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Short Longboards: Why They’re Great – And How to Choose One

Short Longboards: Why They’re Great – And How to Choose One

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?

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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 have similar shapes to street boards but are often wider.
  • Short longboards typically have reverse kingpin trucks that are bigger than regular skateboards (although some also use TKPs). These trucks are taller and better-suited for cruising and carving.
  • Short longboards generally come with larger and softer wheels than street skateboards. Their deck and trucks are also designed to accommodate these bigger wheels while minimizing wheelbite.

Types of short longboards

Now that we understand the differences between a short longboard and a standard skateboards, let’s look at the different kinds of short longboards. They can generally be broken down into three types:

  • Mini-cruisers
  • Short drop-throughs
  • Short hybrids

Mini-cruiser short longboards

Mini-cruisers are shaped like little surfboards. They are directional shaped, with a wide pointed or blunt nose, and a wide or slightly tapered tail. The deck shape 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 and hopping over curbs and cracks. A great example is the 27.75″ Loaded Ballona – see my complete review here.

Most mini-cruisers are topmount with responsive and turny trucks, and relatively big wheels for the deck size for comfortable cruising over any terrain.

Round tail
Squash tail
Pin tail
Swallow tail
Diamond tail

See also:
What exactly are cruisers good for?
Can you ollie on a Penny board?

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 common. These short longboards have typical drop-through shapes with symmetrical (or almost) 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 traditional drop-throughs tend to be on the longer side.

The large cutouts give the wheels lots of clearance for deep turns, allowing for larger wheels without wheelbite. Short drop-throughs generally come with carvy RKP trucks, although the drop-through design tends to make these boards less responsive than topmounts.

The Loaded Pantheon Trip Collab is my favorite short drop-through (see my full review here).

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 double kick popsicle-shaped (like street decks) while others are closer to a cruiser shape though with a bigger kick.

hybrid short longboards

The main difference with mini-cruisers is that hybrid short longboards are designed for a mix of street skating and cruising. They are more comfortable to cruise on than regular skateboards, but they are specifically featured for street and skatepark tricks.

What primarily distinguishes hybrids from street skateboards is their trucks and wheels. Hybrid short longboards tend come with traditional kingpin street trucks albeit larger and carvier for comfortable cruising. Hybrid short longboards are also designed to run bigger wheels without bite.

The Landyachtz ATV is a great example of hybrid short board.

See also: what are the best hybrid skateboards?

Now that we understand what short longboards are and what different types exist, let’s look at some of the best short longboards for each category.

Best short longboard mini-cruisers

Loaded Ballona short longboard

The Ballona is Loaded’s take on the mini-cruiser for inner city and sidewalk commuting. Somewhat rectangular shaped, with a wide aspect, this little shredder really makes you want to jump on it for a city ride.

At 27+” the Ballona is super compact, super lightweight, super agile. It’s extremely responsive yet feels amazingly comfortable and secure even for a less skilled longboarder. This is thanks to it’s long wheelbase (up to 16″) and big platfom for its size.

Until now, the king of mini-cruisers was undoubtedly the Landyachtz Dinghy. The Ballona is a serious contender. Check out my super in-depth review here or check it out on Loaded’s site.

Landyacthz Dinghy short longboard

Landyachtz 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.

The Dinghy is quite affordable and comes in beautiful art designs. See my full review here.

Globe Blazer short longboard

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.

The Blazer is slightly cheaper than the Dinghy – though both are affordable short longboards (usually under $150). Check out my full review of the Blazer, or see its price on Amazon.

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.

Dusters California Fungi cruiser 29.5″ short longboard

The Dusters Fungi mini-cruiser is slightly larger than the previous boards at 33″ x 8.75″, with a 13.25″ wheelbase. It has a wide rounded outline and a big (6.6″), wide, high-angle kicktail for easy hopping over curbs and obstacles. It’s a roomy and comfortable mini-cruiser for stylish beach cruising.

The Duster Kosher comes with 5.5″ Tensor trucks and 60mm 83A wheels well-suited for tricks and slides. The Kosher stands out by its beautiful and flashy turquois and yellow mushroom-themed artwork.

Check out the Dusters Fungi short longboard here on Thank You Supply .

Best drop-through short longboards

Loaded Pantheon Trip short longboard

The Loaded Pantheon Trip Collab is a compact 33.25″ x 9″ drop-through & drop down longboard with a wide and very stable 21.6″ dropped platform and 27.25″ wheelbase. It’s by far one of the best short longboards for LDP (long distance pushing) out there.

This board is very easy on the knees for distance pushing. It has great stability for distance and skogging. Yet, the Trip Collab is astonishingly carvy and pumpable.

The Trip rides very low to the ground for pushing efficiency, and runs very large wheels (85mm Caguamas!) wheelbite-free for high speed and comfort riding.

See my full review of the Loaded Pantheon Trip here.

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, or check out its price here on Evo

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).

Check out the Drop Cat 33″ short longboard here (turquoise) or here (black) on Evo

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.

See my complete review or check out the price for the Landyachtz ATV here on Evo

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 tiny and portable, comparable in size to the Dinghy – and smaller than a street deck. It offers a relatively wide standing platform and long wheelbase (15″) for its short length, which make 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.

See my full review of the Pilsner or check out the Pilsner Bamboo version on Gravity Coalition.

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.

Some mini-cruisers with the right setup – harder wheels and snappy trucks, e.g. Carver with CX trucks or Slide – also perform very well in the pool and at the park.

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.

Final words

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.

