Skateboarding is one of the most popular hobbies in the USA. It has been around for decades, and it even became an Olympics sport at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The best thing about skateboarding is that it doesn’t require a lot of money to get started and it offers a wide array of health benefits.
Apart from the original type, enthusiasts have been going crazy over longboarding throughout the past five years. To help you understand how it differs from skateboarding and which suits you better, we have prepared a review of the highlighting points and pros/cons to both activities. Let’s get started!
The Origins of Longboarding and Skateboarding
The story is pretty simple. Back in the 1950s, surfing was one of the most popular activities across the United States. Being aware of how cool it is to ride on waves, several enthusiasts wanted to make it possible on land as well. The first skateboards were simple yet effective and consisted of a cut wood board with a pair of wheels attached to them.
Throughout the decades, it became immensely popular as millions in Europe and Asia joined the skateboarding community. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that they understood a common skateboard couldn’t be used for long-distance cruising due to its unstable structure and upward nose/tail.
Thus, a couple of like-minded individuals gathered and created a longboard.
The Basis of a Longboard vs a Skateboard
One of the main differences between these two activities is that skateboarding is more popular for performing tricks and freestyling, while longboarding is commonly related to long-distance cruising and dancing competitions. The reason for this is the structure of the board.
Looking at the skateboard, it is highlighted by a curved design with an upwards tail/nose, while the board that you use for longboarding is more stable and structured to stay in contact with the surface you are riding on. In addition to that, longboards are longer, going anywhere from 38-55 inches and offering an even platform.
What Are the Main Differences Between Longboards and Skateboards?
Before we get into the similarities between longboarding and skateboarding, we must explain the main structural differences.
What is a deck? It is the piece of the skateboard that you stand on. Commonly made out of maple or plywood, the stiffer a deck is, the less flexibility you will have. With that in mind, skateboarding enthusiasts opt for boards that are softer and thus offer more flexibility. The reason for it is that it is easier to perform jumps if the board is thinner.
As mentioned above, longboards are usually used for downhill racing or long-distance cruising. For this reason, manufacturers created thicker boards. While you may not get as much flexibility, maneuvering a longboard is much easier.
Trucks and Wheels
One of the most undermined pieces of both the skateboard and the longboard is the truck. It attaches the wheel to the deck and plays an essential role in the stability and maneuverability of your board. The main difference between trucks in a longboard and a skateboard is the fact that these are narrow and stiff in the latter. Once again, such a structure allows skateboarding enthusiasts to land complicated tricks without as much risk of tripping over or falling.
When it comes to trucks on longboards, these are much wider and are set anywhere between 150 to 180 millimeters. Larger and softer, longboarding trucks play an essential role in long-distance cruising and ensuring smooth rides.
One of the most important tips for anyone who is thinking about going boarding is to start with a longboard. The main reason for this is because it is larger and wider, thus much easier to balance on if you are a complete newbie. At the end of the day, longboards are created to provide superb stability and allow enthusiasts to ride downhill at maximum speeds.
Regarding balance, the main difference between a longboard and a skateboard is the size of the deck and the aforementioned structure of the trucks. Only after you are confident on the former should you invest in skateboarding equipment and start learning freestyle tricks.
Shape and Size
People commonly recognize skateboards by a curved nose and a tail. It is a trait that won’t be found on a longboard considering its even and close-to-ground structure. While the length is a common difference as most skateboards are set at up to 36 inches and longboards are between 38 to 55 inches, it isn’t always determinantal.
Thus, the easiest way to recognize one from another is by looking at the nose and the tail of the board.
Speed and Tricks
We do understand that most of you may have a tough time deciding between a skateboard and a longboard. In our opinion, you should start by determining what you want the board for. Are you more into long-distance cruising at maximum speeds or impressing your peers with freestyle tricks?
It is widely known that skateboarding is suitable for riders who want to grind on rails, have fun with tricks, and skate on mini-ramps. Not only that but performances including mastering kickflips and zooming out on ollies are also pretty common for skateboarders.
On the other hand, longboarding is mostly about chilling out with your friends while covering long distances and riding out in the hills. The afore-explained structure makes longboards a perfect choice for people who want to ride downhill at top speeds. In addition to that, you can use it as a vehicle for getting around town.
In the end, if you are still not sure which attracts you more, starting with a longboard is the way to go because it is easier to balance on and will allow you to get a better grip of how boarding works.
What Do Longboards and Skateboards Have In Common?
The main similarity is that longboarding and skateboarding both offer communities of people a lot of fun. The most impressive part is that you can find friends from all around the world sharing the same passion.
Apart from the concept, longboards and skateboards are pretty similar when it comes to the basics of the structure. Thus, you will find that both products feature bearings, trucks, wheels, and a deck. Although the shape and the size may not be the same, you will find that some of the pieces are interchangeable.
On top of all that, people who are enthusiastic about these activities usually share a passion for snowboarding and surfing.
What About the Price of Each?
One of the most common questions is if boarding is expensive. The answer is pretty straightforward, and you can get everything needed for up to $200. With that in mind, you should know that longboards are more expensive and range anywhere between $50 to $250. The reason for this is that longboards are bigger and usually made out of 100% maple. Some good quality longboards can be found at up to $100.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t have a tough time finding a high-quality skateboard for as little as $100. Judging by our personal experience, investing $150 in your skateboarding hobby will get you a deck that is easy to maneuver and doesn’t lack quality when it comes to the bearings and the wheels.
Keep in mind that no matter whether you are into longboarding or skateboarding, it is always better to buy a high-quality used board than invest money in a cheap new one. Yes, the former may have been damaged from water or heavy use, but it is something that you can fix by replacing the essential pieces and performing regular maintenance. On the other hand, if you are stuck with a cheap and unstable board right off the bat, there is a high chance that you won’t enjoy the longboarding or skateboarding experience.
Read our article on the best longboard brands to find out the best manufacturers of the longboards.
Do Longboards Last Longer than Skateboards?
Considering the structure and the purpose, it shouldn’t surprise you that longboards are more durable and can last you for years, if not even decades. The main reason for it is that long-distance cruising and downhill riding won’t wear out the deck and the trucks. Frankly, the only thing that should concern you are wheels and bearings, but these pieces are pretty affordable and simple to replace.
On the other hand, skateboard decks are much more sensitive due to the softer structure and the wearing out that comes from the jumps and grinds. With that in mind, you should be prepared to replace the deck every couple of months.
Not to forget, proper maintenance affects longevity; thus, you should keep your board in a warm and non-humid room throughout the off-season.
At the end of the day, both longboarding and skateboarding are exciting hobbies that can be done by both boys and girls at almost any age. You should decide which one is best for you based on your riding preferences. If you are more about long-distance cruising, go with longboarding; if you want to impress your friends and explore different tricks and tracks, choose skateboarding. Good luck and don’t forget to have fun!