Whether you are looking for a ready-made longboard of your life or building up knowledge to assemble one by yourself, what I am going to share here will come in handy for you.
What you can expect to find here is a thorough guide on which trucks, decks, and bearings can go with each other. Plus, a review of which hardware should go with freeriding, carving, cruising, and downhill longboarding.
The best longboard setup is right below.
Get to know longboarding
Skateboarding and longboarding history dates back to the 1950s when surfing started to boom in South California.
When surfers could not find waves, they decided to fix the wheels on wooden boards and tried to simulate the way they surf on the streets.
This was how this sport was born.
A ready-made longboard is the quickest way to enter the world of longboarding. They are hassle-free, coming with a variety of prices to suit different budgets.
All of the parts on these longboards are picked and assembled by experts so you can be sure that they work in harmony with each other.
However, if you choose to DIY your board, you are in for a real challenge but when you are succeeded, the reward is enormous.
I was once a newbie in longboarding who had to go online searching for everything. There is one site I discovered that has most of the things beginners should know.
The majority of longboards are made up of all the basic parts. However, they are different in the way some of these parts are modified and how they are combined.
Similar to most skateboards, longboards are made with tough woods. The most popular types are birch and maple.
The number of wooden layers ranges from 7 to 10. They are usually glued and pressed to form the shape of the board. These curves run along the body of the deck.
A dip between the two sides of the board is responsible for keeping your heels and toes in place. This feature allows you more control over the movement of the board.
The press will determine whether the board is a rocker or a camber. If you are not familiar with these terms, here comes the explanation: a rocker has the middle curve downwards while that of a camper bends to the opposite direction.
Different riding styles will call for different profiles, shapes, and concaves.
To improve some certain features of the board, manufacturers add foam, carbon, and fiberglass to make the boards more lightweight or stable.
There is one thing you need to remember:
That is in longboards, the kingpin is placed reversely in comparison with a typical skateboard truck, hence the name “reverse kingpin”. These trucks promise more fun and a tighter turn radius.
The trucks of longboards are wider to ensure stability when you skate at high speed. However, not all longboards make use of such trunks.
In some cases, the original trucks are used in certain setups.
Bushings are the name for the small pads made of rubber that lie between the hanger and the kingpin. They can determine how your board performs at turning points. They come in several shapes.
Soft bushings are more flexible when you skate at slow speeds but they are not as stable as the harder type for downhill longboarding.
The harder ones allow for stability when skating downhill but it can be harder to control when you cruise.
Longboard wheels have a larger size than those of skateboards. This feature makes your ride more comfortable and also faster.
The rule here is wider wheels absorb shock better, allowing you to skate faster and have more grip when your turn.
As making sure the wheels have a space to spin and do not hit the deck is so important for a smooth ride, you will need longboard trucks, riser pads, and a longboard deck.
Longboard trucks and skateboard decks together is not a good combination as there would probably be a lack of space for the wheels and the deck.
The durometer, of longboard and skateboard, are the same no matter how hard the wheels are. However, longboard’s wheels tend to be softer than those of skateboards.
Bearings are arguably the easiest part to pick in assembling the best longboard setup. The only thing you need to care about is the quality as there is no such thing as slow or fast bearings.
The ABEC rating will determine the durability of them. You may want to opt for bearings with higher ABEC rate as they tend to last longer.
Not all longboards are created equal so before you buy a ready-made or try to assemble one yourself, you need to know exactly which style you follow. This style will decide on the shapes of boards you need.
If cruising is your cup of tea, you will want a shorter board that comes with a kicktail. Such boards promise more fun when you cruise.
On the other hand, longer boards which have a symmetrical twin shape are what the downhill addicts looking for.
The longboards are for board walking and dancing. They can handle being bent slightly because they have a soft flex.
Carving And Cruising
For those who like to cruise flat land, carving longboards and cruise are right down your alley.
They are somewhere in between a skateboard and a longboard. They look quite similar to a skateboard but their wheels and trucks are softer.
These boards are suitable for beginners and chillers.
As in downhill longboarding, you can accelerate quickly, so the boards designed for this style can maintain high stability.
For the nature of this style, these boards best suit experienced riders, those who can control the board better.
If you are a newbie, I highly recommend trying another type of longboard as the risk of getting serious injuries with this type is high.
Freeriding is basically riding along a hillside at a medium speed. On the process, you can curb or slide whenever you feel fit.
The requirement for control in these boards is pretty strict.
Freestyle is the term for all of the things you can perform with a longboard, from dancing, tricks to slides.
A longboard for freestyle is ideal for a beginner who is learning his or her way around a board. However, experts can also find skating freely challenging.
A Solution For Beginners
If you are in short of time and effort for assembling your own longboard, the ready-made longboards fit the bill.
Here are some suggestions:
Manufacturers like Loaded, Globe, and Sector 9 provide good quality boards so you can take a look at their websites to see if they have anything that fits you.
These boards are perfect for beginners. All you need to do is to find out what you need and look for a board that satisfies your requirements.
Are you a chiller who just wants to have fun with longboarding? Or are you an adrenaline junky who is into high speed?
If you cannot decide, why not choose an all-rounder longboard and have a taste of everything.
How To Brake
Beginners, before you even think about stepping on a longboard, make sure you know how to brake.
There are a number of methods you can use to bring your board to a standstill. Learning how to brake is not only for keeping yourself safe but it is also for the sake of people around you.
The very first method you want to master is foot braking. This is one of the easiest ways to stop your board.
To do this, take the pushing foot off the board and place it flat on the surface right next to your board. When your foot makes contact with the ground, the speed will be reduced.
Your shoes’ sole can be damaged a little bit along the way but this is arguably one of the most effective ways.
While quick and short carves allows you to pick up speed, doing the opposite will help slow you down.
When you are skating, the wind resistance can be on your side when you need to slow down.
You can try this method by standing straight on your board and extend your arms. You cannot reach a full stop right away in this way but you can combine it with another method to reduce speed.
Sliding is a fancy way to get around the corner and also a good braking method.
With your slide gloves on, make a sharp turn. This usually results in your board losing its grip. Lower your hand and maintain the sliding position until you slow down enough to stop.
When In Emergency
In case of emergency and you cannot use any of these above methods, just jump off the board and run to opposite direction.
This one should not be used in crowded places. If you are not fast enough, not only you but also others can get into serious danger.
If this is the only method you know, remember to skate somewhere away from the public.
These are what I know about picking and setting up a longboard. Have you ever made yours? If the answer is yes, I am happy to hear about it.