How to Find the Best Longboards: Buyers Guide 2021

Skateboarding has seen a welcome resurgence in the last few years, and longboarding, in particular, has become a popular sport. Whether you want a longboard as a cruiser on the weekends or even as simple and fun transport, or you are an adrenaline junkie looking to bomb some insane hills, there are different longboards available to suit each unique style.

Street skaters are drawn to longboarding, as well as surfers who need a fix when there are no waves, and it’s a great excuse to get outdoors and get some exercise in a fun and creative way.

A longboard seems like a simple board, certainly a lot simpler than a trick skateboard, but there are a lot of different points to consider before choosing the right one.

We created this in-depth guide on how to find the best longboard for your unique needs, some of our top picks of longboards in each separate style, and finally, what to look out for when buying a longboard. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Name Brand Best For
Chromantic Cruiser Globe Cruising
Super Cruiser Quest  Cruising on a budget
Sizzler Groundswell Arbor Premium cruising
Fish 37 Solstice Arbor Women
Nicaragua Sector 9 Kids
Darkside Vulture Rayne Downhill/Freestyle/Hybrid
Drop Through Atom Downhill
Evo Downhill Landyachtz Downhill
Coyote Loaded Boards Freestyle
Rorshack Bamboo Quest Freestyle/ Downhill
Tan Tien Bamboo Loaded Boards Freestyle/ Downhill
42-Inch Freeride Volador Freesetyle

What exactly is a longboard?

What exactly is a longboard

The history of both skateboarding and longboarding began in the late 1950s when surfers decided to make the most out of days of no waves by attaching wheels to wooden planks. How things have changed since then!

A longboard is far more than just a long skateboard. Almost everything about them is different from a traditional skateboard: they have bigger and softer wheels, different “flex” decks, bigger and wider trucks, and, of course, they are longer. Longboards vary widely in shape and size, whereas skateboards are pretty standard and vary only slightly in width and length.

Skateboards are typically a maximum of 32-inches long, while longboards are often double that, reaching up to 60-inches in length. This makes them more stable and “surfboard-like.” The trucks are also wider and more flexible to give the rider maximum flexibility and a smooth, surfing-like feel.

Longboard Riding Styles

Within the sport of longboarding, there are 3 distinct styles that require 3 different types of boards: cruising, downhill, and freestyle. Of course, these styles can crossover somewhat, but the right board designed for the right job is ideally the way to go.

For example, you may just be using your longboard as transportation to work or school, and so don’t need the features present in a downhill board.

What to look for:

There are a few key points to look out for when purchasing a longboard, no matter the style you are riding. We recommend beginning with complete setup to get a good idea of what you prefer, and from there you can begin swopping out separate components like trucks, bearings, wheels, and decks.

Custom setup is great as you can choose each component to completely customize your setup to your specific style of longboarding, but it can take some time to know exactly what your style is

As an example, a hybrid board will give you a good idea of speed, stability, and trick ability, and you can gauge from there if tricks or speed are more of your thing.

Each of the following is basic rundowns of each component involved in a longboard:

Decks

Considering you’ll be constantly standing on it; the deck is the most important component of your longboard. There are tons of different shapes, lengths, and designs available, all of which cater to the different styles of longboarding.

Again, knowing what style of longboarding you’re going for will help dictate your choice of deck, or, a hybrid would be a good option, to begin with. Generally, longboard decks are grouped into the following criteria:

Shape

The deck shape will thoroughly affect your ride. The shape will dictate how much stability you have on your board and will affect whether or not you can perform tricks. A cruiser style longboard will typically be wide and often have a small tail kick for increased maneuverability.

A downhill deck is typically narrower and longer than a cruiser or freestyle deck, and often longer. These deck styles are built for speed: they are usually devoid of kicks of any kind and have wheel wells or cutouts to prevent or eliminate any wheel bite and allow for maximum turning ability.

Width and length

All longboards are long (hence the name), and you should choose your longboard deck based on the width more than the length.

A deck that is too thin for your height will make you feel unstable while riding, and a deck that is too wide for you will make it difficult to control as you’ll need to exert more power.

Construction materials

Longboard decks are traditionally made from maple plywood as it is strong, reliable, and hard yet flexible enough too. Bamboo decks are also becoming popular due to their high flexibility and lightweight, and several manufacturers are making bamboo/maple hybrids too.

Carbon fiber is also a common material but reserved for professional-level boards as it is prohibitively expensive.

