Best Longboard In 2021: World’s Top Boards By Riding Style

best longboard

Does the best longboard for everything and everyone exist? Probably not, but you can certainly pick the best longboard for yourself based on your size, skills, and riding style.

In this post, I share what I consider some of the top longboards around for each type of riding style, based on years of experience riding boards and helping other choose the right longboard for them.

In the last section of the post, you’ll find a simple yet comprehensive guide that goes over the main things to consider for choosing a good longboard.

See also my ultimate longboard selector tool here

Best longboard for beginners & all-around cruising

A great longboard for beginners should be comfortable to push on, stable at some speed, easy to turn and carve on, quality-built yet affordable.

Magneto Bamboo Cruiser 42″

best longboard for all-around cruising - magneto bamboo cruiser 42

The Bamboo Cruiser is a full-sized symmetrical shape with large wheel cutouts (low wheelbite). It has a large foot platform to learn on. The drop-through mount makes it lower-riding, stable at moderate speed, and easy to push on.

The mixed bamboo and maple construction gives the deck strength, but also a nice flex for carving energy and comfortable cushioning. If you don’t mind a having big board and ride in open spaces, this is a great affordable longboard ($130) for all-around riding and confidently building your skills.

See my full review of the Magneto Bamboo 42″.

Loaded Omakase 33″

best all-around longboard - Loaded Omakase

Although the Loaded Omakase is significantly shorter than the Magneto Bamboo (33″ vs 42″) and is topmount, it’s also one of the best longboards for beginners I know. A cruiser shape with an exceptionally wide platform, the Omakase is one of the most comfortable and stable city cruisers and commuters on the market, perfect for a newbie.

In spite its compact size, which makes it easy to stow and carry around, the Omakase is a capable all-around board. The low ride height makes suitable for some distance pushing. The super-responsive Paris V3 trucks and the high wheel clearance make it fit for carving.

The short but steep and wide kicktail allows for easy kick turns and curb hopping. The rocker and sophisticated concave also make the Omakase a capable freerider for learning to slide.

Read more about the Loaded Omakase here or check it out here on Loaded’s site.

Best longboard for heavy riders

Arbor Dropcruiser 38″

best longboard for heavier riders - Arbor Dropcruiser

The Dropcruiser is a midsized symmetrical drop-through and drop-down deck (aka “double drop”) thus offering a very low ride.

The Dropcruiser’s robust 9-ply hardrock maple construction and large wheel cutouts to prevent wheelbite makes it very suitable for heavier riders.

This board is primarily designed for comfortable cruising, distance pushing, and light freeride. The cutout shape provides high clearance for bigger wheels, allowing for faster speed when pushing on flat.

The longuish 29+” wheelbase makes it very stable. The soft wheels and low ride result in a silky-smooth ride. The Arbor Dropcruiser is affordably priced at $150-$200.

Read my full review of the Arbor Dropcruiser here.

Landyachtz Switch 40″

best longboard for heavier riders - landyachtz switch

The Switch has long been a highly-regarded longboard renowned for its strength and durability. The 180mm Grizzly Bear trucks are also reputed for the robustness as well as responsiveness. The Switch is a valid option for bigger and heavier riders.

This is a full-sized symmetrical shape with large wheel cutouts providing high clearance, and a significant drop making it an exceptionally low-riding board. With its deep concave and foot pockets, it’s suitable for fast technical freeriding and sliding.

The ample foot platform, low ride, and large smooth 70mm Hawgs wheels also make the Switch an awesome board for push commuting long distance with minimal effort.

Learn more about the Landyachtz Switch in my mini-review here.

Best longboard for city cruising

Loaded Coyote 30.75″

best longboard for city cruising - loaded coyote

The Coyote is a special cruiser with ample standing space, a beefy kicktail, pronounced wheel flares for clearance, and a nice concave for just the right amount of foot lock-in when riding fast.

At under 31″, the Coyote is as compact as a street deck and can fit in/on a backpack. On the other hand, the longer 17.5″ wheelbase makes it very stable at speed and comfortable for longer city commuting.

The big kick makes the Coyote suitable for ollies and curb hops, and the nose kick is an invitation to kick/flip tricks when riding around. This is a one-of-kind urban cruiser offering an unusual combo of commuting comfort and trickability.

Learn more about the Coyote – or check it out here on Loaded’s website

Best longboard for freeride

Freeride boards are stable at speed, offer a nice secure feel, and are easy to slide. Drop-throughs are great for learning while topmounts are often favored by advanced freeriders.

