Most beginners have no idea how to pick the right longboard.
It’s all good, it can be super confusing! But, it doesn’t need to be.
I’m not gonna list a bunch of cheap longboards because that doesn’t help anyone.
Instead, I’m gonna educate you in the simplest way possible.
There are three things to consider…
- Your riding style
- Your environment
- Your budget
Define those three things, and you’ll be in a good position. I’ll recommend a few options at the end.
If you want a quick summary, find it below.
As general advice, you’ll want something that’s long/wide (30″- 45″ / 8.5+”). Large, soft wheels (60-80mm / 77a-83a) so you can cruise over rough terrain. And reverse kingpin trucks for stability at higher speeds.
Longboard Riding Styles
Everyone has a different riding preference.
If you can understand each style and see where you fit, you’ll be in a solid spot to pick your longboard.
To keep it simple, there are four longboard riding styles…
Cruising is exactly how it sounds, it’s when you ride around in a chill manner. Your town, neighborhood, or campus.
99% of beginners should start with a cruiser longboard.
If you’re looking for a beginner cruiser board, I’d recommend it being at least 30” long and 8.5” wide. A long, wide deck will be easier to balance on. The wheels should be large/soft (60mm-80mm / 77a-83a) so they can easily roll over cracks/bumps. The trucks should be reverse kingpins, so they’ll be stable at higher speeds.
The next style you might want to consider is…
Freestyle is the closest longboarding style to traditional skateboarding because it involves tricks.
- Flip tricks
They all fall under the freestyle longboarding category.
Freestyle longboards are usually beginner-friendly because…
Their decks are large and wide, easier to balance. It’s common for the decks to be a platypus shape with drop-through trucks. Drop-through setups make the deck sit lower to the ground, making them more stable and easier to push.
Their wheels are softer, although usually harder than cruiser wheels (80a-83aish). Most freestyle boards will have kicktails and noses to help with performing tricks. If you want to learn longboard tricks, I recommend checking out Amp Skate.
Downhill is when you bomb massive hills at mind-boggling speeds.
You’ll want to avoid this riding style if you’re a beginner. You need to get the basics down before attempting anything downhill. I still wanted to include it because you should be aware of it.
Usually, downhill boards are stiff and have lower-angled trucks. The boards are also topped with aggressive griptape to help keep your feet locked into place.
If you want to learn more about downhill history, watch Signal Hill on Redbull TV. It’s wild!
Downhill is pretty self-explanatory. Mark this style as a “not yet” if you’re a beginner.
Freeride is mixing high speeds with sliding.
Think of it as an in-between downhill and freestyle. The high speeds of downhill, mixed with the expressive form of freestyle.
Like downhill, it’s not a beginner-friendly longboard style.
In most cases, freeride longboards have more flex than downhill boards. They have griptape on the aggressive side to help lock you in when sliding. Also, harder, smaller wheels for easier sliding.
At this point, you should know what riding style you fit into.
So, the next logical step is to think about your…
It’s important to think about your riding environment. It’ll help you determine the best components for your setup.
I’ll cover a few scenarios to paint a clearer picture.
If the roads you’ll be riding on have cracks and rocks, you’ll want your board to have large, soft wheels.
Large, soft wheels will roll over rough terrain easier because they deform and absorb the impact. Harder wheels have a higher chance of seizing up and throwing you off the board.
You’ll also want a deck that’s on the larger side. A longer and wider deck will offer more surface area to balance on.
More deck space = more room for your feet.
If you live in an area where you’ll need to make quick turns, here are a few things to consider.
You might want traditional kingpin trucks (TKPs) over reverse kingpins (RKPs). TKPs are more agile because they have a higher baseplate angle offering more turn. Be aware that TKPs won’t handle higher speeds as well as RKPs.
A smaller wheelbase will also contribute to a more agile setup. If you need to be able to take sharp turns, TKPs with a smaller wheelbase are the move.
You also might want to consider a setup that has a kicktail/nose with a higher degree. If you can’t make a tight turn based on weight distribution, you can use the kicktail to adjust.
If all of this sounds like your riding style, you should look into cruiser skateboards.
The final piece to the puzzle is to…
Define Your Budget
This is straightforward. What are you comfortable paying?
I like to break it up into three budget types…
- Low-Tier (Under $100)
- Mid-Tier ($100-$200)
- High-Tier ($200+)
If you’re not sure you’ll stick with longboarding long-term, don’t spend a lot.
Under $100 Budget
Is your budget in the low-tier range (under $100)?
The best advice I can give you is to ask around your area. Chances are someone has an old longboard collecting dust that you can upgrade for cheap.
Honestly, though, if you’re like me (an introvert that will avoid human interaction at all costs…lol)
Go on Facebook marketplace, and you’ll find a bunch of used longboards for a decent price.
The last scenario I can think of is if you want a brand-new setup. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. But if you can’t afford to spend more than $100 and want something brand new, I’d recommend Magneto. I’ve bought similar brands, and Magneto has the best quality for this price range.
If you want a more in-depth look at Magneto, check it here.
$100 – $200 Budget
You know that saying, “Buy nice or buy twice”? The same thing applies to longboarding.
But I understand that not everyone can afford to pay over $100 for their setup.
Spending somewhere in the $150-$200 range will significantly increase the quality of your setup. You’ll find a decent longboard that’ll last in this price range. My first ever longboard was from Sector 9, and it’s still going strong.
Some people always want the best of the best. And who I am to tell you what to do?
If you know what riding style you prefer and stick with it long-term.
Popular high-tier brands…
The “Loaded Boards” and “Landyachtz” links are affiliate links, meaning we’ll receive a small commission if you buy using that link. It’s at no additional cost to you and would be included in the list regardless.
Hopefully, at this point, you know how to pick the best beginner longboard for you. I tried to keep all this information clear and concise.
Cruiser longboards will be the best option for most of you. Then, freestyle if you see yourself getting into that.
Avoid freeride and downhill. Well, for now, at least.
I put together a full list of the best longboard brands (if you want more options).
I hope you found this beginner’s longboard guide useful.