Longboard VS Skateboard – Which One is Best for You?

By Steven C. Martin

Is there any real difference between skateboards and longboards? In fact there is! To beginners the two terms might sound synonymous, but users who have already ridden the two would know the difference.

Skateboard is an umbrella term that encompasses all riding boards, including longboards, but a longboard is quite different than a traditional skateboard. Each will present you a different riding experience. So which one would be better for you—longboard vs skateboard?

To decide which is better, you would need to understand how each works, weighing out its pros and cons.  You would also need to analyze which one would suit your personality more since both of the gadgets are simply amazing!

Without further ado, let’s jump right in and take a look at these marvels of a mechanism, and make the mind-boggling decision once and for all!

At a glance, the main difference between a longboard and a skateboard is their visual appearance. Longboards, by definition, are also skateboards that just have a longer, leaner shape. Longboards are basically variations of skateboards. They have different lengths but generally are found to be 51 inches long.

There is another feature that is distinctly different between the two. Longboards have a flat tail and nose, so next time you suffer a dilemma, just take a look at the front and the rear ends of a longboard and a skateboard. You should be able to notice the difference immediately.

So why would you prefer a longboard over a skateboard? Well, for that you need to keep reading. Each one’s pros and cons will help you immensely into making the right decision.

A sneak peak at Longboards

Uncharacteristic to the name, longboards could sometimes be shorter than a skateboard. A standard skateboard is around 36 inches long, so longboards could be even shorter than that!

Do you know that certain versions of longboards could be as tiny as 28 inches? Certain other longboard versions could be as gigantic (or better put, as slender as) as 59 inches!

Now that you have learnt about the extremes of longboard lengths, what other perks do they possess? They come in variety of categories to choose from. Their descriptions are given below:

  • Pintail Version: Though generally longboards have flatter ends, but not always. The exception is the pintail category. In pintail longboards, as the name itself is self-explanatory, the tail-end is a tad pointed, like a pin, hence the name. The nose-end, however, is characteristically blunt.
  • Topmount Version: Also known as the speedboard version, these longboards are pointier at both the ends. Quite an exception!
  • Cruiser Version: They are like standard longboards, with both the ends blunt or rounded.
  • Freestyle Version: Also known as freeride version, this type of longboards is available in varieties of shapes and sizes, thus the name “freestyle”. Their subtypes include “drop-down” and “drop-through-board”.
  • Lick-Tail Version: This version of longboard has a hissing serpent-tongue  tail-end, with a raised or curved edge. Therefore, feats are not limited to skateboards only. Now you can show off your fantastic longboard tricks to your friends and family and make them swoon over them!

Let’s quickly summarise the pros and cons of longboards that we have learnt up to now:

Pros of longboards

  • Longboards are usually longer than skateboards, but not always! They come in various sizes that can range from being as small as 28 inches to as long as 59 inches.
  • They are available in multiple categories, each with a different shape and function, and its own set of advantages.
  • Generally longboards have flatter ends, but there are categories of longboards that come with one or both sides curved or pointy. Take lick-tail, topmount or freestyle versions of longboards, for example.
  • In the past, consumers thought that only skateboards were fit for feats. But now longboards, with the new and improved pointier and curved-ended models, can be effectively used for tricks that will blow your mind!
  • Wheel size differs in longboards too. They come in round and square shaped wheels, each with its unique set of functional perks. Note that longboards with rounder wheels will provide you with higher speed. For straight cruising, square wheels would be perfect!

Cons of a longboard

Despite being so awesome, let’s face it, they do have some undesirable traits, though subjective.

  • They are a bit on the bulkier or heavier side.
  • They are a bit costlier too, in comparison to skateboards.

A sneak peak at Skateboards

As mentioned earlier, longboards have flatter rear and front ends. On the other hand, skateboards have curved ones. Next time you see a skateboard, notice its two ends—you will see a signature, upturned curve, which is not present in the physicality of a longboard.

The curves of the skateboards are there for a reason. They assist the rider to carry out stupefying tricks and feats. Also, skateboards have a characteristic 36 inch length, whereas longboards have variable lengths, and are generally at least 20 inches longer than skateboards.

As skateboards length variations are limited between 28 and 36 inches only, therefore sometimes people refer to them as “shortboards”, for obvious reasons.

To understand if a skateboard is better for you, you need to go around the different components, and appreciate how a skateboard works. This would assist you in making a more informed and wiser purchase that you won’t regret later.

The different parts of a skateboard are listed and discussed in the following pointers:

  • The Deck: The deck is the part where you will stand. It could be constructed out of different materials—plastic, Canadian maple or bamboo.

    Models made of maple or bamboo are of high quality and a bit on the costlier side. There is a type of a skateboard known as a “pennyboard” which is made of plastic.

    There are other lighter versions available that are constructed of aluminum or fiberglass. These lighter versions are quite useful if you are a skateboard trickster!
  • The Truck: This is the part that links the wheels to the deck and need to be quite sturdy. Therefore, they should be made of metal, and never plastic.
  • The Wheels: So how do these things roll? Urethane wheels are superb with a translucent finish. Plastic or rubber wheels cannot withstand the tests of time, unfortunately.
  • The Bearings: Often overlooked at purchase, but these little guys are responsible for making the wheels go round and round. When you hit the store to buy a skateboard, make sure you ask about ABEC ratings of these bearings.

