.
A freeride longboard is a type of drop-through board with holes cut into the deck. These holes make it possible to mount the trucks in a way that has them sitting really close to the ground. And that makes the board more stable.
Some freeride boards are constructed using a double-drop, though. This construction method has the deck sitting even lower.
The wheels stand between 65mm and 70mm in diameter, and they’re typically 45mm wide.
Shape-wise, the wheels are round and can have any core type. As for duro, it’s 80A-86A for freeriding wheels.
What’s more, freeride boards feature different kinds of deck concaves and cambers.
Each concave and camber translates into more secure foot placement for sliding while promoting better board control at higher speeds.
7. Freestyle Longboards
Don’t confuse freestyle longboards with freeride boards — they’re not the same thing.
Freestyle vs. Freeride
What’s the difference between freestyling and freeriding? Freeride focuses more on bombing steep hills at high speeds. In comparison, freestyle cares less about speed and happens mostly on flat terrain.
Like longboard dancing, freestyle longboarding is a more expressive and creative skating style.
Another difference between freestyle and freeride is that freestyle relies on smaller wheels. The wheels stand 55 mm-65 mm in height vs. 65mm to 70mm for freeriding wheels.
Here’s one more difference. While freeride and freestyle wheels may have the same core type, freeride wheels are typically harder, with 80A-86A duro vs.75A-80A for freestyle wheels. In terms of shape, freeriding favors round-shaped wheels vs. any shape for freestyling wheels.
Freestyling is more about skating playfully and getting into flow and fluidity. Pretty much like freestyle ice skating, freestyle longboarding is hard to describe.
No one can really teach you to freestyle. And that’s because every longboarder kind of invents their style.
This board tends to be large but isn’t super stiff. And this board almost always comes in a drop-through deck design. Also, freestyle longboards feature a kicktail. You can perform a variety of flat-ground longboard tricks and even street and park tricks such as ollies, stair and curb hops, grinds, transition skating, and ever vert with a freestyle longboard
8. Drop-through Longboards
A drop-through longboard has holes cut out in the nose and tail. These holes allow the longboard maker to mount the baseplates of the trucks through the deck rather than under the deck.
After truck mounting completes, the baseplate faces upward, away from the deck. In regular skateboards and some longboards, the baseplate sits on (and faces) the underside of the deck.
The platform of drop-through longboards sits pretty low, making it considerably stable. It’s a great beginner option for that reason. The lowered platform translates into serious stability and control even at insane speeds.
Drop-through longboards aren’t a distinct type of longboard. Some downhill, cruisers, freestyle, and freeride boards are drop-through longboards.
9. Pintail Longboards (Best for Directional Riding)
Pintail longboards borrow from surfing boards shape-wise. They are considerably long, measuring 38 inches to 46 inches. As for width, they measure between 9 and 10 inches.
The nose and tail are pin-shaped. And this design allows you to practice different kinds of pintail longboard tricks.
Pintail longboards can accommodate larger wheels since they are relatively thinner with a flat platform.
Even though this board type lacks wheel wells, its pintail shape helps prevent wheel bite. But you’ll still get enough foot room on the platform despite this space-reducing deck shape.
Pintail longboards are great for directional riding and drifting, thanks to their unique shape. By the way, the pintail board only travels forward (directional riding).
These boards are ideal for cruising and carving as they’re pretty stable and turn like a dream.
10. Fishtail Longboards (for Wide Carving)
Fishtail longboards feature the classic surf-style deck shape. As the name suggests, the fishtail longboard has a split backend, pretty much like a fish.
This board is similar to a pintail longboard, but it’s a more aggressive version of the pintail board. Also, the fishtail board is a little wider at the back than the pintail one.
This board type is wider at the middle than it is at your foot placements. As a result, your toes and heels hang over the sides of the deck.
This heels-and-toes-hanging-over thing is beneficial because it enables you to carve wide. You’ll also turn easier while staying relatively stable at higher speeds.
11. Symmetrical or Twin Longboards
Twin longboards look and feel the same whichever way they face. Whether you’re looking at this board from the front or back, it looks perfectly symmetrical.
That means you can ride a twin board both ways — forward or backward.
When it comes to doing 180-degree slides as a freestyle or freeride longboarder, the twin board is your best bet.
They are beginner-friendly but used mostly for freestyle riding and downhill riding by intermediate and professional longboarders.