Concave

There are as many concave variations as there are deck shapes and manufacturers and riders are always experimenting with different variations. Concaves will give you far more grip and control than a flat deck will, especially if you are drifting, carving, or skating bowls.

Truck mounting

There are several different styles of mounting trucks to your longboard deck, the most common being a top mount style which puts your trucks beneath the deck and thus always beneath your feet, allowing for more control and precision. Traditional skateboards are always mounted this way.

Drop through decks are becoming more popular, and the deck has a ready-made cut out to drop the trucks into and attach from the side. Flush mount is similar, but the top of the trucks is flush with the deck offering better balance and control.

Trucks

longboard Trucks

Traditional skateboard trucks have a traditional kingpin design, but longboard trucks almost always feature a reverse kingpin design (RKP) (other than maybe some hybrids). RKP trucks offer more stability and control while turning and carving.

The truck baseplate comes in several different angle options, but typically the lower the angle, the more stable but less response. Usually, lower angles are for speed, but higher angles are for freeriding.

Wheels

There is an almost infinite number of different longboard wheels to choose from, and longboarders are known to change wheels frequently depending on the style they are skating.

With downhill, the bigger the better, usually 60mm or more, as these offer higher speeds and less chance of stalling on stones or cracks.

Softer wheels will give you more grip on the road and harder wheels will provide more speed and slide ability. Again, there is a ton of trial and error involved in choosing the right wheels.

Bearings

Bearings are an important component to longboards, but one of the easiest to choose. Basically, the more expensive, the better they will perform and the longer they will last. We recommend ABEC-5 at a minimum, but typically an ABEC-7 or higher will perform best.

Read our full guide on how to find the best Longboard bearngs.

Cruising and Carving

Cruising and carving longboards are fairly self-explanatory: they are the ideal ride for beginners and a great means of transportation. These longboards come in a few different lengths.

Shorter boards will give you slightly more control weaving in and out of traffic and turning corners but are more difficult to learn on for beginners.

Shorter boards are great for kids or shorter riders, but again, are more difficult to learn on. Longer board lengths are great for slow hill cruising and are a great way to learn, although are heavier.

We recommend a mid-sized board if you are just starting out with longboarding. It’s the best of both worlds and will give you a great balance of control and speed.

Here are our top choices of cruising longboards, perfect for beginners and aficionados of cruising alike.

1. Globe Chromantic Complete — Best Overall

globe chromatic cruiser

The Globe Chromantic Cruiser complete is a hat-tip to longboarding’s surfing heritage and is our top choice overall for a cruiser style longboard. The shape is clearly inspired by surfing, with a swallowtail-shaped kick tail and a flat, pointed nose.

It is a classic city cruiser with a slight concave and kicktail grip pad for hopping curbs. The board has a maple core construction and is 33-inches long by 9.5-inches wide, making it the perfect middle ground size and all-round longboard.

The Chromantic comes fitted with 6-inch Tensor trucks, small enough to make sharp turns and ride pools, and 62mm wheels and ABEC-7 bearings, big enough for stability downhills but light enough for some freestyle tricks.

It’s difficult to fault this board as it has everything you need in a cruiser, but it may not be the best option for freestyle or downhill longboarding as it is fairly short in length.

Pros

  • Classic swallowtail kicktail with grip
  • 33-inches long and 9.5-inches wide
  • Maple, concave construction
  • Fitted with 6-inch Tensor trucks
  • 62mm wheels and ABEC-7 bearings

Cons

  • Not suitable for downhill or freestyle longboarding

2. Quest Super Cruiser Complete — Best Budget Option

quest

If you are on a strict budget or are new to longboarding, the Quest Super Cruiser longboard is a great inexpensive point of entry. The 7-ply deck is 44-inches long which the ideal length for cruising and is made from a combination of maple and bamboo laminates.

The top of the deck is fully covered with grip tape and has a small kick on the tail for curb hopping. It comes fitted with 7-inch aluminum trucks and ABEC-7 bearings, plus decently-sized 70mm PU (polyurethane) wheels.

Several longboarders have reported that the deck layers separated and split, which is not common on a cruising longboard and points to some kind of factory fault. The design is also highly prone to wheel bite, so is not ideal for any kind of carving.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • 44-inch length
  • Maple and bamboo laminate design
  • Aluminum trucks and ABEC-7 bearings
  • Designed and made in California

Cons

  • The deck is prone to splitting
  • Prone to wheel bite when carving

3. Arbor Sizzler Groundswell Complete — Premium Choice

arbor

The Sizzler Groundswell from Arbor is a great all-around cruising longboard, with high-quality components and a premium, 7-ply maple deck. It’s a short deck length of 32-inches with both a nose and tail kick, making it great for cruising, riding pools and banks, and performing tight turns in traffic.

