What are the different longboard types and families?

In Blog - 03/10/2017

If you’re just getting into longboarding, there’s a good chance you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the endless options out there. When it comes to longboard types, ‘one size fits all’ is definitely not the right mindset to have. There are several different families of longboards, plus types within those families, and each has a very specific purpose. You wouldn’t want to start off on a downhill longboard, since you probably shouldn’t be doing any downhill racing for a while. And if you have a cruiser, park tricks are going to be a lot more challenging. Before you pick out your first longboard or choose another one for a new adventure, check out our handy guide on the different longboard types and families.

Cruisers and Carvers

These longboards are all about getting you where you need to go. Cruisers and carvers are the most popular type of longboard for a reason – they’re maneuverable, quick and reliable, not to mention a stylish way to get around town. Some of their defining features are a large deck size and wider trucks for even weight distribution, giving you a steadier ride. Whether you’re rushing to class or cruising down a crowded city street, this board can get you from point A to point B without any trouble.

Cruising and carving longboards are similar in purpose, but some subtle differences might make you lean towards one or the other. Longboards that are meant to cruise are very steady and offer a smooth, comfortable ride that’s perfect for beginners. Carvers have many of the same qualities, but the shorter board length and tighter turning radius allow for impressive manoeuvrability. Carving longboards are great for those big, smooth, “s” shaped turns that get riders down a hill in an easy and controlled way. Both of these boards are go-tos for beginners because of their versatility and steady ride.

Downhill and Freeride

These amazing longboards are reserved for one purpose only: downhill racing. They are specifically designed to eliminate a few problems seen in other longboard types, like speed wobbling and issues with terrain. Downhill longboards have long wheelbases for great stability, and they feature very little flex, since the deck needs to be stable at high speeds.

Freeriding boards are part of the same family because they have a similar job – to get a rider down the hill quickly – but with a few added twists. Slides, curb hops, hard carves and generally getting creative are all part of freeriding, and these boards are built to handle it. Drop-through, drop-platform and top-mount longboards are usually used for this sport, and the stiffness of the board can vary based on preference and skill level. Lots of these boards have a symmetrical, twin-tip shape so that they look and feel the same whichever way they’re facing, making them perfect for those 180° slides.

Short Board Cruisers

Short or mini cruiser boards are definitely not the typical longboard. In the first place, they’re not really long – 30” to 33” is pretty standard for these boards. Similar to skateboards, short board cruisers are built for tight turns and quick reactions. The shorter deck allows for a better turning ability, but it also means less stability, so these boards are recommended for more advanced riders. Ideal for park tricks and urban fun, short board cruisers are the perfect option for those who want to show off their board tricks.

Make Your Choice

As you can see, there is something to be said about longboard types and all their different uses. Don’t just go with the first board that catches your eye. Figure out what kind of riding you are going to be doing a lot of – at least for now – and choose a longboard that has the specific qualities you’re looking for. The perfect board for you is out there, and it’s going to make your riding experience infinitely better.