Twin longboards have a curved nose and tail and soft, large wheels. They’re basically a modification of the twin skateboards that were popular in the 90s for multi-directional street skating.
A short longboard is a relatively short longboard whose length usually doesn’t exceed 33 inches. It’s a special kind of skateboard, but then aren’t all longboards special skateboards? What sets a short longboard apart from a regular skateboard?
A Short Longboard vs. a Regular Skateboard
The typical skateboard uses mostly small or medium-sized wheels (some of which can be extremely hard. In comparison, a short longboard features larger, softer wheels.
While a regular skateboard features the usually Popsicle, double-kick shape, a short longboard can have one of several distinguishable deck shapes. More on that below.
However, some short longboards look pretty much like a regular street skateboard. The only noticeable difference is that a regular street board is a little smaller than a short longboard.
Also, with a regular street board, the top mount is the standard method of attaching the trucks to the deck. And wheel bite can happen. In contrast, a short longboard’s deck allows using larger wheels without experiencing wheel bite.
A short longboard may have risers or spacers to increase the clearance between the deck and wheels. And that prevents wheel bite.
What’s more, some short longboards have wheel cutouts or wheel wells that allow large wheels to be used without causing wheel bite.
Another distinction between these two board types is that short longboards mostly feature bigger, reverse kingpin trucks. This truck is also taller than the standard skateboard truck. Plus, it being a reverse kingpin truck helps short longboards carve and cruise better than regular skateboards.
Generally, short longboards sit higher off the ground than regular skateboards. Additionally, short longboards travel at higher speeds. You definitely need a certain level of skill to master turns on this type of board.
Not surprisingly, beginners and even intermediate longboarders may find riding a short longboard extremely difficult.
3 Types of Short Longboards
- Mini Cruiser Short Longboards
- Short Drop-through Longboards
- Short Hybrid Longboards
Let’s now briefly examine each board.
12. Mini Cruiser Short Longboards
Commonly called mini-cruisers, this board type resembles a mini-surfboard. Like the Pintail board discussed above, mini cruisers have a directional shape.
The nose usually is pointed and rather wide, but the tail comes narrower than the nose. The deck can have a square, diamond, or round tail, or it could be pin-tailed or fish-tailed/swallow-tailed.
Top-mounted, the trucks are highly responsive and power sharp turns. Finally, they have a kicktail that enables skating in tight spaces and jumping over cracks and curbs.
13. Short Drop-through Longboards
Typically, drop-through longboards have a length of between 36 and 43 inches. But short drop-throughs are shorter than that, and more longboarders are discovering them.
These boards can be asymmetrical or symmetrical. They also have large wheel cutouts and a wingtip-like tail and nose. The trucks are mounted through the wingtips, so that your feet stand between the trucks as opposed to over the trucks.
These large wheel cutouts accommodate large wheels while preventing wheel-bite. For the most part, short drop-through longboards feature carvy RKP trucks. By the way RKP means Reverse Kingpin Trucks. And these trucks tend to be pretty turny but less responsive.
14. Short Hybrid Longboards (Good for Both Street Skating&Cruising)
As the name suggests, the short hybrid longboard is more of a crossbreed of a popsicle-shaped street skateboard and a cruiser.
That means some hybrids can seem more like a regular street deck while others may tend toward the cruiser shape. But this cruiser shape features a larger kicktail.
So, what’s the difference between a short hybrid longboard and a mini-cruiser or a regular skateboard? A short hybrid longboard differs from a mini-cruiser in that it boasts both cruising and street skating credentials.
Similar to street skateboards, short hybrid boards feature traditional kingpin trucks. And like regular skateboards, hybrids perform skatepark and street skating tricks really well.
But hybrids have larger, softer wheels, plus they cruise better than street boards.
15. Electric Longboards (Motorized Longboards)
Electric boards are regular longboards fitted with an electric motor (or motors). So, there’s almost zero pushing or kicking.
These motorized longboards offer a smoother ride and are perfect for shorter rides in parks, on roads, and around the neighborhood.
With an e-longboard, you can easily control the speed with a handheld remote. Some e-boards have Bluetooth connectivity so you can enjoy your fave band as you cruise around.
You must monitor the charge level on electric longboards, or the battery will die on you and you’ll have to haul that heavy thing home.
Plus, you have to wait for the lithium-ion battery to fully charge, which can take up to 5 hours.
Regular Longboard Vs Electric Longboard
Maybe you’re debating a traditional longboard vs. an electric longboard. Regular longboards and electric longboards are similar in more ways than they are different.
