Longboards come in all kinds of sizes. The term “short longboard” may sound like an oxymoron, but short longboards are a very capable and functional type of longboards.
Why would you choose a short longboard over a mid-size or full-size one? What are the different types of short longboards that exist anyway? Which are some of the best short longboards out there?
In this post, I’ll try to provide some clear and straight answers to these questions. But first, what exactly is a short longboard?
Short longboard definition
A short longboard (like longboards in general) is a special type of skateboard. A longboard is generally considered short if it’s length is 33″ or shorter. Most short longboards fall in the 25″-33″ range.
You may wonder what distinguishes a short longboard from a regular street skateboard. The following are some key differences:
- Skateboards have the traditional popsicle, double-kick shape, while short longboards usually have distinct shapes (see below). Some short longboards are shaped like street boards but they are larger in size.
- Short longboards typically have reverse kingpin trucks that are bigger than regular skateboards (with some exceptions). These trucks are taller and better-suited for cruising and carving.
- Short longboards generally come with larger and softer wheels than those on street skateboards. Their deck and trucks are also designed to accommodate these bigger wheels while minimizing wheelbite.
Types of short longboards
So now we know the differences between a short longboard and a standard skateboards. Next, let’s look at the different kinds of short longboards. They can generally be broken down into three types:
- Short drop-throughs
- Short hybrids
Mini-cruiser short longboards
Aka mini-cruisers. These short longboards are shaped like little surfboards. They are directional shaped, generally with a wide pointed nose and a slightly slimmer tail. The deck may be rounded, squared, diamond, or swallow-tailed.
Mini-cruiser short longboards usually have a functional kicktail for nimble maneuvering around obstacles in tight spaces and for easy ollying for hopping over curbs and cracks.
Most mini-cruisers are topmount with responsive and turny trucks, and relatively big wheels for the deck size for comfortable cruising over any terrain.
Short drop-through longboards
While drop-through longboards are traditionally mid to full-length (in the 36″-43″ range), short drop-throughs are becoming more and more common. These short longboards have typical drop-through shapes, symmetrical (or sometimes asymmetrical) cutout shapes with “wingtips” for the nose and tail.
The drop-through design means the trucks are mounted across the deck, making the deck lower to the ground for a more stable ride, namely at speed, and easier pushing.
Since the trucks are mounted on the “wingtips”, your feet sit between the trucks vs over them, resulting in a shorter foot platform – which is why drop-throughs are traditionally on the longer side.
The large cutouts give the wheels lots of clearance for deep turns and allow for larger wheels without wheelbite. Short drop-throughs generally come with carvy RKP trucks even though the drop-through mount style tends to make these boards less responsive compared to topmounts.
Hybrid short longboards
Hybrid longboards look like oversized street decks. They are short by longboard standards but on the larger end of street skateboard sizes. Many are popsicle-shaped (like street decks) while others are closer to a cruiser shape, though with a bigger kick.
The main difference with mini-cruisers is that hybrid short longboards are designed for both street skating and cruising. They are more comfortable to cruise on than regular skateboards, but they are specifically designed for street and skatepark tricks.
What primarily distinguishes hybrids from street skateboards is their trucks and wheels. Hybrid short longboards usually come with traditional kingpin trucks similar to street trucks, but larger and carvier for comfortable cruising. Hybrid short longboards are also designed to work well with bigger wheels.
OK, now that we understand what short longboards are and what are the different types, let’s look at some of the best short longboards available in each of the three categories.
Best short longboard mini-cruisers
UPDATE: since I published this article, the awesome Loaded Coyote mini-cruiser (30.75″) and city slasher was released. See my full review here.
Landyacthz Dinghy short longboard
The Dinghy is Landyachtz’s uber-popular mini-cruiser short longboard. With length 26″ to 28.5″ and a wheelbase of 14 to 14.6″ depending on version, it’s a short and portable board for cruising and slashing in the city. The Dinghy offers a very smooth, reactive, and quick-turning ride. It comes with super responsive Polar Bear TKP trucks and 63mm big soft Hawgs wheels for comfortable rolling over any surface.
Globe Blazer short longboard
The Globe Blazer mini-cruiser is similar to the Dinghy in style and use. It comes in 26″ and 32″ (Big Blazer) lengths and 13.75″/17.5″ wheelbase. While the Dinghy has a rounded square tail, the Blazer is diamond-shaped in the back.
