If you are looking to buy a new electric ride and can’t decide which product to buy, you came to the right place. In this article, we made a comparison between a longboard and skateboard to help you make an informed decision when shopping.
Before you buy an electric ride, make sure you know the purpose and the specs that you want and need. You might want to make sure what size and shape you prefer, before committing to buying one.
Electric skateboards and longboards do not come cheap, and even the most affordable ones will cost a couple of hundred dollars more. Luckily for you, we got you covered and we have all the answers to your burning questions on longboard vs. skateboard.
What is a longboard? Well, longboarding is just a variation of skateboarding using a board that is longer than the regular variety. If you want to dig deep into this interesting discussion, keep on reading.
Skateboarding started in the 50s. It was invented by surfers as a side sport and activity when there aren’t any waves in the ocean. The first generation of skateboards where created by a group of surfers in Venice, California when they put wheels on wooden planks.
If you want to learn more about this group of surfers turned skateboarders, watch the 2005 film “Lords of Dogtown” (1). This film is about how skateboarding became popular in the United States, and they do not know if skateboarding was happening on the other side of the world as well.
Ever since then, skateboarding evolved to be its own sport, instead of just a side activity that surfers invented. It grew to become popular as a children’s toy in the late ‘70s and came back as a full-blown extreme sport in the late ’80s up to the present.
Now, there are tons of skateboard types and disciplines. The sport has also become an official entry in the Olympics. For the sake of staying on topic, let’s move onto talking about the difference between a longboard and a skateboard.
Longboard vs. Skateboard
None of which is better than the other. It all boils down to one’s preference. Some people want a shortboard, so they can perform tricks. It is much easier to carry, too. On the other hand, some people prefer a longer board for increased stability when riding down hills and slopes. To truly understand which one is suited for you, you have to know the differences and purpose.
What is a Longboard?
A longboard is a type of skateboard that is used for different purposes. The first electric skateboards used longer boards because beginners will find it easier to balance on a larger deck. Longboards come in different shapes and sizes, and choosing one depends on you.
- Downhill Racing
Some people use longboards for downhill racing. Although it is not a popular sport, longboard racing has been around for decades. Riders race down steep hills going over 60 miles per hour. It is an extreme sport, which is why racers wear full-face helmets and leather suits with a built-in elbow and knee protection.
For cruising, people like to use a pintail-shaped longboard, which resembles a surfboard. Usually, the trucks are loose enough to carve smoothly on banks and sharp turns.
Another popular use of a longboard is for transportation. Electric skateboards are built with a longboard explicitly for the purpose of longboarding. In fact, the creators of Boosted Boards (2) developed their boards so they can easily get around their campus in California.
Freeriding is a longboard discipline that involves doing slides and other freestyle tricks going down a hill. This discipline is similar to freeride snowboarding.
Longboards come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. The most common shape is the pintail, which is primarily used for cruising and longboard dancing (3). Different longboard companies created their own shapes for their products, but the main types of longboard shapes are symmetrical and directional.
Some boards like the Teamgee H5 are drop-through decks. This means that the boards are closer to the ground, making it more stable. Some longboards made from bamboo like the Bamboo GT that has flex, making it bouncy, and giving the rider extra lean when carving through corners.
Longboards are equipped with reverse kingpin trucks. These are much longer and more stable than regular skateboard trucks. They have better turning, which makes them more suitable for faster riding. Some electric longboards are equipped with forged precision trucks that are much lighter and more durable than regular cast trucks.
Because longboards are much bigger in size, they require bigger wheels. Longboard wheels range from 60 to 90 mm in diameter. They are made with urethane and the softness and hardness are measured by durometer. A softer durometer offers better gripping and is best for riding downhill and riding fast. Harder urethane wheels are better for sliding and doing drifts.
- More stable
- More durable
- Great for cruising
- Big and bulky
- More expensive than a shortboard skateboard
What is a Shortboard Skateboard?
