Beginner longboarders are often at a loss when it comes to choosing a first longboard. There are so many brands and models out there, and so many factors to take into account. Choosing your first board really is a daunting task.
In this article, I will recommend specific longboards which I think are among the best beginner boards for each riding style and rider type. Obviously, the boards I mention here are not your only choices, but my best picks based on my longboarding experience and market knowledge.
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
All the longboards I mention in this article are good-quality boards from reputable brands (no Chinese knock-offs) that will not fall apart quickly, are strong and safe enough for a beginner, and will remain relevant past your initial learning stages.
Also check out my brand new Longboard Selector Tool – a quiz-based tool for choosing the right longboard for your needs!
1. Best all-around riding & cruising longboard for beginners
The concept of an “all-around” longboard is a bit blurry since each feature of a longboard serves a specific purpose, so truly “do-it-all” longboards don’t really exist. However, our focus on beginners narrows down things a bit.
For a beginner, “all-around” typically means cruising and pushing around, traveling short distances on pavement or bike paths, and carving down small slopes.
For this kind of versatile use, the Magneto Bamboo Cruiser 42″ is a pretty good match. It’s a very affordable (< $150) yet quality-built board. 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, ouch…) very unlikely including in tight turns.
Although this is a beginner longboard, it has a strong bamboo + maple hybrid construction, making it super-durable yet flexy. 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 below it. As a result, the board rides lower to the ground, which makes kick-pushing much easier for a beginner.
The pros: a big board with large wheels for comfortable and stable cruising including at higher speeds. Great for pushing, bike paths, small commutes, small hills. The flexy bamboo helps you improve your turning and carving.
The cons: a bit bulky for carrying around, a bit large for riding in tight city neighborhoods. Drop-throughs are not as responsive and turny as topmount boards (but more stable).
Check out the many good reviews for the Magneto Bamboo Cruiser 42″ on Amazon
Also see my complete review of the Magneto Bamboo Cruiser here.
2. Best city cruising & commuting longboard for a beginner
As a beginner, are you looking to get a longboard primarily for city riding around the city? And by “city” I mean busy streets, alleys, sidewalks and zebra crossings, traffic – even though you can also count on some bike paths and city parks.
City cruising and commuting typically have different requirements for a longboard compared to riding around in the suburbs or in a small town. You need a more compact, responsive, and fast-turning board.
While mini-cruisers like the Landyachtz Dinghy are a very popular option for city riding, many of them are suitable for riders with some experience. As a beginner, you still want something stable and progressive enough.
The Loaded Omakase is a very good choice for beginner city riding. At 33.5″, it’s a compact and portable longboard, but the unusual 10″ width (vs 8 or 9″ for cruisers of similar length) makes it super stable and very secure for learning.
This is a Loaded so the build quality and extreme durability are a given. At around $260, it’s pricier than most regular beginner boards, but will take you way past the beginner stage – it’s also a great board for advanced riding.
The Omakase has an advanced bamboo + fiberglass construction for high strength and performance. Overkill for a beginner? Not necessarily. After all, who more than a beginner needs a strong board? Besides, this board is so versatile it will speed up your learning instead of hindering it.
A word about the shape: the Omakase has an amazing rocker (lengthwise curvature) which makes it low-riding for a topmount. It also has a pronounced concave (widthwise curvature) which provides nice foot lock-in and a very secure feel riding for a beginner.
The big wheel flares prevent any wheelbite despite the huge, super comfortable 75mm wheels (with the Grip’n’Rip setup). The Paris trucks are top-of-the-line. If you want to invest in a great board to learn and progress on in the city over time, this is your guy.
Also check out my complete review of the Omakase here.
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 need a dropped (or double-drop) deck.
A dropped deck, aka dropped platform or drop-down, has the foot platform lower than the truck mount points (a drop), resulting in your feet riding closer to the ground. This gives you more stability and easier pushing.
A dropped deck which is also drop-through mounted is referred to as a double-drop, the lowest-riding type of longboard. As such, it’s great for beginners and for long-distance pushers/commuters.