Here’s a highlight of the differences between a traditional longboard and an electric one to help you decide.
Pros and Cons of Electric Longboards
- Fitted with a motor
- Considerably fast
- May have Bluetooth connectivity
- Can be controlled using a handheld device
- Braking requires minimal effort
- More stable and smoother rides
- Somewhat safer, but gear up!
- May not last long
- Battery issues not uncommon
Pros and Cons of Regular Longboards
- More affordable
- Break less often
- Parts are easily available
- Can be customized
- Lightweight and portable
- Requires stamina, strength, and skill to ride
- Not very easy to control or stop
Different Truck Mount Styles
Different types of longboards may require different truck mounting styles. Truck mounting style refers to how you attach the trucks to the deck.
How the trucks are mounted hugely determines how stable a board is as well as the overall ride quality. Truck mounting also determines how responsive your board will be and how well it can turn — its turn agility.
Generally, top-mounted decks tend to be less stable than drop-through mounted trucks. That’s because a top mount keeps the center of gravity relatively high. In contrast, a drop-through mount lowers the center of gravity considerably, boosting board and rider stability.
In other words, lower-sitting decks are more stable and beginner-friendlier than higher-sitting decks. A lowered platform can also significantly reduce the amount of energy you need to push against the ground when riding or braking.
Here are the most popular truck mounting types for longboards:
With this truck-mounting style, the deck mounts and sits on top of the trucks. This type of mounting is commonly found in traditional longboards.
The trucks link to the underside of the deck through screws. And your feet stand above the trucks.
While a top mount gives you more turning capability, it doesn’t offer much stability. Also, the wheels in this truck mounting style tend to wobble a little if not well placed.
Drop-through Truck Mounting Style
In drop-through truck mounting, the baseplate goes through cutouts in the deck and is screwed onto the topside of the board. This mounting method lowers the deck closer to the ground, making them more stable.
Drop-through mounting happens to be the most popular truck mounting technique due to that very reason — increased board stability. The downside is that this setup translates into low responsiveness, especially when carving.
In the dropped-deck mount, you attach the trucks similar to the top mount. Except in this case, the deck drops down around the middle so that only its nose and tail remain raised.
The beauty of the dropped-deck mount is that it makes for better slide control as well as deck stability.
This style combines both the top mount and drop-thorough method. In this setup, you don’t see the baseplate when looking down on the deck from the top.
To execute this mount, you fit your trucks into the longboard deck. You don’t have the baseplate passing through to the other side of the deck, the topside.
This longboard truck mounting method is a combination of both the drop-through and dropped-deck mount styles. This combo lowers the deck closer to the ground than any other mounting style.
That means the double-drop mount is the most stable of all longboard truck mounting styles. However, this approach isn’t popular due to the challenges involved in implementing it.
Additionally, the double-drop mounting style tends to drive the overall longboard production cost upward.
But with the double-drop mount, the odds of rail bite can increase significantly. To prevent your deck from touching the ground during a ride and causing a bad fall, use the right wheels.
Choose longboard wheels that take into account that your deck now sits the lowest it ever could.
Flush Mounting Style
In the flush mount, the trucks drop through the deck, but the top of the truck remains flush or even with the deck’s surface.
The downside of this type of mount is that it doesn’t allow any kind of setup customization afterward. Once fitted, a rider cannot change the setup down the road.
A flush mount is great for a longboarder who wants both stability and speed control.
Good Longboard Brands
Quite a few longboard manufacturers have been around for years. But the longboarding market has seen plenty of upcoming brands that claim to make better, cheaper longboards.
In the end, some companies make high-quality longboards while others keep cranking out junk that pretends to be good, affordable boards.
Such companies are in the business to mint the greenback rather than making products that add value to the end user.
I bet you know at least one person who bought a dirt-cheap Walmart longboard that broke on day one of riding it. And you definitely don’t want to go down that regret-ridden path.
Whether you’re a beginner or even a pro-longboarder, choose a brand that prioritizes your enjoyment and safety outdoors. It’s best to go with a brand the vast majority of longboarders say good things about.
The best longboard brands stay laser-focused, always striving to provide skaters with a great longboarding experience. Take your business to such companies because using quality products is the only way you’ll maximally enjoy this fun-filled sport.
Here are a few skate brands whose longboards and parts have proved to be reliable over the years:
12 Good Longboard Brands
- Sector 9
- Arbor Collective
- Dusters California
- Lush Longboards
- Globe Skateboards and Cruiser Boards
- Prism Skate Co.
