The contrasting nature of man is what brings color to this world. At this very moment, when you are busy thinking, “What size longboard should I get?” many will be worried about selecting the right book to read on the weekend. However, whatever your hobby may be, you need to make sure that it should be productive and healthy.
Longboarding came into existence when various surfers wanted to find a way to practice on land. It got so prevalent that it is now a separate and popular sport.
It is enthralling and enjoyable. The safest experience of longboarding, however, depends upon the right size of the longboard. Therefore, it is imperative that you choose a size compatible with your height and weight and prefer a more comfortable shape for you.
This article primarily focuses on selecting the right size for your longboard keeping in view all the essential requirements. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!
Dimensions of longboards
You won’t believe it, but the size factor predominates your riding technique for getting good performance with a longboard. But how do you make sure that you select the right size? Although it is not rocket science to choose the correct size for your longboard, prior knowledge and following a guide are always helpful.
You will often find yourself or many people around confusing between a longboard and a skateboard. Whereas both seem similar, a longboard is larger than a skateboard, predominantly in length. Longboards range in size from about 33 to 60 inches in length and a width between 7 to 10 inches.
These are the dimensions of the regular or average-sized longboards. There is another category of longboards sold under the market name of mid-length longboards—their lengths range from 37 to 50 inches. Many boards do not have a uniform width throughout; rather, they are wider in the middle and narrow at the extremities.
Why do longboards have different dimensions?
Longboards come in various sizes and shapes to accommodate multiple styles of longboarding. Choosing the right length and shape depends mainly on your favorite longboarding style and the area you live in.
Although there are many longboards that can be used for all the styles, you should choose the corresponding size according to your longboarding style for greater efficiency and performance. Some of the conventional longboarding styles and a guide to the right longboard size for them are given below.
We decided to begin by giving you the freedom to choose a suitable size for your longboard. If you are a freestyle longboarder, you don’t need to be particular about the size. Any good combination of stability, speed, performance, and appearance can work for you.
A worth mentioning feature, however, is that your speed depends upon the length of your longboard. So, if you are looking for more incredible speeds, you might want to look for longer boards. You might also want to look for rounded edges for a seamless longboarding experience.
If turning and gliding movements are what you are aiming at, you should go with sturdy shorter boards. Freestyle longboarding is a combination of almost all types of styles, and it is all about being creative with your movements.
So for this style, you need to look for boards that are primarily all-rounders and provide extra grip, smooth motion, along with good speed.
Cruising and carving
One of the most exciting longboarding styles is cruising and carving on slopy roads. Cruising yourself to school makes traveling whole less tedious and tiresome. If you are new to longboarding, this style itself might be the reason for getting yourself a longboard.
Watching your friends carving to the class and passing every hurdle in the way with grace and speed might want you to buy a longboard yourself. If you are in for cruising, you might want to look for dimensions of at least 28 to 46 inches in length. These fall in mid-length longboards. For width, anywhere from 7 to 10 inches is good to go.
If your way to the classroom is relatively straight and without any turns, you can go for longer boards and aim for extra high speed. Still, if there are lots of turns, we recommend going for relatively shorter boards that offer more stability than the longer ones during turns.
Especially for beginners, we recommend shorter boards because an extra stable grip means fewer accidents. When you are comfortable with longboarding, it adds confidence in the ride and allows you to go for longer boards when you feel ready.
The downhill longboarding style asks for more stability and is somewhat more challenging than the above. It is competitive and requires great skill from the rider. But what’s the fun of longboarding without a bit of challenge? And as far as the right longboard with suitable dimensions is concerned, you should prefer a longboard that offers maximum stability even at higher speeds.
A length of 36 to 42 inches can be ideal but is then again determined by the rider’s height. Riders up to 5ft or shorter should choose boards with lengths below 40 inches, and with height 5ft above, there is no harm in going for bit longer boards.
For downhill longboarding, you also need to be a little extra careful with the board’s wheels and shape. For instance, the wheels should be square- lip, and the deck shape should be drop-through and a little concaved at the extremities.
For a stronger and good material board, the longer the board, the more stable it would be for the downhill style. It is noteworthy to mention that this style of longboarding might be dangerous for beginners. And therefore, it is recommended that beginners take cruising first, get a grip on it, and then switch to downhill.
If we say that the freeride longboarding style gives you an experience of both the cruising and downhill styles, then that won’t be wrong. It involves riding over hills with speed. You may glide over slides or make sharp turns, and that is why it asks for exceptional grip and some excellent riding performance.
The ideal range for longboard length for this style would be strictly between 38 to 42. Because it is stability and extra grip that we are aiming for in this style, the length selection has to be particular and accurate.
What factors affect the performance of your longboard?
When you buy a tool or gear for any activity that includes potential risks, you need to be careful about your purchase. As the market is constantly flooded with options, it is normal to find yourself in a fix in making the right choice. And therefore, a categorical and predetermined shopping approach reduces a lot of hassle.
The boards have been categorized in terms of shape, dimensions, deck flex to provide the best performances for different longboarding styles. Below we have organized a list of essential factors that might help you in making the right purchase. All these factors directly affect the performance and maneuverability of the board and thus your longboarding experience.
longboards come in various material variants. The most commonly found longboards are made of Bamboo, Birch, Maple, and Hybrid, and composite. For a basic understanding, the deck of a longboard refers to its base or body and is made of up layers of materials known as the plus. As a general rule of thumb, the greater the number of layers, the more robust the deck will be.
