Many skaters are divided when it comes to this hot topic. While the two are ever so similar, they also couldn’t be anymore different. From deck size to your trick selection, there are a variety of factors you have to consider when comparing the two.
Skateboarding – a recreational activity created from the heart of surfers needing to pass the time when the waves were calm, is now quite arguably one of the most popular sports in the world today. The sport has come a long way, from using wooden boxes/boards with roller skate wheels attached to skaters having custom made boards, sponsors and competitions with thousands of spectators and dollars at stake . With lists of pioneering legends such as Tony Hawk,Mark Gonzales and Eric Koston projecting skateboarding into the main stream, it’s extremely hard to walk through any city in the world and not see someone carrying a skateboard under their arm.
The community is thriving globally, making it a perfect time to pick up a board and hit the local skatepark. It’s a great way to stay fit a healthy and make new friends at the same time. Getting from A to B could not be any easier and comes hassle free as you don’t have to lock it up like you would a bike. With endless tricks to practice, you will always find something new to try out and spend endless hours perfecting. With cool edgy brands Vans and Nike SB leading the way, you couldn’t look any cooler hitting the ramps with a fresh board design, rocking a pair of Vans Old Skool Lites.
So with skateboarding at the forefront of the skate scene, where does longboarding fit in? Well it can be said that the two have a similar history. Originating from Hawaii in the late 50’s, surfers developed boards with a similar design to their surf boards and attached wheels to the bottom. Surfers took their boards and generally rode downhill perfecting their skills. For years longboarding was seen as a degree of self expression gaining some notable media coverage, however it was considered an underground sport for many years. Eventually manufacturers jumped on the hype train and popular brands like Sector 9 and Kryptonics were born, propelling the sport further into the limelight.
So what are the differences?
The first obvious difference is size. You will find that a longboard is typically longer/bigger (hence the name) than a skateboard. A standard skateboard can be 28-33 inches long, a longboard on the other hand can be up to 33-59 – YES 59 – inches long. The bigger surface area allows the rider to have greater stability and control when riding their board. So if your looking to get into boarding of any sort, the longboarding option will be more forgiving.
At this point you’re probably asking yourself why is a longboard bigger? Well the answer to that is what they are built for. A skateboard is built for flat even surfaces and skateparks. Longboards are built for uneven terrain which requires bigger wheels and greater balance to get from A-Z. To match these requirements, they have bigger softer wheels which absorb the shock of cracks and bumps in the pavement. The wider trucks at the bottom of the board are wider, meaning the wheels are set further apart allowing quicker and sharper turning. The shape of the deck can also vary as seen below.
Due to the size and shape of your longboard, you will find it hard to practice the same tricks that you would on a normal skateboard or shortboard. While it’s not impossible, kicks flips and ollies will be extremely hard to pull off. A skateboard has an upward bending nose at either end which allows to rider to flick to board up – longboards don’t have this feature. Remember the purpose of longboarding is to gain speed, carve from left to right and generally get from A- Z so skateboarding tricks should not be at the top of your agenda. Do not be under the impression that no tricks can be done on a longboard. You can get trick inspiration from clips on youtube of riders completing tricks like cross-stepping on their boards. It would be advised however that you cover the basics first before practicing tricks like these. At this point we will say that if you want to practice tricks, a skateboard maybe for you.
The beauty of a both options is that you can customise your board with any wheels or design you like. When it comes to longboarding, you can edit your board for your ride purpose. Are you going to slalom? Are you racing? Are you simply riding to your friends house? It’s totally up to you how you set up your board. With different size trucks, wheels and decks you can prepare yourself to give you the best chance over the terrain you’re riding on.
What’s Our Pick?
Well to pick between these two awesome sports is tricky, but for us longboarding is our passion. There’s nothing quite like hitting the slopes with your friends on a beautiful day. We love how you are able to customise your board depending on the ride your going to take that particular day. We really love how the longboard can bring out the real speed demon in all of us. We also think its great how a longboard is bigger than a skateboard making it perfect for anyone looking to get into board sports.
The Final Say…
While the physics of the two are ever so similar, we can safely say the two differ in many ways. How you settle the Longboard vs Surfboard debate will be down to you and your needs. Do you want to practice kick flips and ollies or do you want to gain some serious speed hitting the downhill slopes? If the latter, then long boarding is the one for you. Hooked up with the correct board, terrain and of course safety gear, you are well on your way to an exciting boarding adventure no matter what you choose.