Landyachtz Dropcat 38″

best longboard for freeride - drop cat 38

The Drop Cat 38″ is often mentioned as one of the best drop-through freeride longboards out there. It’s long and roomy enough for a secure ride, yet short and low enough for easily breaking into slides.

The Drop Cat features a rockered foot platform that rises above the mount points at both ends. As a result, it offers a low and stable ride (reinforced by the 29″ wheelbase) but without loosing leverage over the trucks like on drop decks. This translates into topmount-like responsiveness.

The symmetrical shape with large wheel cutouts is suitable for switch riding. The 72mm Hawgs wheels offer the speed and control required for an optimal freeride experience.

Read more about the Drop Cat 38″ here.

Best longboard for carving & pumping

Carving longboards allow for fast and responsive turns. Pumping longboards let you maintaining good momentum through body rotation (as opposed to kick pushing).

Sector 9 Streak Striker 36.5″

best longboard for carving & pumping - sector9 streak striker

The Sector 9 Striker has long been a top carving longboard. Despite its drop-through design (typically less responsive than topmount), the Streak Striker excels at carving and pumping due to its deck flex and special Gullwing Sidewinder double-kingpin carving trucks.

The Sidewinder truck height make up for the low drop-through height, adding leverage and responsiveness to the Striker. The relatively wide platform (9″) also facilitates rail-to-rail transitions and pumping motion.

The deep carving trucks combine with the Striker’s short (for a drop-through this size) wheelbase of 23″ and its cambered profile to allow for tight carving lines. The soft 69mm wheels provide the necessary grip for effective carves.

Unlike topmount carving boards, the Sector 9 Striker can also be serenely taken down mellow hills due to the stability of the drop-through design.

Read more about the Striker here on Sector 9’s website

Loaded Poke 34″

best longboard for carving and pumping - loaded poke

My other all-time top carving and pumping longboard, very different from the Striker, is the Loaded Poke. This is a topmount city cruiser with incredible carving and pumping abilities.

Among the things that make this board so special for carving/pumping are the concave and uplifted edges which give you extra leverage over the super-responsive Paris trucks in your turns and pumps.

The special contour of the Poke also adds to the carving bliss of this board. The wheel flares and narrowed kicks not only provide high wheel clearance but also create nice foot tuck-in for those rail-to-rail transitions.

The advanced hybrid bamboo + fiberglass construction also result in the perfect amount of flex and return for energetic carves. If you like pumping, the Poke + Carver CX setup is your ticket to pumping heaven.

Check out the Poke here on Loaded’s site or check out my in-depth review here.

Best longboard for dancing & freestyle

Loaded Bhangra v2 47.5″

best longboard for dancing and freestyle - Loaded Bhangra v2

If you’re into dancing, it won’t come as a surprise that I picked the Bhangra as my top longboard choice. This board pretty much sets the standard for longboard dancing and freestyle. Its huge foot platform enables the most advanced cross-stepping and boardwalking tricks.

The Bhangra offers an astoundingly smooth and forgiving ride making it very easy to learn and perfect dance moves. The high-quality, high-performance construction (including volcano lava and cork material) provides just the right amount of flex for your weight (2 flex options).

The Bhangra’s other big strengths include the responsive topmount design, the wheel flares for clearance, the large kicks for tricks, the sophisticated griptape pattern for free stepping, and the super carvy setup with Paris trucks and 70mm Orangatang wheels.

See my full review here or check out the Bhangra here on Loaded’s website.

Best longboard for commuting/LDP

If you’re looking for the best longboard for long distance riding, start by looking for a low riding board for effortless pushing, with an ample and comfortable foot platform, with big soft wheels for speed and damping.

Sector 9 Lookout 41″

Best longboard for commuting/LDP - sector9 bico lookout

The Sector 9 Lookout is my preferred longboard for real distance pushing, undoubtedly one of the top commuting and pushing boards out there. The directional drop-through shape makes this board super comfortable for pushing even though it’s not the lowest ride on the market (no drop).

The Lookout’s ample cutouts provide the wheel room needed for running big wheels – the complete comes stock with big 74mm Nineballs. The long 31.5″ wheelbase makes the Lookout super stable at speed.

The soft (78A) 69mm wheels and the 5-ply bamboo flexy construction absorb much of the shocks and vibrations on rough terrain. The Gullwing Charger trucks are known for their stability, comfort, and responsiveness at speed. In short, the Lookout is a distance commuter’s dream.