The 61mm wheels are the right size for cruising over stones and cracks yet small and light enough for tricks and sharp turns, and 1/8-inch hard risers are added to help prevent wheel bite. The board looks good too, with beautifully stained wood and graphics on the underside, a stained-wood finish, and transparent recycled glass re-grit grip tape on top.

This board is almost impossible to fault, and the only downside may be the short deck length that may cause some instability at high speeds.

Pros

  • 7-ply stained maple deck
  • 32-inches long with tail and nose kick
  • 61mm cruiser wheels
  • Recycled glass re-grit grip tape

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Short length deck

4. Arbor Fish 37 Solstice Complete — Best for women

arbor fish longboard

The Fish 37 Solstice from Arbor is our top choice for women due to its compact pintail design and mellow flex deck. Speaking of the deck, it has a premium, 7-ply Canadian maple construction that is sustainably sourced with a recycled glass re-grit.

It comes complete with Paris reverse kingpin trucks and 65mm Arbor Easyrider wheels that are the perfect mix of quick acceleration yet soft and grippy enough for cruising. ABEC-7 bearings and beautiful artwork complete the setup for a great all-round longboard.

The only complaint we have with this longboard is the grip — it tends to wear out after only a few months of use.

Pros

  • Pintail design
  • 7-ply Canadian maple deck
  • Recycled glass re-grit
  • Paris Reverse trucks
  • 65mm wheels
  • Abec-7 bearings

Cons

  • Grip wears out fairly quickly

5. Sector 9 Nicaragua Complete — Best for kids

sector 9 nicaragua

Sector 9 needs no introduction — they have long been one of the best longboard manufacturers in the world. The Nicaragua is no different and is the perfect fit for slightly older kids. As with all Sector 9 longboards, the Nicaragua comes fitted with high-quality components.

The 5-ply deck is made from sustainably sourced, vertically laminated bamboo, easily one of the most renewable sources of wood in the world. It comes equipped with Gullwing trucks that are stable yet don’t sacrifice carving ability, and 65mm 9-ball wheels that are fast and will easily roll over pesky stones. This complete is topped-off with Bones Reds bearings, some of the best skateboard bearings in the world.

The only downside to this board is the cost — it is an expensive longboard, but you’ll definitely be getting what you pay for.

Pros

  • Sustainably sourced, 5-ply bamboo deck
  • Gullwing trucks
  • 65mm 9-ball wheels
  • Equipped with Bones Reds bearings

Cons

  • Expensive

Downhill

Unlike cruising or freestyle, downhill longboarding is all about speed — as much of it as you can get. Since its inception, downhill skateboarding and racing has been a staple in the skate culture, and the combination of high speeds and technical hills makes for a truly exciting sport.

Downhill longboards need to be able to reach high speeds but also need to be able to handle tight turns with ease. Downhill boards are typically fitted with softer urethane wheels, wide trucks, and long decks in order to handle the turns and increasingly high speeds that modern downhill skaters are achieving.

Downhill longboarding is easy enough to define; bomb a hill as fast as you can without falling! It’s all about staying as aerodynamic as possible while being able to tuck and drift through turns.

Here are our top choices of longboards made specifically to handle high speeds:

6. Rayne Darkside Vulture — Best Overall

rayne darkside vulture

The Darkside Vulture from Rayne is our top pick overall, due to its versatility and crossover aesthetic. The board is 36-inches long and 9.75-inches wide, with a slight radial drop and kicker tail for popping over obstacles. The hybrid design of this board makes it great for bombing hills as well as a fun board to cruise around on, capable of popping ollies, manuals, and even rail tricks.

The deck is made from vertically aligned bamboo sandwiched between fiberglass outer layers for maximum strength and flex. It comes complete with Road Rider trucks, 64mm Rayne Envy wheels, and Mini Logo bearings.

Bear in mind that this board comes setup for a more freestyling experience, and you’ll need to change out the wheels for a pure downhill experience. This means that this board may not appeal to purists, and they may also prefer a heavier deck with pure maple construction.

