What’s The Difference Between Longboard and Skateboard? – A Clear Explanation
Our topic today is: What’s the difference between longboard and skateboard? - The article is helpful for those who are about to take up skating but do not know which sports equipment to choose.
We will focus on the main differences to tell apart a longboard and a skateboard by features such as shape and size; deck flexibility; trucks and wheels; methods to keep balance, and facts of speed and tricks.
Then, we will advise on the preferred styles for each type of board. We hope that you can pick up suitable equipment in the end!
See also: Difference Between Longboard and Cruiser
Origin Of Skateboards And Longboards
There isn’t a concrete answer as to when the first skateboard was invented. Many people said the 1950s when a group of surfers decided to put metal wheels on wooden planks. The original boards heavily resembled surfing shortboards but with wheels.
Then, it was Larry Stevenson and his company Makaha to mass-produce and commercialize skateboards. Imagine them as the kicktail skateboards you know today. Stevenson upgraded the mental wheels to clay wheels so that they could move smoothly and be maneuvered more quickly.
Longboards came later - by the 1990s. Riders found skateboards too small to cruise on. Thus, they tweaked it to a longer version today known as a longboard. It soon became popular.
The first longboards were a combination for both sea surfers and snowboarders. Therefore, the idea was to maintain the shape of a surfboard while riders added roller-skate wheels to improve the softness and flexibility on roads.
Five Differences Between A Longboard and A Skateboard
Shape And Size
The most noticeable difference between longboard and skateboard is the size of the two.
Longboards are much longer than their older counterpart - skateboards. The typical longboards’ length ranges from 33 inches to 60 inches long and 9 inches to 10 inches wide. Of course, there are some longboards as short as 28 inches - but they are rare.
When it comes to shapes, longboards often have a flatter nose and tail. Their decks are usually long and narrow. Thanks to such size and shapes, longboards are more stable and balanced to land flips and tricks, particularly for beginners.
In contrast, skateboards are often 28 to 32 inches long, as well as 7 to 10 inches wide. Moreover, they do not change very much on the shape despite featuring various designs. Their decks usually are curved upwards on the two tails. That way, skaters find it easier to perform Ollie and kickflips.
Many riders prefer skateboards to longboards, considering their compact and light construction so that they can bring them along to school or the playground.
Although the two products have the same sizes, they differ in deck flexibility. Simply put, the characteristic features stiffness while moving your decks.
A rule of thumb for both longboarding and skateboarding riders is that the thinner decks offer better flexibility (a.k.a flex, for short.)
You will love soft to medium flex to do tricks. These options give out a stable and spring-like feel while you jump to the nail. Meanwhile, thicker decks will allow you to speed up riding and racing downhill.
Skateboard decks: Camber & Rocker or Kicktail
Camber: Skateboarding equipment having a raised middle is called camber skateboards. They have more flexibility considering the higher center of gravity. This deck style is the most popular.
Rock: In contrast, rock-style skateboards have dropped middles, although as mellow as the camber ones. The low center of gravity seems more comfortable to stand on. At the same time, their minimal flex is suitable for riding downhill or carving at high speeds.
Kicktail: Another choice is kicktail skateboards. They have upward curves on both the tail and nose. Advanced skateboarding advocates prefer kicktail style to perform tricks for their sharp turns and general maneuvering ability.
Longboard decks: Four styles available
Top-mount: This style is the most traditional longboard shape, highly suitable for beginners. As its name suggests, the deck is mounted above the trucks.
Drop-through: Unlike the top-mount longboards, the drop-through decks have the trucks mounted through. Therefore, they are lower to the ground, resulting in better stability and quicker turns.
Dropdown: The drop decks are even far lower to the ground. Moreover, they have concave to lock your feet onto the longboarding decks and below the trucks. Such a design helps speed up your riding with improved stability.
Double-drop: The lowest decks we know are double-drop longboards. They are incredibly stable yet quite expensive.
Trucks And Wheels
The base to which the wheels are attached is known as the truck system. They have different looks and operations in regard to skateboard and longboard options.
Skateboard truck components are often rigid and narrow with traditional kingpins, considering the small sizes and shapes. Moreover, the trucks’ size is similar to the maximum width of the decks.
