Longboards VS Skateboards (Everything You Need To Know)
The choice between riding a skateboard or riding a longboard completely depends on what the rider is wanting to achieve. If you’re not sure which you would prefer, I’ll help you make that decision before the end of this post. Even if you’re already leaning towards one board type or another, there is so much to learn in order to make a perfect choice.
As a bonus, we’ve also included our favorite skateboards, longboards, and cruisers.
So should you get a longboard or a skateboard? If you’re looking to cruise for long periods of time, ride long distances, or bomb hills, you’re going to want to choose a longboard. Longboards are perfect for cruising, and they provide a super smooth riding experience. Now if you’re looking for the thrill of learning technical tricks and jamming at the skateparks, you’re definitely going to want to choose a skateboard.
A happy in-between board is a cruiser. Cruisers are small, and similar to the shape of a skateboard but have large, soft wheels like a longboard. The cruiser boards are kind of a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none situation. They’re kind of okay at everything but not nearly as good as a skateboard or longboard, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.
Differences Between Longboards And Skateboards
What are the main differences between a longboard and a skateboard? Longboards are typically much longer and wider than skateboards. They also have different types of wheels. Longboards have large, soft wheels whereas skateboards have small, hard wheels. Longboards are also much more flexible and tend to be easier to ride for beginners.
The soft wheels on a longboard are great for riding, and rolling over cracks and small debris at high speeds, but they are bouncier than hard wheels. Typically you don’t want to use soft wheels when performing tricks because the board can possibly bounce back up after the wheels hit the pavement. It makes it much more difficult to land tricks and remain stable.
The trucks of skateboards and longboards are also different. Skateboards have small trucks, that stay underneath the board but longboards have wide trucks with a different design. Wide trucks provide more stability which is needed at high speeds.
Skaters can perform tricks on both skateboards and longboards, but tricks on a longboard are limited. Longboards are perfect for riding long distances and allow the skater to perform rudimentary tricks such as power-slides, carving, pumping, and dancing. But the technical tricks that can be done on skateboards are endless. If you want to do flip tricks, grabs, grinds, and ride vert or at the local park, pick yourself up a skateboard.
What Is A Longboard Good For?
There are many different types of longboards available varying in width, length, shape, style, and purpose. Some longboards are excellent for comfort when cruising long distances, some are great for dancing, some excel at bombing hills and catching high speeds, performing slides (powerslides) at high speeds, and some are alright for technical tricks.
All longboards will be incredible for riding long distances and cruising around town. Longboards don’t require a whole lot of effort to get up to high speeds and once the rider becomes used to their board, it will become an amazingly healthy hobby.
Every longboarder will enjoy a different style, so check out some videos and make sure that you know exactly what you like to do before you make your purchase.
Pros Of Longboards
Longboards are great for cruising and catching high speeds with minimal effort. They are also super simple to balance on, making them a beginner-friendly board. Small rocks, cracks, and debris will not stop a longboard.
Another pro about longboards is that they tend to last a lot longer than skateboards if taken care of properly. The only things that will need to be replaced are wheels and bearings. Soft wheels can be prone to flat spots (if doing tricks) and bearings can always be upgraded or maintenanced.
One thing to note is that NO BOARD SHOULD EVER BE LEFT TO THE ELEMENTS. Rain will rust the metal, cause the bearings to seize, and warp the wood. Always bring your board indoors. Skateboards shouldn’t get wet, ever.
Cons Of Longboards
The main con of longboards is that they are much more expensive than regular skateboards, especially for quality boards and parts. Longboards are also bulkier, making them more annoying to carry around and travel with. They are also quite limited with the tricks that can be performed on them.
What Is A Skateboard Good For?
Skateboards are sometimes referred to as double-kick skateboards. This is because the skateboard has two kicks, one at either end of the board, which allows for all manners of flip tricks.
If you take a close look at a skateboard you’ll notice that the nose and tail curve upward, and that the deck itself curves up and inwards – called concave. A skateboard is designed specifically for performing tricks, and this shape is what helps all the magic happen.
A skateboard can also be used for cruising and traveling. But if that’s your goal you’re going to want to invest in some larger, softer wheels. Skateboards are meant for performing technical tricks like ollies, flip tricks, and grinds. They shine at the skateparks and in the streets.
The board, trucks, and wheels of skateboards are designed to withstand force and impact far greater than that of a longboard. Skateboarding and longboarding are completely different sports and hard to compare besides both being boards on wheels. If you already ride a longboard or a skateboard, the other will come with ease.
