The language of longboarding can be confusing and overwhelming for many, especially for skaters who are new to the world of longboarding. There are plenty of terms and phrases that skaters use that do not exactly mean the same in regular conversations. This may make you feel like you have to continuously look them up just to keep up.
However, it does not have to remain this way. To help you become more familiar with the terms used in longboarding, we have created a list of general longboarding terms that longboard skateboarders use:
Concave refers to the curvatures in a longboard deck that make the skateboard a more comfortable ride. Although standard concaves run from rail to rail, thereby giving the skateboard deck a rounded platform that keeps riders in place, manufacturers have pioneered several new types in recent years that specialize in performing different functions.
Drop-through longboards have a skateboard deck that is mainly used for cruising setups. They are not as structurally strong as top-mounted boards, but they are flexier than the latter and are easier to perform slides with.
Durometer is a scale used to rate the hardness of urethanes and plastics, including longboarding wheels and bushings. Using this scale, the wheels for skateboards or longboards usually range from 75A to 101A, with 78A to 88A being the standard for soft wheels and 89A to 101A being the standard for hard wheels. On the other hand, the bushings for skateboards or longboards range from 78A to 98A, with 78A to 83A bushings being the standard for soft bushings, 84A to 90A being the standard for medium bushings, and 91A to 98A being the standard for hard bushings. Generally, soft bushings are considered to be more responsive, while hard bushings give more stability.
Longboard decks are often constructed with flex in order to make the deck more responsive even at slower speeds. In general, boards made from 5 to 7 layers of wood are considered to have a flexible construction.
Deemed by many to be one of the best inventions in skateboarding since the invention of the skateboard, kicktail refers to the upward curve in the tail or nose of a skateboard deck that can be used as a lever for performing tricks and increased maneuverability.
Mounting holes are the holes on your longboard deck that come in sets of four and where trucks are mounted.
The nose refers to the front kicktail of your longboard skateboard. More often than not, it is slightly broader than the tail.
Ply refers to one layer of wood in a skateboard deck.
The tail refers to the back kicktail of of your longboard skateboard. More often than not, it is constructed to be more narrow than the nose.
Top mount longboards have trucks mounted directly below the board, which makes the longboard more maneuverable and responsive.
The wheelbase determines the distance between the front truck and the back truck. Measured by the distance between the inner mounting holes, the wheelbase impacts not just the skateboard deck’s overall length but also the way it handles rides. In general, the shorter the wheelbase, the more responsive it is.
Wheel cutouts are sections of a skateboard deck that are removed from the top of the wheels in order to make room for larger wheels.
Wheel wells are recessed areas on the bottom of a skateboard deck and are located just above the wheels in order to prevent wheel bite and provide more wheel clearance.