Check out the Lookout Bico version here on the Sector 9 website.

For more in-depth details, see my full review of the Lookout.

Best longboard for street & park

If you’re into street riding but want a longboard you can also cruise and slash on, or if you’re a skatepark vert and transitions fan, you may need a longboard specifically designed for that kind of riding.

While many mini-cruisers can be taken in a bowl or onto a small ramp, the best longboards for street and park are a mix of traditional street deck and cruiser, with features such as large kicks, stiff flex, and “ollie-able” trucks and wheels.

Landyachtz ATV 32″

best longboard for street, pool & park - landyachtz ATV

The Landyachtz ATVs are hybrid (street & cruiser) shapes with cruising trucks and bigger wheels. Depending of the ATV version (Laguito, Presidente, Perfecto), the deck features either symmetrical double kicks, asymmetrical tail/nose kicks, or beefy single kick.

The ATVs allow for a very smooth ride comparable to top mini-cruisers out there. However, they also have the pop and deck stiffness required for snappy ollies and kick tricks. They’re also well-suited for skatepark elements, pools, and ditches.

The wheelbase of the ATV boards (14.375″) is tight enough for tricks and bowl yet comfortable enough for urban travel and carving, including at decent speeds and on uneven terrain. The ATV decks have an extra fiberglass layer for increased strength and pop.

Check out my full review of the Landyachtz ATV here.

Best longboard for downhill & racing

Sector 9 Carbon Flight 36″

best longboard for downhill & racing - sector 9 carbon flight

Sector 9’s bullet-shaped downhill deck has a maple + fiberglass + carbon fiber construction that makes it extremely stiff and lightweight for speed riding. The deck features medium concave, providing a nice and comfy lock-in feel without getting in the way, as well as a small kick for added control in apex turns.

The Carbon Flight’s ample foot platform (36″ x 9.25″) and extended 26″ wheelbase gives good stability at high speed. The board’s topmount design also offers the responsiveness needed for optimal speed lines.

The Carbon Flight comes stock with the legendary 10″ Gullwing Charger trucks and 70mm fast-rolling, soft Skiddles wheels.

See the Sector 9 Carbon Flight here on Amazon.

Loaded Truncated Tesseract 33″

I thought I’d include the high-end Truncated Tesseract here since it’s an amazing board built for speed and racing. At 33″ by 9.5″, it’s much shorter and a bit wider than the Carbon Flight.

The Truncated is probably the most compact and lightweight race boards out there, designed for big mountain roads and high-speed corners. It has a high-tech bamboo + fiberglass + cork construction giving it a very slight flex that absorbs high-speed vibrations.

The progressive W concave is designed for speed tucking. The rockered shape further cup the feet and lowers the ride for stability during speed checks. The raised wheel flares offer reference points for the feet.

The Dowhill setup for the Truncated Tesseract includes 43º-angled Paris trucks and very large 80mm soft Kegel wheels.

Check out the Loaded Truncated Tesseract here.

Best longboard for surfing

If you’re a surfer or looking to become one, a surfskate will give you the best possible cross-training for practicing your surf turns. Choosing a good longboard for surf training is a complex task. Luckily, I have several super helpful resources to help with this:

Complete guide for picking the best longboard

best longboard for beginners

When choosing the right longboard for you, you need to match its features with the type of riding you’ll be doing as well as your own physical characteristics. Key features of a longboard are deck size and shape, truck height and turning style, and wheel diameter and hardness.

In this quick guide I go over some on the main points to take into account.

Deck size

Choosing the best longboard for you starts with deck size. Decks can be generally categorized as follows:

Deck sizeLength
Mini< 30″
Cruiser sized30″ – 36″
Midsized36″ – 42″
Full sized> 42″

The best longboard deck size for you depends on your own size and the kind of riding you do. Some pointers:

  • Taller riders have a wider stance so they often want a longer deck compared to a shorter rider. Riders with bigger shoe size may prefer a wider deck
  • “Mini” decks such as the Landyatchz Dinghy are well-suited for tight city spaces – narrow alleys and crowded sidewalks. They’re also convenient for quick runs to the store and carrying them around.
  • Cruiser-sized decks, e.g. the Loaded Coyote, are better or longer city transport or “city slashing” – leveraging street obstacles for tricks. This size range is also suitable for carving and freeriding.
  • Midsized decks are well-suited for longer distances, open spaces, open roads and bike paths. Also good for carving hills and sliding.
  • Full-sized decks such as the Magneto Dancer are great for comfortable cruising on long parkway paths, and for classic freestyle and dancing/cross-stepping.

