What is freeride longboarding ?

If you’re new to longboarding, you may be wondering what freeride longboarding is and how it compares to other longboarding disciplines.

Freeride longboarding involves downhill riding at low to high speed but with a focus on performing power slides to control speed.  While downhill riding is mainly about reaching maximum speeds, freeriders seek to perform slides, spins, and other technical tricks that also serve to slow down the board.

So the main skills involved in freeride longboarding somewhat differ from other longboarding disciplines – cruising, which  focuses on foot pushing and maneuvering at low speed along roads and city streets;  Carving, which involves riding through successive impulse turns.  And freestyle, closest to street skating with its technical stunts.

If you’re a beginner longboarder, freeriding is good way to learn riding faster than on flat ground while controlling your board’s speed.

Freeriding : control speed with slides

Power slides are a central technique in freeride longboarding.  As you’re riding downhill, sliding means turning your longboard hard sideways across the slope, pushing your body weight onto one rail so the wheels lose traction, stop spinning and start drifting sideways in a controlled way. The friction of the drifting wheels makes you lose speed quickly.

Slides are the bread and butter of freeride longboarding.  Not only do freeriders perform slides to control their speed, like in downhill / racing, but they seek to do them with style – sliding is an end goal of itself (vs mainly speed in downhill ).  This is an important aspect to understand as to what freeride longboarding is.

There are many sorts of slides, but these are some of the most common ones.

Stand up slide

The most basic type or slide, performed standing by pushing out the longboard sideways and extending your legs and shifting your weight backwards.

180 slide

Similar to a regular stand-up slide, but followed by a 180º turn.  That is, after pushing the longboard 90º to slide, you push it another 90º to get it back into the slope but with your stance switched.

Speed check

You push the board into a slide by either pushing forward with your back foot heel (heelside) or pushing backward with your back foot toes (toeside).  Then after drifting you push the board back into its normal rolling direction.  https://riders.co/en/longboard/v/pbQCAA8v

Coleman slide

A slide in which you lean so much as to touch the road and place your hand on it (using a slide glove) as you’re turning 90º into the drift.

Sitdown check

Similar to the Coleman but without placing a hand on the ground.  After pushing the board into the slide, you crouch facing downhill, so low that you’re almost sitting on the board.



In this slide, you put your hand down and swing your board across your body past a 90º angle with the road all the way to 180º, riding backwards a moment (wheels roll in reverse direction), before sliding back into the normal forward facing direction.   https://riders.co/en/longboard/v/6zUDAA27


Drifting is simply mixing normal riding and stand up sliding to achieve controlled speed, by shifting your weight between normal stance and slide stance.  Drifting is often used for controlled turns in corners.  Pre-drifting means doing a light drift before a sharp turn.

Getting started in freeride longboarding

If you’re just getting into longboarding or have been longboarding for transportation or just cruising around, you already have the basics down in terms of balancing and steering.

If your next goal is to get speed and ride down steeper hills, you first need to learn how to stop ! Foot braking will only take you so far, to ride downhill you really need to learn to slide.

One way to familiarize yourself with weight shifting for speed control, is to practice carving, i.e. successive turns performed by shifting your body weight into your toes then ankles, pushing hard into the board rail for deep turns.

When you’re carving, you’re just one step away from sliding – there are times when you end up actually sliding a bit as you lean deep into a turn.

Once you’re comfortable performing the S-shaped carves, you can start experimenting with gentle stand up slides on a mild slope, since by now you have some grasp of how to shift your weight from rail to rail.

Start practicing soft heelside stand up sliding, by quickly turning your board sideways across the slope while at speed, and pushing both legs out to get the board drifting.

A key skill you’ll need for freeride longboarding is riding switch, that is, riding opposite your natural stance.  If you’re a regular footer, this means riding with your right foot forward, if you’re goofy, with your left foot forward.

Being comfortable in switch stance is crucial for more advanced slides and 180s.

What makes a good freeride longboard ?

You can freeride on pretty much any longboard.  Some boards, however, are better suited for beginner freeriders, while others have characteristics that advanced freeriders like best.

So what makes a good freeride longboard for a beginner freerider ?

Freeride deck shape

Freeride boards are usually symmetrical (bi-directional) to facilitate spinning and riding both ways – in contrast to pure downhill speedboards which are often directional.  Some hybrid freeride/freestyle boards have kicktails.

Most freeride boards are between 38″ and 42″ in length with a wheelbase between 24 to 29″.  Normal width is between 8.5 and 10″.  Some experienced freeride longboarders like shorter decks for more agility and maneuvreablity.  As a beginner however, you would normally prefer stability.

Freeride mount style

Freeride longboards may be drop-through, drop platform, or topmount – in fact, any mount type will work for freeriding.  Drop decks (aka platforms), however, are best for beginners since they are closest to the ground, providing stability that makes it easier to start sliding on.

Drop-through decks are good for intermediate freeriders.  While still hanging low and stable, they are thinner and lighter than drop decks and easier to push out into slides.  Drop-through decks for freeriding should have little to no flex for stability at speed.

Some advanced riders prefer topmounts because they offer better grip, more control around turns and during slides (many downhill riders also prefer topmounts).  They are higher off the ground however,  and hence less stable and harder to learn sliding on.

Well rated drop platform freeride longboards include Earthwing Road Killer, Landyachtz SwitchBlade (double drop down = drop deck + drop through mount).

Well rated drop-through freeride boards include the Rayne Vendetta, Landyachtz Nine to Five, Greenfoot Arbutus.

Well rated freeriding topmounts include Greenfoot Bonsai, Comet Grease Hammer, Comet Takeover.

Freeride deck profile

You want a deck with a strong amount of concave for secure foot placement and foot lock-in.  If you’re a beginner, a simple concave (e.g. radial) will work, vs a more advanced concave (W concave) which may be get in your way as you practice.

Concave refers to the deck’s curve along its width. Rocker designates the curvature along the length. A deck with rocker has its midpoint lower than the truck mount points.  More rocker makes it easier and more stable to get into slides.

What makes good freeriding longboard trucks ?

Your freeriding trucks should be strong as they will have to withstands lots of pressure in all directions as you slide and spin at high speed.

Freeriders often recommend reverse kingpin trucks (trucks facing away from each other) from reputable brands such as Randal, Bear or Paris.

Beginners may choose trucks of regular width (180mm), while more advanced riders may choose somewhat smaller trucks (e.g. 160mm) for faster turning.

The truck’s base angle you select will depend on your freeriding skills.  Truck manufacturers often offer truck angles of 40-45º or 50-55º .   Higher angles are less forgiving, i.e. less stability, but better slides.  Lower angles mean more stability but harder sliding.

The bushing seats in your freeriding trucks should not keep the bushings from moving.  The bushings themselves should be medium hard depending on your weight – e.g. 87a if you’re around 150lb, 90A if you’re around 200lb.

What are good wheels for freeride longboarding ?

As a freerider you should typically pick wheels with diameter between 68 and 72 mm, and a low-to-medium hardness between 78A and 82A for balance between grip and sliding ability.

Factors affecting your exact choice will include :

  • your weight : more weight = harder wheels
  • your level : sliding ability and durability (hard wheels) vs control (soft wheels)
  • the type of surface you’ll be riding on (smooth, curbs etc)

Your wheels lip profile is also important.  Freeriders tyically choose rounded wheels with bevelled edges. These have a smaller contact patch that create less friction and are easier to push sideways – making for better and more predictable sliding.

This is in contrast to sharp edged downhill wheels, which offer more grip in turns but are harder to slide.

Another subtle factor advanced freeriders take into account when choosing wheels, is the core placement, which measures how far the bearing is positioned into the wheel.  This affects the way the wheels get into, and out of, slides.

I won’t get into details here, but you should know that centerset wheels provide for mor comfortable sliding for new freeriders.

Bearings are not that important for freeriding, just get low price bearings with decent quality.  You should, however, add spacers to protect the bearings from wearing out fast with your sliding- that is, assuming your bearings don’t have spacers already built-in.

Wrapping up

If you want to get your adrenaline up, yet are not looking to get into racing or record breaking downhill, freeriding may well be for you.

Freeride longboarding is similar to freeride snowboarding, it’s about the freedom and pleasure of riding down a hill while elegantly controlling your speed and course through highly skilled sliding and turning maneuvers.

As you start mastering the art of sliding on your longboard, chances are you’ll soon be hooked on freeriding.




Is longboarding a good workout ? Top health benefits of board riding

Is longboarding a good workout

So you’re thinking about getting a longboard to improve your fitness.  You figure riding a longboard is fun, great for transportation, and will get you moving and potentially shed some weight / fat and build muscle.

Is longboarding a good workout ? It certainly is.  Some of the benefits longboarding has on your health are :

  • Cardio workout : riding makes you move continuously
  • Balance workout : maintaining and changing positions on a moving surface
  • Strength workout : your core muscles and lower body muscles are put to serious work
  • Joints : balancing and turning involve many joints in your body

You may have read that longboarding can make you burn 300 to 450 calories per hour depending on how much you weight (harvard medical school study), which means it can help you lose 1/2 to 1 pound per week is you ride everyday – of course, it also depends on your calories intake.

