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What Type of Longboard Should You Buy?
The Perfect Longboard
So you’ve decided that you’re getting a longboard, and you’ve run into a problem; which type of longboard should you buy? There is no "perfect longboard", so you'll have to decide for yourself. The first thing to consider is what you want to use the board for.
There are many uses for longboards – bombing hills, transportation, and doing tricks, to name a few. To make sure you’re getting the right board specifically for you, you have to decide on two things, what you want to do with the longboard in the near future, and what you want the full potential of your it to be. An example is if you just want buy a board to cruise around, but eventually want to learn tricks. In this situation, it’s best to buy a board that can do both, instead of buying a cruising board now and a freeriding board later.
One kind of longboard is the DH (Downhill) board. These are usually between 37 and 45 inches long, to provide enough length for stability but not enough to limit mobility at high speeds. Most of them are built to go upwards of 40mph, and are extremely rigid. Some are drop-through, which means that the trucks are attached into the deck of the board instead of underneath it. This provides for even more stability, as the board is lower to the ground. The downhill board is good for people who want to use it for “bombing” hills, and can also double as a vehicle of transportation. The problem is that the amount of tricks that can be done on it is limited due to the rigidity of the board as well as the fact that downhill boards don’t usually have tails.
Examples: Landyachtz Drop Wedge (pictured), Rayne Vendetta, Earthwing Supermodel
The next kind is the cruiser. This type is usually the cheapest. Cruisers come in a large range of sizes, ranging from a smaller-than-a-skateboard 28 to an over-sized 50 inches. These are used primarily for transportation, whether for getting to class or just enjoying a ride along the beach. The shapes are pretty generic, but if the main use of the board isn’t going to be tricks or down-hilling, then these boards are probably the best choice.
Examples: Sector 9 Rincon Bamboo (pictured), Santa Cruz Big Wave Rasta Cruzer, Arbor Waterman
The last kind of longboard is the freeriding board. These are the most versatile – they can cruise effectively, reach some pretty high speeds, and do tricks. They’re (usually) lighter, have tail(s), and have more flex (the deck is flexible so carving is easier). The shape is predominantly symmetrical so you can ride the board both ways, unlike many cruisers which have a distinct front and back. The downside of freeriding boards is that they’re the most expensive kind, and don’t necessarily have the longest life span.
Examples: Loaded Tan Tien (pictured), Original Apex 37/34