An important factor related to deck size is wheelbase, which is the distance between the trucks. A shorter wheelbase makes for a more responsive board while a longer one makes it more stable at speed.

Deck size/wheelbase is only one part of your decision, keep reading for other key deck aspects to consider when choosing your best longboard.

Deck shape

The deck shape is the second most important aspect to consider after size. The following table summarized the main longboard shape types:

ShapeDescription
CruiserSurfboard-type shape with a wider tail and narrower nose, generally under 35″ in length. Example
SymmetricalAka “twin” shape (no front and back). The board can be ridden in either direction. With or without large wheel cutouts (see later). Example
DirectionalAsymmetrical shapes, with or without wheel cutouts. E.g. bullet-shaped downhill boards or directional carving boards. Example
PintailSpecial narrow and tapered shapes designed for relaxed cruising and possibly some carving

Cruiser shapes generally have a responsive and surfy ride. They typically boast a nice kicktail for quick turns and curb hopping, and sometimes a nose kick for tricks. They’re great for city riding and sometimes freeriding.

Twin shapes are generally larger boards, comfortable for riding distance and stable at speed. The symmetrical design enables switch riding and is often well-suited for freeride and sliding.

Directional longboards are typically designed for downhill speed and racing or advanced carving (nearly symmetrical but with a different tail and nose)

Deck mount style and drop

Truck mount refers to the way the trucks are mounted onto the deck. A drop refers to a lowered foot platform between the truck mounts. Both of these affect how a longboard rides.

Mount typeDescription
Top mountTrucks bolted underneath the deck
Top mount longboard type
Drop throughTrucks mounted across the deck
Drop through longboard type
Drop deckStanding platform lower than mount points
Drop deck longboard type
Double dropDrop-through mount + dropped platform
Double drop longboard type

Besides size and shape, truck mount is a third essential factor when choosing the right longboard. Topmounts are typically higher off the ground compared to drop-throughs, and provide a more responsive ride due to your front foot sitting on top of the truck.

Drop-through longboards generally ride lower to the ground, making them easier to push on and more stable at higher speed. However, drop-through boards are often less responsive and tight turning. Due to their design, they’re also generally larger.

Drop-throughs are a good option for distance commuting and learning how to slide, whereas topmount boards are well-suited for tight areas and sidewalks riding, responsive carving, and tricks.

Dropped / double-drop decks ride even lower to the ground and hence are even more comfortable for distance pushing and more stable for fast freeriding. However, they’re not nearly as responsive as the above types.

Wheel wells, flares, cutouts

Another key aspect to consider when choosing the best longboard for you is wheel clearance. One of the the worst things that can happen when riding is getting wheelbite – when a wheel gets in contact with the deck, bringing the board to a full stop and potentially sending you flying across the pavement.

A quality longboard is designed to avoid wheelbite. There are many factors that affect the risk of wheelbite including truck height, truck looseness, bushing hardness, wheel size, deck lean, riser pad height, rider weight, and riding style.

To reduce the risk of wheelbite, decks typically have one or more of the following:

ClearanceDescription
Wheel wellsSanded gaps in the bottom side of the deck around the wheels that provide extra space for the deck to lean without touching the wheel
Wheel flaresWave-like bends in the shape of the deck, like it’s been pushed in from the bottom, resulting in a bump on the top side. This gives extra room for the wheels in tight turns.
Loaded Poke wheel flare
Wheel cutoutsLike the name suggests, the deck shape is cut out to free up the wheels, letting them stick out from the deck.
sector 9 lookout wheel cutouts

Wheel wells are the most subtle of the three and provide limited extra clearance, although they can be deep. The amount of wheel clearance still much depends on the trucks and wheels mounted on the board.

Wheel flares are a more sophisticated feature and provide higher clearance but need to be well-integrated into the longboard’s overall shape and contour. Flares are often found on higher-end longboards.

Wheel cutouts are often associated with symmetrical decks. They may be large or subtle. Certain directional shapes designed for carving also feature large cutouts.

Low-riding longboards such as freeride and commuter boards typically have deeper cutouts to avoid wheebite in tight turns and at speed. Cruiser shapes, on the other hand, often have narrower topmount decks so wheel wells or flares are enough to prevent wheelbite.

Deck profile & concave

Deck profile and concave are two important considerations in choosing a longboard.