You may also know that cardio exercise in general elevates your heart rate, with your lungs moving more oxygen to your muscles, strengthen your heart and increases lung capacity.

These are just two of the health benefits of longboarding.  With these facts out of the way, let’s look more specifically at how good a workout longboading is.

As you can imagine, leisurely cruising around on your longboard, pulling freestyle kick tricks, or tucking downhill are quite different kinds of workout.

In the rest of this article, we’ll examine each longboarding riding style and assess how good a workout each provides in terms of cardio training, balance, strength, and joint mobility.  In addition to the health benefits, we’ll also mention any potential negative impact of each longboarding discipline.

Is cruising on a longboard a good workout ?

Cardio workout : low to medium.

Cruising involves intermittent to continuous pushing with your foot, which can get your heart pumping if you’re doing it fast and strong.

Mellow pushing is probably not as intense as inline skating for example, which has been shown to bring the skater’s heart rate to 140-160 beats per minute.  However, if you ride your longboard every day for long distance commuting, you have a nice long cardio workout.

Balance workout  : medium.

Foot pushing and cruising on a larger longboard is a good balance workout : you have to balance your body on your leg while your rear leg is pushing, requiring you to stabilize your center of gravity as the board moves.

You also need to readjust your balance and stance as you bring your rear foot back onto the deck and rotate both feet into riding stance.

Stength workout : medium

Your front quadriceps and calf work hard while you’re standing on your front leg during pushing.  Your core muscles are strongly engaged to make up for the missing leg on the deck.  Your glutes are the biggest muscle at work in maintaining yourself stable while pushing.

Joint workout : medium

The pushing leg extends your hip to lower your foot to the ground, your hip muscles flex as your back foot gives impulses the ground.  Your lumbar spinal muscles are engaged to keep your lower back straight during the asymmetrical push position. Your ankles play a key role as well.

Possible negative impact

Pushing gets you in a contiuous asymmetrical position on the longboard.  As a result your right and left muscles and joints work unevenly, whih can cause muscle imbalances over time.

Make sure to keep your spine straight while pushing.  Also, let yourself slide for long enough in between push so your body gets a chance to realign.

Is carving a good workout ?

Cardio workout : low

Carving involves doing successive turns on your longboard in a S pattern, without pushing.  It involves shifting your body weight and bending your knees are the right time.  It typically does not get your heart rate high.

Balance workout : high

Carving is all about balance.  To take your longboard into successive turns, you have to shift your weight forward into your toes and backward into your heals.  These are subtle shifts of your center of gravity, you need to find just the right amount based on how your longboard reacts (see What is carving on a longboard).

Mastering carving on your longboard will shoot your balance skills through the roof.

Strength workout : medium

The strength training aspect of carving mainly involves flexing your knees into a half squats right before a turn and extending them back after the turn – working your glutes, quads and calves.

The constant weight shifting and balancing also engages and works your core muscles : abs, TA or transversus abdominis, multifidus, hip muscles.

Joint workout

Carving requires high joint mobility as your upper body rotates in the direction you’re going (left or right).  To initiate a turn, your head, shoulders, hips and ankles rotate in turn, in a wave like movement.

Carving is a nice and soft joint workout that can help improve your body’s overall mobility.

Possible negative impact

If you suffer from back pain, you may have some stiffness in your lower back or hips.  Beware of spinal rotation, make sure your rotate at your hips instead of at your lower spine (see Hip hinging in this article).

Is longboard freestyle a good workout ?

Cardio workout : highest

Freestyle tricks get you jumping fast and turning your longboard mid-air with your feet.  Now that will get your heart pumping ! One hour of freestyle riding is a much more intense cardio session than cruising around or inline skating.

Balance workout : high

Dooing freestyle tricks is the riding style that demands the most balance and coordination since you’re constantly jumping off the board, even taking off and landing (skate park).  Mastering these tricks will greatly develop your balance skills.

Strength workout : medium

Freestyle riding requires more balance and flexibility than pure strength.  The moves are fast and swift but typically don’t require prolonged flexing of your external muscles, though your inner core muscles certainly get one hell of a workout.

Joint workout : highest

This is were freestyle longboarding provides the best workout.  The quick multidimensional whole body movements put great demand on your joints with explosive flexing / extensions and high range of motion on multiple joints in rapid succession.

Possible negative impact

Freestyle longboarding may potentially be hard on your joints, e.g. when landing after a jump (knees and spine) or spinning on your board (hips and lower spine).

However, longboarding tricks are typically more about technique than height so the impact for most riders is not nearly as bad as traditional street skateboarding.

How good a workout is freeriding on a longboard ?

Cardio workout : low

Freeriding is about riding downhill at moderate speeds while performing certain technical maneuvers to control speed and have fun.  It involves limited heart pumping actions.

Balance workout : high

Freeriding on a longboard involves a lot of carving and sliding.  Carving requires strong balance control for successive turns.

Sliding is also a demanding balancing exercise which requires you to turn your longboard sideways across the slope and put your body weight on your board’s uphill rail, so the wheels break traction and start sliding.

You need very good balancing skills for sliding, since unlike snowboarding, misjudging the amount of body weight you put on the rail can have dramatic consequences (read : tipping over and smashing the pavement).

Strength workout : medium

When freeriding your longboard downhill you need to maintain a solid stance for a potentially long amount of time.  As you carving to control speed your lower body (glutes, quads, hamstrings, ankles) gets a good workout.

Heavy sliding can also put massive pressure on your glutes and quads as you push hard on the rail to get the wheels to slide sideways.  Core muscles work hard on balancing as well.

Freeriding gives you a pretty good strength workout, althoug your mucles do get to rest between slides.

Joint workout : medium

Like carving, freeriding enrolls your knees, ankles, hips, shoulder and lower back for turning.  Your knees, hips and ankles must also be able to withstand a lot of flexing for hard sliding.  Weakness in any of these joints will limit the amount of sliding, and hence turning ability and speed, that you can do comfortably.

One good thing about freeriding is that your joints are sometimes able to rest between carves and slides, allowing your body to recover before for the next turn.

Possible negative impact

Sliding at high speed can be very hard on the knees and ankles. Technique is important for a gradual control of speed.  Consider doing some cross training to reinforce your joints, e.g. snowboarding.

Does speed boarding offer a good workout ?

Cardio workout : low

Speed downhill longboarding primarily involves getting into and holding an optimized, minimum air resistance position body position (tuck) for maxiumum speed.

Balance workout : medium

You must be able to remain tucked at high speed, leaning forward with one knee behind the other, a very unstable stance.  You must also be able to shift your weight to the side to adjust course and steer at high speed.

Strength workout : medium

Holding a tuck does require leaning into your front thigh with your knees flexed for long periods of time. This builds strength and endurance in your  front quads, glutes, calves and lower back.

Joint workout : medium

Pressure is primarily on your knees and back ankle, and sometimes in your lumbar area particularly for tucks that involve curving your back (“European” tuck).

Possible negative impact

The tuck position is asymmetrical so you might develop muscle imbalances if you speed ride intensively – switching stance is not easy once you have your tuck and balance figured out.

Wrapping up

Longboarding clearly is a great workout, and as such, offers fantastic health benefits in terms cardio fitness, balance skills, strength training and joint reinforcement and mobility.  How you ride your longboard – and how much you do – will determine in which area(s) you’ll see the most improvement from your skating workouts.

How fast can you go on a longboard ?

How fast can you go on a longboard

Longboarding is an awesome way to move around, much faster than walking.  Longboards are typically faster than skateboards due to their larger wheelbase (distance between trucks) and bigger wheels.

Just how fast can you go on a longboard ? Longboarding speed typically ranges from 15 mph when cruising, to 50-65 mph when downhill riding. 

You actual speed will depend on your riding style, your ability to push and pump, the kind of slope you ride on, your weight, the board you’re riding, your speed tuck, and how well you can brake !

Longboarding speed range

When pushing around town for transportation, you’ll usually get to cruising speeds of 15 to 30 mph.  If you carve down a hill, depending on how steep the hill is, your speed may go up to anywhere between 30 and 50 mph.

More advanced riders engaging in downhill racing push their speed in the 50s range, up to 65 mph for the most serious.  These speeds may seem unimpressive when driving a car, but become much scarier when you think about someone standing on a small wood deck mounted on urethane wheels.

Extreme downhill riders are able to reach speeds in the 80s and even 90s mph range.

Longboarding speed and weight

How fast you can go on a longboard is also a factor of weight.

You may think lighter means faster, but in longboard racing, a heavier rider (with experience) actually has an advantage in straight lines.  He/she and may be able to outspeed lighter riders by as much as 10-15 mph.

Between two riders using the same tuck position, the heavier rider is usually faster on a straight track.  The rider’s mass maintains more speed and counters air resistance, which more than makes up for the stronger wheels friction due by more weight.

In curves, however, a heavier rider may lose speed to a lighter rider with equivalent skills, as it’s harder for the former to hold the line without sliding out (makes him/her slow down).

The longboard weight is not a big determining factor in speed – although lighter riders sometimes choose heavier boards to partially make up for their disadvantage against bigger riders.

The speed boarding tuck

A fundamental aspect of speed riding is your tucking technique (aka the tuck).  Tucking is a position you get in on your longboard to minimize your body’s air resistance, making yourself aerodynamic.  Your tuck is a key determinant of how fast you can go on your longboard.

