Longboarding is a real growth area in skateboarding at the moment. It’s hugely popular in America and seems to be going the same way here. This is good news as far as we’re concerned because longboarding really is a fun way to get about, plus it’s environmentally friendly AND it’s great exercise.
As with any other area of skateboarding though, there is a huge wealth of products and brands to choose from, so if you’re a beginner, how on earth do you know what longboard deck to get?
The following guide has borrowed heavily from information available on the Silverfish longboarding website, and has been recently published in Concrete Wave magazine.
The first thing you will notice about longboard decks is that they seem to come in loads of different shapes. So how do you know which is the right one for you? Well, each shapes serves a different purpose, so first you need to figure out what you want to use your longboard for, and then select the appropriate shape. So here goes:
The Loaded Tan Tien deck seen above is a good example of a freeriding deck. Freeriding is a style of downhill longboarding that includes drifting, sliding, hard carves and aggressive maneuvers. These decks are usually bi-directional (they look the same whichever way they face) and have lots of flex to them, which means you can pump them to get speed up. The Tan Tien deck also has small kicktails at each end so that you can even do ollie-like tricks on it. So if you are looking for a longboard that you can do tricks with, as well as just carve, then a freeride deck would be a good choice.
The Mindless Maverick deck seen above is a good example of a speed board. As the name suggests, speed boards are designed specifically for going very fast down hills. Standard downhill decks are rigid for stability (so no flex) , with a moderate concave, no kicktail and are between 36-46 inches long. Many speedboard decks feature mixtures of bamboo and maple for strength and sometimes have up to 11 plys of wood (as oppsed to 7 plys like standard skateboard decks). These decks tend to be quite heavy so aren’t great for commuting.
3) Cruising Decks:
The above deck (seen as a complete from Globe longboards) is a great example of a classic cruiser shape. Cruiser boards tend to be long – typically 40-48 inches and have some flex to enable the rider to pump The deck. the deck will typically have a rear kciktail enabling the rider to move more freely amongst commuters and other road users. These decks are typically wide too – perhaps 10-11 inches, enabling a variety of foot positions. This is the most common longboard style, and if you’re looking for a board to cruise around on, then this is the shape for you.
4) Carving decks:
The G&S Fibreflex Pintail seen above is a design classic, and one of the most recognisable longboards on the market. Carving is the style of riding a hill where where the skater cuts back and forth in hard turns to scrub off speed and yet maintain control of the board, similar to surfing. Carving decks are typically over 36″ long and feature a lot of flex (and are often made of wood/fibreglass composites) to enable the skater to pump the deck.
5) Sliding decks:
Sliding is the intentional breaking of traction on steep hills to accomplish tricks that modify the boards downward movement. As well as power sliding, these tricks can include stalls, rotations, and the use of gloves with pucks for hands-on-the-pavement moves. The Lush Globe deck above is 33″ long. so not much longer than a standard deck. Most sliding decks are about 36″ long.