Skateboarding and longboarding may seem similar to an untrained eye, but take a closer look and you’ll find they are actually quite different.
These two forms of sidewalk-surfing are starkly different. There are even debates going on as to which one is better and which one is more fun.
We at Hamboards couldn’t stay away from this ‘Longboard vs Skateboard’ debate and wanted to weigh in on the topic and try to settle the debate.
If you're in impasse and unsure about which one to go for, you need to know the main differences and benefits of both. So, let's dive in.
Origin of Skateboards and Longboards
The history of skateboarding started in the 50s as the side product of surfing. A group of surfers decided to make the most out of the flat days, and they created the first generation of skateboards by putting wheels on wooden planks.
Of course, the first skateboards were far from what they are today, but over the years, they were perfected into the shapes we know now.
Longboarding came later and it became popular in the recent decades.
Skateboards never really managed to fully recreate the surfing sensation, but that's because their design was nowhere near the actual surfboard.
In 1990s the longboarding culture really exploded on the scene and this was no fad. This was the era when sea-surfers and snowboarders joined hands to get a real feel of the surf on land.
These people started putting roller-skate wheels on their boards and slowly started shaping the longboards as we know them today. The idea was to keep the original shape of the surfboard and add flexible, soft wheels to recreate the feeling of riding the waves.
The 90s also saw a change in truck technology, boards became more stable because of reverse kingpins.
And even though the longest longboards were much shorter than the actual surfboards, they had an almost identical design.
Longboards started becoming more and more popular precisely because they were versatile in shape and size and could be used on various terrains.
Like I said, longboards are usually much longer than skateboards. They are on average 33-60 inches long and 9-10 inches wide, while skateboards are 28-32 inches long and 7-10 inches wide.
It's precisely their size that makes longboards more stable and provides rail-to-rail balance, which is why they are so awesome for beginners.
When it comes to the actual shape, skateboards can have many different designs, but the shape stays pretty much the same. Its deck is usually curved upwards on both ends, which helps skaters do the Ollie and the flip.
Longboards, on the other side, have long, narrow decks and come in many different shapes and sizes that provide a different surfing experience.
Hamboards collection has 7 different models all designed after famous surfboard models. The Fish, for example, aka ‘The Longboard Porsche’, is one of the best high-performance street-riders on the market precisely because it was shaped just like the actual fish surfboard.
And we designed our Classic with the original longboard surfboard in mind. We ended up with a sleek and smooth board that provides perfect classic surf-style riding, land-paddling and noseriding.
Trucks and Wheels
Both skateboards and longboards have trucks at the bottom, but they are very different. Skateboards have trucks that are more rigid, which makes them perfect for grinds and makes the tricks easier to perform.
Generally, skateboard trucks are narrower and use a traditional kingpin (TKP).
They come in a variety of sizes and ideally, you should pick the one which is the same size as the maximum width of your deck.
For example, for 6,5” – 7,25” decks you should pick 6”- 7.25” truck axles.
Longboard trucks are more flexible which contribute to the overall flexibility of the boards. They are the main reason why longboard-riding is smooth and comfortable.
Longboards trucks are wider. They have a reverse kingpin (RKP) and hangers are mostly 150mm or 180mm.
Like skateboards, you should choose your truck according to the width of your longboard.
A deck with 9” width and more, needs 180mm trucks. For smaller boards pick 150mm ones.
When it comes to the wheels, longboards have bigger and softer wheels, which makes them faster and suitable for all kinds of surfaces. And they also buffer the obstacles on the road such as pebbles and cracks, making longer rides much more comfortable.
Smaller wheels on the skateboard make them ideal for balance and tricks, but they can easily be thrown off by road obstacles.
Moving The Board
Both skateboards and longboards get the initial thrust by pushing off the ground with one leg.
Traditional skateboards are great for ramps and tight turns and light weight makes them ideal for leaps and flips. However, the same features make them less stable and uncomfortable.
Whereas, longboards are designed with transportation in mind and riders can cruise smoothly for miles on any smooth terrain. They are perfect for cross-country and downhill.
Skateboarders need to use their feet on the ground to get the thrust and speed.
This is neither safe nor practical when you’re cruising at high speed.
However, the longboard design makes it possible to ‘pump’ the board instead, by shifting your weight back and forth. This creates the thrust and force without your feet having to leave the board.
This allows longboard riders to cruise indefinitely on flat and downhill surfaces with both feet stationed on the board.
A variant of pumping is called gyrating, where you move by slightly turning the board left and right as you go forward.
If you're wondering whether to get a skateboard or a longboard, the most important question to ask yourself is "what do you need it for?"
Even with all the similarities and differences, skateboarding and longboarding are still crucially different when it comes to their purpose.
The length and wheels make skateboards very uncomfortable for longer rides. They are more suitable for skateparks where the surface is hard and flat and you have plenty of space for doing tricks.
You can ride your skateboard in the streets but this is mostly called grinding, where skaters use obstacles in the streets to perform cool stunts.
All in all, they are meant for practicing tricks – ollies, kickflips, darkslides airs, and so on. If that sounds like something you would be into, then a skateboard is the way to go. However, be careful because they are usually less stable and more dangerous to ride, and even forbidden to use on the street in some parts of the world.
Longboarding has two main purposes - cruising and transportation.
Its design is pure perfection when it comes to street riding. Its shape, flexible truck and soft wheels make it comfortable and easy to maneuver even on a rougher surface.
And, a longboard is amazing even for longer trips. For example, you can easily use one on your commute and have fun on your way to work.
But, even with a longboard, you can have a few tricks up your sleeve. Depending on the model, you can try carving, downhill sliding, noseriding and hand-paddling. I guarantee they’ll look more impressive on longboards.
If you want the best of both worlds - a longboard that's great for cruising but still perfect for tricks - try our Pinger and get ready for a thrilling ride.
Both skateboarding and longboarding make a great case for themselves and they both promise big fun. You only need to consider what you need from a board. Are you more of a chill, cruising type of person? Or are you more into ramping and stunts?
Still, if you're a beginner, we would definitely recommend longboarding first because it's simpler to learn. Due to the shapes and sizes of the boards, it's easier to get used to them, find your balance and learn your first moves.
Longboards are less agile than skateboards but with the right technique flipping, ramping and barrel rolls are all possible.
Hope this article answered some of your Longboarding vs Skateboarding questions.
So, what's it gonna be? A skateboard or a longboard?
If you decide on a longboard, head to our store now and check out which one that perfectly matches your style!
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