The best tuck for minimizing your frontal profile when riding at high speed is to tuck your back knee behind your front knee while leaning into your front thigh, with your arms tucked behing your back.

There are other variations to this tuck (the “American” tuck) :

  • back knee behind front ankle – back curved, lower position, harder to hold for a long time
  • back knee against your front calf
  • back knee onto the board deck behind your front knee – not so good for air profile, but restful for long  rides.

Mastering your tuck is important if your goal is to ride faster downhill on your longboard.  Wearing an elongated helmet and a good leather speed suit will also help reduce air friction and improve speed (in addition to saving your life).

Gaining speed on flat ground

How fast can get on your longboard when not riding slopes ? The speed you can achieve depends on two things : your pushing skills and your pumping skills.

To gain decent initial speed you need to perform an effective push.  The secret to an efficient push lies in a stable body position :  as your lower foot drops to the floor to push off, your back should remain straight and your shoulders and hips should keep facing forward (no rotation).

After the initial impulse, you need to start pumping to maintain and build up speed.  Pumping is a fantastic technique that involves shifting your weight from one rail (edge) of your board to the other, making successive turns, impulsing power and speed to your longboard in each turn.

If you master pumping, you can go relatively fast on your longboard through successive body weight shifts, without setting foot on the ground, be it on flat land or very mild slopes.  Click here to learn about the carving riding style.

Braking at speed

How fast you can go on your longboard is closely ties to how quickly and reliably you can stop.  Thus braking is an essential aspect of riding fast on a longboard.

The most basic way to stop is foot braking, that is, dragging your foot on the ground in order to lose speed through friction. Obviously, this works at low speeds, but you shouldn’t rely on foot braking when riding downhill at speeds above 20 mph .  Also, foot braking will destroy even the sturdiest shoes very fast.

Sliding is a very effective way to reduce speed and even to stop.  The better you can slide, the faster you’ll be comfortable riding on your longboard.  Sliding, however, is technical and often considered an advanced skill.

Sliding invoves pushing your longboard sideways, perpendicular to the slope instead of facing downhill, so the wheels lose grip and start sliding sideways (skidding instead of rolling).  The strong friction of the wheels against the ground will make your board lose speed fast.

Various types of slides are used in different situations, e.g. to control descent speed (speed check), before a sharp turn, or for a full stop (shutdown).

Other ways to stop include sit braking, which involves sitting on the deck and putting down both feet on the ground.  Mastering more advanced braking techniques will give you the confidence to go faster on your longboard.

Longboards for speed

If you want to go fast on your longboard, you need a board designed for speed.  When it comes to speed, there are two important characteristics for a longboard  :  stability and turning abilility.

If the board can’t turn you lose more speed in curves, affecting how fast the longboard can go overall.

Stability vs speed is a tradeoff.  If you’re a beginner speed rider, you’ll want a more stable board, and you’ll go for a drop platform or a drop through deck (click here for explanations).  With both types you ride lower, with your center of gravity closer to the ground, making it more stable.

Drop through and drop deck boards are often bigger and heavier.  They provide more comfortable and secure foot placement for going fast.  They also allow for bigger wheels (faster).

The most famous example of downhill longboard is probably the Landyachtz Evo, which has won many contests, or the Switchblade, another good stable option.

On the other hand, big and heavy longboards are also harder to turn, including for sliding.

More advanced speed longboarders sometimes prefer smaller boards with topmount decks (trucks mounted under the deck), which are higher off the ground and thus less stable but more responsive to turns.  Good examples of such boards include the Landyachtz Time Machine and the Propeller.

Wheel choice is also important for going fast : bigger wheels (75 to 85mm) go faster, and sharper wheels have better grip at speed.  But big wheels also cause wheel bite on many topmounts, unless the deck is elevated – which makes it even more unstable and best suited for more advanced riders.

Dealing with speed wobbles

A very common problem you may encounter with going fast on your longboard is wobbling – your longboard starts to swirl back and forth like crazy without you apparently doing anything.

Wobbles typically start when you reach a certain speed as you overcorrect your course following slight turning caused by bumps or cracks.  As a result, you correct your deck lean too much, leading to a larger turn in the opposite direction – and so on.

Wobbling is even more present on highly reactive and fast turning boards such as topmount boards, and less so on bigger, lower, more stable boards like drop decks / drop throughs – although the latter may also start wobbling at higher speeds.

To fix the problem, you may be tempted to tighten your trucks to make them harder to turn, and reduce your truck angles to make the board less turning for a given amount of deck lean.  However, these measures may just postpone the problem, which can kick back in at higher speeds.

In reality, the wobbling caused by your constant overcorrections results from not controlling your front truck when riding fast, since the front truck is what initiates turning.

Less experienced longboarders tend to lean too far back in their tuck, with their weight too much over the rear truck when at high speed, making for lower control over the front truck.

Leaning forward, lowering your center of gravity, and pushing your weight closer to the front truck will greatly reduce wobbling.

Wrapping up

In conclusion, you can go fast, or even very fast on your longboard.  You can just cruise or carve around at speeds around 15-30 mph, or you can take to the hills with the big boys and hit speeds in the 50s or much higher.

To do this however, you’ll need the right skills (tucking, braking), the right speed board, and of course the right protective gear.

Is longboarding hard ? A common beginner question

Is longboarding hard

Many people are attracted to longboarding because it feels so great being able to surf on land, be it for commuting or for more intense activities like carving or speed riding downhill.

A question that comes up very often, however, is :  is longboarding hard ?  My short answer : it’s is not hard if you’re looking to cruise around and enjoy relaxed riding at the beach or the park.  You will just need to work on your stance and balance, your foot pushing, turning, and foot braking.

The longer answer, however, is “it depends”.  Many factors get into play in whether longboarding will be hard or easy for you to start.  These factors include your age, your fitness level and physical abilities, what you want to do with your longboard, the type of longboard you’ll ride, and the environment you’ll be riding in.


People often ask me how hard longboarding is for an older person – I’m in my forties, quite old by skateboarding standards.  True, a large part of the longboarder population is composed of younger riders, college or high school students.  But an increasing number of mature and even older people are now getting into the sport.

So how old is too old for longboarding ? Of course it depends on your physical condition, since longboarding is quite more demanding on the knees and muscles than, say, walking or golfing.  Longboarding can be an extreme sport, and a potentially dangerous one when it comes to downhill speed.

However, longboarding for older guys (and girls) can also be a mellow, relaxing, low impact activity, simply focusing on riding smooth and carving nice curves.  For this kind of riding, I like to compare it to Tai Chi on wheels.  I’ve seen riders in their 60s ride around really nicely with minimal stress on their body.

Older people who want to start also worry they’ll look silly, since they’ll often find themselves surrounded with kids when riding.  My view is, older riders who are fit enough to longboard won’t look anything silly.

Also, unlike traditional skateboarding, longboarding derives from the surf culture, in which kids, elderlies, and everyone in between mingle seamlessly in the ocean.

Contrary to what one may think, most young longboarders actually love seeing older riders around them.

So if you fear you’re too old to learn longboarding, but are in good enough shape for some easy riding, I suggest you get a large stable board (see below) and some protection pads,  find a smooth surface, and give it a go.

Fitness level

Whatever your age, longboarding will be easier for you if you’re a generally fit person.  Balance is of course a key aspect.  Some people have great natural balancing skills, but even if that’s not your case, you can build up your balance skills quite fast by practicing on a balance board – a safe and fun way to prep for longboarding.

Another factor in determining how difficult it’ll be for you to start longboarding, is joint mobility, particularly knees, hips, and ankles.  Maintaining your stance involves constant ankle and knee readjustments.  Sharp turning will also put your joints to work – including your hips.

Foot pushing and braking require flexing your front knee to lower yourself and allow your rear foot to get to the ground.

The more mobility you have in your hips, shoulders and neck, the more comfortable you’ll be carving turns and changing directions.

The other sports you do (or have done) can help you a lot.  People involved in board sports such as snowboarding, surfing or wakeboarding typically don’t find longboarding very hard, as the stance is similar.   If you are – or have been – a bike rider, gymnast or martial artist, odds are you’ll be off to a head start in longboarding.

Rider weight

Is longboarding hard for a heavier rider ? It depends on how heavy and how agile he/she is. Some bigger riders are surprisingly swift moving.  If that’s your case, your weight may actually come as an advantage in gaining momentum on your board, particularly when pushing or carving (see : how fast can you go on a longboard).

One thing you’ll need to do is pick a board strong enough to support your weight over time.  You want a sturdy deck with at least 8 or 9 plies of maple wood, or better yet, with some bamboo layers.  You may want a bit of flex for comfort and shock absorption, but not too much as it’ll make for a weaker deck.

Especially for someone over 200 lbs, having a low center of gravity on the longboard makes pushing, foot braking, and turning easier.   Thus a drop deck (platform lower than the mounting holes at the ends) is a good choice as it’s lower to the ground.

Drop-through mounts (the trucks are mounted through a cutout in the deck), however, tend to weaken the deck structure and make it less resistant.

If you’re heavy, the pressure from your weight when turning is more likely to cause wheel bite (wheels touching the deck), so a longboard with cutouts (deck is cut where the wheels are) will facilitate turning for you.