- D-Street Boards
- Santa Cruz
- DB Longboards
- Moonshine MFG
- Loaded Boards
These are good brands, and the vast majority of the products they pump out work without issues. But I’m not you’ll buy a defective longboard from any of these brands. I’m simply saying we in the longboarding community have used their products and have largely found satisfaction.
In the end, the only way to find out what’s the best longboard brand is to buy a product from them and use it.
I’ve listed out 12 longboarding brands I believe are great. And the reason it’s not just one brand is that people’s preferences differ. Most of my riding buddies prefer buying their longboard decks from Landyachtz.
I’m a Santa Cruz fan, but that’s not because I think they make better-quality boards than Landyachtz. I just like their boards better, that’s all.
Beginner Longboarding FAQs
In this section, I answer a few questions beginner longboarders keep asking.
1. How Long Does it Take to Get Good at Longboarding?
It all depends on how often you practice. If you longboard every day for about 1-2 hours, it should take you 2-3 days to learn the basics. But if you are not consistent with your practice, it can take you several days to master the basics. Becoming a professional longboarder such as a freestyle, freeride, or downhill rider can take anywhere between several months to years of consistent practice.
2. Is Longboarding Easy to Learn?
Longboarding is easy to learn if you have previous boarding experience. However, longboarding can be somewhat challenging to learn if you are completely new to boarding sports. Factors like fitness levels, age, physical ability, longboard type, deck design, bushings hardness, truck height, and the nature of the terrain can make it easier or harder for you.
3. Is it Easier to Ride a Longboard or a Skateboard?
Generally, it is easier to ride a longboard than a skateboard because longboards are longer. And being longer means they’re more stable. Besides, longboard wheels tend to be wider than skateboard wheels, which makes them even more stable.
Also, you can ride a longboard on pretty much any surface. You don’t always have to ride your longboard in an intimidating skatepark. But with a skateboard, the skatepark could be the only place where you could learn to ride your board because the wheels can be pretty small, like 54mm small.
4. Longboard Vs Skateboard, What’s the Difference?
Longboards are longer than skateboards. They measure between 35-60 inches in length while skateboards measure between 28-34 inches long. And because longboards are longer, wider, and more stable, they tend to be easier to ride; they’re more beginner-friendly.
Also, longboards have larger, softer wheels that roll fast and smoothly. These wheels are great for speed, but they may not be as stable as skateboard wheels since they’re taller.
Another difference is that it’s easier to turn, cruise, and carve on a longboard than on a skateboard. But it’s easier to perform tricks on a skateboard than on a longboard.
5. Is Longboarding a Good Workout?
Longboarding is a great whole-body workout that can help you burn tons of calories every time you practice. According to Harvard Medical School, every half-hour spent skateboarding/longboarding can help a 180-pound person burn up to 222 calories.
You also get to strengthen your heart muscles and build your core strength and stamina. Longboarding can also help improve your balancing skills while reinforcing your joints.
6. What’s Longboard Dancing?
Longboard dancing is a discipline of longboarding just like downhill, freeriding, cruising, and freestyling. It’s similar to freestyle, but the moves are more artistic and involve cross-stepping, spinning, and walking on the board. Longboard dancing is often done on flat ground and involves less aggressive moves and stunts.
7. How Do You Stop on a Longboard?
There are a number of ways to stop on a longboard, and the best stopping technique for you depends on your skill level. For beginners, foot braking is the easiest stopping technique to start with.
In this method, you use your rear foot to gently apply pressure on the ground until you come to a smooth, stable stop. Other longboard-stopping methods include air braking, riding-it-out, sit braking, and carving. And everything else fails, bail to safety.
8. How Much Do Longboards Cost?
Premium-quality longboards cost anywhere between $200 and $300. But as a beginner, you may want to start with a fairly good but affordable longboard, one costing roughly between $100 and $150. Generally, the cheaper the longboard, the lesser quality it tends to be, and the shorter the lifespan. Be careful: dirt-cheap longboards can be dangerous.
Different Longboard Types: Wrapping Up
Longboards come in a variety of styles, shapes, and mount styles. Your riding style and skill level largely determine what kind of longboard would best suit your needs.
To learn how to pick the best longboard for the specific style you want to ride, read this detailed guide. In that resource, you’ll learn everything from what a good carving longboard looks like to how to choose a good DH board.