The Blazer ships with Globe’s quality Tensor TKP trucks (4.5″ or 6″ depending on deck size) and soft and grippy 62mm Globe Conical wheels (82A). Like the Dinghy, the Blazer is a capable city cruiser with a nice kicktail and a very responsive and turny type of ride.
Duster California Kosher 33″ short longboard
The Duster Kosher mini-cruiser is slightly larger than the previous two boards at 33″, with a notably large wheelbase of 19.25″. It has a swallow tail shortboard surfboard shape and a slight kick. It’s a roomy and comfortable mini-cruiser for stylish beach cruising.
Similar to the Blazer, the Duster Kosher comes with 5.25″ Tensor trucks and 62mm 83A wheels. The Kosher stands out by its beautiful and flashy blue and yellow flowery graphics .
UPDATE: also check out the Globe Stubby, a super wide 30″ mini cruiser with 180mm Slant RKP trucks and 62mm 83A smooth and grippy wheels. I recently tested it and loved the feeling.
Best drop-through short longboards
Arbor Zeppelin short longboard
The Arbor Zeppelin is a short 32″ drop-through longboard with a classic directional, downhill type shape. It’s a great board for pushing (low-riding), pumping, and distance. Its large wheel cutouts provide ample clearance for carving. It’s a great short board for beginners and urban/campus pushers.
The Zeppelin also does well on moderate hills due to its stable drop-through design and its noticeable concave. It ships with responsive and versatile 150mm Paris trucks and 65mm soft (78A) and grippy Arbor wheels.
Check out my full review of the Arbor Zeppelin. Being a drop-through, the Zeppelin is pricier than a mini cruiser.
Landyachtz Drop Cat short longboard
At a length of 33″, the Drop Cat is the smallest drop-through Landyachtz has ever made. It’s an outstanding short longboard for freeriding, beginner sliding, carving, and some downhill speed. The Drop Cat’s small size makes it ideal for riding tight corners and narrow pathways.
Its concave and strong rocker make it super comfortable and give you great control for doing slides and big carves. The Drop Cat is agile, compact and very portable, and it’s long 23.9″ wheelbase gives you great stability when riding fast. It has enough stiffness for control at speed, yet enough flex for a nice rebound when carving.
The Drop Cat short drop-through comes stock with 180mm Bear Grizzly trucks, which are among the most responsive and carvy RKP trucks out there – they also pump extremely well. It also comes with new Hawgs Plow Kings 72mm soft wheels (78A).
See the price for this awesome Drop Cat 33″ short longboard here on Amazon.
Pantheon Ember short longboard
The Pantheon Ember is a 32.75″ x 8″ short longboard (the size of a street deck) with a huge 25″ wheelbase. It’s designed specifically for efficient short to mid-distance push traveling. It offers a very low-riding double-drop platform and a thin narrow profile.
Unlike most drop-throughs, the Ember short longboard is designed around TKP trucks which allows it to support very large wheels without risers (keeping it low) and without wheelbite for turning ability. Besides distance pushing, the Ember’s significant wheelbase also makes it very stable and suitable for some downhill.
Check out my full review of the Pantheon Ember here.
Best hybrid short longboards
Landyachtz ATV short longboard
The Landyachtz ATV short longboard series are hybrids, i.e. a mixture of traditional skateboard and mini-cruiser shapes. These short longboards are 30-35″ in length and boast old-school shapes while running big soft longboard wheels and large TKP trucks.
These hybrid short longboards are designed for comfortable cruising around the city without giving up hardcore street tricks. The ATVs come in three different shape variations, each with a slightly different mix of street vs cruiser features.
Decks are 31 – 32″ long by 8 – 9″ wide with a wood + fiberglass + epoxy composite construction for high durability and strong stiffness. The complete come in with 155mm Polar Bear TKP trucks and 60mm 78A Chubby Hawgs wheels.
Arbor Pilsner short longboard
The Pilsner is another hybrid skateboard/cruiser short longboard designed for street tricks while still enjoying a much more comfortable ride around town than on a street deck. Street trucks and cruiser wheels make the Pilsner just as maneuverable than a skateboard and as smooth-riding as a cruiser.
At 28.75″ x 80125″, the Arbor Pilsner is quite small and portable, comparable in size to the Dinghy (and smaller than a street deck). However, it offers a relatively wide standing platform and long wheelbase (15″) for its short length, which makes for a comfortable ride.