Good strong boards for heavier riders include the Rayne Demonseed and Rayne Nemesis (stiff boards with concave).  The Landyachtz Switch also has a solid 10-ply Canadian maple drop deck with a significant drop (low deck).

Heavy riders also recommend the Bustin IBack and Bustin EQ, which have beefy decks.  The Nelson Manta Ray and the Comet Voodoo Doll are often mentioned as well.

Riders weighing around 280 lb also ride the Santa Cruz Flying Eye and Heads or Tails comfortably, and like these boards for their very sturdy drop decks.  Bigger guys also often rave about the Earthwing Big Hoopt topmount longboard with cutaways.

Riding style

We’ve talked about how mellow cruising on a longboard is not hard to learn for most riders, including older and heavier riders.  How easy or hard longboarding is also depends on the riding style you plan to pursue.

Freestyle, for example, requires a lot of control and balance to perform street tricks such as nose rides or manuals, or jumps on ramps.

Freeriding and downhill involve riding at speed, and require you to master braking techniques beyond basic foot stomping – won’t work at high speeds.  Carving (pulling successive S turns) and sliding are essential advanced skills to have for speed control, and these are not easy to master – expect some crashing in the process !

Longboard type

Another factor that will determine how hard longboarding is for you is the board itself.  Therefore, it’s crucial you pick the right board to start with.

As I mentioned for heavier riders, a drop deck longboard is a good choice to start with because the lower center of gravity makes for better stability and better grip.  Your foot is closer to the ground which allows pushing with less effort.

Go for a longer (38″+) and wider (9-10″) board – smaller boards require more effort for balance.  Bigger decks give you more room for moving and adjusting your stance, they are great for beginners.

A pintail shape (pointy in the back) is a good and stable choice for relaxed cruising.  Once you build your skills, you can change for a symmetrical freeride board.

Wider and softer wheels also help you by making your ride smoother over cracks and bumps, and grippier on the ground.  A bigger board with larger wheels will make longboarding easier for you at first – even though it’ll typically be less agile and harder to turn.

Riding environment

A final aspect that affects how easy or hard longboarding is for you as a new rider, is where you ride.   Riding on a smooth, even surface is easier than riding on bumpy or cracked ground, such as streets full of potholes or gravel alleys.

As I mentioned, a larger longboard with big soft wheels can help absorb shocks and roll smoother over small obstacles.  Still, the easiest way to learn is to find a nice even road such as a rural road, quiet car park or cul de sac.

Longboarding on busy city streets with lots of traffic, or on broken sidewalks, will make your life as a beginner longboarder much harder – although streets with more traffic sometimes have less potholes because they are better maintained.

If you can find a shallow hill that tapers off at the bottom, you can ease into the sport by practicing your stance and balance while rolling gently with minimal push and without having to brake.

Let’s finish with a quick look at the actual skills you’ll need to master and their difficulty.

Longboarding skills you’ll need

The basic skills you’ll need to acquire initially are :

  • Stepping on the longboard
  • Maintaining balance while rolling
  • Pushing with your foot
  • Turning left and right
  • Foot braking

How hard is it to master these longboarding skills ?

Step on your longboard at rest

Difficulty : relatively easy.  First you need to find out what your stance is, i.e. which foot goes forward and which goes in the back.  Have someone push you from behind while you are standing, and see which foot you natural put forward to keep your balance.

If you find this step difficult, try getting a balance board to work on your balancing skills.  You can also try standing wider or narrower so as to find the best stance for you.

Maintain balance with the board rolling

Difficulty : medium.  Place your feet at about a 45º angle relative to your board – somewhere in between perpendicular to the deck, and facing forward.  Keep your knees bent and your arms slightly open. Look in the direction you’re going.

If maintaining balance while moving feels challenging for you, make sure your longboard deck is long and wide enough, preferably low hanging (drop deck) with concave, and your wheels are wide, square shaped, and soft.

Try to lower your center of gravity by bending your knees more.

Pushing with your foot

Difficulty : medium.  Face your front foot forward (towards your board nose) and flex your front knee so as to lower yourself such that your rear foot touches the ground.

Try to keep your gravity center stable as you push, with your back straight and both your feet facing forward.  After the push bring your rear foot back onto the board, and rotate both feet so they’re again at a 45º with the deck.

If pushing is hard for you, you can try pushing with your front foot instead (works better for me).  You can also try with a lower deck board, reducing the distance your foot has to drop to hit the ground (less effort).

Turning left and right

Difficulty : harder.  Turning requires good balance in motion and a good feel for how the board reacts.  Shift your weight forward or backward and press into the longboard right or left edge with either your toes or heels.

A balance board can greatly help you build your turning skill without risk of crashing.

Foot braking

Difficulty : medium.  Drop your back foot to the ground just like for pushing, and create friction with your foot sole to slow down the longboard.

If you find this challenging to do, start on flat ground, push a little to gain some small momentum, then practice stopping at very low speed.

How to choose a cheap longboard (and not regret it)

Longboarding is a passion .  If you’re like me, you may have gotten hooked the moment you first got on a longboard.  Or, you may be feeling the itch to give it a serious try, but you’re not yet ready to fork out a lot of money for a board.

Is it possible to get started with serious longboarding by getting a cheap longboard ? Yes it is, and in this post, I am going to explain why.

I’ll start by going over some key criteria regarding what makes a quality longboard, so we have something against which to evaluate the “cheap” longboards I‘ll be looking at.

Next, I’ll review 11 cheap longboards that I have selected based on these criteria .

But first, let’s do a bit of scoping.

Cheap longboard : what exactly do we mean ?

The focus of this article is on all of you serious – and wannabe serious – longboarders out there.  For this reason, I will not be considering what we might call “toy”, “disposable”, or “wallmart” longboards, namely those that sell for under $30.

These typically have some plastic parts that, most of the time, won’t hold out for long and won’t let you feel the rush of gliding and turning on a real board.

As far as I (and many peer longboarders) am concerned, cheap longboards that can be considered decent for a serious rider fall into the $40-$60 price range.  So that’s the price range this post will be exploring.

So you got the idea : our goal is to look at longboards that are “cheap” as in “inexpensive”, not “cheap quality”.

OK, with this in mind, let’s examine what determines the quality of a longboard.

What factors define a longboard’s quality ?

As you may know, a longboard is the sum of a number of parts, so the quality of a longboard boils down to :

  • The quality of its parts
  • The way its parts are assembled
  • The way its parts interact

As you’ll see in the brief product reviews below, these are the factors that keep coming back when judging the quality of a product.

The parts that make up a longboard are :

  • Deck
  • Trucks (themselves composed of a bunch of assembled parts)
  • Wheels
  • Bearings
  • Grip tape

Although my goal here is not to go deep into each part, let’s briefly look at which factors makes each part a decent choice or not for our cheap longboard.

Cheap longboard : the deck

Let’s review the main factors to consider when evaluating the quality of a longboard deck.

Deck materials and construction

Most longboard decks are made by pressing together vertically laminated layers of maple or Birch wood, bamboo, and/or composite materials such as carbon fiber.

In the price range we’re looking at (under $60) most decks will be made from maple wood laminates, maple being the most abundant and durable wood around  – although some decks may get a bamboo outer layer for looks.

Materials determine the deck’s durability, weight, and flex amount.  Maple decks (when pressed right) are very durable. They are also heavier than bamboo or composite decks.

The number of laminate layers also plays a role in the board’s quality and feel.  Fewer layers means less weight and more flex, more layers means more weight and a stiffer deck – flex may be good or bad depending on riding type.

Longboard deck shape

Decks come in many shapes, symmetrical or asymmetrical, pintail, square tail, round tail.  Overall shape is not an indicator of quality, but features such as concave (curved surface along the deck width) or camber (curve along deck length) help improve riding quality.

Cutouts and wheel wells, which are cuts or channels in the deck meant to make space around the wheels so they won’t touch the deck as easily in sharp turns, also add to deck quality.

Kicktails (ends raised ends for tricks) are also a desirable feature for freestyle or speed boards, showing an additional level of craft.

Cheap longboard : the trucks

Quality of the trucks is crucial in the board’s overall quality.  The trucks largely determines the boards stability and trick agility.

Truck materials

Quality trucks are made mostly of aluminum to reduce weight (and hence the longboard’s total weight).  However, most also contain alloy for durability – less supplemental metal often leads to faster aging.

Truck width and height

Truck dimensions are important because they impact the likelihood of wheelbite during turns – when the wheels get in contact with the deck, bringing the board to a brutal stop.  Wheelbite is a serious problem especially for speed riding.

A longboard’s truck should have roughly the width of the deck, and that’s what we look for in a cheap longboard as well. Most longboards with decks 9” or wider have hanger width of 180 mm (an indication of truck width).

A cheap longboard’s perceived quality is greatly affected by its ability to turn.  That depends on the stiffness of the deck, tightness of the truck, and truck height.  The higher the truck, the more room for the deck to lean without wheelbite.

Truck kingpin style

Cheap longboard trucks may use “reverse kingpin” or “traditional kingpin”, referring to the orientation of the truck (trucks kingpins facing each other or not). RKP trucks are higher and better turning.