Also known as a trick board, it is the most common type of skateboard you will see on videos or in skateparks. The most common shape is the popsicle which is used for doing tricks like ollies, kickflips, and many more. This type of skateboard is also used for doing grinds, skating bowls, and jumping off staircases, and many more.
One variation of a shortboard is a cruiser type board which has a directional arrow shape. These are also used for performing tricks with the use of its kicktail. Cruisers are also used for transportation, and some electric skateboard companies are developing cruiser boards for a more portable electric skateboard option.
- Doing Tricks
A skateboard or popsicle-shaped deck is primarily used for performing tricks. The most basic of which is the ollie. Tricks can be performed on several platforms such as rails, flat surfaces, stairs, ledges, and many more. Performing tricks are also possible on a cruiser-shaped board because of the kicktail.
The advantage of using the symmetrically shaped popsicle skateboard is that tricks can be done regardless of where the board faces. This means you can use either the nose or the tail of the board for performing tricks in any direction. Skateboards that are used for doing these types of tricks often wear out faster than longboards for cruising. In fact, some skateboarders can break a deck in half in the span of one day.
- Cruising and Transportation
Skateboards are also a form of transportation. They are not as fast as longboards because they have smaller wheels, however. If you want to use a skateboard for transportation, it is better to switch to softer wheels for a smoother ride through small cracks. You can also use the kicktail to float through road imperfections such as small bumps and cracks on the sidewalk.
A cruiser board is set up differently than a skateboard that is used for tricks. Cruiser boards often have slightly bigger and softer wheels for a smoother ride.
- Bowls, Pools, Pumptrack
Some skaters use a skateboard for riding bowls and pools and other different transitions. Popsicle decks and cruiser boards can be used to skate these types of obstacles. Longboards may be too long for bowls and empty pools, but longboards can be ridden on a pump track.
Techsliding or technical sliding is similar to longboard freeriding. However, the slides are much more technical because riders do a variety of spins with the use of a shorter board. Riders such as Sergio Yuppie (4) popularized Techsliding in Brazil. It is said that while pool skateboarding was happening in the United States, Techsliding was already a thing in Brazil.
Skateboards also come in different shapes and sizes, but the most common type of shortboard skateboard is the popsicle deck. Cruisers are types of shortboard skateboards, and they are equipped with almost the same size of components.
Popsicle-shaped decks come in different lengths and widths. A rider chooses the right size for them, depending on their height and shoe size. Performing tricks with a deck that is not fit for a rider is rather challenging. Then again, it is a matter of what a rider is used to.
Vinyl cruisers have also become a thing, and companies like Penny Skateboards have made vinyl cruisers popular in recent years.
Short skateboards are equipped with standard kingpin trucks. These trucks have the right amount of turn. Depending on the tightness and looseness, you can use them to carve and pump through turns and transitions. Just like longboard trucks, you can also upgrade the bushings to get more rebound when leaning to make a turn.
All skateboard trucks basically have the same design, and they only vary in length, height, and materials used. Some companies like Independent make their trucks lighter buy hollowing out the insides of the solid truck.
Skateboard wheels for tricks are usually a lot harder than wheels for longboarding and cruising. You’ll notice that trick skateboards wheels roll so much louder than a cruiser wheel. They are made with the same material, but shortboard skateboard wheels use a different formula so that it can grip smoother terrain like smooth concrete bowls and wooden ramps.
Skateboard wheels are also smaller than that of longboards so that there is enough clearance from the board and the wheels when turning.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Can be strapped to a backpack
- Easy to fit in a locker or overhead bin
- More affordable
- More tricks and functionality
- Slower than a longboard
- Less stable than a longboard
- May be too small for beginners
- Easier to get stolen
Longboards and shortboard skateboards are two different things that have different riding disciplines. The question of which is better between the two can be likened to comparing apples to oranges.
Both have their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to you to decide which one works best for you. Based on the information above, we hope that after reading this guide, you have a better understanding of the difference between a longboard and a skateboard.