    There are five classes of ABEC ratings—1, 3, 5 ,7 and 9, with smallest to largest tolerances of the bearings. If your skateboard has an ABEC rating of 5 or 7, that means that your skateboard is quite efficient and is capable of going at high speeds.

One of the essential points that you must remember to reinforce your buying decision, is not to go for plastic-made skateboard components.

Also check the wheels by spinning them and beware of grinding noises or wobbly spinning. The way the wheels spin should be noiseless and free from obstructions of any nature.

Let’s quickly take a look at a list of skateboard pros and cons then:

What are the pros of skateboard?

  • Skateboards are smaller and lighter, features that are ideal for tricks and feats. They are so tiny that you can carry them along inside backpacks, store them inside a locker, and haul them around during transportations.
  • They are more affordable—so beginners and skateboard enthusiasts have a wonderful opportunity of owning one and practicing as much as possible. Skateboarders who love to carry out tricks should definitely go for skateboards.

What are the cons of skateboards?

  • One of the cons is mainly due to the fact that they are superb transport gadgets. Since they are so popular and almost every youngster wants to own one, so the risk of losing yours is quite high. Instead of locking it up somewhere, it is better if you keep it with yourself, if possible.
  • Your shoes will wear out faster if you tend to go for regular practice sessions. Since the grip tape on a skateboard is rougher than the one on longboards, therefore your skating shoes might get torn up a bit quicker than expected.

Which board would be better for you: Longboard vs Skateboard

longboard vs skateboard

To understand which board is better for you, at first, you must rate yourself as a skateboard rider. Ask yourself—are you a beginner, intermediate or an advanced lever skateboard rider? The answer will lead you to your very own skateboard or longboard.

Beginner Level Riders

If you are a beginner rider, you should go for a skateboard. Skateboards are, as already mentioned, lightweight and more affordable.

Skateboards are available in both small and large sizes, so teenagers and young adults can easily use them. Most importantly, skateboards have curved ends which work wonders when you want to try out some new hippy trick.

However, if balancing on a board is not your cup of tea, and you want a board that can help you more with it, you should go for the longboards. Though longboards lack the essential curved-ends, but they compensate that lacking with a larger surface area to stand on.

They are wider and longer, are made of high-grip material, and offer superior stability. The wheels of skateboards are sturdier with high ABEC rating, which means that you will not easily tip over. This helps when you riding on uneven surfaces or at sharp U-turns.

Another thing to note is whether you are a young beginner or an adult beginner. Young beginners should aim to purchase a skateboard since skateboards are smaller and lighter.

If you are an adult, at the beginner level of expertise, you may choose to go for longboards that are heavier and sturdier. Longboards are highly capable of handling bulkier weights.

Intermediate level Riders

If you are somewhere between a beginner and an advanced level of riding expertise, ask yourself what kind of riding you are interested to participate in. If you are adventurous and live for fast rides downhill, cruising, and sweeping around sharp turns—you should better aim for a longboard.

The reason for this is mainly because the frame and the wheels of a longboard are quite robust and would be able to withstand a high level of wear and tear.

On the other hand, if you like hanging out with your buddies at skate parks in the evenings, flaunting your newly-learned skateboarding moves, you should consider purchasing a traditional skateboard. Skateboards are also great to maneuver through tight and crowded spaces—a rider’s joy!

If you are an intermediate skateboarder then you would need to practice a lot—that’s for sure.

Therefore you should opt for a board that is sturdier, will last through rough riding sessions, and will provide with a larger foot space for comfort, and convenient maneuvering. In that case, look no further and conclude your search with a longboard.

Advanced level riders

Advanced skateboarders do not need to abide by too many rules. For them, any type of skateboard would be fantastic. At the end of the day, however, every rider has his or her own riding preferences.

Cruisers, downhill riders and sharp U-turners could stay loyal to their longboards, since these versions are the best for the above mentioned riding styles. If you like riding on rails and like to fool around with hippy moves, then stick to your skateboards.

You may have read earlier in this article that certain longboards such as “freestyle”, ‘topmount”, “pintail” and “licktail” versions, have either one end or both the ends curved or upturned.

These longboard models have been designed for adventurous skateboarders whose feet just do not touch the ground! So those who love cruising at super-fast speeds and shoot 360° flips, can consider purchasing longboards.

Longboard VS Skateboard - Video

Final Word

Skateboards are great for commuting, cruising around boulevards, and taking sharp twists and turns with ease. A skateboard is a vague term, and it includes all types of riding boards that are available.

It even includes its opponent—the longboard. So to say in plain terms, a longboard is also a skateboard, with a twist. So which one is better: Longboard VS Skateboard?

Each excels in its own way and neither is more superior than the other. Before choosing to go for one, a rider must determine his expertise level and his riding style. He must decide first if he is a beginner, an intermediate or a professional at riding such skateboards.

If he wants to use the board for commuting and cruising, he should go for the longboard. Skateboards, on the other hand, should better be preserved for tricks and feats.

With both the gadgets offering endless perks and improvising with every newer version, these skateboards are increasingly popular among young and adults alike. In short they are one effective means of communication and give other vehicles a run for their money!

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