Longboards - Buying Advice
Although originally designed as a toy for surfers, Longboarding has rapidly devolped into a popular andﾠlegitimateﾠextreme sport that's both challenging and rewarding. When purchasing your first longboard it's important to purchase the right type of board for you as there are several shapes and designs which'll drastically affect how you're able to ride. We'd recommend looking over the different types of longboards to find a style of board that most closely fits your style of riding.
The different types of Longboards
- Speed/Racer - Speedboards are designed with an ultra-stiff deck for maximum stability and speed. Generally at the cutting edge of design, these top-end boards tend to be more expensive although boast the best specs. ﾠGenerally fitted with RKP (reverse kingpin) trucks which boasts the stability at top speeds. These boards are perfect for riders looking to race or simply to enjoy the ultimate speed rush.
- Freeride/Sliding - These carving longboards are designed for zipping in, out and around obstacles. With the low height of the deck, it's possible to feel every movement - similar to snowboarding. The soft wheels are designed to easily slide making it easy to drift around corners. The decks are generally stiff but with enough flex to allow complete control when riding. Some of these boards have kicktails or noses which allow for progressive tricks.
- Cruiser - Cruiser longboards are middle-of-the-road boards which give you the rider more options on how to ride. These boards are designed to give a smooth, comfortable ride and are great for novices and pros alike. They tend to have a flexible deck and large, soft wheels which gives excellent suspension when riding.
- Hybrid - These boards are very similar in shape to standard skateboards except longer. You get all the benefits of a longboard (speed, control and comfort when riding) but are also able to land jumps and tricks at your local skatepark.
- Mini - These mini boards are perfect for commuting from school, work or college and are easily stashed under the desk or in your locker! The short deck and wheels allow for quick starts and sharp turns with minimal effort.
Things to consider when buying a Longboard:
As there is such a wide range of longboards available, there's some importantﾠthings to keep in mind when choosing yours:
- Moneyﾠ- You don't want to spend more than is necessary, however the qualityﾠof a product can be discerned by the cost. The higher the cost, the better qualityﾠyou are likely to get.
- Skill Levelﾠ- Practically all models are suitable for beginners, but forﾠanyone more experienced riders, you would get theﾠmost out of purchasing a higher-end parts. More expensive parts tend to be made from stronger, lighter materials.
- Ageﾠ- If the board is for a child it may be worth taking a look at the some of the smaller boards we have to offer. Make sure you purchase a board with a smaller deck as smaller kids will struggle with a larger, wider longboard.
- Complete or Custom - It's possible to purchase a complete longboard or the parts seperately. It's generally cheaper to purchase a complete board however custom set-ups are the perfect option for more experienced riders or beginners who want a really unique board.
Decks ' A skateboards most important component is the deck. This is the long wooden plank you would stand on. This deck is generally made of 6 to 11 ply laminated maple, birch or bamboo. These layers can be dyed to create various coloured ply. Decks come in a large variety of sizes, from 9 to 10 inches wide by 33-59 inches long. There are several different types of deck shapes including pintail, drop-deck, hybrid and cruiser.
Griptape ' Griptape is the sandpaper like layer that sticks down on the top of deck, this provides grip for the rider to stand on. Griptape is available in a variety of colours and stylea, some even have die-cut - a shape cut out the griptape which enables you to see a design on top of the longboard.
Trucks ' These are metal 'T' shaped items that pivot on a base which allow the rider to turn left and right. The trucks are normally made from an aluminium alloy, however new trucks have been made using a magnesium alloy which is a very lightweight metal with the same strength as the aluminium trucks.
There are two main types of truck - kingpin and reverse kingpin (RKP).ﾠConventional skateboard trucks have the axle on the outside side (towards the nose and tail) of the kingpin, whereas reverse kingpin trucks have the axle on the inside side (towards the center of the board) of the kingpin.
Trucks come in two pieces; the Base, and the Truck. These two parts are connected together by a long bolt called a 'King Pin' the two parts are cushioned together for a smoother ride by what is called a 'Bushing' or 'DoDo'.ﾠEither side of the truck fits the wheels.ﾠ
Bushings - Bushings are a very important aspect of your longboard as they dictate how much and how easily your board will turn. If you've got standard kingpin trucks you'll require lower bushings or taller bushings if your running RKP (reverse kingpin trucks).
Like wheels, bushings are measured in durometers. Bushings vary from 78a-98a with lower numbers allowing wider turns and higher numbers giving a stiffer ride.
Wheels - Wheels are generally always made from polyurethane, a rubber like material which provides a smooth ride. Wheels come in a variety of sizes, the larger the wheel the faster you will go but with more effort from the rider, smaller wheels produce a lower top speed, but will require less effort to get to that speed. Wheels are generally measured in mm's and range from 60-80mm in size.
Wheels also come in different hardnesses, hard wheels allow for tricks on ledges and waxed surfaces as they slide easier. Soft wheels give more grip making it much harder to slide/grind. Softer wheels are a great option for vert skaters as they need a lot of speed but need to remain in control of their board. The hardness is measured on the durometer 'A' scale. (Eg: 82a). Higher numbers represent harder wheels. Generally longboard wheels will be in the 78-90 range.
Standard warranties are normally between 30 days and 3 months. Some brands offer a longer warranty which can be for as long as 1 year. The majority of all complete longboards have a parts-only warranty. Longboard decks aren't generally covered under any sort of warranty due to the nature of use they're put through. Depending on the rider and how the deck is used, a deck can last minutes, months or even years.
As a general rule of thumb, a manufacturer will not replace the entire Longboard unless it is a complete write-off. Instead once they've identified the fault, they'll replace the part. The manufacturer doesn't cover general wear and tear (for example, replacing worn wheels). A manufacturer will very rarely refund an item unless it's out of stock.