7. Atom Drop Through — Best Budget Option

atom drop though longboard

If you are looking for a downhill speed on a tight budget, the Atom Drop Through is a great choice. It is an ultra-low riding board that is built for speed downhills. The unique perimeter shape ensures you’ll have no issues with wheel bite around corners, as it gives 9.6-inches of leverage.

The deck is made from tough laminated maple and features reverse kingpin axles with Atom 70mm wheels. This board is a great option for both downhill longboarding and general cruising and is an ideal choice if you’re wanting to dip your toe into the world of longboarding.

The hardware on this setup is nothing to write home about, with adequate bearings that’ll do the job and trucks that should be fine for lighter users. The bushings are disappointing, as they don’t easily go back to their standard position after heavy turns and will starting cracking fairly quickly.

Pros

  • Unique perimeter shape deck
  • The deck is made from laminated maple
  • Reverse kingpin axle trucks
  • 70mm wheels
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Average quality hardware
  • Poor bushing quality

8. Landyachtz Evo Downhill Longboard — Premium Choice

landyachtz downhill

The Landyachtz Evo Downhill Longboard is one of the best downhill boards on the market, with a drop-through design deck and 11-plys of premium hard rock Canadian maple.

It is 9.8-inches wide and 39-inches long with Bear 45-degree trucks and Biggie Hawks 70mm wheels fitted with ABEC-7 bearings. The unique wedged nose and de-wedged tail allows for better control and turning at fast speeds.

If you’re looking for a downhill board that goes fast and is built for racing, look no further than the Landyachtz Evo Downhill Longboard.

Since this board is built expressly for racing, it may not appeal to most longboarders. It is also expensive, considering downhill longboarders the world over are winning competitions with this exact board.

Pros

  • Drop-through design deck
  • 11-ply premium Canadian maple construction
  • 39-inches long
  • Bear 45-degree trucks
  • Biggie Hawks 70mm wheels
  • Wedged nose and de-wedged tail

Cons

  • Not suitable for all-round longboarding
  • Expensive

Freestyle

Freestyle longboarding combines the worlds of downhill and cruising with traditional street skating. Freestyle involves some of the tricks associated with street skating including ollies, manuals, flips, and grabs.

The boards can be described as oversized skateboards, although freestyle boards can also vary widely as the sport of freestyle involves several different styles.

Typically, freestyle riding is done in bowls and pools with a lot of grab tricks, grinding, and carving, all done with as much speed as possible. Hybrid longboards are like large skateboards, complete with a tail kick and often a nose kick, offering more stability and speed than a traditional skateboard.

They are also typically higher and have wheel wells that will allow for the use of bigger wheels than normal skateboards, and thus more speed and stability.

If you are a street skateboarder looking to get into longboarding or if a hybrid longboard sounds like the style for you, check out our top picks of freestyle longboards:

9. Loaded Boards Coyote — Best Overall

cargado boards

The Coyote from Loaded Boards has everything you could want from a hybrid; it is lightweight, compact, and fast, ideal for adapting to parks, bowls, and street. It has a beefy tail with a decent amount of pop and a compact nose with a subtle dished concave for added grip and stability.

The 7-ply maple deck has flared wheel wells to reduce wheel bite and make space for the orangutang 65mm wheels. The 129mm Paris trucks have a unique 7-degree angled riser to give smooth and controlled turns and the traditional kingpin design makes this board feel like a true hybrid.

There is nothing to fault this board on, other than maybe the high price. Of course, this board is not really suitable for traditional longboarding.

Pros

  • Great hybrid design
  • Large, beefy tail
  • 7-ply maple deck with wheel wells
  • Orangutang 65mm wheels
  • 129mm Paris trucks with 7-degree angled riser

Cons

  • Expensive

10. Quest Rorshack Bamboo Longboard — Best Budget Option

quest rorshack

The Quest Rorshack Bamboo Longboard is an ideal option if you are on a budget and looking to get into the world of freestyle longboarding. The deck is made from a combination of maple and bamboo and is a reasonable 34-inches long, complete with wheel wells to prevent wheel bite.

It is fitted with 6-inch aluminum trucks, durable 65mm PU (polyurethane) wheels, and ABEC-7 bearings. It has a flat nose and small kick for freestyle tricks and bowl riding, and the wheels are soft and ideal for beginners.

