Longboard dancing is a visual, flowy and skillful discipline that involves fluid cross-stepping and balancing tricks while carving on the board. These stepping tricks are often called “flatland” tricks, different from more “jumpy” freestyle tricks such as ollies, kickflips, shuvits, and slides (see this post for more on freestyle).
When you dance, you move your weight around on your longboard in such a way to perform “dance” moves while at the same time keeping your board rolling under you through a carving and pumping motion blended into the dance.
You can pretty much dance on any kind of board, but dedicated dancer boards will give you the room and freedom you need to perform your stepping tricks while carving in a fluid way. The following are 5 of the best dancing longboards on the market :
- The 48.5″ Loaded Bhangra
- The 49″ Loaded Tarab
- The 45.5″ Landyachtz Stratus
- The 45″ Bustin Daensu
- The 47″ Rayne Whip
In this post, I’ll first recap the main aspects of what makes a good dancing longboard. Then we’ll take a close-up look at each of these boards.
Features of a dancing longboard
When dancing, you walk, cross step and spin on your board, and you carve turns by shifting your body weight around. Check out this other post to learn more about the main longboard dancing tricks.
Therefore, you need a board with lots of room and one that’s carvy enough to turn upon subtle weight shifts, while not being too turny.
1. Dancing board deck shape and size
Dancer boards are typically very long (45″+) and wide (9″+) giving you ample walking space with little risk of shoe bite. The EFP – Effective Foot Platform, the actual surface you can stand on, is the best metric to look at for a dancer, and should be as large as possible.
While long wheelbase is sometimes mentioned as a key feature for dancing, wheelbase is actually not that relevant because on such longer decks, the wheelbase will typically be long enough (30″+) to make your board flowy and slower turning.
Note that some longboarders prefer slightly smaller platforms for dancing as they find it easier to know where they are on the deck, resulting in smoother dancing. However, this comes at the cost of more restricted walking space.
Drop-through decks typically offer larger EFP and provide good stability for dancing as they ride low to the ground. Double drop decks (drop through mount + drop platform) are even more stable – though not as resistant to pressure as a topmount deck.
A dancing board may have a slight kick tail and/or nose for manuals or even shuvits – some longboarders like to mix some freestyle tricks with their dancing.
Dancer decks are typically heavier than average: due to length and wheelbase, they’re made with more plies of wood to keep them from being too flexy, leading to bulkier decks. For dancing, weight is actually an advantage, helping your board roll longer and smoother on uneven terrain. Your trucks and wheels can also be as heavy as possible.
2. Dancing board concave and flex
Dancer longboards are often on the flat side or with subtle concave to help you carve by standing on the edges while you’re stepwalking. A bit of concave can also help you locate yourself on the board when spinning and moving.
Too much concave can make the board steer too hard when you step near the rails of the board, which can get in the way of fluid and harmonious flatland carving.
Some dancing longboards have more flex than others – some models actually offer several flex options to choose from. Flex can help you make longer carves and smoothen out your ride, as it reduces torsional stiffness thus making turning slower.
Too much flex, on the other hand, can get in the way of balancing when doing dance tricks.
Riders who like to combine freestyle tricks with dancing may choose a stiffer board for more pop (for ollies and kickflips). Others may prefer more flex for softer landing when jumping on the board. All in all, flex is really a matter of personal preference for dancing.
The boards with the most flex are typically bamboo decks, while full maple decks are stiffer (how stiff depends on the number of plies). A heavier rider may feel that a maple deck provides just enough flex for them.
3. Dancing board trucks
Trucks may not be as important for dancing as for other longboard riding styles. As you progress, however, you may start looking for faster, deeper carving trucks. Initially, you just want relatively loose trucks yet stable enough to give you some room for error while you step across your board.
You typically want some good RKP 180mm, 50º trucks, e.g. Paris or Randals. You may alternatively go with 150mm trucks with risers, provided they’re compatible with your deck.
One important thing is to choose soft bushings relative to your weight. Examples of good bushing brands include Riptide Cone, Barrel, and Venom.
