Skateboards vs Longboards: What’s the Difference?

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Skateboards and longboards are two different types of boards used for different purposes. Skateboards are shorter, measuring around 31” (78 cm) in length, and are designed for tricks and use at skateparks. They have an angled nose and tail on either end and feature similar trucks and small, hard wheels.

On the other hand, longboards are, as the name suggests, longer than skateboards. They are primarily used for cruising and transportation and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, with options for different trucks and wheels.

Longboards don’t have to be extremely long; the term primarily refers to the transportation style of riding. While skateboarding and longboarding may seem similar to new riders, they have distinct subcultures.

Skateboards vs Longboards

Differences Between a Longboard and a Skateboard

Longboards and skateboards may look similar, but there are important differences between the two. Here we will explore the key distinctions in shape and size, deck flexibility, trucks and wheels, balance, and riding style.

1. Shape and Size

Longboards have a flat nose and tail, while skateboards have a curved shape. Longboards are generally longer, ranging from 28 to 59 inches, whereas skateboards typically measure around 36 inches. However, shorter longboards with a flat shape also exist.

2. Deck Flexibility

The deck, or base, of the board affects its flexibility. Skateboards have thinner, more flexible decks that are ideal for tricks and flips. Longboards, on the other hand, are designed for stability and speed, with thicker decks that offer less flexibility.

3. Trucks and Wheels

The trucks, which hold the wheels, differ between longboards and skateboards. Skateboard trucks are rigid and narrower, allowing for better grinding and trick performance. Longboard trucks are more flexible and wider, providing a smoother ride and enhanced stability. Longboards also have larger, softer wheels for faster and smoother rides, while skateboards have smaller, harder wheels for tricks and rail shredding.

4. Balance

Longboards are easier to balance on due to their larger size and stability. They are a good starting point for beginners who want to learn balance before transitioning to a skateboard.

5. Speed and Tricks

Skateboards are ideal for riders interested in tricks, such as kickflips and ollies, as well as skating ramps and grinding rails. Longboards are better suited for riders who prefer a stable riding experience, cruising, downhill racing, and using the board for transportation.

Understanding the differences between longboards and skateboards can help you choose the right board for your specific riding style and preferences. Whether you prioritize tricks or speed, there is a board that suits your needs.

 SkateboardsLongboards
Decks  lightweight ‘popsicle’ shape with upturned nose and tail for tricks  Longer, heavier board, designed primarily for cruising, carving and commuting
Wheels  Harder wheels (90a – 100a) for durability  Softer wheels (78a – 89a) for smooth riding over all surfaces
Trucks  Usually cast for high strength and durability for stalls & grinds  Can be traditional or reverse kingpin. Designed to carve and cruiser, similar to a surfboard or snowboard
Main Differences  Designed primarily for tricks, grinds and street skating  Designed for maximum maneuverability and a comfortable riding experience over long distances

Origins of Skateboards and Longboards

Skateboards have their roots in the 1950s when surfers were looking for a land-based alternative to catch waves during flat days. They initially created skateboards by cutting boards out of wooden planks and attaching wheels underneath. As skateboarders started to focus on trick-based riding, the boards were made smaller for better maneuverability.

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However, by the 1990s, surfers realized that these smaller skateboards did not provide the smooth cruising experience they were looking for. To address this, they redesigned and resized the skateboard, giving rise to the longboard. Longboards are now known for their larger size and are more similar to surfboards in terms of the riding experience they offer.

Pros and Cons of Skateboards

Skateboarding is a popular sport and recreational activity that offers various options for riders. Here we will explore the pros and cons of traditional skateboarding, highlighting its benefits and drawbacks.

Pros

1. Compact Size and Agility

Traditional skateboards are known for their smaller size, typically ranging between 28 and 33 inches long. This compact design offers superior agility and responsiveness compared to longboards. It makes traditional skateboards an excellent choice for riders who are interested in mastering tricks and feats while enjoying exceptional maneuverability.

