As a beginner longboarder, you may have a hard choosing a first longboard. There are so many brands and models, and so many factors to take into account.
This post helps you make a well informed choice for a beginner board based on your target riding style and my experience with many longboards on the market.
All the boards mentioned in this article are all quality boards from reputable brands (no Chinese knock-offs). They will not fall apart quickly and should remain relevant past your initial learning stage.
1. Best all-around longboard for beginners
2. Best city cruising & commuting longboard for beginners
3. Best distance pushing & commuting beginner longboard
4. Best carving longboard for beginners
5. Best freeride longboard for beginners
6. Best freestyle longboard for beginners
7. Best dancing longboard for beginners
8. Best pumping longboard for beginners
9. Best beginner longboard for heavy riders
Also check out my Longboard Selector Tool – a quiz-based tool for choosing the right longboard for your needs
1. Best all-around cruising longboard for a beginner
For a beginner, “all-around” generally means a mix between cruising and pushing around for relaxing, getting to school or work on pavement or bike paths, and carving down small slopes.
For such versatile use, the Magneto Bamboo Cruiser 42″ is a good match. It’s very affordable (< $150) yet quality-built. At 42″ it’s quite long, stable and comfortable for building up your balance.
This cruiser deck is a twin shape (symmetrical with wheels sticking out) with large wheel cutouts that make wheelbite (deck rubbing the wheels) very unlikely even in tight turns.
Although this is a beginner longboard, it has a sturdy bamboo + maple hybrid construction typically found on more advanced boards. This makes the Magneto very durable.
The special bamboo flex gives you comfort when going over cracks and bumps and energy when pushing.
The Magneto Bamboo is a drop-through, meaning the trucks are mounted through the deck as opposed to underneath it as in topmount boards. As a result, the board rides lower to the ground, which makes kick-pushing a lot easier for a beginner.
- A large comfortable board with big wheels for comfortable and stable cruising, including at higher speeds.
- Great for pushing on bike paths
- Great for short commutes
- Great for small hills.
- The flexy bamboo helps you improve your turning and your carving.
- A bit bulky for carrying around
- A bit large for tight city streets and sidewalks
- Drop-throughs are not as responsive as topmount boards, but more stable
Check out the great reviews of the Magneto Bamboo Cruiser 42″ on Amazon
Also see my complete review of the Magneto Bamboo Cruiser here.
2. Best city cruising longboard for a beginner
As a beginner, you may be looking for the best longboard for riding around the city. Busy streets, back alleys, sidewalks, zebra crossings, heavy traffic roads, some bike paths, that’s the terrain you’ll be facing.
A good city riding and neighborhood commuting board should typically be:
Mini-cruisers like the Landyachtz Dinghy are a popular option for city riding. However, these tiny cruisers are a lot less stable and much harder to control than mid or full-size longboards, and not so well-suited for beginners.
Meanwhile, the Loaded Omakase is a great choice for a beginner city rider. At 33.5″ in length, it’s a compact and portable cruiser, yet the unusually high width on this board (10″ vs 8 or 9″ for most cruisers of similar length) makes it very stable and safe for learning.
Loaded boards are known worldwide for their build quality and durability. At around $260, the Omakase is pricier than other beginner boards, but it will last you forever, way beyond your beginner phase..
The Omakase has an advanced bamboo + fiberglass construction, combining strength and performance. Overkill for a beginner?
Not really. After all, who more than a beginner needs a strong board? Besides, this board is so versatile it will speed up your learning vs hindering it.
The Omakase has rocker (lengthwise curvature) which makes ride astonishingly low riding for a topmount deck. It also has a pronounced concave (widthwise curvature) giving a beginner a nice foot lock-in and secure riding feel.
The big wheel flares on this board effectively prevent wheelbite even with the huge, fast rolling 75mm wheels that come with the Grip’n’Rip setup. The Paris trucks are some of the best in the market.
Overall, the Omakase is a great board to invest in for learning and progressing around the city.
See the Omakase on Loaded’s website or on Amazon.
Also check out my complete review of the Omakase.
3. Best distance pushing & commuting longboard for beginners
If you’re getting started with longboarding and your main goal is to commute on longer distances ( e.g. 5+ miles each way) on a regular basis, then you may choose a drop deck.
