If you’re a longboarder stuck in an area with no slopes, don’t despair, all is not lost. Flat land riding offers lots of great longboarding opportunities. The big question is, what kind of longboard should you choose for riding on flats.
The type of longboard that will work best for you on flat ground depends on your preferred riding style(s). There are 3 main types of longboard riding you can do on flat land in order to have a blast without the need for slopes:
- Pumping and carving
- Long distance pushing
- Flat land freestyle and dancing
In the next sections, I go over three of my top longboards for flat land riding.
Loaded Icarus: best longboard for flatland pumping & carving
The Loaded Icarus is a mid-sized 38.4″ long (and 8.6″ wide) symmetrical cutout shape with a 28.25″ wheelbase and a drop through design. The Icarus’s flex and cambered profile results in high bounce and energy when pumping on flats.
What gives the Icarus its amazing flex and bounce is its advanced composite construction sandwiching a vertically-laminated bamboo core between triaxial fiberglass layers, with a cork laminate bottom layer for vibration dampening.
The 180mm Paris trucks that come with the Icarus are extremely responsive. The trucks, special flex, sophisticated concave and wheelflares of this board make it an exceptional longboard for pumping and carving on flats.
The huge 80mm Orangatang Kegel wheels are a good fit for the Icarus for a pumping & carving style – the deck’s wheel flares provide enough clearance for them. The 83A durometer provides a good mix of speed and grip for grip when carving.
Many riders agree the Loaded Icarus is the ultimate carving and pumping machine for flat ground.
Check out the Icarus recommended setups here on Loaded’s website.
For in an-depth review of the Loaded Icarus see this article.
Loaded Tan Tien: best longboard for distance pushing on flats
The Tan Tien is a 39″ x 8.75″ (27″ wheelbase) symmetrical shape with large wheel cutouts and a drop-through mount style. It’s renowned for its comfort, durability, and pushability.
The Tan Tien has Loaded’s special hybrid bamboo + fiberglass construction giving it the special flex Loaded is for – the TT comes in 3 flex options. This longboard is astonishingly lightweight for its size (around 5lb) is is renowed for being virtually indestructable.
The drop-through design lowers he Tan Tien’s ride height for comfortable pushing. The deck’s special curvatures provide a comfy and secure feel when riding fast and turning.
The Paris 180mm trucks that come with the complete are highly responsive, super smooth, and with a relatively low height, adding to the deck’s pushing comfort.
Paris V2 180mm trucks (50º) which are highly responsive, super smooth, and with a relatively low ride height. The “Carving” recommended setup includes the Orangatang Stimulus 70mm wheels, large and soft with 80A duro which offer a nice mix of grip and slide.
The Tan Tien is often compared with the Icarus for flat land riding since both of them are mid-sized twintips with energetic flex and responsive contours.
While both can work well for carving, pumping, or pushing, the Icarus has the edge when it comes to pumping & carving.
Check out the Loaded Tan Tien recommended setups here on Loaded’s website.
For more in-depth information on the Tan Tien see this article.
Loaded Bhangra: best longboard for flat land dancing & freestyle
If your goal is longboard freestyle and/or dancing on flat ground, the Loaded Bhangra is a very obvious choice – still the undisputed leader even 10 years after its first release.
See also the top 6 dancing longboard.
At 48.5″ in length (32.75″ wheelbase), the Bhangra (now V2) offers a huge foot platform for uber–comfortable footwork, a buttery-smooth ride and responsive contours for effortless carving, and a highly-durable bamboo construction you can throw around without fear.
The Bhangra gives you exceptional ride comfort and confidence while still feeling nimble and very trickable. The large double kicks, among other things, greatly facilitate freestyle tricks such as pivots, no-complies, and manuals.
Riders repeatedly rave about the Bhangra’s outstanding dancing experience and forgiving feel for learning and perfecting freestyle moves.
The Loaded Bhangra has a high-end composite construction resulting in a combination of sturdiness and flex. Each of the 2 flex options is suitable for a different mix of flatland flowy carving/dancing vs kick/flip freestyle tricks.
Check out the Bhangra complete setups here on Loaded’s website.
For a full in-depth review of the Bhangra see this article.
How to choose a good longboard for flat land riding
Pumping & carving on flat
One of the coolest longboarding styles on flat ground is pumping. If you’re new to this, pumping involves generating speed on your longboard without kick pushing, through small and fast successive turns you initiate through a rotating motion from your shoulders down to you hips and feet.
Pumping is a fantastic longboarding discipline riders are very passionate about – I have in-depth articles on it such as this one.
While some riders like to pump for speed on flat land for miles on end (long distance pumping), others prefer carving, i.e. drawing nice and flowy turns, drawing curves on the ground as they would on a wave or in snow.
A good longboard for pumping and carving on flat land will generally be mid-sized (under 40″) with some flex for energy. A topmount deck provides the best leverage in turns. A loose front truck with a high turning angle and a stable rear truck is optimal for powerful pumping and tight carves.
Long-distance pushing on flat
If you get your stoke from pushing – or skogging – 15-30-mile flat paved asphalt bike trails across the city, you need a long distance pushing (LDP) style board.
A good LDP longboard needs to ride the lowest possible to minimize the travel for your foot from the deck to the ground for pushing. A low riding deck also reduces the effort required for bending your opposite knee to allow your kick foot to reach the ground.
The lowest-riding longboards for LDP are typically drop-through, drop deck, or “double drop“. The latter feature not only a drop in their platform near the truck mounts, but are also drop-through mounted, meaning the trucks are mounted across the deck which further lowers your ride.
Your flat land LDP longboard deck should be on the larger side for comfort (it may be 40″+), relatively stiff for stability, with not too much concave to keep your feet free-moving. The trucks should be stable enough so your board holds its course high-energy hard kick pushes.
A good flatland LDP board should have big soft wheels for maximum roll and grip and smooth cushioning when rolling over cracks, bumps, and pebbles.
Flatland longboard freestyle and dancing
Besides pumping/carving and LDP, the third type of riding that will give you great stoke on flat ground is freestyle & dancing. Freestyle involves skillful kick and flip tricks including manuals, pivots, shuvits, cavemans, as well as slides.
Dancing is a stylish and artsy subset of longboard freestyle which focuses primarily on boardwalking, cross-stepping, and pirouetting while keeping the longboard moving through continous carves. Freestyle kick tricks and flatland dance moves are often combined into an attractive technical style.
A good longboard for flatland freestyle tricks and dancing generally features a very large deck, often 45″ or longer. The deck shape should have good clearance for the (slidy) wheels but without really big cutouts to avoid exposing the wheels to foot contact.
Flatland freestyle boards are generally fitted with flowy and carvy yet stable enough trucks to allow the rider to easily carve while maintaining his/her balance when performing jump/kick tricks or subtle balancing boardwalking.
Wheels on a freestyle/dancing board range from large and soft for grippy carving to smaller and rounded for easy sliding, depending on the tricks-vs-dance mix the rider chooses.
(1) Featured image: “The Fastest You Can Push” – Photo: @ChristianRosillo – Rider: @Ari_shark – Courtesy Loaded Boards