4. Dancing board wheels
Bigger, heavier wheels such as the Orangatang 4President are great for performing flatland tricks, as they can roll for a very long time on a single push. A wide contact patch also makes the wheels stable and gippy. You want your board to keep moving and carving while you perform your dancing tricks and manuals.
Your choice of durometer also depends on your personal mix of dancing, freestyle, and sliding maneuvers. If you mostly do flatland tricks, go for wheels on the softer side (e.g. 80A) for high grip and stability.
If on the other hand, you like to slide during your dancing sessions, you may pick wheels with higher durometer, e.g. 86A, which will make it easier for you to break into slides on a really large dancing longboard.
Depending on your deck’s wheel clearance, smaller wheels may also be a better choice if you plan to perform really deep carves while dancing, in order to avoid wheelbite.
An example of wheels that are efficient for dancing – and reasonably priced – are the Abec 11 Flashbacks. Another good choice is the inexpensive Sector 9 Butterballs. If you’re more into freestyle tricks, however, consider some lighter wheels such as the Volante Checkers.
With these basics out of the way, let’s now turn our attention to some of the best dancing longboards available on the market today. Note that the following boards are not listed in any particular order. Which one you choose is a matter of preference and style.
Best dancing longboard 1: the Loaded Bhangra
The Bhangra remains the undisputed all-time favorite among the dancing longboarding community and has for years (since 2010). It’s priced at around $360 (Amazon) which is pretty good value for such a quality and durable dancer board.
The 48.5″ x 9.5″ (32.75″ wheelbase) deck is huge and designed specifically for dancing. At 6.3lb the Banghra is on the heavier side, which is great for dancing but less so for freestyle jump tricks.
The board’s mellow concave gives you edge control for fluid carving, without getting in your way for walking. The rockered profile – meaning the deck is curved lengthwise and lower in the middle than at the ends – provides a feeling of comfort and safety when moving around on the board.
The bamboo construction gives the Bhangra what you may consider just the right amount of flex. The board actually comes in two flex options, a stiffer “Flex1” for heavier riders and freestylers, and a flexier “Flex2” for more responsiveness in carving.
The large kicktail and nose with strong grip tape on them make it easy to manual and pivot. The grip tape becomes less aggressive between the trucks, letting you move freely as you press on rails for carving or pirouette around on the deck.
Good size wheel cutouts reduce the risk of wheelbite when carving hard. Loaded’s suggested configuration with Paris v2 180mm trucks and 70mm Orangatang Stimulus wheels (83A duro) works well for boardwalking. For more freestyle trickery and sliding, the harder and smaller 66mm Keanus (86A duro) is a good choice.
Overall, the Bhangra has proved to be one of the best dancing longboards out there.
Best dancing longboard 2: the Loaded Tarab
The Tarab is Loaded’s latest evolution of the Bhangra, a gorgeous, pure dancing board built using the most high-end material and technology. It’s also quite pricey at over $400 for a complete (Amazon).
The Tarab is built using leading-edge technology with a bamboo core sandwiched between two layers of special fiberglass, making it lighter than the Bhangra (5lb). The deck is 49″ x 9.5″, similar to the Bhangra.
The Tarab, however, is more of a pure dancer than its predecessor. It has milder concave and rocker for steeping freedom, not designed for intense sliding. It’s fully symmetrical, which is perfect for flips and shuvits, and has a smaller tail and nose (less freestyle oriented).
The board’s nose, tail, and rails are reinforced with urethane and other strong material, making the board incredibly resistant to impact and abrasion – longboard dancing typically takes a big toll on decks.
The Tarab has a cork layer on top which works with the grip tape for providing traction when doing dancing footwork. The cork helps dampen vibrations from the ground.
This board has similar flex options as the Bhangra, and the same standard trucks and wheel configuration. Overall, the Loaded Tarab is a more advanced, high-tech hybrid, highly specialized deck for authentic longboard dancers.
Check out the following 40 seconds for a glimpse of this amazing board in action in Morocco :
Best dancing longboard 3: the Landyatchz Stratus
The Landyachtz Stratus is slightly smaller than Loaded’s dancer boards, at 45.5″ x 9.25″ with a 29.5″ max wheelbase. Landyachtz’s site shows the Stratus complete for $329 but you may find a good deal on Amazon.