CurvatureDescription
RockerLengthwise deck curvature higher in the middle than at the truck mount points
Rocker - longboard types
CamberLengthwise deck curvature lower in the middle than at the truck mount points
Sector 9 Lookout camber
ConcaveWidth-wide curvature with board edges higher than in the center of deck
Concave - longboard type

A rockered profile means the deck had a slight lengthwise downward curvature, with the middle point sitting lower than the truck mounts. Conversely, a cambered profile is upwardly curved with the middle point higher than the mount points.

A rockered deck brings the ride slightly lower to the ground without a need for a drop – on dropped decks your feet sit further from the trucks, less responsive. Rocker also adds stability and some foot lock-in.

Camber is the opposite, it increases the deck’s ride height. Camber offers springy bounciness which can improve a longboard’s carving and pumping ability, although at the expense of ease of pushing and stability at speed.

Concave is the deck’s widthwise curvature with uplifted edges for a more secure foothold. There are various types of concave (elliptical, radial, variable, etc) but concave is often described as mild, medium, or deep.

When choosing your ideal longboard, the amount of concave you want depends your riding style. You’ll typically want more concave for freeride or downhill, medium concave for carving and pumping or for park & bowl, and milder concave for dancing and freestyle.

Longboard kicks

Kicks are a requirement for certain riding styles such as freestyle, street, city slashing, freeriding. There are shapes with single kick, double kick (aka dual kick), and nose kick.

KicksDescription
Single kickFor ollies, kick turns, obstacle hopping
Double kickFor freestyle, dancing, freeride switch riding
Nose kickFor nose tricks and front foot tucking

Cruisers are generally single-kicked with a kicktail for quick turns, ollies, and curb/obstacle hopping. Some cruisers like the Loaded Coyote also have a nose kick for tricks (manuals, kick flips etc) and added foot lock-in.

Symmetrical longboards often come with dual kicks for riding switch and performing dance/freestyle maneuvers.

The size of the kick(s) is important as bigger kicks can reduce foot space and shorten the wheelbase. A longboard with larger kicks may be less stable at speed but can be more maneuverable in tight areas and for tricks.

Trucks

Besides the deck, the choice of trucks is key when selecting the right longboard for you. There are two main types of trucks, Reverse Kingpin (RKP) and Traditional Kingpin (TKP).

choosing the right longboard for you - truck style

RKPs are classic longboard trucks, designed for carving, sliding, and stability at speed. TKPs are street-style trucks, shorter, stiffer, and primarily designed for tricks. RKPs are generally a better option for carving, pumping, and smooth pushing.

Truck height, along with mount style, also contributes to ride height as shorter trucks bring the longboard slightly closer to the ground. As mentioned earlier, a lower ride provides more pushing comfort and stability at speed, while a higher ride has a more responsive feel.

Bushings provide cushioning and rebound inside a truck. When setting up your perfect longboard, you can adjust bushing hardness (aka durometer) based upon your weight – e.g. harder for heavier riders, riding style – e.g. softer for carving, harder for tricks, speed, and sliding.

Wheels

Loaded Kanthana/Kut-thaka trucks and wheels

Here too, your ideal longboard should come with wheels that match your riding goals. Wheels with a higher diameter (e.g. 70mm+) will roll faster than smaller wheels. However, wheel clearance (see earlier) will determine how large you can go for wheels for a given deck and truck set.

Wheel durometer (hardness) is another key factor to select. Softer wheels (e.g. 78A duro) provide better cushioning over bumps and cracks, and better grip in tight turns (good for carving).

On the other hand, smaller (e.g. 60mm) and harder (e.g. 85A) wheels are better for kick and flip tricks and easier to slide with. Narrower wheels (contact patch) are also more slideable, while wider wheels have more traction. Wheel shape also plays into the equation.

Wheel featureDescription
DiameterLarger for faster roll, smaller for tricks & slide
DurometerSofter for more grip, harder for tricks & slide
Width/shapeWider contact patch for grip, narrower for sliding/speed

Other factors can influence a wheel’s adequacy to your needs, such as urethane quality (go with leading brands e.g. Orangatang or Hawgs), bearings (likewise), and wheel core positioning (for more advanced riders).

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Photo credits:
Featured image: Loaded Boards – “Micaela Waves Hello” by Khaleeq Alfred

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About me

Big Kahuna

Hi I'm Jesse. All my life I've been passionate about the board riding lifestyle. Some years ago I got into longboarding, and in doing so, I discovered a whole new universe and a fantastic community. There's something for everyone in longboarding regardless of age, gender, size, and fitness level. Ride on!

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