The Landyachtz Switch 40 is a very popular and versatile longboard, well-suited for beginners. At 40″ by 10″ with a long 32″ wheelbase, it has an ample and comfortable foot platform with a significant drop, and a topmount truck design.
The drop and construction make the Switch very low riding, great for pushing and for long commutes. This longboard also has a steep concave which gives you snug foot placement and a secure feel when riding faster.
The soft 70mm Hawgs wheels with Space Balls bearings offer fast and smooth-rolling, good cushioning for rough terrain, and strong grip for turns. The Grizzly RKP trucks are renowned for their responsiveness.
If you’re a beginner looking for a comfortable and fast longboard for your daily commutes, the Landyachtz quality and the low-ride shape of the Switch make it a very good option.
Check out the Landyatchz Switch on Amazon
4. Best carving longboard for beginners
Carving is the first thing you’ll learn as a beginner longboard once you go past the initial steps of learning to stand, push and turn on your board (see my essential beginner tips).
Carving consists in making successive turns on your longboard, similar to snowboarding or surfing. You can carve on flat for a great feeling, or you can carve turns when riding downhill to reduce your speed.
A good carving board is a very responsive and turny one. Topmounts (trucks mounted under the deck) are most responsive but less stable than drop-throughs. However, good carving boards come in both styles.
For a beginner, a drop-through carving board is a good choice because of the added stability. For a drop-through to be well-suited for carving, however, it should have a shorter, somewhat flexy deck, and turny trucks.
The Sector 9 Streak Striker is a beginner-friendly, quality carver. Its 36.5″ length, narrowish width (9.5″), and medium-size 26″ wheelbase (distance between trucks) 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 Streaker Striker here on Sector 9´s website
5. Best freeride longboard for a beginner
If your dream is to learn longboarding for freeriding and sliding downhill, you’ll need a board stable enough for speed and that you can easily push out into slides. Sliding is fundamental for freeriding since that’s how you control your speed.
There are many types of longboards suitable for freeride, including topmounts and drop-throughs. Drop-throughs are more stable and easier to steer for beginners, though generally not as responsive. Advanced riders tend to like topmounts for faster and tighter turns.
Low-riding boards such as drop-throughs and drop-downs are generally a bit harder to push into slides as their gravity center is lower, but easier to control during the slide.
A drop-down will feel safest for learning to slide, but once you progress you may soon want something more responsive.
Conversely, on a topmount you can typically break traction with less effort, but more skills are required to control the slide, it can be a bit scary at first. A drop-through is a good compromise between stability and “slidability” for a beginner.
The Landyachyz Drop Cat 38 is an excellent drop-through longboard for learning to freeride. At 38″ 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″ wheelbase and a strong truck-to-truck rocker making the board super low riding.
However, instead of a drop near the trucks, the rockered standing platform rises higher than the mounts points at both ends, which results in better 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 which 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 very solid and innovative product overall I definitely recommend for a beginner.
Check out the Landyachtz Drop Cat 38″ on Amazon.
UPDATE: check out this newer version of the Drop Cat
6. Best freestyle longboard for beginner
If you’re a beginner longboarder looking to get into freestyle, you’re faced with quite a broad range of options for your first longboard.
Freestyle riding includes different styles such as street riding, longboard tricks, and dancing.
Classic longboard freestyle involving manuals, pivots, switch riding, flip tricks, etc can be performed on many kinds of medium or full-sized longboards. They’re generally twin-shaped with a roomy platform, large wheel cutouts, and big kicks. See this other post for more info.
Street riding, on the other hand, is about city slashing: ollying over curbs and obstacles, doing kick and jump tricks, leveraging the urban landscape. Park and pool riding is also part of this riding style.
The new Loaded Coyote is a great city slasher for beginner longboarders. At 30.75″, it’s as compact as a street deck. It has a large kicktail and a small nose kick for jumps and manuals. The deck construction is very stiff for tricks.
In addition to its small and ollie-friendly shape, the Coyote’s awesome concave gives you really nice foot lock-it when slashing the streets or riding a bowl. The big wheel flares allow for all sorts of rad turns without any wheelbite.
