While there are many aspects of a longboard to look at when trying to choose one, size (length and width) is generally one of the first to consider.
Asking what size longboard to get is like asking what size car you need. It depends on so many things, like what you’ll use the car for, who will be driving, how many people and how much stuff will you be transporting, how far will you be traveling, how fast will you drive, will you be going off-road, etc.
The size of your longboard should accommodate your stance. Wheelbase depends on your need for response vs stability. Longboard size determines portability vs comfort. Tight urban riding is best with a smaller board. Mid to full-size boards often work well for LDP, freestyle & dancing, and freeride.
Let’s look at the things that can affect the ideal size of longboard you need.
|FACTOR||IMPACT ON LONGBOARD SIZE||EXAMPLE SIZE|
|Rider stance||Shorter deck for shorter stance (and vice-versa)||28″ to 34″|
|Wheelbase||Wheelbase not always related to deck length||–|
|Environment||Smaller for crowded urban, bigger for open paths/roads||30″ to 38″|
|Mount style||Drop-through/drop-decks bigger than topmount||35″ to 30″|
|Setup||Wider deck for wider trucks e.g. Paris 180mm||35″+|
|Commuting||Shorter, portable longboard for everyday commutes||28″ to 34″|
|Carving||Any deck size can work, focus on flex and setup||–|
|LDP||Any deck size can work, focus on ride height and setup||–|
|Freestyle/dancing||Big roomy topmount for dancing, mid-size OK for freestyle||39″ to 48″|
|Pumping||Shorter decks not as flexy and pumpable as longer ones||34″ to 38″|
|Freeride||Midsize longboard with symmetrical cutouts & kicks||34″ to 38″|
|Downhill||Shorter bullet race shape with specialized setup||29″ to 33″|
Longboard size & rider stance
Your riding stance is important when choosing the length of your longboard. Your stance is related to your height. In general, the taller you are, the wider your stance.
I’m 6’1 so I tend to feel more comfortable on a 33″ cruiser than on a 28″ mini-cruiser. That said, short but wide cruisers like the 27.75″ x 9″ Loaded Ballona or the 31″ x 9.4″ Carver Bolsa feel a lot nicer and natural under my feet compared to the 28.5″ x 8″ Landyachtz Dinghy.
Another thing to consider is, the taller you are, the higher your center of gravity. A larger longboard will generally run larger trucks and bigger wheels, adding stability.
Longboard size & wheelbase
The size of your longboard affects the size of the foot platform (the area where your feet sit and move) as well as the wheelbase, which is the distance between the truck mounts.
The wheelbase measurement is important as it helps determine how responsive vs how stable the longboard is:
- A shorter wheelbase results in a more responsive and turny longboard (all other things being equal)
- A long wheelbase makes the longboard slower turning but more stable at speed
For a given deck size, however, the wheelbase may vary quite a bit from one deck to another. For example, going back to the Dinghy vs Ballona comparison:
|Loaded Ballona||27.75″||16″ (max)|
|Landyachtz Rally Cat||34.7″||18.2″|
As you can see, a larger longboard doesn’t always mean slower turns and lower stability, it depends on the wheelbase. Longer boards may have shorter wheelbases and vice-versa.
Longboard size & riding terrain
The type of environment and terrain you’ll be riding is important in determining the ideal size for your new longboard. If you’ll be primarily riding crowded city streets and sidewalks, a shorter cruiser-type board is likely a good choice.
A compact board e.g. in the 30 – 34″ range with a functional kicktail (e.g. Loaded Coyote) will make it easier to navigate narrow back alleys and hop on/off curbs. Urban cruisers also generally have a short wheelbase for nimble riding.
If on the other hand, your goal is to travel on open roads or long and wide bike trails, a bigger board e.g. a 37″ to 40″ drop-through or drop down longboard will give you more comfort and stability for those long commutes.
Deck size vs shape & mount style
The size of your ideal longboard also depends on the type of deck and mount style. Drop-through longboards tend to be longer and wider than topmounts as they generally have large wheels cutouts, resulting in “wingtips” where the trucks are mounted.
These wingtips extend out from the foot platform, which makes the overall deck longer.
Drop-downs also tend to be bigger than topmounts (and even drop-throughs), often 36″ or longer, as the dropped foot platform sits low between the trucks, limiting the moving space for your feet.
So a 31″ topmount cruiser might provide as much foot space as say a 35″ drop-through/drop-down longboard.