On longboards, truck parts are more flexible and wider, having reverse kingpins so that you can ride smoothly for cruising or downhill journeys. They are often as wide as 150 to 180 millimeters.
One of the differences between a longboard and a skateboard is wheels. The width and hardness of wheels are based on the type of boards and your riding preference.
A good size for longboard wheels is some between 63 and 80 millimeters. Meanwhile, their hardness is from 75A to 85A.
Larger wheels provide a better balance and more stable speeds rather than accelerate as small skateboard wheels. Softer wheels are grippy enough to have a larger contact patch.
Skateboards come with smaller and harder wheels, thanks to which, riders can land tricks on rails, ledges, and gaps without bouncing too much.
The width is ranging from 52 to 58 millimeters. Meanwhile, the hardness is between 85A to 104A. If you plan on cruising, you should go for softer wheels. However, if you are a transition skater, larger wheels are better.
We usually recommend longboards for beginners looking for a balanced deck to prevent as much falling as possible.
The long sizes and heavy construction are more stable and forgiving so that you can easily paddle and move on roads. The balance also comes from the large and hard wheels rather than softer wheels on skateboards.
Once you have more confidence in landing on your longboards and want to master new tricks, move on a skateboard.
Speed And Tricks
Most riders want to speed up with the boards and also learn new tricks. However, you should not ride too fast at first and when you have not mastered basic skills yet.
So, what to choose when considering the speed: a longboard vs a skateboard?
With a larger wheelbase and bigger wheels, a longboard often moves faster and farther. An average rider can speed up to 6 mph while cruising and up to 65 mph during downhill riding.
Suppose you have a skateboard with much smaller wheels; its average speed is from 5 mph to 12 mph. The speed can be increased with the skills and weight of the riders and the natural terrain. Nonetheless, it can never be as fast as a longboard.
In terms of speeds, the longboard knocks out its counterpart. Nevertheless, it is the skateboard that wins the ability to perform advanced tricks!
The shorter and more lightweight construction allows the riders to make sharp turns or flip the boards more easily.
Therefore, a skateboard is loved by skaters who are about to learn grind rails, kickflips, Ollies, mini ramps, and more. A longboard is, meanwhile, suitable for cruising with friends and bombing hills.
Purposes Of A Longboard
From the comparison as above, can you tell the longboards apart from skateboards already? - If you still cannot decide, you should consider the common purposes of longboards over skateboards.
A longboard is great for beginners.
When you want to learn the basics, you had better start with a longboard because its length gives out a better balance.
Some foundations to master are landing on the boards, braking by contacting the ground and cruising on different terrains from a street to downhill.
A longboard is also popular for daily commutes.
If you desire to take up a new commuting method to help protect the environment and do exercises simultaneously, longboards are available to try.
As mentioned above, the speed of a longboard is faster than walking and even cycling over long distances. Thus, you will be free from worrying about going to school or work late.
However, make sure that the roads you are riding on are quite open and safe.
A longboard is for those who love speed.
Longboards are designed for you to tread along long distances thanks to their fluidity, maneuverability, and speed. Advanced riders also prefer skateboards as their wheels are durable enough not to break down on rough surfaces. Moreover, they are also great for those who want to cruise and go downhill.
Pros & Cons
Better balance and control for beginners
Various shapes, sizes, and deck styles are available
Good at speeding and commuting on different roads
Heavy and bulky
Purposes Of A Skateboard
A skateboard is suitable, even for kids and teenagers.
Although skateboards are appealing to all ages, the majority of skateboarders are kids and teenagers. It is easy to understand because longboards are too hard for kids to maneuver and a skateboard is “long” enough for them.
However, bear in mind that only kids from six to ten years old should go skating. They also need to be under close supervision of adults to prevent unwanted accidents.
A skateboard is also preferred by advanced riders.
When kids grow, you can give them longboards suitable for their size. However, if they are committed to skating and want to level up their skills, skateboarders can keep practicing with their skateboards.
Shorter boards are more helpful to learn new tricks. However, you must make sure that the boards are quality enough to handle tricky movements and power, and you are well-trained in skating safety precautions.
In special cases, some professional skateboarders have built their skateboard in various designs to best customize it.