***
Photo credits:
– Featured photo courtesy of Arbor Collective
– Products shots: Landyachtz, Arbor, Dusters California, Z-Flex, Pantheon, Globe

Julie

Tuesday 12th of January 2021

Hi there !! I’m currently getting sucked down a rabbit hole of board research. My first ever board was a long Globe board and I loved it . I have never known anyone with a longboard before (I grew up in Ohio and am a female and there just wasn’t a lot of that going on where I was). Anyways . Took a big hill too early in my “career” and so no I just prefer to cruise . I love the short longboards now for portability / travel . My brother has a LY Dinghy he lets me borrow occasionally and wow ! I love that little guy! I feel pretty stable and confident on it . I don’t get to ride a lot / often where I live now in Oregon but occasionally I’ll bust it out when I’m in town just to cruise in parking lots and stuff .

I’d like to get my own board now . I definitely was going straight for a dinghy but then I saw some stuff about Arbors . The company seems dope and the graphic are beautiful ! Which I’m not gonna lie is a factor that’s pulling me toward Arbor as goofy of a reason as that is . But ride is definitely most important !

I saw the bamboo series Pilsner and Sizzler and now believe these are the ones I will be considering . Unless convinced otherwise . I just wanna cruise , make some turns here and there , and have a smooth comfortable ride . The Sizzler and Pilsner but seem super intriguing but I’m not really sure the pros / cons though the shapes are distinctly difference and there is a 2 inch board length difference . This might be a long shot but do you have any insight to help me decide which would be best? I definitely want the flowiness and turnability like the dinghy offers and occasionally want to do some very minor downhill runs .

Thank you so much for any help !!! My over analytical brain thanks you ! Hope the new year is treating you kindly !

Big Kahuna

Tuesday 12th of January 2021

Hey Julie, the Sizzler is slightly longer and wider with bigger trucks and longer wheelbase - more stability at speed, more momentum for distance pushing, slightly less turny than a shorter WB. The Pilsner is great for city slashing and curb hopping and has a nose kick for tricks, while the Sizzler only has a small single tail kick, making it less suited for tricks. How much do you weight and how tall are you? Besides cruising and parking lot carving, Will you be using your board for transport a lot? Do you ever plan to learn flips and kick tricks?

David

Friday 1st of May 2020

Hey Jesse,

thanks for your great site. I'm writing you you to get some avdice. I'm 44 y.o., 1.83m, 80 Kg. I'm not a sportsman at all but I'm still fit, except for a knee condition, in particular on my pushing leg. I have been learning skate boarding by myself with my kids these past months, using a nice, low-end 28'' cruiser board. As my kids always preempt the board, I find myself forced to buy another one, you know how it is :-) And so I realized that my current cruiser, with its rather small wheels and short wheelbase, is not so fit for the sideways in my neighbourhood (lots of cracks, holes, high curbs) and also to go to work. On the other hand, I live in a very flat city, which is cool for cruising longboards, even more so as I don't really like speed (this may change if I learn to slide and, above all, overcome my fear of steep slopes, but it'll probably take years). And so I'm contemplating switching to a longboard, mainly for neighbourhood cruising, short commutes and, possibly, strolling a bit around the city on week-ends (max 15 miles). I'm looking for a rather short longboard to ease maneuvers on sideways, and because it's easily stowable (also, I feel uncomfortable on very long boards). Due to my knee condition, I'm also favoring low decks.

So to sum up, I'm looking for a rather short board, with a low deck, made for crowded cities and short to mid distances, able to endure bad sideways. I am not interested in fast speed; carving a little would be nice but I won't do it too much due to my knee. The Arbor Zeppelin and the Pantheon Ember seem like two good choices, what do you think? The former is much more available in my country and noticeably cheaper but I fear its 65mm wheels are too small for bad sideways and smooth riding? The latter really looks nice for my knee due to its low deck and the riding should be so smooth with its large wheels, but isn't it too low (I fear "bottoming" the concrete) and, perhaps, specialized? How does it compare w.r.t. the newer Trip and Pranayama for my usage?

Finally, I have one technical question: how do you overcome high curbs with these boards?

Hope you can help, thanks again.

david

Big Kahuna

Friday 8th of May 2020

Hi David, well no matter what it's always a tradeoff: longer for comfort, shorter for turn, lower/dropped for push, topmount for clearance and responsiveness, stiffer for speed/tricks, flexier for pump/carve, shorter trucks for stability, higher trucks for turn, fatter/softer wheels for grip, smaller/harder wheels for slides etc. In your situation there are many options, e.g. a mid-sized deck, drop-through mount for easier pushing, wheels in the 65-70mm range, 78A duro for cushioning and grip, turny yet stable trucks e.g. Paris V2 or V3. I agree the Pantheon is specialized in LDP and you may indeed get some bottoming on bigger bumps. The Zeppelin could be a good compromise, not as low but still a drop-through, it has big wheel cutouts so great clearance, you could probably mount bigger wheels on it if you wish, although 65mm is not a bad size for cruising & commuting. Of course if you want to get serious (15 miles is getting serious!) you may want to consider investing in a Loaded, pricier but you won't regret the investment. The Icarus is a drop-through but perhaps a little big for your needs at 38.4". The Omakase is a topmount but super comfortable due to the width, and quite low-riding for pushing, and very maneuverable for city riding.

Tough choice I know! These selector tools I created recently might help: Ultimate longboard selector tool Loaded selector tool

Hope it helps anyway!

sascha

Sunday 29th of March 2020

Hi! When you get to the "Landyacthz Dinghy short longboard"... What Design is this... I like the wheel board setup. Thanks, Sascha

Big Kahuna

Sunday 29th of March 2020

Hey Sascha, there are like 40 different designs for the Dinghy, you can see them here on Amazon Ride on!