The bushings are rubber parts around the kingpin and between the truck’s main parts, that act as cushions. The quality of bushings plays a role in overall longboard quality as it impacts the board’s turning ability and speed handling.

Cheap longboard : wheels and bearing

Wheel material

Quality longboard wheels are made of polyurethane, with as little plastic as possible (lessens performance).  When choosing a cheap board, if possible look for all-urethane wheels.

Wheel dimensions

Even with decent construction quality, it’s important that wheels have an appropriate size for the truck they are mounted on.  Larger longboards have larger wheels – typically 70mm diameter by 40-65mm width.

Bigger wheels can cause wheelbite in turns, affecting overall riding quality.  This can be fixed by adding risers between deck and trucks, or by switching to higher trucks.

Wheel hardness (durometer) and shape also affect the quality of a longboard.  Both need to be adapted to the style of riding the board is designed for.


Bearing are the metal parts that let the wheels spin on the axle. Low quality bearings impede the wheels spinning freely – shorter spin time because of friction.

The performance of low quality bearings decrease over time, whereas quality bearings often get better after some initial breaking in.

Bearing precision is measured by the ABEC rating. A cheap longboard should have at least a standard ABEC 5.  ABEC 7 bearings are supposed to be fast, and ABEC 9 super fast.

However, other factors, such as bearing material, are at play, so the ABEC alone is not always synonym for quality.

Grip tape

Grip tape is the rough adhesive you put on top of your longboard deck to prevent slipping and give you more control in riding – in combination with the deck’s concave and/or camber curving.

Quality grip tape will grip well, and won’t wear off quickly even if you ride hard.

Putting it all in practice

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what to look for in a cheap longboard, let’s take a closer look at 10 decent boards under $60 which I’ve selected based on price, quality and popularity.

In the following reviews, I’ll present key highlights based on actual user experience.  Here are the 10 cheap longboards I’ve picked :

  • Ten Toes Board Emporium Zed
  • Rimable pintail 41”
  • Quest Rorshack Bamboo
  • Karnage Drop Through
  • Sanview Bamboo Drop Through
  • WiiSham Professional Speed Downhill
  • Playshion Freeride Freestyle
  • Yocaher Drop Through Professional Speed
  • SCSK8 Natural Blank and Stained
  • Volador 42” Freeride

Ten Toes Board Emporium Zed

  • 44” x 9 ½” deck
  • bamboo & maple hybrid construction, 8 plies
  • 7” aluminum trucks
  • kicktail, cutouts
  • wheels 70x51mm, 85a durometer.

This is a great beginner board which rides exceptionally smooth and has an excellent turning radius. Riders say the board feels very stable, which is good for starting out, but also for cruising.

The board has generic trucks, wheels and bushings that work great. The big wheels provide good grip and comfortably roll over most bumps and cracks.

The deck is well built with a nice-looking bamboo finish.  It’s quite stiff, providing for good control when carving. Wheel cutouts allow you to take full advantage of the board’s great carving ability, reducing wheelbite.

The bearings may offer some resistance, so if you want more speed you may want to upgrade them for little money.

In short, this cheap longboard is really good for beginner cruising and carving, offering high maneuverability and speed.  It’s very stable, easy to ride including for heavier riders, with a nice carving feel. It holds up really well compared to much more expensive boards out there.

Rimable Pintail

  • 41” x 9.5” deck
  • 9-ply maple construction, pintail shape
  • Top mount
  • 7” aluminum trucks, 180mm hanger
  • 51mm big soft wheels
  • abec 9 high speed bearings

The Rimable Pintail is a good standard beginner cruiser longboard with a surf-like style and feel.  It is designed for easy carving and does a fine job at it.

The deck is sturdy and can easily handle a 220 lb rider.

The board can really pick up speed and be taken up to at least 20 mph downhill without wobbling.  It allows for smooth turning and moderately sharp turns.

It’s well suited for everyday commuting to school or work a few miles away.  It cruises smoothly without too much effort.

We like the Rimable Pintail’s good quality grip tape, great trucks, and decent bearings.  The wheels are nice and fast with no rattling, soft enough to ride over small bumps. You may need to loosen the wheels for optimal results.

Some say the Rimable Pintail rides like a Sector 9 for half the money.

One small caveat is the board’s weight for carrying around.
Also, keep the longboard away from excessive and prolonged heat – it may damage the deck.

Quest Rorshack Bamboo

  • 34” deck, maple + bamboo
  • 6” aluminum trucks
  • 65mm wheels
  • abec 7 bearings
  • kicktail

With its smaller size and weight (7 lb), the Quest Rorshack is great for carrying around.  It may not be the best choice for long commutes or extended cruising, but once you get used to it, it’s a fun board to start learning carving and tricks.

The board is a bit unstable by design, so it will challenge your sense of balance.  The soft wheels, however, have good grip and stick well, making for good carving and basic cruising.

The Rorshack’s deck is rigid and strong, with little flex, that’s part of the board’s DNA, along with the kicktail for quick turns and tricks.

The Rorshack’s trucks are smaller than most other boards in this list, which is expected given the relatively small size of the deck.  The trucks perform OK but may be improved by upgrading the bushings (a few dollars). You may want to upgrade the bearings as well since the stock ones can be a bit noisy.

All in all, the Rorshack is an average board but does have its fans, due to its lean size and weight, and untamed character.  With a little tuning – loosening wheel nuts, tightening the kingpin, upgrading bushings and bearings, you’ll end up with a cool and versatile board you can take anywhere and that will help you build your riding skills.

Karnage Drop-Through

  • 38” x 9” deck, maple twin board
  • Drop through mount
  • 7” alloy trucks
  • 70x51mm wheels
  • abec 7 bearings.

The Karnage is another very popular cheap longboard that rides really smooth.  Unlike the topmont cruisers we’ve looked at so far, this is a drop-through board, that is, the trucks are mounted through the deck, bringing the deck a bit lower to the ground.

This longboard is easy to ride due to its lower center of gravity.  This makes it great for cruising around, pushing with less effort, and going fast.

The Karnage has good concave, resulting in more comfortable foot hold and improved control.

This longboard has wide and soft wheels so you barely notice when it rolls over bumps. It’s a well balanced, very stable board for both adults and kids.

The board’s turning radius is quite wide, probably due to the way the trucks are mounted. Yet the Karnage is a good basic board for cruising around and commuting comfortably and going fast.

Sanview Bamboo Drop-Through

  • 38.5” x 9.2” deck, 7 ply maple + bamboo
  • drop through mount
  • Super flexible
  • Wheels 70x42mm 78A
  • Trucks 7” aluminum, bushings 83A
  • Bearings abec 9 with nylon ball cages

This cheap longboard looks and feels much more expensive than it is.  Most of the riders who have tried it have been raving about it.

The Sanview is very light due to its hybrid bamboo deck – a rarely found material in this price range.  Yet the deck is solid and durable, including for heavier riders. It has a good amount of flex and spring – one of the qualities of the bamboo material.

The longboard is extremely stable, yet turns very sharp with very decent control.  Its stability makes for longer ride compared with other boards. Riding it is also very smooth and quiet.

The Sanview is built with high quality materials – and feels like it is.  It has great wheels, good bearings, and quality hardware. The Sanview feels incredibly sturdy and well made, rugged enough for freeriding.

The relatively wide deck (9.2”) in relation to length lets you perform cross step and other tricks.

The price of this longboard is very attractive, as the Sanview stands the comparison with $200 boards.

Overall, the Sanview Bamboo longboard is considered a superb choice for entry to expert level riders. Its outstanding stability and turning capability make it a great choice for both cruising and freeriding.

WiiSham Professional Speed Downhill

  • 41” x 9” deck, 9-ply maple
  • Twin board, drop-through mount
  • Aluminum alloy trucks
  • 70x52mm wheels, 83A hardness
  • abec 9 bearings

A two word summary of this longboad is “solid and simple”.  Most riders agree this is not a cheaply made longboard – it was actually sold at a $150 price point in the past.

It has a strong and durable deck with good flex, yet the board is very lightweight, making it easy to carry around, and to lift up and re-orient.  The clear grip tape adds a nice touch to its design.

The board rides smoothly with good cruising capability. It also works great for heavier riders.  It’s designed for speed and performs well downhill thanks to its drop-through mount.

Riders report a good set of wheels and better than average bearings. The WiiSham’s wheels have just the right amount of hardness, providing good shock absorption without sacrificing control.

The trucks may feel a bit stiff initially, but over time they loosen up a bit – and as always, you can fine tune the trucks and wheels yourself.

One issue you may find with this longboard (out of the box) is a bit of wheelbite despite its cutout shape.  This can be improved by tightening down the trucks (for serious downhill) or fitting risers.

The longboard holds up really well after many months, including after heavy use in terms of distance and crashes.

Overall, the WiiSham Downhill Pro is perceived to have great value for a longboard under $60.

Playshion Freeride Freestyle

  • 39 x 9.1” deck, 8-ply maple
  • 70x50mm wide wheels, 78A durometer
  • 7” aluminum trucks, bushings 83A, rubber riser pads
  • abec 9 bearings with nylon ball cages
  • Drop-through mount

The Playshion is another inexpensive longboard with great strong construction – strong enough for a 300 lb rider – and good looks with a nice simple design on its symmetrical cutout deck.