2. Suitable for Street Skating and Skateparks

With narrower trucks and smaller, tougher wheels, traditional skateboards are particularly suitable for street skating and skatepark riding. The smaller deck size allows riders to navigate through urban environments with ease. The robust wheels also provide durability and stability while performing stunts and tricks.

Cons

1. Challenging for Beginners

One of the main disadvantages of classic skateboards is their smaller size and harder wheels, which can make them more challenging for beginners to ride. The compact design requires more balance and control, making it difficult for newcomers to get accustomed to riding on traditional skateboards.

2. Limited Speed and Stability

Compared to longboards, traditional skateboards may be slower and less stable for long-distance commuting or cruising. The smaller and harder wheels make it harder to maintain higher speeds and may result in a less stable ride.

Pros and Cons of Longboards

Longboarding has become a popular choice among skateboard enthusiasts due to its unique characteristics and benefits. Here we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of longboarding, providing a comprehensive overview for both novices and experienced skateboarders.

Pros

1. Novice-Friendly Option

Longboards stand apart from typical skateboards due to their longer deck length and larger, softer wheels. These features offer a smoother ride and enhanced stability, making longboards an excellent choice for beginners. Novices will find longboards more forgiving and easier to ride compared to standard skateboards.

2. Ideal for Cruising and Transporting

The larger size and softer wheels of longboards make them an ideal option for skateboarders who primarily use their board for cruising and transportation. Longboards enable smoother rides on various terrains, providing comfort and convenience during commuting or leisurely rides.

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Cons

1. Lack of Agility and Responsiveness

One drawback of longboards is their limited agility and responsiveness when compared to standard skateboards. This can make it challenging to perform longboard tricks and maneuvers, which may be disappointing for skateboarders seeking more advanced techniques.

2. Heavier and Bulkier

Longboards tend to be heavier and more difficult to store and transport than standard skateboards. This can be a disadvantage for individuals who frequently need to carry their skateboard or face space constraints. The additional weight and size of longboards may limit their portability and practicality in certain situations.

While longboarding offers distinct advantages such as a smoother ride and beginner-friendly characteristics, it is essential to consider the drawbacks, including reduced agility and increased weight. These pros and cons will help individuals make informed decisions based on their skill level, preferences, and specific needs.

 LongboardsSkateboards
UsageCruising / Carving / DownhillTricks / Skateparks / Vert
Cost💲💲💲💲💲
Weight6 – 12 pounds (2.7 – 5.5 kg)5 – 7 pounds (2.3 – 3.2 kg)
TricksMore difficult to do tricksRelatively easy to do tricks
CommutingGreat for commutesNot ideal for long distance
Ride QualitySmoothRough / bumpy
SkateparksToo big, wheels too grippyIdeal set up
LongevityMinimal maintenanceExpect to replace parts
InjuriesUsually less commonUsually more common
DifficultyEasy to get startedMore difficult to learn
PopularityLess (but growing)More (also growing)
SpeedVery fastSlower

Prices For A Skateboard Or Longboard

Skateboards and longboards vary in price due to the materials used and the overall quality of the board. On average, longboards tend to be more expensive than regular skateboards due to the additional materials required. A longboard typically consists of a larger deck made of wood, bigger wheels made of urethane, and wider trucks made of metal.

These extra materials contribute to the higher cost of longboards. Depending on the specialty and quality, longboards can range from $50 to over $500. It is recommended to spend around $150-$220 for a brand new longboard, as anything below the $150 range may lack quality parts.

On the other hand, skateboards are generally less expensive as they utilize fewer materials and often require more frequent replacements. The price of a skateboard can range from $25 to $200, depending on the quality and whether it is bought as a complete or built from individual components.

For a brand new skateboard, it is advisable to spend around $80-$150, as anything below $80 may have subpar parts. Ultimately, the prices for skateboards and longboards depend on their construction and level of quality.