The Pilsner’s huge kicktail clearly makes it suitable for aggressive street and vert riding. This short longboard comes stock with highly trickable 129mm Paris street trucks and soft (78A) 61mm Bogart wheels for smooth rolling.
Z-Flex Jay Adams pool board
The Z-Flex Jay Adams is also a hybrid short longboard primarily designed for street, pool, and skatepark riding. It looks like an oversized traditional skateboard, with ample double kicks. With size 32″ x 9.5″ and a 15″+ wheelbase, however, it is a bit larger than a street deck and has bigger trucks and wheels for comfortable cruising and street surfing.
The Jay Adams pool short longboard comes with 6.25″ Z-Flex street trucks and relatively small and hard 58mm/97A wheels for street, slide, and kick tricks. It’s probably the most street-oriented short longboard in our list. A good board if you like to mix real park and pool with daily cruising.
Pros and cons of short longboards
To wrap up this article, let’s briefly go over what short longboard are good for as well as some of their weak points.
Short longboard pro: they’re fast and nimble
The first reason most riders are attracted to short longboards is their quirkiness and maneuverability. Mini-cruisers and short drop-throughs tend to be highly responsive and quick-turning due their short wheelbase and responsive RKP trucks. They allow you to easily hop on and off obstacles and curbs thanks to their functional kick and light weight.
Topmount mini-cruisers are generally the most reactive and maneuverable due to their topmount setup. Short hybrids are also quick-turning because of the TKP trucks, though not as fluid and carvy as with RKP.
Short longboard pro: portable and stowable
Due to their relatively small size (equal to or smaller than a street deck), short longboards are generally lightweight compared to mid or full-sized longboards. They are also much less bulky to carry around.
A 26″-33″ short longboard can easily be stashed in a backpack or stowed in a locker. It can be carried around on the train or bus, to class on campus, inside stores, etc. Be aware though, that the trucks and wheels of a short longboard will weight more than those of a regular skateboard.
Short longboard pro: cheaper than regular longboards
Another big advantage of short longboards is that they’re generally more affordable than regular longboards, particularly mini-cruisers. These boards are typically priced in the $100-$160 range.
Quality short drop-through longboards tend to be a bit pricier ($200+) as the drop-through construction involves a more complex manufacturing process. Good hybrid short longboards also tend to be more expensive (in the $140-$210 range) due to the high-impact requirements for intensive street and park riding.
Short longboard pro: better for cruising
As mentioned, short longboards, particularly mini-cruisers, are great for cruising compared to regular skateboards thanks to their big responsive trucks and larger softer wheels.
While longer boards may be more comfortable for longer trips, a short mini-cruiser gives you a nice and smooth ride on any terrain, with the portability on top.
Short longboard pro: better for street tricks and park
This one applies primarily to hybrid short longboards. Hybrids are designed for street and park riding in addition to general cruising. They are much better-suited for doing kickflips and big airs than larger longboards.
Short longboard con: harder for bigger riders
Short longboards are, well, short, with a shorter wheelbase than an average longboard. If you’re a bigger rider with bigger feet, a short mini-cruiser or hybrid may not be the most comfortable choice for you.
Likewise, if you’re a really tall person, the short length may force you into too narrow a stance, making it less enjoyable for cruising and commuting. This is even more true for a short drop-through than a mini-cruiser since your feet are constrained between the trucks (shorter wheelbase).
Short longboard con: twitchier, harder to push
The smaller wheelbase on most short longboards often makes them twitchier. Some short longboards are not very well-suited for beginners as they’re super responsive and hard to control for a newbie.
Short longboards are also less stable at high speed (e.g. downhill) and more prone to wobbles. Drop-through are somewhat more stable than topmounts and can feel more secure when riding fast.
Shorter longboard cruisers are also more challenging to push distance than longer longboards due to lower stability. As mentioned though, short drop-throughs are easier to push on because they ride lower to the ground.
Mini longboards are awesome for cruising the city and commuting in a nimble and portable way. There are several different types of short longboards, such as the mini-cruisers, the short drop-throughs, and the short hybrid longboards. Each type is designed with a different primary focus in mind, so pick your short longboard based on your own riding style and goals.
– Featured photo courtesy of Arbor Collective
– Products shots: Landyachtz, Arbor, Dusters California, Z-Flex, Pantheon, Globe