The deck is extremely durable and holds up very well after months of daily use.

The longboard turns relatively well and takes curves smoothly – although turns are relatively wide in spite of the 50 degree trucks.

The wheels are soft for easy riding, and handles cracks better than other longboards. Soft wheels, however, mean better grip at the expense of more difficult sliding – something you might not expect from a freeride board.

Carving, however, is great on this board, which smoothly handles toe-side and heel-side turns.

The bearings are reported as being solid and faster than expected.

The board’s trucks are somewhat tight and don’t facilitate performing tricks even though the Playshion is advertised as a freestyle board.

Overall though, this inexpensive longboard performs and looks just as good as more expensive boards, and is well worth the money.  Riders highly recommend it as a good beginner or casual board for the money.

Yocaher Drop Through Professional Speed

  • 40″ x 10″ deck, 9-ply Canadian maple
  • Drop Through with concave
  • 70x52mm wheels, 78A durometer
  • Abec 7 bearings
  • 9.675″ HD7 Aluminum Alloy Heavy Duty Trucks, 180mm Hanger
  • Cutouts on the nose and tail

This longboard is officially build for downhill speed, with a lowered platform (drop through) for stability at speed, and a medium concave (i.e. rails raised higher than deck center) and low deck flex for better control in hard turns.

Indeed, many riders really like this inexpensive longboard for carving hard downhill, freeriding, and even bowl/park/street skating.  Being low and stable, it can be ridden up to a speed of 40 mph with no wobbling.

It’s also a good board for cruising due to its low gravity center and soft and grippy wheels, providing for a smooth ride.  However, the bearings could be better and should probably be replaced (or add spacers) to reduce the effort required for moving around on flat ground.

Some people also swap out the bushings and get good results.

The board is lightweight, and its quality is considered good for the price – including at a previous price point of $80.  It holds up well against much pricier models.

One caveat about this longboard is that, without adjustments, it’s quite hard to turn even at a 120º angle. One might argue this is in line with the board’s speed focus.  Swapping out the tighter trucks for better turning ones (e.g. Paris trucks) typically will solve the problem.

In general, this cheap Yocaher longboard is a quality product that serves well the purpose it was designed for.  It just needs a bit of adjusting to be a great board.

SCSK8 Natural Blank and Stained

  • 40” x 9” deck, 7-ply maple
  • Pintail
  • Abec 9 red bearings
  • 7” aluminum trucks

The SCSK8 Natural Blank longboard is a good looking, natural wood pintail cruising board.  Its deck is sturdy and reliable, with good concave and moderate flex. The bamboo layer on top makes it look like a premium board.

The natural wood is very paintable, with no particular coating so that you can decorate it to your liking.

The longboard is very lightweight at 7 lb.  The trucks and bushing are decent. The wheels are soft (like standard cruisers), perfect for carving (but not so good for sliding) and quite forgiving on rough terrain.

Riders have taken the board to speeds of 30-40 mph without wobbling, after changing the wheels and bearings (Reds) for improved speed and comfort. The stock bushings are also a bit stiff.  Some riders may find the deck a bit too high and choose to remove the risers.

Long time owners (2 years +) and intensive riders are happy with the longboard’s quality and performance, especially when compared with higher-end $150 boards.  Some call it exceptional.

You may feel turning is a bit stiffer on this longboard compared to other competing models – such as the Quest Super Cruiser (more expensive).  Loosening the trucks improves things a bit.

Overall, riders consider this SCSK8 longboard fantastic value for its low price right out of the box.  You have the option to upgrade the trucks and/or bearings for even better performance, and to make this cheap longboard more versatile for an all around use.

Volador 42” Freeride

  • 42” x 9” deck, 8-ply maple
  • Drop-through mount, camber concave
  • 7” aluminum RKP trucks, adjustable 50 or 45º, 180mm hangers
  • 51mm wheels 78A
  • Abec 9 chrome steel bearings

The Volador Freeride longboard is another cheap model with surprisingly good quality and performance for the price.  Lightweight for its size, it’s a very stable longboard, mostly due to its drop-through trucks.

The deck is springy but strong and can comfortably hold a 260 lb rider.  The grip tape is of great quality and doesn’t wear off. The board is very durable and still looks new after months of usage.

Even though riders agrees on its stability, the volador is agile for cutting corners, especially after loosening the trucks a bit (they are a bit stiff at first).  It’s good for skate park riding as well as cruising.

The wheels are durable, the bearings that come with the longboard are decent and easy to maintain thanks to the rubber shields. The board rides comfortably on bumpy ground.

Some riders have taken the Volador Freeride for lengthy cruises between towns.  They have been impressed by its smooth and stable riding and the lack of wheelbite issues.

This inexpensive longboard has a quality that matches up well again more expensive models such as Sector 9 longboards, or even shortboards such as Santa Cruz and Penny.

To conclude, the Volador is another longboard that is valued by riders as being worth more than its price, due to its solid build and quality parts.

What is carving on a longboard ? A close look at street surfing

What is carving on a longboard

You may have stopped to watch these boys and girls moving on their longboards in a fluid and flowy ride, maintaining rhythm and speed without their foot even touching ground for pushing, looking like their mind is out in some other dimension while they pull turn after turn in an endless curve.

This fluid riding style is called carving.  But what exactly does carving on a longboard mean ?

Carving is a surf-like riding style that involves chaining quick successive turns back and forth in an S-like shape trajectory, in order to build and maintain momentum and speed.  

If you’ve never experienced the amazing feeling of carving, be it on waves, mountain snow, or pavement, be prepared for an incredibly addictive experience.

What is the purpose of carving ?

The word “carving” invovlves the idea of carving lines and curves into whatever you’re riding on – water, snow, street.  Surfers and snowboarders also carve !

Longboard carving is one of several popular disciplines, which also include :

  • Cruising : just moving around pushing on a longboard, or using it as transportation
  • Freeriding : riding downhill at controlled speed while doing slides and maneuvers
  • Freestyling : creative riding not focused on speed but rather on technical tricks
  • Dancing : moving around on your board, crossing feet to perform figures
  • Downhill : search for sheer speed, racing, slalom

Carving on a longboard really mimics ocean surfing – something that can bring a great feeling of pleasure, motion, and freedom.  Carving is about curves and speed.

Carving sometimes also refers to controlling speed by making sharp successive turns, which help slow you down.

To me however, the true spirit of carving lies in mellow riding and allowing a swinging body motion to impulse momentum into your longboard through series of turns.

You maintain speed in a natural way without having to push even when riding on flat ground or down mild slopes.  The same way surfers gain speed on a wave.

How to do basic carving on a longboard

Your goal when carving is to draw beautiful virtual curbs – as if riding in powdery snow – by chaining turns sharp or wide depending on your style and speed.

The way you initiate these turns is by shifting your weight onto one edge of the board, pressing your toes (or heels) into the board’s rail (edge), then transitioning to the other edge (rail shifting).

By pressing into the rail, you make the deck lean to the side and the wheels rotate in that same direction, causing the longboard to turn.

Toeside and heelside carving turns

The direction you turn when pressing with your toes or heels depends on your stance – that is, which foot is forward when riding.

Everyone has a natural surf/skate stance.  To determine yours, stand with your feet close together and ask someone to push you forward from the back, forcing you to lose balance.  Which one of your feet naturally steps forward ?

If it’s the left foot, you’re a “regular” rider. If it’s the right one, you’re “goofy”.  Regular footers will therefore face towards the right side of the longboard when riding, whereas Goofy footers will be facing left.

If you’re Regular (left foot forward), leaning forward and pressing your toes into the right rail (toe-side turn) will make the longboard turn right.  Leaning backwards on your heels (heelside turn) will steer your longboard to the left.

If you’re Goofy, it’s the other way around : you’re facing towards the left of the board when riding, so toe-side turns will steer your board left, while heelside turns will steer it to the right.

Weight shifting : fluid carving motion

So, when carving on a longboard, you shift your weight back and forth between your toes (leaning forward) and your heels (leaning backwards) to take your board into successive turns.

You want the shifting to be flowing as naturally and smoothly as possible, so the board will carve nice “S” curves.  To achieve this goal, you have to move your entire body.

Beginners tend to use only their ankles to push into the rails with their toes and heels.  Conversely, snowboarders tend to move only their shoulders and forget about their feet, being used to foot straps.

To perform a nice effective carve on your longboard, you need to build a fluid transition between toeside and heelside positions involving your head, your shoulders, hips and feet in a wave-like motion.

When turning toeside, start by turning your head and looking in your target direction (toward the right if you’re a regular, the left if you’re goofy).

At the same time, you rotate your shoulders, pushing your front shoulder toward the turning direction.  The rotation spreads to your hips, and your toes naturally press into the rail, causing your board to turn.

You then prepare to get into your next turn, a heelside turn, so as to complete the S curve. You turn your head so as to look behind you in the new direction, and rotate your shoulders in that direction, opening your chest when transitioning.

Your hips follow naturally, and your heels press down onto the longboard rail, making the board turn.

Keep your knees bent and your arms slightly open for better balance. Keep your lower back braced to avoid back pain.