A drop deck, aka dropped platform or drop-down, has a lowered foot platform relative to the truck mount points. This results in your feet sitting lower to the ground when riding, giving you added stability and easier pushing thanks to a shorter distance to the ground .
A dropped deck that is also drop-through (trucks mounted through the deck) is referred to as a double-drop. That’s the lowest-riding kind of longboard, which can help both beginners and long-distance pushers/commuters.
The Sector 9 Fault Line is a very good example of a popular longboard Drop down construction that’s well-suited for beginners. At 39.5″ by 9.75″ with a solid 29″ to 31″ wheelbase, this midsized longboard has a comfortable foot platform-
The drop down construction gives the Fault Line a really low ride, great for pushing and for long commutes. This longboard also has a medium concave that gives you snug foot placement and a secure feel when riding faster.
The soft (78A) 70mm Nineballs wheels are fast and smooth-rolling. The softness gives you nice cushioning for rough terrain, and the contact patch gives you strong grip in turns. The 10″ Gullwing Reverse trucks are renowned for their responsiveness.
If you’re a beginner looking for a comfortable and fast longboard for your daily commutes, you’ll benefit from the Fault Line’s build quality and its low-riding deck.
Check out the Fault Line 39.5″ on Sector 9’s website
4. Best carving longboard for beginners
Carving is generally the first thing you’ll learn as a beginner longboard, after the initial steps of learning to stand, push and turn on your board (see: essential beginner tips).
Carving consists of making tight turns on your longboard, similar to snowboarding or surfing, while riding on flat for a great feeling, or riding down a slope to help you control speed.
A good carving board is a highly responsive and turny. Topmount longboards (trucks mounted below the deck) are more responsive but not as stable than drop-throughs. Carving longboards come in both styles, however.
For a beginner, a drop-through carving board is a good choice because of the higher stability. Drop-throughs that are most suitable for carving are typically decks with a shortish wheelbase, preferably with a bit of flex, and mounted on highly responsive trucks.
The Sector 9 Striker is a beginner-friendly, quality carver. Its 36.5″ length, relatively narrow shape (9.5″), and medium-size 23″ wheelbase are well-suited for carving.
However, what sets the Aperture apart as a carving longboard, is the Gullwing Sidewinder trucks with their double kingpin system specially designed for deep carving.
These trucks and the slim cambered (upward lengthwise curvature) deck combine to enable uniquely tight carves and lines. The drop-through mount makes this board low riding which facilitates pushing.
The Striker’s 26″ wheelbase also makes it a very comfortable cruiser. Its directional (albeit nearly symmetrical) shape and drop-through mount gives it good stability and a low ride, well-suited for a beginner rider.
Sector 9’s Sidewinder trucks have a long history of quality and durability. The 69mm soft wheels are meant to provide the right amount of grip when doing tight carves.
The Sector 9 Striker is a great beginner board for learning how to carve on flat and down mellow hills. It’s also a beautiful board with stunning surf-inspired artwork.
Check out the Striker here on Sector 9´s website
5. Best freeride longboard for a beginner
If your goal is to learn longboarding for freeriding and downhill, you’ll need a board stable enough for speed and which can easily be pushed out into slides. Sliding is fundamental for freeriding since, along with carving, that’s how you control speed.
There are many types of longboards suitable for freeride, including both topmounts and drop-throughs. Drop-throughs are more stable and easier to steer for beginners, albeit generally not as responsive.
More advanced riders often prefer topmounts for faster and tighter turns.
Low-riding boards such as drop-throughs and drop-downs are a bit harder to push into slides due to a lower gravity center, but easier to control during the slide – which is beneficial to a beginner freerider.
A drop-down will feel safest for learning to slide, but once you progress you may want to switch something more responsive e.g. a drop-through or even a topmount.
Conversely, on a topmount you can generally break traction with less effort, but more skills are required to control the slide – it can be a bit scary for a beginner.
A drop-through is a good compromise between stability and “slidability” for a beginner.
The Landyachyz Drop Cat 38 (Amazon, Evo) is an excellent drop-through longboard for learning to freeride. At 38.6″ by 9.9″, it’s long and wide enough for comfort and secure feel, yet short enough for easy pushing into slides and going switch – the symmetrical shape lets you ride both ways.