What Are The Different Skateboard Styles?
- Mini Ramp
- Technical Street Skating
Pros Of Skateboards
The very first pro to skateboards is that they are the best boards for performing tricks. They are extremely agile, light, and built for impact. Skateboards can take a helluva beating. Just watch how pros land their flip tricks, grind rails, ollie gaps, and trick down sets of stairs.
Skateboards are also quite easy to carry around and travel with. Some airlines allow skateboards to be a carry-on, not to mention that some backpack brands have designed their bags with straps that can hold a skateboard. These are usually just called skateboard backpacks, in case you’re interested.
There are so many skateboard parks and DIY lines that you’ll notice once you open up your world to skateboarding. Some are paid entry, but at BoardCoast, we have so many amazing outdoor skateparks around the world that you can check out for free.
Cons Of Skateboards
The biggest con to skateboarding is that it takes a lot of commitment and dedication to be truly great. But that’s just like anything in life. Everyone who skateboards and attempts tricks are going to fall, but those who get back up on their board show their dedication.
Skateboards may also be cheaper than longboards, but when you begin to ride more and start to do technical tricks the sport can become more expensive. Shoes, boards, wheels, and bearings need to be replaced regularly for those who fully embrace the sport.
Transition skateboarding tends to cause less equipment wear and tear, and fewer injuries.
Skateboards also aren’t the best choice for riding long distances. The hard wheels of a skateboard feel uncomfortable when rolling on rough roads or over bumps and cracks, and they require a lot of pushing to maintain speed.
What Do Skateboards And Longboards Have In Common?
Both skateboarding and longboarding are exciting board sports and share their own (extremely similar) subcultures. One thing you’ll notice is that all boarders come from every walk of life sharing this single passion. They’re both amazing ways to make friends, as the communities are very passionate about sharing tips, tricks, skate spots, and videos. People within the board communities really help each other to become better riders.
Skateboards and longboards are both (usually) made from a wooden board. They have polyurethane wheels, trucks, and bearings. The wheels of longboards and skateboards can often be swapped and are interchangeable, although sometimes rider pads may need to be added to the board to avoid wheel bite. By doing this, you can effectively turn a skateboard into a cruiser.
Another similarity is that the riders are very much alike. Most people with a passion for boardsports show their passion throughout many of the boardsports. This includes skateboarding, longboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and wakeboarding.
What Is Cheaper? A Skateboard Or Longboard
Skateboards are definitely cheaper than longboards. A good quality skateboard can be purchased between $100 and $150, whereas a decent longboard costs between $150 and $250. But longboards can be much more expensive if you purchase top-end boards.
At $100 for a skateboard, you’ll get a pro setup with half-decent hardware. That being said, the wheels and bearings will most likely need to be replaced sooner. Some bearings and wheels can be extremely pricey. The Bones Super Swiss 6 Ball bearings average around $90 but they are some of the best bearings and last ages. Just keep in mind that more expensive parts usually indicate quality when it comes to skateboards.
Don’t cheap out when purchasing a skateboard or longboard. Cheap boards come with inferior components that will wear and break much quicker and more easily. So if your budget is tight, consider purchasing a used skateboard or longboard. Just be sure to inspect the board before you pay. Check for chips in the board, delamination, and water damage/ waterlogging. If the bearings don’t spin easily or make noise, they will probably need to be replaced.
Which Is Easier To Learn? A Skateboard Or Longboard
Longboards tend to be easier for beginners to learn. Longboards are longer and wider, which helps to remain balanced. The softer and larger wheels of a longboard can also handle rougher roads, cracks, and small rocks and debris. This makes it a lot less likely that you’ll fall. At least not as much.
Skateboards are much more likely to get stuck in cracks or be stopped by small rocks, pebbles, and debris. However, there is a technique that can sometimes help with this. Gently put more weight to the tail of the board when approaching a crack, and once the front wheel gets over the crack, rock your weight to the nose of the board.
This technique won’t always work but it can help to limit the amounts of falls and tumbles that you make on a skateboard. And don’t be embarrassed. Every skater has taken their fair share of falls due to cracks and small pebbles.
Make sure to wear a proper helmet and pads. They should be ASTM and/ or CSPC certified.