Its main strength is its really lightweight, around 4 lbs, making it easy to carry around.
The light weight results from Landyachtz’s own “Hollowtech” construction which uses hybrid fiberglass and wood material around the deck, allowing it to appear hollow in its core – you can see through the deck in the sun.
The Stratus has a really big and flat standing platform (EFP) for performing dancing tricks. Like the Tarab it’s fully symmetrical – most modern dancers now are – with very slight concave. The tails are pretty big though, and made of wood for strength, enabling some pop tricks.
The deck has no grip between the trucks as grip interferes with boardwalking and spinner tricks by making your feet stick. The tails, on the other hand, have strong grip on them.
Like Loaded boards, the Landyachtz Stratus comes in two flex option, “Standard” and “Super Flex”. The latter is best suited for lightweight riders – heavier dancers may easily bottom out when jumping.
While riders like the looks and weight of the Stratus, some complain about deck resistance – it doesn’t withstand impact well over time and sometimes breaks.
A possible reason, however, is that some riders may perform hard freestyle tricks on it, perhaps even on the Super Flex version. The Stratus, meanwhile, is more of a pure dancing deck.
Best dancing longboard 4: the Bustin Daensu
The Daensu (third edition) is a relatively smaller, 44.9″ x 8.9″ dancer that was recently completely re-designed to make it lighter, thinner, more attractive, and more freestyle friendly.
Despite its relatively short length, the Daensu has a very long wheelbase of 31.7″ (adjustable down), providing plenty of room for old-school dancing tricks.
The board now has a new construction that combines hard Canadian maple wood, proprietary epoxy, and fiberglass, resulting in a more lightweight and durable board than previously.
The Daensu has a micro drop that makes it very push efficient. It also now boasts a 0.4″ micro-dropped rockered profile (vs camber previously) that helps make you feel low and comfortable, and safe when cross-stepping and peter pan-ing at high speed.
The deck is relatively stiff because to maple, making the Daensu very suitable for freestyle tricks. Another feature that makes the Daensu a good freestyle board is the newly angled and stiff kicks which provide an incredible amount of pop.
So throwing no-complies, bigspins, and aeroflips on the new Daensu is a reality despite the large wheelbase.
So overall, the Daensu is a well-liked “compact” dancer that can be a great choice if you like decks on the stiffer side for dancing and if you’re an ollie and kickflip kind of rider.
The Daensu complete comes stock from Bustin with 180mm, 50º Caliber or Paris trucks, and wheels 64 to 73mm. You can also find a nice config with Bear Grizzly trucks, Cloud Rider Cruiser 69mm wheels (78A duro) and Red Bearings here on Amazon.
Best dancing longboard 5: the Rayne Whip
This is another hybrid deck, but this one allies vertically bamboo, stronger than steel yet lighter and flexible than most wood, and triaxial fiberglass making the board super light, durable and responsive.
The Whip is quite flexy, such that Rayne recommends the Whip for riders no heavier than 190lbs. Heavier riders might make the deck touching the ground when landing on it. The flex holds up over time thanks to the bamboo/fiberglass mix.
The Whip is fully symmetrical and has rounded edges that help reduce the damage from impacts – a main visual differentiating aspect.
Like many other dancers, the Whip’s deck has a subtle rocker. It also has a micro drop which helps dancers know where their feet are positioned without interfering with their footwork.
It also has a tub-like concave – flat in the center, then rising towards the edges. Some hardcore dancers criticize it as they feel it gets in the way of their boardwalking. As always, it’s really a tradeoff between freestyle and flatland abilities, although more concave helps for deeper carving.
Wheel wells are another specific aspect of the Whip. The wells are milled multidimensionally for wheel clearance, and at the same time engineered to reinforce the board’s durability.
Riders like the Whip for its quality build, rebound when jumping, and great pop for ollies – it’s a good board for some freestyle tricks as well as pure dancing. You can see it here on Amazon.