Important carving tips

The weight shifting I’ve just described takes some practice.  Many new riders tend to lean too strongly forward or backward and push too hard into the rails.

If you do, depending on how responsive your longboard is and how fast it turns, you may lose balance and tip off your board as your body is leaning harder than the longboard turns.

When pressing on your toes, try not to let your heels come off the deck too much.  Conversely, when pressing heelside try to keep your toes in touch with the deck.

Once you start mastering the basics of carving on your longboard, you’ll get this amazing feeling of flowing and natural riding.  Your body motion gets in tune with your board, which you get to know better, and you acquire greater control of your shoulder, hip, and foot moves.

You can then make your carving more powerful by lowering your center of gravity and diving low as you enter each turn (squatting lower), then lightening up after the turn by standing taller.

Using this more advanced technique, you’re adding power to your impulse into the turn, and then dramatically releasing the pressure after the turn, spring like, generating more momentum and speed.

Believe me, that’s a fantastic and effective way of riding.  After some practice, you’ll be surfing on your longboard on flat ground without the need to push much.


So we’ve discussed basic carving technique. Now let’s turn our attention to the choice of a carving longboard.

How to choose a longboard for carving ?

You can use pretty much any longboard for carving, however you’ll have a much better carving experience on a longboard that responds to slight shifts as opposed to one that require you to push down deep.

So what determines a longboard’s turning feel ?  Let’s briefly review some important characteristics for trucks, deck, and wheel in regards to carving ability.

Carving trucks

For carving we want trucks that really turn ! What makes a truck more “turny” than another ? Trucks are actually quite complex, but let’s look at a few things :

Truck width

This is measured through axle or hanger width.  The tradeoff is, more width means more stability and less wheelbite (wheels touching the deck), less width means better turn and more grip.

Most longboards have 180mm hanger width, a standard which works well all-around including for carving.  Decent responsiveness albeit with stability. Riders who want more nimble boards, such as slalom racers, use smaller trucks (e.g. 150 mm)

Baseplate angle

That’s the truck’s angle, the angle between the baseplate (screwed onto the deck) and the pivot axis. For most trucks it’s either 50+ or 40+ degrees.

The tradeoff is between lean and turn (lean refers to how much the deck can lean to the sides). More lean means the deck can lean more without the wheels turning, so more stability.  More turn means the wheels can turn more with less deck lean : more responsiveness.

Higher angles (50+) provide for more turn and less lean, and so are better suited for carving.

Bushing and bushing seats

Bushings are small rubber pads in the truck that also affect riding.  In general, we want soft bushings to facilitate turning angles when carving.

Bushing seats are the places in the trucks in which the bushings are fitted.  Depending on the shape of the seats (round, flat, or stepped), the bushings will be more or less able to compress.  This much affects the truck’s riding feel.

Without getting into too much mechanical detail, let’s just say round seats are best suited for a good carving feel.

Truck height

This is the height between the deck (actually the baseplate) and the axle holding the wheels.  The higher, the more “surfy”, turning feel we get. Also, higher trucks allow for trucks to be loosened up without causing wheelbite.  Therefore higher trucks are better for carving.

Note that longboards with higher trucks are also less stable and harder to push on, but that’s the price to pay for better carving ability.

Longboard decks for carving

There is actually a broad range of decks that are appropriate for a carving longboard, a lot depends on personal preference.  Here are some of the things to take into account :

Mount type

This refers to how the trucks are mounted onto the deck.  Two common types for carver boards are top mount- whereby the trucks are simply screwed under the deck – and drop-through, whereby the trucks actually go through the deck (the baseplate sits on top of the deck).

A major difference between these two mount types is how high the deck lies above the ground : higher in top mount, lower in drop-through.  Lower is more stable and facilitates impulses. Top mount makes for a more reactive board – but is less stable since higher.

Many riders prefer top mount for carving, even if that means more height and so less stability.

Deck length and flex

Carving decks are typically 35” to 40” long, shorter that typical cruiser longboards (40+).  The shorter the deck, the faster the board can turn.

Carver longboard decks should have flex, which adds power to your carving impulses (toeside or heelside pushes).  Bamboo or bamboo hybrid decks are therefore a good choice for carving.

Deck concave / camber, wheel wells

Camber refers to the deck’s lengthwise curvature, with a higher point in the middle than at the mounting holes.

Longboards with camber are often designed for carving : when weight and pressure is applied as you get into a turn, the deck acts like a spring and loads energy which is then released at the peak of the turn.  Sounds familiar ? Similar effect to lower your gravity center going into the turn.

Concave, on the other hand, is the curvature of the deck along its width. Carving longboards usually have decks with deeper concave than other board types (e.g. pure cruisers) for secure and comfortable foot placement during the deep turns.

Wheel wells are channels in the deck that allow more space for the wheels.  Carving board decks often have them to allow for hard leaning into turns while avoiding wheel bite.

Carving wheels and bearings

For carving on a longboard we want wheels that are wide for better grip and soft for shock absorption

We preferably choose square-lipped (aka race-shaped) as opposed to round edged for example, so we get better feedback and grip in turns.

Ideally we should look for good ABEC 9 bearings for smooth friction-less rolling.

Some examples of good carving longboards

A well known and well liked carving board is the Sector 9 Sidewinder II Chamber (or any Sidewinder series board) at around 175$.

Another good board for carving – although definitely on the longer side – is the Surf One Robert August II, with its beautiful Endless Summer looks.

Finally, a setup that’s often recommended in the carving community is the Rayne Timeline with Paris 50 trucks, and 78a wheels with Abec 11 ZigZag bearings.

Concluding remarks

I hope you now have a pretty precise idea of what carving on a longboard is, what kind of techniques and skills it involves, and what kind of equipment you need.

More than just a technical riding style, carving can be an art form which inherits the mellow lifestyle and easy living philosophy of freeride surfers and snowboarders.  Instead of seeking radical stunts, carvers want to be in tune with the world and draw beautiful curves.

Hope you join the carving lifestyle !

Understanding longboard types : know your riding style

So you want to get into longboarding (or you’re already hooked) and you’re considering getting yourself a new longboard.  Before you do this, you need to understand the types of longboards that exist on the market so as to choose one that’s well-suited for you.

At first it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of options and types of longboards available.

Longboard types are usually associated with riding styles, so the first question to ask yourself is, what kind of riding do you plan to do on your longboard.

We’ll start with an overview of the most common longboard riding activities.  Then we’ll take a brief look at the things that makes one longboard differ from another.  Lastly, we’ll bring the pieces together and discuss how each characteristic is associated with each riding style.

Longboard types : riding styles

Let’s review the main kinds of longboard riding activities so you can better scope the features you need for your board based on the kind of things you want to do with it.


You plan to use your longboard mainly as transportation for commuting or going to stores and places around your neighborhood, or across town. You will primarily be pushing and braking with your foot over pavements.

Ask yourself if you’re more likely to rider your board for long distance commutes, or small alleys and sidewalks.  This will influence the type of longboard that’s best suited for you.


in addition to push transportation, you intend to ride your longboard like a surfboard for fun, carving turns on flat ground or mild hills, alternatively doing leaning forward on your toes and backward on your heels for “pumping” – that is, gaining speed through quick successive turns.


You want to ride downhill at speed while chaining slides to control your speed.  Slides involve turning your board sideways making yours wheels skid, slowing yourself down and controlling your descent.  Kind of like skiing or snowboarding.

Freeride is considered an expert level style, so if that’s what you’re aiming for, make sure you have adequate skills and protective gear – believe me, crashing on a road hurts…

Freestyle / dance

You’re interested in more creative types of longboard activities, and want to learn and perform technical things such as street tricks, slides, manuals, flips, etc on your longboard.

Dancing means moving around on your board and crossing your feet a lot, so for that you’ll need a special type of longboard (see below).

Like freeride, freestyle also involves advanced board control skills, but if you’re a beginner it’s a good way to build these skills.

Downhill / race

You’re into sheer adrenaline and dream of bombing down steep hills crouched on your longboard for lowest wind resistance and maximum speed.  This is definitely an advanced type of longboard riding activity, you’ll need some serious skills and the right equipment for it.

Which is your style ?

You probably have an idea of the riding style(s) you are most interested in.  If you’re a beginner for example, you may want to get a longboard type to use as cool transportation, but you’d also like to be able to do fun things with it such as surfing the streets, riding down mellow hills, or learning to do some flips or slide tricks.

Or, maybe you just want the best longboard for riding to work everyday 5 miles across town.

The combination of features that make up a longboard is endless, but we can group these combinations into a number of longboards types that are best associated with one or more riding styles.

Keep in mind, though, that most types of longboards can actually be used for most of the riding styles – except perhaps things like extreme record breaking speed racing.

However, depending on your prefered usage, you may want to choose a more specialized board for that specific usage.

As an example, being a lifelong surfer, for my first longboard I mainly wanted to be able to practice carving turns along the boardwalk at the beach to build my surf skills, warm up before a surf session, or extend the fun afterward.

I wasn’t really that interested in doing street tricks, long distance cruising, or downhill speed.  So I went looking for a carving board (keep reading for more info).

Let’s now look at which characteristics of a longboard determine the riding style(s) it is best suited for.

