Confusion about longboard vs skateboard is common among many people because of how similar they seem. In fact, longboard is a variant of conventional skateboard, you can also look at it as a long skateboard. Having said that, longboard is distinct enough to have its name. Manufacturers of skateboards design these boards in various styles for different purposes. And you are most likely to get different riding experience by riding skateboard or longboard.
Although both boards seem similar, there are some distinct differences between the two. The differences and similarities are pretty controversial and a subject of debate among sports enthusiasts. Longboard vs skateboard- which one is more fun? Which should be preferred? Well, answers to such questions are not simple since personal preferences and styles also play an essential role.
If you are uncertain about whether to choose a skateboard or longboard, then you must learn about the main differences between them. Such information will simplify your decision-making process for the board that suits you best. But since their use and structure are quite similar, understanding the differences could be a bit tricky. As you read through this article the following details should make things clear for you and help you find out which one is for you.
First of all, let’s learn some history about how skateboard came into being. In the 1950s, the history of skateboarding began as the side product of surfing. People who liked surfing started to look for something to make the most out of the flat days. Then they put wheels on wooden planks and made the first generation of skateboard.
Of course, the first skateboards were very different from what they are today. With time, they were perfected into the skateboards we have now. Longboard appear later and started coming in different styles and shapes, and surfers started adopting what they could sport with grace and ease. Longboard started to become more and more popular because they could be used on various terrains and they were versatile in size and shape.
Size and Shape
Every recreational activity enthusiast who wants to decide between longboard vs skateboard needs to know about the difference between their sizes and shapes. Longboards are typically much longer than skateboard. On average, they are 9-10 inches wide and 33-60 inches long, while skateboards are 7-10 inches wide and 28-32 inches long.
Skateboards upward curved shape on both sides of the deck is their most apparent feature. Upward curves like that are best for users who like to perform kickflips. Although skateboard can have different designs, the shape pretty much stays the same.
On the other hand, the sizes of longboards are longer than traditional skateboards. It is exactly their size that provides longboards rail-to-rail balance and makes them more stable. Longboards have narrow, long decks and come in many different sizes and shapes that offer different surfing experience.
Skateboards are preferred over longboards by many riders due to their easy use and lighter weight, where advance users prefer longboards of different styles as a chance for outclassing adventure. As mentioned before, personal preferences and structure play an important role.
Trucks and Wheels
Both longboard and skateboard have trucks underneath but they are quite different. Skateboard has more rigid trucks that make the tricks easier to perform and makes them perfect for grinds. Normally, skateboard trucks use a traditional kingpin (TKP) and they are narrower.
They come in different sizes and preferably, you should choose the one which is same in size as the full width of your deck. For example, you should pick 6”- 7.25” truck axles for 6,5” – 7,25” decks.
Longboard trucks come with much more flexibility which adds to the board’s overall flexibility. They are one of the main reasons why riding longboard is comfortable and smooth.
Trucks of longboards are wider. They feature a (RKP) reverse kingpin and hangers are typically 150mm or 180mm. Such as skateboard, you should pick trucks that match the width of your longboard.
180mm trucks are needed for a deck with 9” or more width. And pick 150mm ones for smaller boards.
When it comes to wheels, longboards and skateboards have certain differences which account for different uses. Longboards have softer and bigger wheels, which makes them suitable for all kind of surfaces as well as make them faster. And they also cushion the obstacle on the road like cracks and pebbles, which makes longer rides more comfortable. These kinds of wheels are better suited for rough surface and adventurous stunts.
On the other hand, skateboards smaller wheels make them ideal for tricks and balance and they are also lighter. But road obstacles can easily throw them off.
Moving the Board
Skateboard or longboard, with both, you have to push off the ground with one leg to get the initial thrust.
Conventional skateboards are great for tight turns and ramps and their lighter weight makes them ideal for flips and leaps. However, these same features make them uncomfortable and less stable.
Whereas, with longboards, riders can easily cruise for miles on any smooth terrain. The design of longboards makes them perfect for downhill and cross-country.
To get the thrust and speed, skateboarders need to push the surface with their feet. This is neither practical nor safe when you are cruising at a high speed.
On the other hand, the design of longboards makes it possible to “pump’ the board by shifting your weight back and forth. This creates force and thrust without your feet having to touch the ground. This allows longboard users to cruise on downhill and flat surface with both feet placed on the board. Gyrating is a variant of pumping, where you move by slightly turning the board right and left as you go forward.
If you are wondering whether to pick a skateboard or longboard, the main question you need to ask yourself is “for what purpose do you need it for?”
Even with all the differences and similarities, longboarding and skateboarding are still very diverse when it comes to their purpose.
The wheels and length make skateboards pretty uncomfortable for longer rides. They are more suited for flat and hard surfaces of skateparks where you have plenty of space for doing tricks. You can also ride skateboard in the streets but this is generally called grinding, where, to perform cool stunts, skaters use obstacles in the streets.
All in all, they are made for practicing tricks – kickflips, darkslides airs, ollies and so on. If that is something you want to do, then skateboard is the one to pick. However, you should be careful because skateboards are usually more dangerous and less stable to ride and in some parts of the world it is even forbidden to ride it on the streets.
Longboarding has two main purposes – transportation and cruising.
When it comes to street riding, its design is pure perfection. Its shape, soft wheels, and flexible trucks make it easy and comfortable to maneuver even on a rougher surface.
A longboard is excellent for longer trips. You can easily use it to commute and experience fun on your way to work. And don’t worry because you have a few tricks up your sleeve even with a longboard. Depending on the model, you can try downhill sliding, noseriding, hand-paddling and carving.
If you want the best of both worlds then you can choose a longboard as they are great for cruising but still good enough to do some tricks.
Which One is Safer?
As long as you are riding the board, there is always a risk involved of you getting badly hurt. Since longboards are best for downhill runs and long distances, using them for ollies, kickflips and aerials would be dangerous. Design of longboards isn’t suited for these tricks.
Similarly, if you use skateboards to perform balancing acts or run downhill, then this would be a dangerous mistake. Skateboards are not made for well control downhill riding or balancing acts.
Overall, your safety depends on the appropriate choice of activity. You can say goodbye to your safety if you are planning to perform a trick which is not best suited for that particular board. Either one of them can be more dangerous or reliable than the other depending on your choice of skills and structure.
Summarizing the skateboard vs longboard debate isn’t easy as both offer a lot of advantages and disadvantages. Skateboards are great for performing tricks while longboards are not the best choice for doing any tricks due to their large size and heavyweight. The body structure and personal preferences also signify the difference between the two boards. Skateboard or longboard- both of them are designed to serve slightly different purposes.
Skateboards are great for tricks and adventures where longboards are best for transportation and long rides. Both are pretty cool boards, but the choice should depend on you. You can’t experience the fun of riding if you choose the wrong board.
However, if you are a beginner, a longboard is recommended first. Because longboarding is easier to learn. It is easier to get used to longboards due to the sizes and shapes of the boards.