Riding a longboard or cruiser requires some mastery of body, balance and perseverance. To ride safely, it is fundamental to evolve at your own pace without skipping certain stages of the learning process.
In this advice guide you'll find all the information you need to choose the right longboard or cruiser, whatever your passion.
- Choosing your longboard
- Choosing your cruiser
- Understanding your longboard or cruiser
CHOOSING YOUR LONGBOARD
Longboarding is a sport from the US, specifically from California, where surfers began using these types of boards to travel along the seafront from one surfing spot to another.
Longboarding takes place in urban environments (on streets and pavements) or on tarmac downhill slopes.
Longboard has several different techniques:
- Cruising (moving from place to place, boarding for leisure, urban riding);
- Carving (riding curves, similar to surfing);
- Sidewalking/Dancing (tricks while travelling on the board).
It's important to think about the different technical features of your longboard based on the type of riding you're interested in.
To help with this, check out our dedicated section explaining the technical features of longboarding.
CHOOSING YOUR CRUISER
Cruisers are above all practical and quick, an evolution of freestyle skating. During the 1980s, Tony Hawk and the "Bones Brigade" gang invaded skate parks with their wide boards and big wheels, particularly good for ramps and bowls. Overshadowed slightly by the arrival of street skating, cruisers are now reasserting their strength.
Cruisers measure between 55 and 75cm in length, depending on how you ride. They have softer, wider wheels than classic skateboards, designed for better comfort and reduced vibrations on uneven urban surfaces.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR LONGBOARD OR CRUISER
If you are new to longboards or cruisers, you may have difficultly understanding some technical terms.
Different mounts for different properties
1) Topmount: the trucks are screwed directly the underside of the board. This is the most classic style.
2) Dropthrough: the board has a hole at each end, with the trucks attached on either side of each hole. Closer to the ground, this board is more stable and turns more quickly.
3) Pendular: the middle of the board, the area for the feet, is offset, closer to the ground than the ends. This gives greater stability and makes propulsion easier. Most boards in this style are rigid.
Composition: various materials are used, such as plywood, bamboo, fibreglass, carbon, epoxy resin, etc.
Dimensions: these can vary greatly, and affect stability, handling and weight. They should be chosen according to riding style.
Choosing board size
Less than 90cm: slalom, urban riding, tricks, old school.
90 to 110cm: all disciplines, depending on size.
Over 110cm: sidewalking, cruising.
Flex and Shape
Flex: a flexible board is ideal for carving and cruising. A stiff board is better for downhill, slides and tricks.
Concave: cavity boards give better grip but are less comfortable.
Camber: this can be positive (bent upwards), flat or negative (curved downwards).
- Carving/slalom: positive camber.
- Cruising, downhill: negative camber.
- Steet riding, tricks, dancing: flat camber.
Tail: raised for street riding and tricks, flat for other disciplines.
Wheel size: Wheel diameter can vary from 60mm to 130mm, with width varying from 40mm to 55mm. Generally, 65mm, 70mm and 75mm wheels are used.
The smaller the wheel, the faster and more manoeuvrable the board. The bigger the wheel, the more stable the board.
Toughness: This generally ranges from 65A to 100A (from softest to hardest). A hard wheel is quick and sturdy. It slides better but channels more vibration. A softer wheel gives improved comfort and grip on rough ground. Most longboard wheels are between 70A and 88A.
< 80A : soft wheel, standard for cruising.
> 80A : harder wheel, used mainly for downhill and sliding.