Longboard types : main characteristics

Board length and wheelbase

Length is the first thing you notice when you look at the longboards on display in a shop.  The longer the board, the more stable it will be.  Most cruising boards are between 38” and 42”.On the other hand, longer boards will be harder to turn, whereas shorter boards can take sharper turns.

Wheelbase is the distance between the wheels, more specifically between the inner truck mounting holes.  This distance, combined with deck shape, is important because it determines how your feet will be positioned relative to the trucks (e.g. on top of the trucks or not), which affects responsiveness.

A longer wheelbase also makes for a more stable board, which is why it’s often quite long on speed boards (there are many other factors at play for speed riding though, keep reading).

Deck construction and flex

Decks are made by pressing together multiple layers of wood, bamboo, and/or composite materials.  Deck construction plays an important role in the type of longboard being assembled and the riding styles it is best adapted for.

The most common and least expensive decks are made from maple or Baltic birch wood thin laminates pressed into shape.  These are durable, the more layers the stiffer, and are the most common in basic cruiser boards.

Next up are decks made of bamboo sheets wrapped in composite laminates.  More lightweight and with much more flex and springiness.  Also quite durable. Flex is good for freestyle tricks, for example, but not so good for speed.

The most expensive and high performance type of decks are made from composite such as fiberglass, interwoven with some wood.  These are lightweight and have flex properties that make the boards more forgiving and resistant to pressure.  Great for speed boards.

Deck flex can be classified as soft / medium / stiff, depending on construction and shape :

  • Soft (cruising) : great shock absorption but very unstable at higher speeds
  • Medium (carving) : stable at speed, responsive to carving moves, moderate speed
  • Stiff (freeride) : stability at higher speeds, less forgiving on bumpy ground

Mount type

Different mount types (aka styles) can be used on different types of longboards.  Mount type refers to the way the trucks that hold the wheels are mounted onto the deck.

Why is it important ? Depending on how the trucks are mounted, the center of gravity of the longboard rider will be higher or lower, which affects stability (the lower the more stable).

A lower deck brings more stability and reduces the rider’s effort to drop his/her foot to the ground for pushing and foot braking (cruising).  A lower gravity center also makes sliding easier.

Mount type also affects whether the rider’s feet sit on top of the trucks or further from them, which impact the longboard’s turning agility.  If your feet are on top of the trucks, you get more leverage and responsiveness when doing turns.  You also get more grip.

These are the most common longboard mount types, in decreasing order of deck height – and so increasing stability and decreasing turn agility :

  • Top mount : the deck is mounted on top of the trucks.  This is a traditional and inexpensive type of mount for longboards.Top mount longboard type
  • Drop through : the trucks are mounted through the board (cutout in the deck).  This lowers the deck and the center of gravity a bit closer to the ground.Drop through longboard style
  • Drop deck : not exactly a mount type but a specific deck shape that also serves to lower the board. The deck is molded such that the standing area (where your feet sit) is lower than the truck mounting points, bringing the center of gravity even closer to the ground.Drop deck longboard type
  • Double drop : combines drop through mount and drop deck.  This is the lowest possible and most stable setup, not very common and often used on specialized downhill longboard types – it’s the most difficult and expensive setup to construct.Double drop longboard type

Drop through / drop decks are typically better suited for cruising and not so ideal for speed, since the board is not as strong structurally and maintains less grip – too much sliding for doing sharp lines and corners.  However, some speed boards use them in combination with other characteristics (composite deck, certain shape features etc). Confusing huh ?

Deck shape

Deck shape is another essential characteristic of the different types of longboards.  The first thing to mention is, a longboard may be either symmetrical (twin) or asymmetrical (directional).

Twin boards can be ridden both ways, and so they are well suited for technical tricks such as 360º slides.  That’s why freestyle / freeride longboards types are often twin boards. On the other hand, many downhill and cruising / carving boards are directional.

Directional longboards may have a pintail (pointy tail), round tail, or square tail shape. These shapes give them stability and a surf-style feel, with lengths of 39”-48” being ideal for cruising.

Some decks have a kicktail, an upward curve on the end of the deck – twin boards may actually have one at each end.  Kicktails are used for kicking tricks, obstacle jumps, and quick turns. They are usually a requirement for freestyle boards.

Deck shape details

Wheel cutouts are “cuts” in the deck to free the wheels from the risk of getting in contact with the deck (and crashing the rider) during sharp turns.  An alternative option is wheel wells, small pits in the deck that give the wheels extra space for such turns.

Longboard wheel well

Depending on longboard type, the deck may have concave, i.e. the rails are higher than the center of the board.  This allows for more riding comfort and more secure foot grip.

Concave - longboard type

There are several types of concave, each aiming to reinforce foot placement and grip. Downhill and freeride boards typically have deeper concave than cruisers.  Danse boards are quite flat.

While concave refers to curving along the width of the longboard, camber is the curve that runs along the board’s length, with the middle of the board higher than the ends.  Rocker is the opposite, that is the curve has a lower point in the middle that at each end.

Camber - longboard types
Rocker - longboard types

Longboard types : pulling the pieces together

Now that we’ve looked in some detail at key differentiating aspects of longboard builds, let’s see how this adds up for each longboard type, that is, for each riding style.

Cruiser longboard type

cruiser board types will typically have a maple or bamboo directional deck with a bit of flex for shock absorption.  They may have a drop deck for stability and easy pushing / foot braking, and possibly a drop-through mount (not so common).  They often have soft big wheels for good grip and easy rolling over cracks and bumps.

A subtype of cruisers is so-called “push boards”, specifically designed for long distance transportation.  They typically feature double drop decks and midsize wheels.  They are not designed for turning, mainly for riding down the line on flat ground.

Example of a cruiser longboard : Sanview Bamboo Drop Through Cruiser
42” deck, maple + bamboo, medium flex, directional round tail, drop-through mount, large wheels

Example pushing board :  White Wave Bamboo
38”, double drop, wider (9.75”), maple + bamboo deck, medium flex, symmetrical, concave, large soft wheels

Carving longboard types

Carver boards are similar to cruisers but with additional features to enable hard leaning into sharp turns and flowing (like on a snowboard).  The deck is usually mounted higher to allow for more responsive turns.  It has more concave than cruisers, and often has wheel wells to avoid wheel bite during sharp turns. Trucks are set up to turn more aggressively, and the wheels are very soft for grip.

Example carving longboard : Rimable Pintail Longboard
41” deck, top mount, maple deck, medium flex, pintail, wheel wells, designed for carving and turning, large wheels

Another good example : Quest Super Cruiser
44” deck, maple + bamboo, top mount, wheel wells, directional square tail

Freeride longboard type

Freeride type longboards come in diverse shapes and sizes, some symmetrical (most common) and some directional, with drop-through decks (most common), double drop, or even top mount – basically every option is possible !  Decks usually have less flex (not good for speed). The wheels are smaller and harder for sliding. These longboards have different degrees of concave and/or camber to offer riders a more secure foot position.

Example of a freeride board :  Volador freeride
42” symmetrical deck, drop-through mount, maple, concave + camber, soft flex

Freestyle / dance longboard type

Freestyle boards are similar to freeride boards but allow for more technical tricks. They are predominantly symmetrical.  The decks are more flexible (not speed focused) and often wider to facilitate tricks.  Mount type is typically drop-through, and they usually have one or two kicktails.  Freestyle boards use many different types of wheels and trucks.

Dance type longboards are often very long (42” +) and wide to allow spinning around and walking.  They are mostly flat with slight camber or concave. Decks have moderate flex.

An example of a freestyle board :  Rimable Freestyle
42” deck, top mount, maple, soft flex, wheel cutouts, symmetrical, flat concave


Downhill longboard type

These are on the technical end, many of them with high-end composite-based decks that won’t wobble at high speed.  The boards are typically top mounted for control and stronger turning, although some boards are built with drop-through mount with stiffer decks.  These boards often have W concave and deep rocker for comfort and security. They use very hard wheels for grip and sliding at speed.

Example : MINORITY Downhill
40” drop deck, maple, wider (10”), larger wheelbase, symmetrical / cutout


The table below summarizes the most commonly elements for each type of longboard :

Cruising Pushing Carving Freeride Freestyle Dance Downhill / speed
Length / width / wheelbase Lengthy, long wheelbase Lengthy, long wheelbase Shorter than cruiser Wider for tricks Very long (42″+) and wide Long wheelbase
Deck construction Maple, bamboo Maple, bamboo Same as cruiser Composite
Deck flex Soft Soft, medium Medium Medium, stiff Medium Medium Stiff
Mount type / drop deck Drop-through, drop deck Double drop Top mounted Top mount, drop-through, drop deck Drop through Top mount
Wheels / trucks Big, soft, sharp edges Midsize, narrow trucks Wheel wells Smaller and harder Different types of wheels & trucks Small and very hard
Deck shape Directional pintail, square tail, round tail Directional pintail, square tail, round tail Directional, pintail, square tail, round tail Twin or directional, wheel wells / cutouts Mostly symmetrical, kicktails, wheel wells / cutouts Directional or twin, wheel wells / cutouts
Concave / camber Slight concave Slight concave Deeper concave than cruiser Various degrees of concave / camber Deeper concave than freeride for tricks Mostly flat or with slight concave / camber W concave, deep rocker