A longboard is a type of skateboard that ranges in length anywhere from 35 to 80 inches. Different types of longboards are specifically suited to different styles of skateboarding. Within the different types of longboards, there are many different shapes and sizes available. Longboards are generally used for transportation or “cruising,” slalom and downhill racing. The extra length of longboards makes them ill-suited for the kinds of tricks performed on short skateboards.
There are different shapes and features of longboards that accommodate different types of skating. A “pintail” is a longboard that tapers in the back and has a wide turning radius. Longboards that curve upward in the middle have camber and a flexible, springy feel. Some boards curve downward in the middle. This dip is referred to as a “rocker.” Boards that have edges that curve upward have concave and are more rigid and responsive. A “dropdeck” is a longboard that has a riding surface that is lower than where the trucks and wheels are mounted. This provides the skater with a lower center of gravity and increased stability. Some longboards resemble short boards, only they are longer and wider.
Longboards have a longer wheelbase than short boards and are thus more stable. This makes the longboard a comfortable choice for those who want to cruise or use a skateboard for transportation. A “pintail” is a common longboard shape for cruising. Longboards are heavier and more flexible than short boards, making them prone to greater momentum. A longboard requires less effort to go further and faster.
Longboards used for slalom racing come in a variety of lengths. Longer boards are used for longer courses, and shorter boards are used for shorter, tighter slaloming on steep courses. The trucks and wheels are mounted at the very ends of the board. These boards provide a much smaller turning radius than longboards used for cruising, which enable wide turns.
Similar to “dropdeck” style boards, downhill longboards have a lowered riding surface and protrusions at the front and back of the board where the trucks and wheels are mounted, giving the board a longer wheelbase. Downhill boards are rigid and specifically designed to provide the skater with maximum stability at very high speeds.
Skateboard trucks are the apparatuses that hold the axles and wheels to the board. There are a variety of trucks suited to the different types of longboards. Most trucks specific to longboards tend to be wide, with longer axles, to accommodate the longer boards. Trucks may have a loose, easily maneuverable feel suited to cruising, or they may be tight and more difficult to turn, which would be more desirable for downhill racing.
Wheels that are specifically suited to longboards tend to be larger and softer than short board wheels. The larger diameter of longboard wheels enables greater momentum. The measure of firmness of a skateboard wheel is its durometer. Softer wheels have a lower durometer. Longboard wheels, with their lower durometers, are able roll over small obstructions, like pebbles and cracks, and they transfer less vibration to the skater, providing a quieter, more comfortable ride.