Choosing a new hobby to master can be an exciting yet overwhelming task to do. With hundreds of hobbies and recreational activities to choose from, the possibilities could be endless. If you are looking for a heart-racing, adrenaline-inducing hobby, then grab a longboard and discover the exciting world of longboarding.
For the inexperienced, differentiating between a skateboard and a longboard can be challenging. Although debatable for some experts, it is public knowledge that a longboard is technically a variant of a traditional skateboard and it goes without saying that it is a type of long skateboard.
Longboards gain faster speed because of their wheel size, construction materials, and more precise hardware. From downhill racing to cruising, there are a lot of ways to enjoy the pleasures brought by a longboard. Downhill cruising and racing are often liked by those riders seeking more adrenaline rush and fast-paced riding. Fortunately, for those people who want a more relaxed and graceful way of riding the longboard, then longboard dancing and freestyle are perfect styles to practice.
Today, let’s find out what makes a longboard one of the most sought-after types of skateboard and what components make a longboard a longboard.
A Brief History of Longboards
Before we find out the features of a longboard, let’s travel back in time and find out the history and humble beginnings of the longboard.
During the 1950s when surfing was all the fad along the beaches of California, it was so hyped up that surfers even dreamt of experiencing the thrills of surfing even on land. There are days wherein there are no surfable waves in the sea, which leads to the manifestation of a skateboard
People began a genius idea of attaching wheels on a wooden plank shaped like a surfboard. When the first users of the skateboard prototype realized that these boards were too big to execute tricks, they made them smaller, which gave birth to the skateboard.
By the 1990s, the first skateboards were too small for skateboarders to cruise on smooth and wide terrains, and the sensation of riding a surfboard doesn’t feel natural because it only offers limited size and length. This issue gave way to major improvements and tweaks to the design to make it longer and that was when longboards were born.
What Are The Components of a Longboard?
Most people, especially non-skateboarding individuals, typically assume that the only difference between a skateboard and a longboard is its size and length. As a matter of fact, there are still numerous differences that keep a longboard apart from a skateboard. Here are the general components that you can find in most longboards.
On average, longboard decks measure 33 to 59 inches in length and 9.0 to 10.0 inches in width. They are typically made from plywood: anywhere from two to eleven layers, each of usually 2 millimeters in thickness. The most common woods used are birch, bamboo, maple, koa, or oak wood.
Longboards are commercially available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each variety has certain advantages and disadvantages, which come into play depending on the technique or personal preferences of the rider.
Longboards are available in a variety of shapes that greatly affects their performance and abilities. Each shape has its advantages and disadvantages, which come into play depending on the rising style or personal preferences of the rider. These deck shapes include pintails, swallowtails, flat-nose riders, drop-through decks, drop decks.
Underneath the deck, you will find a pair of trucks where the wheels are attached. They are typically made from steel and metal and give the skateboard the ability to turn. The trucks use the motion of the rider’s feet and body to turn the board by pivoting a joint in the middle of the truck — the wider the trucks, the wider the turning circle would be.
There are two tropes of trucks used in longboards: the reverse kingpin and the vertical kingpin also called the conventional skateboard trucks. Reverse kingpin trucks have the kingpin towards the nose and tail of the axle; while the vertical kingpin has the kingpin towards the center of the board.
Bushings are the adjustable components of the trucks that change the feel of how it turns. They are commonly made of a polyurethane material that varies in shapes and durometers (hardness).
The most common bushing shapes are barrels and cones. Barrels have a larger shape that offers more stability and rebound while cones have a more narrow shape which will allow more turns and less rebound. The bushing’s durometer also affects the characteristics of the overall ride. A harder bushing at around 97A will be harder to turn compared to a softer bushing of around 78A.
- Riser Pads
Riser pads are components that increase the distance between the wheels and the deck which prevents wheel bites. The riser pads also reduce the strain on the deck from the trucks that are directly in contact with it and the vibration caused through riding.
Longboard bearings make it possible for the wheels to roll smoothly as if there is no friction, which results in flawless stunt and great speeds. Usually, bearings are made from steel but there are also variants made from titanium and ceramics, which are usually higher in price.
Bearings are rated in the ABEC scale, with ratings from 1-9, using only odd numbers. The higher the ABEC rating, the more precise tolerances will be. Keep in mind that ABEC rating is not compulsory and not all bearings use ABEC ratings. Other bearing manufacturers use other methods to describe the bearings’ stability and durability.
- Grip Tape
A grip tape is applied on top of the skateboard deck to create strong traction between the rider’s shoes and the deck. It has a sandpaper-like texture typically made from silicon carbide and aluminum oxide. Without this friction, it’d be impossible to get your deck into the air.
Longboard wheels allow the board and the rider himself to move along a surface. It can come in a variety of colors, sizes, and designs that can show a rider’s personality and skating style. They are typically made from polyurethanes which are heat resistant and will not deform when heated. This is especially beneficial when rolling on hot pavement.
Generally, longboard wheels can be measured in diameter and durometer. The diameter is the size of the wheels, while the durometer shows how hard the wheels are. Both of these factors will depend on what you prefer, as well as what the skating purpose is.
On average, longboard wheels measure from 65 to 107 millimeters (2.6 to 4.2 in) in diameter. The wider the wheels, the slower the acceleration but a faster-rolling speed, whereas the smaller the wheels, the faster the acceleration but a slower-rolling speed.
The durometer determines the hardness of the wheels. A softer wheel will be ultimately slower than a harder wheel on a smooth surface. When the road surface gets rougher, a softer wheel provides a smoother, faster ride.
Longboard Riding Styles
To get you more acquainted with if a longboard is a perfect match for your riding style and personality, here are some of the longboarding styles to know.
- Downhill Racing
Downhill racing is an exhilarating way to race as fast as possible down the hills, reaching up to 80 mph. A longboard is an excellent board to use because it offers better balance and control of direction even at fast speeds.
Downhill racing has been around for decades and has been well accepted by the skating community because of its exhilarating factor. It is considered an extreme sport, so if you are going to attempt to speed down a hill, wear full-face helmets and an overall outfit with elbow and knee protection for guaranteed safety.
If downhill racing is too extreme for you, then you might like cruising, a longboard riding style in a relaxed and fluid way with an average speed of 6 mph. It is typically done in a flat road and city streets, cruising around the area for pleasure.
Nowadays, electric longboards have become a popular mode of transport especially among college students and office workers. It works by adding powerful motors and powerful battery packs on the bottom side of the longboards, making it an efficient and eco-friendly way to get from one place to another.
- Longboard Dancing
Longboard dancing is a subset style of freestyling that involves dancing, walking, and cross-stepping on a longboard. These movements form elegant and stylish body movements that are also more challenging because the board is consecutively rolling and carving on a flat surface. Think of it as ice skate dancing but on land.
Freeriding is similar to the discipline of snowboarding. It entails a discipline that involves sliding and doing freestyle tricks while going down a sloped terrain. It focuses on performing power slides to control the descent.
Longboarding is pretty exciting, right? There are a lot of benefits it can offer to its riders physically, mentally, and overall well-being. Once you have decided to start your longboarding journey, check out the vast options of longboards and skateboards available at Quest Boards.