Longboard vs Skateboard is not a subject of a debate to me.
Because I think longboard and skateboard are cousins if not siblings.
Yes, of course, if you are new to the world of longboarding or skateboarding it is very easy to get confused particularly if you are not sure which one is right for you to start with.
Hang on with me.
I am going to clear the air for you. Let’s learn what are the basic differences between longboard and skateboard and which one is perfect for you.
A Bit of a History of Both of These
Historically Skateboard came into existence before longboard.
You can read the detail of the longboard history here.
In short people in America were loved to (we still love) surf, I mean surfing was very famous throughout America but the surfers had nothing to do when the waves were flat.
Then they came up with the idea of skateboarding.
Skateboarding was also becoming popular during that time. I am talking about the late 1950s.
So when the waves were flat and the surfers were getting bored, they had the idea of skateboarding and later some of the skateboarders wanted their deck to be longer and this is how the longboard saw its light on earth.
So you can say from the history the skateboard came into existence first and longboarding is derived from skateboarding.
Day by day longboarding has been gaining its own popularity particularly from 2010 it has been widely accepted for various type of riding by the Americans and the other parts of the world.
So what made the longboard different from a skateboard? Mostly the shape, size, trucks, wheels, weight, application, riding styles, etc make the difference between these two.
Let’s see how.
A Brief of What is Longboard and What is Skateboard
Visibly both are the same, aren’t they?
If I want to mention skateboard’s anatomy then I must include deck, truck, wheels, bearing on the list.
Then what about the longboard?
The parts of the anatomy of the longboard are also the same meaning I must include deck, truck, wheels, bearing as the major top-level components of the longboard as well.
But there is a difference in the ideal length and width of the deck. The size of the wheels and trucks also varies as the size of these two components depends on the deck size for the skateboard and longboard.
So although the components are the same the specs are not the same as well as the application and purpose.
So by definition skateboards are not longboards but the longboards are one form skateboards. That means longboards are a subset of skateboards.
Let’s see the key points of the differences between these two.
Application / Purpose
The applications and purposes of a skateboard and a longboard are different nowadays.
Longboard is used to cruise along in the town and it’s a kind of transportation medium for a different level of riders. It is fun to ride a longboard to go to the college or office, commuting from one place to another.
The whole structure particularly the wheel of a longboard is made in a way so that it can go over the different obstacles that you may encounter on the street or any cracks.
So overall, the longboard is particularly made for street riding.
But it does not mean you can’t do any tricks using longboard. In fact, freestyle and longboard dancing are two of the favorite riding styles of longboard as well as the board walk. But the spec of the longboard needs to be matched with the requirement here.
On the other hand, the skateboard is meant to do the tricks only instead of going for a road trip or commuting.
The structure of a skateboard is made in a way so that you can do a number of tricks easily and use it at the skateparks without any trouble.
The wheels of the skateboards generally don’t let them usable for the road trip but you can go for some stunt moves using the different obstacles or benches on the street. We call it grinding.
You should only choose skateboard for grinding keep in mind that grinding is dangerous and wearing safety gears is a must. Do not use longboard for this grinding.
So as you can see where the longboard is there to serve for longer trips, commuting, different style of riding like downhill, freeride, sliding as well as different tricks; the skateboards are only perfect for anything related to tricks.
As you read already the purposes and applications of longboard and skateboard are different, hence it is quite obvious that the shape of these two types of boards is different as well.
The shape of either the longboard and skateboard needs to cater to the purpose perfectly.
That is why the skateboard deck is curved up from both nose and tail to do any tricks like kickflips without any trouble.
But this is not the case of a longboard. Yes, some longboards have kicktails but longboards come with some more different shapes like pintail, fishtail, twin, cut out, drop down, etc.
The length and width of the longboards are bigger than the skateboards as the name suggests.
You will also find some smaller version of longboards.
But ideally, the length of the longboard deck varies from 22” up to 55” whereas the average length of the skateboard is 30”.
The width of the longboard can go up to 9” from 7”, but the average width of the skateboard is 7”.
The different sizes help the longboards to cater different style of riding whereas the main moto of the skateboard is to cater different tricks hence they don’t have a lot variation in sizes and they are shorter in size.
The weight of the skateboard is lighter than the majority of the longboards if not all.
As skateboards are meant to do different tricks and be used at the skateparks, maneuverability is something that is a must-have for the skateboards. That’s why keeping the weight light is essential for the skateboards.
Trucks and Wheels
The trucks of the skateboards are more adaptive and rigid to make your life easier for different tricks particularly grind. The trucks are narrower and the standard kingpin is used for skateboards. Of course, the width of the truck depends on the width of the deck as well.
But the trucks of the longboards are more responsive and flexible so that it can be used for the different riding like carving, sliding, cruising, etc.
Most of the longboard kingpin is reverse kingpin to provide the most customization options for different riding.
The wheels of the longboards are typically bigger in size and softer to ride easily over the rough surface and cushion over the different obstacles like pebbles and cracks. That makes the road trip comfortable for the riders.
The skateboard wheels are smaller in size than the longboard wheels.
Longboards have a longer wheelbase that ensures the stability more than the skateboards.
As I already mentioned earlier the longboard is used to ride on varieties of styles like downhill racing, freeriding, sliding, cruising, carving, freestyle, longboard dancing, board walking, etc. That means using longboard with the particular configuration you can do different tricks as well.
But the skateboard is mainly for different tricks like kickflips, grind, ollie, heelflips and many more. You can use skateboards for transportation as well but they are not made perfectly for that purpose. They are suited at skateparks more than on the roads.
Have you heard of “pumping”?
Pumping is the riding style that allows you to move forward without touching the foot every now and then with the street.
You can achieve this by using the longboard. Longboard is designed in a way where you don’t need to leave your feet from the board to create the thrusting force. You can accelerate the riding by shifting your weight back and forth meaning without leaving the foot from the board.
This is not possible using a skateboard. Skateboarding requires foot contact on the street to accelerate and moving forward with the board.
Which One Should You Go For? – Longboard or Skateboard?
Well, there is no definite answer. From the above discussion you understand this depends on a number factors like personal preference; more importantly the purpose of riding.
So here is the question answer for you?
Are you a complete beginner and haven’t started this sports yet? – Then go for a longboard.
Do you want to go for a road trip or want to go from your home to work/school or even a long distance riding? – Longboard is the one you should go for.
Going for downhill racing, freeriding, carving, sliding, dancing, board walking, freestyle are your main aim? – Go for Longboard.
Do you want fast riding with great control? – Go for a longboard.
Do you want to cruise around the town at your leisure time? – Longboard is the solution for you.
Are you going to use the board at skateparks only or only looking for performing different tricks like kickflips, ollie, grinding, etc? – Buy a skateboard then.
Do you want to ride on the bench or small curbs? – Skateboard is the solution.
Deciding between longboard and skateboard should be a piece of cake for you now.
Both of them have their own set of spec and application.
So it all depends on personal preference, body structure, and most importantly the purpose of riding.
Both longboard and skateboard have their own supporters. But if you are a complete beginner you got to take a decision based on the above-discussed parameters.
I have discussed the differences based on their history, the purpose of use, shapes, size, weight, components like truck and wheel, riding styles, and lastly which one should you go for and why.
Longboard vs Skateboard debate is over for you? What do you think?
Comment below if you have any more question to ask.