The Difference In Board Shapes
Let’s talk about the differences in board shapes now. But brace yourself, there is a lot to learn. The regular skateboards – sometimes referred to as double-kick skateboards – have a kick on both ends that curve up, this is what helps to perform flip tricks. They also have concave ranging from low, mid, and high. These boards tend to be around 32” in length and range from 6.5” (kids boards) to 10” in width.
The average width of a board is 7.5″- 8.25″. The wider the skateboard, the more stability. The width is influenced by the size of the skater, their foot size, and the type of skateboarding. Larger skateboarders and those skating transition and skateparks typically prefer a wider board. Street skaters tend to stick to smaller board sizes.
To play it safe, try to remain in the average width when choosing your board.
There are many different shapes and sizes of boards. This can make purchasing one a bit intimidating or confusing. But we have broken down the features, pros, and cons of the most popular ones. We even added our favorite for the price, so keep reading.
The double-kick skateboard is the definitive skateboard that would come to your mind when you think of the word. It is positively the most important invention in the sport of skateboarding. A ‘double-kick’ is the skateboard with a kick at both ends of the board, which allows the execution of ollies and flip tricks that skaters perform today.
Pros Of Double-Kick Skateboards:
- Best board for performing technical tricks.
- Easy to carrying and transport.
- Best board for street skating.
- Best board for riding at the skatepark.
Cons Of Double-Kick Skateboards:
- Not good at maintaining high speeds, prone to speed wobbles.
- Not great for long distances.
Best Double-Kick Skateboard (For The Price)
This 7.75” Complete Element Skateboard is definitely a good board for the price. At $89.95 (during the time of writing), this board includes:
- A pro element deck (retails $57.95)
- Core skateboard trucks (retails $27.95)
- 52mm TGM skateboards wheels with 99A durometer rating (retails $14.95)
- ABEC 5 Amphetamine Speed bearings (retails $8.50)
- Hardware (retails $6.99+)
- Griptape (retails $5.95+)
- Risers (retails $3.99+)
That’s a total of $126.28 (minimum) so you’re saving $36.33 by buying the Element complete skateboard.
Carve boards are made with trucks that allow the skateboard to tilt and pump. The carving motion allows the rider to generate their own speed by pumping back and forth, similar to surfing or snowboarding.
Carve skateboards are extremely popular with the surfing community. A lot of surfers will take up riding a carving board when the weather and water aren’t great for surfing.
Pros Of Carve Boards:
- Incredibly easy to generate your own speed.
- Great for practicing carving, a motion often used when surfing and snowboarding.
- A great mode of transport and cruising around.
- Tight and deep carves.
- Effortless pumping.
Cons Of Carve Boards:
- Not good at going fast.
- Poor stability for beginners.
- Poor maneuverability for beginners.
- Not so great for performing tricks.
Best Carve Board (For The Price)
FLOW Surf Skates has an awesome surf-style skateboard with carving trucks. At the time of writing, this board comes in at $159.95.
Some of the features of the board include:
- A surf-style skateboarding experience.
- Practice your surfing maneuvers on flat days or simply go skate around town. Flow Surf
- Skates are perfect for the paved waves of any urban landscape.
- The flow tech in the surf skate trucks emulates the feeling of riding a surfboard. This design utilizes an internal spring to provide snappy, fluid carving and smooth pumping. FLOW offers a lifetime warranty on the spring if it breaks
- The truck spring tension is adjustable to suit rider size and preference, making flow well suited to riders of all ages and abilities. Tighten it or loosen it for the perfect ride.
- A classic squash shape kicktail gives you tons of leverage for sidewalk slashes. It has a wide 10-inch standing platform, allowing for a comfortable stance without sacrificing leverage on the rails.
Mini Cruiser Skateboard
Mini cruisers are similar to cruisers but much smaller. These have been made extremely popular by the brand, Penny Skateboards. They come in both wood and plastic. Possibly the most beneficial trait of a mini-cruiser skateboard is that they are small and convenient to carry around. They fit into most backpacks.
A mini-cruiser is a great set up for young kids wanting to learn how to skateboard and complete beginners. They are perfect for those looking to get to grips with riding a skateboard and perfect their balance, but also an awesome change for experienced riders looking for a different skateboarding style.
Pros Of Mini Cruiser Skateboards:
- Easy to carry and transport around. It fits in a backpack.
- Great at tight turns and carves.
- Extremely smooth ride.
- Good at tricks.
Cons Of Mini Cruiser Skateboards:
- Not so great at high speeds.
- Poor stability for beginners.
- Poor maneuverability for beginners.