 Longboard PricesSkateboard Prices
Price Range$50-$500+$25-$200+
Recommended SpendMinimum $150Minimum $80

FAQs

Which One Can Ride In The Rain Between Skateboards And Longboards?

We do not recommend riding skateboards or longboards in the rain due to safety concerns. However, if you must ride in the rain, longboards would be a better option. The larger wheels and deck provide more stability and grip compared to regular skateboards. Keep in mind that both skateboards and longboards can be difficult to ride in wet conditions, as the grip tape loses traction and the wood decks can become waterlogged and compromised. It is important to be cautious and aware of the risks involved when riding in the rain.

Which Is Easier To Learn Between Skateboards And Longboards?

Longboards are generally easier to learn for beginners because they offer more stability with their larger wheels and board. This requires less balance from the rider. On the other hand, skateboards are easier to learn tricks on due to their lighter weight and the upturned nose and tail. If you want to learn tricks like ollies or kickflips, a popsicle style skateboard would be more suitable.

Which Is Safer Between Skateboards And Longboards?

The safety of skateboards and longboards depends on the individual rider and the circumstances. Generally, longboards are considered safer because they are easier to balance and more stable. However, they can also reach higher speeds, which can be dangerous, especially for inexperienced riders on hills or in traffic. Fatalities, while rare, are more common with high speeds and collisions with vehicles. Skateboards can be safe for learning tricks like ollies and kickflips, but the risk increases when riding on ramps or bowls. Broken bones and concussions are common in skateboarding, so wearing a helmet is recommended.

Which Lasts The Longest Between Skateboards And Longboards?

Longboards generally last longer than skateboards due to less stress and wear on the components during normal use. Longboards are typically used for casual riding and can last for many years. The most common components that may need to be replaced are bushings and bearings, which are relatively inexpensive. However, downhill freeride longboarders who use their boards for sliding and shaving speed may go through wheels and bearings quickly. Skateboards, on the other hand, endure a significant amount of abuse from tricks, grinds, crashes, and landings, so top-level riders often need to replace their decks, wheels, trucks, and bearings more frequently.

Which Is Better Between Skateboards And Longboards?

Both longboards and skateboards have their own advantages and it ultimately depends on what kind of ride you prefer. If you’re looking for a more trick-oriented experience, a skateboard would be the better choice. Skateboards allow you to learn tricks like ollies, ride ramps, and grind on rails. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more relaxed and smooth ride, a longboard would be a great option. Longboards provide a stable and forgiving ride with their longer deck, making it easier to learn and cruise around.

Which Came First Between Skateboards And Longboards?

There is no clear distinction between skateboards and longboards in terms of which came first. The original skateboard was more like a longboard, designed for cruising, sliding, and carving. As skateboarding evolved, the modern popsicle shape emerged, with a focus on pools and ramps. Ultimately, both longboards and skateboards are considered part of the broader category of skateboarding.

Is A Longboard A Skateboard?

Yes, a longboard is considered a type of skateboard. However, there are some differences between a traditional skateboard and a longboard, such as the shape, size, and intended use. Longboards are typically longer and have a larger deck, making them more suitable for cruising and transportation, while skateboards are smaller and better for tricks and street skating.

Let’s Wrap Up the conflicts Between Skateboards vs Longboards!

So that was it! You might have noticed that there wasn’t much difference between the two boards but there are still some significant differences that result in a diversity of performance and usage. We hope the differences and similarities we’ve pointed out for you will help you to wipe out all confusion on this ‘Skateboards vs Longboards’ dilemma and also help you to find out the best suits for you. After that, you have to choose the best skateboard or the best longboard to get the top feelings of skateboarding!

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Joseph E. Bogle

This is Joseph E. Bogle, the founder and lead writer of SkateToScoot.com, an enthusiast of skating for over a decade. I'm an aggressive skater and certified skating coach, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and passion for skating with others through his blog. With my unique combination of personal experience and professional expertise, SkateToScoot.com is a valuable resource for skaters of all levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.