Pros & Cons
Compact and convenient to carry around
Good for learning advanced tricks
Lack of balance
Lack of deck styles
FAQs - Which Is More Suitable, Longboard vs Skateboard?
Which Is Easier to Learn: Skateboarding And Longboarding?
From what we already discussed above, it can be said that longboards are more accessible than skateboards. Longboards make it smoother when you want to cruise or ride at high speeds and over long distances.
At the beginning level, you will agree that the large sizes of a longboard provide more space and comfort to land on the board and learn how to keep your body balanced.
Big reverse kingpin trucks add juice to the balanced ability of longboards. More importantly, they allow smoother turns at different speeds.
In contrast, the small and soft wheels of skateboards are lightweight and fast to roll. The wider and harder ones also help. Without conquering your speed, you are prone to fall and get hurt. Not to mention, skateboards cannot go over rough surfaces.
Which Is Cheaper?
It is a skateboard that is often far cheaper than a longboard. Even its components are also affordable.
A skateboard for kids can be between $20 and $50. Meanwhile, high-end skateboards for those who play tricks cost about $150 to $200 on average.
Such a price difference is due to the high-quality components, brand name, skateboard trucks, wheels, and bearings. Sometimes you can pay extra for design customization.
A longboard is more expensive. Even affordable ones made for beginners can cost between $50 and above. And you may not want to opt for a cheaper longboard. They can be scams and not durable enough.
Rather than that, common longboards cost from $150 to $400, depending on the size, deck materials, trucks, soft wheels, and more.
Which Lasts Longer?
Longboards are the winner this time. It makes sense in relation to their price tags.
Now to break down into its construction, longboards are often larger and thicker than skateboards. As a result, they can handle higher weight limitations.
Longboard trucks are often built with a higher standard and bigger sizes. That way, the longboards become more rigid and well-connected than the skateboards. They will not break apart easily. Plus, smaller and harder wheels are not good at absorbing pressures while moving at high speed and over obstacles.
Which Is Safer: Skateboarding And Longboarding?
Longboard vs skateboard: It is based on where you plan to ride.
In general, longboards improve the balance - even if you desire to commute fast or cruise around town. However, if you skate in tight spaces or when you are young, it is safer to ride skateboards.
Whether you use a skateboard or a longboard, remember to follow the safety requirements carefully for your sake and also choose roads that are suitable for riding.
Here are some safety basics for riding longboards and skateboards for your reference.
Choosing a board suitable to your age, body, and preference.
Having a friend or teacher who understands how to build your skating skills and tricks. It would be better not to learn all by yourself; you might learn improper techniques.
Always starting with the basics first rather than imitating advanced riders.
Wear protective gear such as a fitting helmet, pads on the knee and elbow, wrist guards, and proper shoes.
Using a longboard and a skateboard in safe environments. You had better avoid places where you might collide with means of transport or over rough obstacles. It is best to practice in skate parks or cruise around town on weekends when there is not much traffic.
Checking your boards frequently to detect possible cracks. Then, learn how to maintain the boards correctly.
Which Is Faster: Longboard vs Skateboard?
We already confirmed the answer when comparing skateboards and longboards. The latter choice is quicker since it has a bigger size, trucks, and wheels.
However, it does not mean that you are not able to speed up or cruise around town or neighborhood with skateboards. You can refer to the useful tips as below:
Finding skateboards with big wheel pairs, so they ride faster. You should know that big wheels lack a smooth run, though.
Having a quality bearing as well. You can take a look at the ABCD ratings of the bearing. For instance, the ABCD 3 moves faster than the ABCS 7 bearings.
Pushing harder to create the power for the skateboards from behind.
Moreover, you can also ride the longboards faster with the following tips:
Loosening the axle nuts to allow your wheels to spin freely.
Cleaning and lubricating the bearings frequently.
Upgrading your bearings and wheel systems, if possible.
Improving your riding skills so that you can better ride and control the speed.
Above, we already summarize the topic: what's the difference between a longboard and a skateboard? We hope the informative facts above have helped you make your final choice.
To summarize, longboards are good for beginners and those who go skating for fun or ride for daily commuting purposes. With kids or adult skaters who want to participate in competitions or showcase their excellent tricks with people, skateboards are a better choice.
So, what is your preference: longboard vs skateboard?