Best Mini Cruiser (For The Price)
The Retrospec mini plastic cruiser is the best bang for your buck for a mini-cruiser. Just to compare it to the most well-known brand Penny, these Retrospec boards are $80 cheaper.
- Equipped with precision and lightweight ABEC-7 high-speed carbon bearings.
- Lightweight and portable at less than 4lbs and fits in most backpacks.
- Recommended Weight Limit: 220 LBS or less.
Cruisers are a great choice if the name of your game is cruising. This is also probably the best choice of board for cameramen, planning to capture all of the hottest skate footage. One of the advantages to cruisers is that they have the same large, soft wheels as longboards, giving them a super comfortable ride. But cruisers are much smaller than longboards, which makes them easier to carry and transport. The shorter length also allows tighter turns and more agility.
Cruisers are smaller. They are quick, agile, and a little bit less smooth than a longboard. But that being said, they are good for performing tricks because they have steeper concave and an elevated tail.
Pros Of Cruisers:
- A great mode of transportation.
- Fun to cruise around town on.
- Good for filmmakers.
- Easy to transport. They can often fit in a backpack.
- Good agility, allowing tight turns and carves.
- A smooth, comfortable ride.
Cons Of Cruisers:
- Not as fast as longboards.
- Less stable than a longboard.
- Not great maneuverability for beginners.
Best Cruiser (For The Price)
The Retrospec Zed Bamboo Cruiser is a beautiful cruiser at $169.99 at the time of writing this post. This bamboo board comes in twelve different styles. One to catch everyone’s eye.
- 44-inch artisan longboard made from sustainably sourced bamboo and 8-ply Canadian maple.
- Rugged and lightweight 7-inch aluminum trucks.
- Reactive and smooth gliding reverse kingpin trucks with precision ABEC-7 bearings.
- Durable 70x51mm 85a PU wheels with rock finish.
- Designed in the heart of Los Angeles, rocking a distinct California look and feel.
Longboards come in many different shapes and sizes. As a general rule, however, a longboard is considered a skateboard that is 33 inches or longer. Now let’s break down some of the most common and sought-after shapes of longboards.
Pintail: Pintails are wide in the center, tapering to a sharp nose and tail, like a pin. These longboards are directional boards, meaning they have a clearly defined nose and tail.
Swallowtail: These longboards have a split tail and are wider in the center. Great for those that enjoy the classic surf style and amazing boards for carving. They are also sometimes referred to as a fishtail longboard.
Dropdown: A dropdown longboard has a lower deck compared to the nose and tail. This makes the rider closer to the ground, giving them a lower center of gravity, which increases stability and balance. Dropdowns are amazing for beginners. This is a comfortable ride and is great for long-distance traveling and cruising.
Blunt: These longboards have a wider, rounded nose and tail. Blunt longboards are extremely beginner-friendly. These are stable boards, but not as good at carving as other longboards.
Cut-Out: Cut-out longboards are bi-direction boards. They tend to have better stability at high speeds. Cut-out longboards are amazing for downhill, freestyle, and freeriding.
Speed: Speed longboards also come in various shapes and sizes. But these boards provide increased stability at high speeds.
Pros Of Longboards:
- An amazing mode of transport and cruising the town.
- Great maneuverability for beginners.
- Great stability for beginners.
- Extremely fast due to the large, soft wheels.
- Can carve and perform large, swooping turns.
- Smooth to ride on rough surfaces, over cracks, and small debris.
Cons Of Longboards:
- Not meant for tricks.
- Not good for skateparks.
- Large, making them more difficult to carry and transport.
Best Longboard (For The Price)
The 40” Santa Cruz Screaming Hands longboard is the best longboard for the price. At the time of writing it is $159.95. This is a classic dropdown board with excellent balance and stability.
- 9-ply maple wood construction.
- Santa Cruz Slimeball 60mm 78a wheels.
- 180mm Road Rider trucks.
- Factory assembled by Santa Cruz and ready to skate.
- Includes trucks, wheels, bearings, hardware, and grip tape.
So, there you have it, the pros and cons of cruisers and longboards. As you can see, there are some clear differences between the two. Cruisers are great for around-town transportation and easy to transport. They are not as fast as longboards and less stable, but they offer a smooth, comfortable ride.
Longboards are better for speed and stability and carving. They are not as good for tricks and skateparks, but they make up for it with their larger size and amazing performance.
And skateboards are your best option if you plan on performing tricks and hitting up the local skateparks. Whichever board you choose, be sure to have fun!