The Coyote is also a great cruiser that provides an amazingly smooth and comfortable ride, including on sidewalks and rough pavement – much more so than the popular Landyachtz Dinghy.
The 129mm Paris trucks are super-responsive, and the big (for the deck size) 65mm Orangatang wheels are fast and comfy, even on rough terrain.
They make for an unusually smooth riding experience for beginners on such a compact board. Once your freestyle skills improve, however, you can opt for smaller and harder wheels for more technical sliding.
I’ve been riding the Coyote for a while now, it’s now my top city board. Super-portable, I can take it everywhere and carry it around easily. It’s great for ollies, tricks, and bowl. It’s also very nice for cruising and city transport.
For me, Loaded has really nailed it this time with this city slasher.
See also my complete review of the Coyote here.
7. Best dancing longboard for beginners
If your primary goal for getting into longboarding is to learn to dance, you need to choose a board specifically designed for it. Dancing longboards are also generally well-suited for doing freestyle tricks as well – dancing is often viewed as a subset of longboard freestyle.
In summary, a dancing longboard should have a large foot platform for boardwalking and cross-stepping, a long wheelbase for stability while moving, responsive trucks and leverage for easy carving, and a functional nose and tail kick for tricks. Check out this other post to learn more.
The Loaded Bhangra is still the undisputed all-time favorite in the dancing longboarding community. It’s also a great beginner board, however its price tag (a little under $400 for the V2) may deter you if you’re not sure dancing is for you.
A much more affordable alternative for beginner dancers is the Magneto Bamboo Dancer, priced at around $150 for the complete. This is a durable topmount deck with an ample and comfortable 46″ by 9.5″ platform for boardwalking.
The Magneto dancer is built from a durable blend of bamboo and fiberglass, similar to premium dancer boards. As a result, the Magneto deck has the right amount of flex for dancing, stiff enough for stability when walking but flexy enough for easy carving and smooth riding.
The Dancer’s functional double-kicks are designed for manuals, shove-its, and flip tricks. The shallow deck concave helps nicely with carving and secure foot placement but without hindering your dancing moves.
The Magneto dancer’s cambered profile (slightly higher in the center than at the mount points) gives the board a bit of energetic spring and added responsiveness when stepping and carving.
Riders generally vet this Magneto board as a good beginner dancing board due to its value, flex, pop, and carving smoothness. It’s a durable board with many of the features found in pricier dancers.
Check out the dozens of positive reviews on the Magneto Bamboo Dancer Amazon page.
8. Best pumping longboard for a beginner
I’ve had many questions from people wanting to stat longboarding specifically for pumping – a riding style in which you gain and maintain speed by shifting your weight from side to side without pushing.
Pumping is a fascinating style – my personal favorite (see this post for more). With the right technique, it’s possible to pump on pretty much any longboard. As a beginner though, pumping can be a challenge unless you have the right setup.
A good pumpable deck should 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 good wheel clearance for hard carves.
A good beginner pumping setup typically includes a loose, thinner 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.
One of the best longboards I’ve used for pumping is the Loaded Omakase (which I mentioned earlier) fitted with Carver CX trucks and 75mm Orangatang In-Heat wheels (80A durometer).
The reason the Omakase works so well for beginner (and advanced) longboard pumping is the large width and short length (33.5″ x 10″), medium wheelbase (20-22″ adjustable), large wheel flares for clearance.
It also has the right amount of concave with uplifted rails for carving leverage. Meanwhile, the bamboo + fiberglass construction offers optimal flex for energetic pumps.
The Carver CX trucks are quite pricey (around $100 for the set) but they are simply awesome for learning to pump, especially when set up with high-rebound soft bushings in the front (e.g. soft Orangatang Knuckles).
For wheels, big soft wheels will give you the grip and roll speed you need for pumping. The 70mm Stimulus, as mentioned, or the 75mm Orangatang In Heats are both good options for a beginner pumping longboard.
To recap, the Omakase with CX trucks is a great setup for new longboarders looking to get into pumping.
You can order the Carver CX truck set from Carver or from your local surf or skate shop.
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 Landyatchz Switch on Amazon