The main issue with this setup is the bearings. They are not of good quality and have non-removable shields and so cannot be easily oiled. Also, the board is not very strong and may crack easily if you are doing loads of air tricks, plus the grip tape wears down quickly.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Maple and bamboo deck construction
  • 34-inch deck with wheel wells
  • 6-inch aluminum trucks
  • 65mm PU wheels

Cons

  • Poor quality bearings
  • Fairly weak deck construction
  • Poor quality grip tape

11. Loaded Boards Tan Tien Bamboo Longboard

loaded boards tan tien

The Tan Tien Bamboo Longboard from Loaded Boards is both a great freestyle board and crosses over perfectly into cruising and carving applications too

. It features drop through truck mountings for added stability and large wheel cutouts that eliminate wheel bite and provide perfect clearance for deep carves and turns.

The deck features small nose and tail kicks to perform basic tricks and help navigate cracks, stones, and small curbs in the street, and is made from a bamboo and fiberglass sandwich for maximum strength and flex.

The included trucks have an attractive matt-black finish and have 70mm Orangutang wheels loaded with Jehu V2 bearings. It is 39-inches in length and 8.75-inches wide, making it a great all-around freestyle longboard.

It is difficult to fault this board, and the only issue may be the high price — this is an expensive piece of equipment!

Pros

  • Drop through truck mounting
  • Large wheel cutouts for deep carves and tight turns
  • Nose and tail kicks
  • Bamboo and fiberglass construction
  • 70mm Orangutang wheels

Cons

  • Very expensive

12. VOLADOR 42inch Freeride Longboard

volador freeride longboard

This freeride longboard from Volador features a 42-inch, drop through camber deck made from 8-plies of hard rock maple for optimum strength and flexibility. The 7-inch reverse kingpin trucks offer improved stability and are adjustable between 45 and 50-degrees for easy customization.

It features durable 70mm PU wheels with ABEC-9 bearings that offer a great combination of speed and stability. The most striking feature of this setup is the artwork: all the various graphic options are superb.

This board is great for beginners but doesn’t have the craftmanship and high-end materials of some of the other boards on this list. The grip tape may separate easily and not last very long, the bearings are average at best, and the deck itself is weak.

Pros

  • 42-inch drop-through deck
  • Hardrock Maple construction
  • Customizable truck angle
  • 70mm PU wheels
  • Superb artwork
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Poor construction
  • Low-quality hardware
  • Has a weak deck that may break easily

FAQs

What longboard size is right for me?

The answer to this question depends a lot on what you’re using your longboard for, plus your height and weight. General cruising around town doesn’t require any specific length, but you’ll want the board to be as comfortable as possible. This will usually be on the wider side, and around 35-40-inches long.
Downhill boards are typically slightly longer, and the longer the board the more stability you’re likely to get. Freestyle boards can vary widely but are usually between 32 and 42-inches long. For a freestyle board you want the perfect combination of stability and maneuverability to use for downhill and tricks.

Why are longboards so expensive?

When compared with skateboards, longboards do seem to be on the pricey end. This is because of the high quality of components that need to be used in their construction. Also, all of the components used are typically bigger: longer decks, bigger trucks and wheels, and fast, high-quality bearings. Of course, you don’t want anything failing while speeding down a hill!

Is longboarding easier than skateboarding?

The answer to this question depends on which aspect of each discipline you’re looking at. For the average cruise around town and down hills, it doesn’t take much time to master the skill of turning and carving on a longboard, and they will be far easier to control in this setting too. However, freestyle and downhill longboarding requires a lot more practice and dedication. Street skating and vert or transition skating is a highly complicated sport with hundreds of tricks to learn, and so viewing it from this lens makes longboarding seem a lot easier than skateboarding.

Should I buy a longboard?

Yes! If you are considering taking the dive into longboarding, we highly recommend going for it. It’s a great means of transport, excellent exercise, and a great pastime to get into with friends. Longboards are more stable and easier to learn to ride on than skateboards too.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when choosing a longboard. From the style of riding you want it for to the deck shapes, trucks, and bearings, there is a lot to take into consideration.

For general cruising, we recommend going with the Globe Chromantic Cruiser complete. It is a classic city cruiser with a slight concave, padded kicktail, 62mm wheels, and ABEC-7 bearings, a great all-round cruiser that is ideal to get started in the world of longboarding.

The Darkside Vulture from Rayne is a great hybrid option with a unique crossover aesthetic. The board is 36-inches long with a kicker tail making ideal for tricks, plus it’s great for bombing hills as well as a fun board for cruising and carving.

It can be confusing to choose the right longboard nowadays with the almost infinite range of available options. Hopefully, our in-depth guide has cleared some of the confusion so you can stop researching and get out there and bomb some hills!

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