The Drop Cat is designed for maximum stability at speed with a long stable 29.3″ wheelbase and a strong truck-to-truck rocker making the board super low riding.
Instead of a drop near the trucks, the rockered standing platform rises higher than the mounts points at both ends, resulting in improved leverage on the trucks compared to a traditional dropped deck.
This makes breaking into slides much easier, closer to a topmount feel (where your feet nearly sit on top of the trucks).
In short, the Drop Cat gives you the best of both worlds for freeriding – a low-riding board stable at speed, but that lets you break into slides with ease while giving you that secure feel and control you need as a beginner.
Like all Landyachtz decks, the Drop Cat has a strong and durable maple construction. The Bear Grizzly trucks and large grippy 72mm Hawgs wheels are renowned for their quality.
A solid and innovative product overall, recommended for a beginner.
6. Best street cruiser for beginner
City slashing is a technical style involving ollying over curbs and obstacles, doing kick and jump tricks, and leveraging the urban landscape. Park and pool riding is also part of this riding style.
Street and park shredding is one of the more challenging types of longboarding for a beginner. However, nothing is impossible if you got the mojo – and if you pick the right tool for the job.
City cruisers are generally on the short side, with street trucks suitable for tricks, street style wheels (smaller and harder than cruising wheels) albeit softer than pure street wheels.
City cruiser decks often have single or double kicks, with solid foot pockets to facilitate tricks and grip.
The Loaded Coyote is a great city slasher for newer riders. At 30.75″, it’s compact as a street deck, with a large kicktail and a small nose kick for jumps and manuals. The deck construction is very stiff and optimized for street like riding.
In addition to its small and ollie-friendly shape, the Coyote’s awesome concave gives you nice foot lock-it when slashing the streets or riding bowl. Meanwhile, the deep wheel flares allow for all sorts of rad turns wheelbite-free.
At the same time, The Coyote is a fantastic cruiser offering an astonishingly smooth ride, including on sidewalks and rough pavement – much more so than the popular but smaller Landyachtz Dinghy.
The 129mm Paris trucks are uber-responsive, and the 65mm Orangatang wheels, quite big for the deck size, are fast rolling and cushy including on rough terrain.
These trucks and wheels provide an incredibly smooth riding experience for a beginner on such a compact deck. Once you’re ready for more technical riding, however, you can switch to smaller, harder wheels for more control.
The Coyote is my top city board. Super-portable, I can take it everywhere. It’s great for ollies, tricks, and bowl. It’s also very nice for cruising and city transport. Loaded has really nailed it with this city slasher.
See the Loaded Coyote complete on Loaded’s website,
See also my complete review of the Coyote here.
7. Best dancing longboard for beginners
If your primary goal for getting into longboarding is dancing, a dancer longboard is likely your best option. Longboard freestyle is also part of the DNA of most dancing longboards.
Longboard dancers typically offer a very large foot platform for board walking and cross-stepping, a long wheelbase for high stability while moving around, a pair of responsive trucks for easy carving, and big functional nose and tail kicks for freestyle tricks.
As explained in my post on the best dancing longboards, the Loaded Bhangra has long been the Rolls Royce of dancing longboards, however its price tag (over $400) is a bit high for a newbie. The newer Tarab is another high-performance challenger but quite pricey as well.
The Mata Hari is more affordable at $339 for the complete. If you still find it too expensive as a beginner, a more affordable alternative dancer is the Magneto Bamboo Dancer (Amazon) at around $140 for the complete. It’s a durable topmount deck with a comfortable 46″ by 9.5″ platform well-suited for boardwalking.
The Magneto dancer is built from a durable blend of bamboo and fiberglass, similar to premium dancer boards. As a result, it offers decent flex for dancing, stiff enough for stability when walking but flexy enough for smooth carving.
The Dancer’s functional double-kicks aid allow for manuals, shove-its, and flip tricks. The shallow concave facilitates heel-to-toe shifts and secure foot placement, without getting in the way of dance steps.
The Magneto dancer’s cambered profile (deck is slightly higher in the center than at the mount points) grants this board a bit of springy energy and responsiveness when walking and carving.
Many riders praise this board as a good beginner dancing board due to its value, flex, pop, and smooth carving. It’s a durable board with many features found in pricier dancers.