One aspect that does NOT necessarily impact the size of your longboard is your target wheel size. If want to run very large wheels (e.g. 85mm Caguamas or even 105mm Dad Bods), a bigger deck isn’t necessarily required as you can also achieve good wheel clearance with a smaller deck by adding the right riser pads.
On the other hand, if you want to run full-size RKP trucks such as 180mm Paris trucks for wide responsive carving and flowy surfy turns, you’ll need a deck at least 9.6″ wide, which generally means a deck 35″+ in length (though there are exceptions).
Longboard size for commuting
If you commute to work or school on your longboard, you may need a compact and portable setup that you can easily tuck under your arm when walking into the office, classroom, stores, or stepping into a crowded train or bus. Shorter cruisers in the 28″ – 31″ range are a good choice for this type of use.
Of course, a short cruiser may not be as comfortable as a bigger longboard for long commutes, so there’s a tradeoff here. A good middle ground option might be a 33 – 34″ board like the Coyote or the Omakase.
Longboard size for carving
What size longboard should you choose if you’re primary focus for longboarding is carving? Carving longboards come in many sizes and shapes, from short and stiff cruisers to longer, flexy boards.
The ability of a longboard to carve well depends primarily on deck flex, mount style, and truck and wheels setup. There are many examples of good carving boards of various sizes, here are a few:
- Sector 9 Mini Lookout: 37.5″ directional cutout carving board with bamboo flex and 28″ wheelbase and Gullwing Sidewinder trucks
- Loaded Icarus: 34.8″ bamboo + fiberglass symmetrical drop-through with 28.25″ wheelbase, designed for carving
- Arbor Zeppelin: 32″ bamboo + maple direction drop-through with 23″ wheelbase, great for carving
- Arbor Fish: 37″ maple pintail longboard with 26″ wheelbase
- Loaded Chinchiller: symmetrical topmount with double kicks, bamboo core, and 21″ wheelbase. Great carver board
Longboard size for LDP
If you’re into distance longboarding, you want a low-riding board with large wheels for speed and stability.
Here again, longboards of various sizes can work well. A drop-through like the 39″ Loaded Tan Tien and the 42.8″ Dervish Sama, or a drop-down like the Landyachtz Fixed Blade will give you the low platform and high wheel clearance you need for distance riding.
Specialized LDP racing setups like GBomb decks, which are designed for bracket setups, range widely in length from 24″ all the way to 42″.
Longboard size for freestyle & dancing
Nowadays, freestyle trickery often goes hand in hand with dancing moves. Freestyle and dancing longboards are typically on the longer side, from 42″ (like the Mata Hari) all the way to 48″ (see the legendary Loaded Bhangra or the high-performance Tarab).
That said, some shorter boards also work great for freestyle. The topmount Loaded Chinchiller, for example, is a bit of a miniature freestyle/dancer, a versatile 34″ deck designed with freestyle trickery in mind with its roomy platform, ample double kicks, mellow concave, subtle flex and pop.
Some drop-throughs like the 39″ Tan Tien are also suitable for tech sliding and and flowy longboard freestyle tricks.
Longboard size for pumping
If pumping is your thing, like for carving a flexier deck will give you more energy and speed in hard carves.
The longer the deck, the more flex you get – assuming it’s using a flexy material e.g. bamboo or composite, and a flexy layup. A 30″ deck will give you a stiffer ride than a 38″ deck built with the same material and construction.
Besides deck flex and length, the setup plays a key role in a board’s pumping ability, namely the baseplate angle of the front and rear trucks – wedging can be used for improved pumping.
Longboard size for freeride
For freeride you typically want to shoot for a midsize longboard with a symmetrical shape and double kicks for switch riding and sliding.
Depending on your skills and riding style, you may choose a topmount for max responsiveness and control during slides, a drop-through for a lower, stable ride and secure feel, or a drop-down for an ultra low, stable, and locked-in feel.
Examples of good freeride options include the topmount 39″ Basalt Tesseract and the 38″ drop-down Landyachtz Fixed Blade, both stiff and symmetrical setups with good concave and foot pockets for fast riding.
Longboard size for downhill
Dedicated downhill and racing boards are often shorter (e.g. 30 – 33″), bullet shaped, with a super stiff construction, flared contours, and prominent concave for secure foot placement. Downhill setups include low angled trucks and medium-soft wheels for speed checks and drifting.
Longboard size is a tough choice, you need to consider many aspects including your stance and target riding style(s).
Size is only a part of the equation, however. Deck shape, mount style, and setup will also tremendously affect the way your longboard rides and what its abilities are for a given type of riding.