But if you are going with heavier and denser materials such as the maple, you may want to limit yourself to 10 layers max. Bamboo boards are more flexible and have a medium flex. They are very much shock-absorbing and provides a smooth riding experience.
Maple wood, on the other hand, is well known for making heavier and medium to stiff boards. It Is denser than bamboo but can provide an equal amount of flexibility when processed.
Although less common decks made of carbon fiber are also available in the market, they are ideal in making lightweight longboards, especially for younger kids. Occurring more frequent are the decks with a combination of carbon fiber and bamboo. Bamboo provides the required weight, and a carbon fiber meshed network offers strength to the longboard.
longer boards often provide more stability than shorter boards at higher speeds and for straighter paths. As a beginner, there can be no perfect length for you because it is the experience that teaches you which size is suitable and which is not. So, does that mean there is no ideal longboard for a newbie? Now that is not the case too.
For beginners, we prefer mid-length boards. Shorter boards serve well if you are young and are new to even cruising. Basically, there are no hard and fast rules because the selection of length also depends upon your body height and weight. So shorter boards can also serve you well if you are a professional and are 5ft and 4 inches or less tall.
In the end, it all depends on which board is more comfortable for you. If your retailer allows a test ride is always helpful. Still, we have tried to tabulate a size guide for you for your convenience at the end of the article.
For more excellent stability, the more space you have to adjust yourself, the better it is. When new to longboarding, we recommend going for maximum widths. Shorter widths often put you at risk of slipping and unbalancing at higher speeds. But then, if you know what you are doing and you have been longboarding for quite a long time now, you may want to go for professional-style narrow boards.
Longboards offer a wide range of widths depending upon the longboard styles or the style of your longboarding. Like length, width is also crucial for getting better performance, so we recommend you choose wisely, keeping in view your comfort zone.
One of the many factors is the shape that is also is vital in determining the right longboard. The shape factor, however, might not be as crucial as the length and width, but it indeed affects the performance. There are two types of shapes available in the market in longboards. One of them is symmetrical or non-directional, which is quite suitable if you are not looking to ride in one direction and require freedom of movement. Yeah, you guessed it right!
If you are a freeride or freestyle longboarder, your best pick would be an asymmetrical longboard. When your longboard does not confine you, you can twist, turn, glide and race in any direction.
The other shape of the longboard: the directional is more suitable for cruising or carving, and downhill longboarders. The essential requirement of both these styles is stability and forward movement coupled with pace, and that is what directional boards are for.
Trucks and wheels
One of the other factors that determine stability and top-notch performance is the right choice of wheels and trucks. The right size for the truck depends on your board’s width. The significant benefit of the trucks is that they prevent the board from wheel bites.
For wheels, there are various variations, and each of them is convenient in its own way. Softer wheels provide more control and stability at faster speeds. They may offer more friction which is one of their drawbacks but is safer and manageable.
The harder wheels, on the other hand, last long and offer less resistance. But they are often harder to control and glide on the surface more easily. Expert style longboards come with harder wheels. At higher speeds, they are pretty difficult to stop and therefore require skill and experience.
There are many other categories of wheels in addition to the hard and soft wheels. These include small or large diameter wheels, wide or narrow wheels, square lip or round lip wheels, centers, side set wheels, and offset wheels.
The flex of a board is the ability of a board to withstand the weight of the rider’s body. It is also the measure of its shock-absorbing capability. The market offers you three types of flex variants: soft, medium, and stiff. Softer decks are ideal for high speed, whereas the medium and stiff provide more stability.
However, according to the style, cruising requires soft decks to provide excellent shock absorption. For freestyling and freeriding, you need to go with a medium to stiff decks to have better control and stability. And if you are in for downhill, you should prefer stiff decks because they are best in terms of grip and provide an enhanced board feel.
We can summarize all the factors mentioned above in the form of a table as:
|Longboarding style||Board Flex||wheels||Material||Dimensions of board|
|Cruising||Soft||Square lip wheels for good traction||Bamboo, Birch, Hybrid, and composite||32 to 42 inches|
|Freestyling||Soft to Medium||Round lip wheels to avoid slipping||Bamboo, Birch, Hybrid and composite, Maple||38 to 42 inches|
|Freeriding||Medium to Stiff||Harder wheels for easy turning maneuverability||Bamboo, Birch, Hybrid and composite, Maple||38 to 42 inches|
|Downhill||Stiff||Wide wheels for extra grip||Maple and Birch||35 to 42 inches|
Longboard riding is a great sport and a healthy way to flex your muscles. Traveling to school may require you to take quick and sharp turns, and shorter boards become ideal.
Shorter boards are easy to manage through crowds. However, if your residential area has long and smooth roads, longer boards are always preferable as they provide more stability and speed.
If longboarding is your profession or you are an expert, you must take a closer look even at the minor details and go for expert-style longboards. If you are a beginner, you might be consuming yourself over the question “What size longboard should I get” as you lack basic training and experience. Therefore selecting the right longboard size can be tricky. However, relying on expert advice can be very beneficial and relieves the later tension.