Check out the dozens of positive reviews for the Magneto Bamboo Dancer here on Amazon.
8. Best pumping longboard for a beginner
Some beginners are specifically attracted to longboard pumping – in which you gain and maintain speed through body motion and weight shifting, without kick pushing.
Pumping is a fascinating style – my personal favorite (see this post). With the right technique, it’s possible to pump on pretty much any longboard. As a beginner though, pumping can be a challenge without the right setup.
A suitable pumpable deck will generally be medium-sized with a shortish wheelbase (e.g. around 20″), and have topmount trucks, a slight amount of flex, some concave for foot tucking, and solid wheel clearance for tight carves.
A good beginner pumping setup should generally include a loose TKP front truck with a high turning angle and soft bushings. The rear truck is more stable than the front, hence stiffer with harder bushings.
A great pumping longboard for newbie riders is the Loaded Poke fitted with Carver CX trucks and 70mm 4President wheels.
The reason the Poke works so well for beginner longboard pumping is its compact shape (34″), medium wheelbase (20.75″), large flares for wheel clearance, and subtle flex. Slight flex helps you when pumping by bouncing you up into your next turn.
The Poke’s subtle concave (0.5″) also help keep your feet tucked in when you pump and transition from rail to rail.
The Carver CX trucks combined with the grippy 4President wheels make the Poke setup highly pumpable (even from a stand still) and extremely agile. Big wide soft wheels give you the grip and roll speed you need for pumping.
The Carver CX truckset is pricey (around $100 for the set) but simply awesome for learning to pump, especially when set up with high-rebound soft bushings in the front (e.g. soft Orangatang Knuckles).
Check out the Loaded Poke “Surf simulation” setup on Loaded’s site.
See also my complete review of the Poke
9. Best beginner longboard for heavy riders
If you’re a heavy person looking to get into longboarding, your best bet is to go for a larger longboard with solid construction. Such a board will help you gain confidence, find your balance and stance, and become a proficient kick-pusher.
The Landyachtz Switch I’ve mentioned early is a particularly strong board, suitable for heavier beginners. In general, drop-throughs tend to be weaker than topmounts at the truck mount points, so the topmount Switch earns points as a very sturdy board.
The massive (40″ x 10″), stable (32″ wheelbase), low-riding platform of the Switch, and the secure feel provided by the concave, make it much easier for a heavier rider to become comfortable standing, pushing, and riding short or longer distances.
Check out the Switch on Landyachtz’s website
Alternatively, if you have the budget you can opt for one of Loaded’s indestructible beginner-friendly longboards such as the timeless Tan Tien (shorter at 39″) or Dervish Sama (bigger at 42″).
Best drop-through longboard for beginners
I’ve mentioned some of the longboards I find to be the best for a beginner based on your primary riding style. Along the way, I explained what a drop-through longboard is and what are some of the advantages for a beginner. I thought a recap would be helpful here if you’re considering starting on a drop-through:
- Drop-through longboards ride lower to the ground and are more stable, giving you confidence when learning
- Your feet sit comfortably between the truck mounts, making the board a bit less reactive which helps you keep your balance
- Drop-throughs generally have a relatively long wheelbase which lessens speed wobbles at some speed
- Learning to slide is easier on a drop-through than on a topmount
- Pushing requires less effort on a drop-through as the deck sits closer to the ground
The Magneto Bamboo Cruiser 42″ I mentioned at the start of this list (jump to section) is again an excellent drop-through to get started on. This drop-through board is durable, large enough for learning, and affordable for a beginner.
Thursday 13th of January 2022
Sunday 29th of March 2020
Any thoughts on the retrospec boards? They are selling on amazon and online on their own website as well for about 60 dollars. Some of the reviews say the boards themselves are okay but the rest is really cheap, I'd be curious to see what you would suggest about them and if you think they are worth getting what equipment to replace on them.
Sunday 29th of March 2020
I haven't tried these boards so I can't comment. Personally though I'd be wary of buying a complete this cheap unless I had spare quality trucks and wheels I can mount on it e.g. if I were interested in the deck's design. Even then, I'd investigate about the flex as big super-stiff decks are not great for cruising and pushing. Anyway if I do get a chance to try one, I'll share my experience for sure. Ride on!