A longboard is so much more than just a longer skateboard and the kit you need, while similar, does have its differences.
You move to longboards when you want to ride big mountains, flats, car parks, banks and parks alongside countless other terrains and to do this, you need the right kit.
When starting out, one of the most common questions people ask is what sort of board would be right for me?
It’s not easy answering this question, as each individual will be different, so we’ll start from the beginning…
Choosing your deck
Your first step will be deciding what you intend to use you board for. Will it be for carving the streets, getting you from A to B or are you keen to get bombing down some gnarly hills with the wind in your hair?
The reason you need to ask yourself this, is because the boards used for racing tend to be longer than commuter boards. However, there is no set rule as to what length of board you should ride, on average, most decks are between 30 and 60 inches long.
The only rule would be to make sure it’s not taller than you, as this will cause you to lose control.
A lot of people ask what board to get in regards to their weight. Fortunately, weight does not play a particularly big part in choosing your board, however for someone who is very much on the heavy side, a longer board will increase your centre of gravity, making it easier to balance.
Like I said previously, unless you’re an experienced rider, who knows exactly the set-up and dimensions you’re looking for, your best bet is to go into your local skate shop and get someone to talk you through the boards.
Never buy one without at least standing on it first. You’ll know pretty quickly whether it feels right for you.
set up: Camber and Rocker
The camber of a board is the slight curve across the deck. So if you were looking straight down your board, it would be slightly curved in the middle. The rocker is a slight curve towards either end of the board.
Again, it’s completely up to the rider as to whether they want to have these in their deck. You want your board to have a bit of spring in it to enhance manoeuvrability, but most boards will already have this built in.
If you’re just starting out it’s not something that you have to worry about too much, the person selling you the board should be able to pick a deck with the right flexibility to suit you.
* Remember to consider practicality! If you plan on riding your board to school and work every day, meaning you’ll have to carry it around or squeeze it into a locker, you won’t want to be riding something the size of a small tree!
set up: Wheels
If you’re new to the art of longboarding, your best bet is to play it safe and get some medium sized wheels, around 65-75mm.
These will help you to glide over obstacles such as cracks and bumps. Smaller wheels will allow you to go faster as there is less resistance, however hitting a small stone at speed could throw you off, whereas bigger wheels will be able to ride over most stones.
There is a lot more that can be taken into account when choosing wheels such as material, shape and edges, but as this is only a rough guide to help people choose their first board, I’m not going to go into detail.
If you’re more advanced and looking to improve your set-up, follow this link to Lush Longboards where you’ll find an extensive description of the types of wheels available and what they do.
set up: bearings
set up: trucks
The trucks are the T-shaped connectors between the deck and the wheels. These again come in lots of different shapes and sizes.
For carving and cruising around town, you’ll want trucks with 50 degree baseplates, whereas if you’re going to be racing downhill, a more restrictive truck with 42 degree baseplates will reduce speed wobbles.
Again, you can customise your trucks and bushings (the attachments) to your heart’s desire, but if you’re buying your first board then you’re better off getting the person in the skate shop to set you up with what they believe will suit you best.
There are lots of really useful websites that will explain everything you need to know about trucks and bushings if you’re ready to move on to something you’ll be more advanced.
* This link muirskate.com/longboard-guide/ has a complete guide on what set-up to buy for the type of longboarding you plan to do. Research is key! You don’t want to walk out of a shop with an empty purse and a board that you’re not happy with.