Cruiser or Longboard for College? Making the Right Choice


cruiser and a longboard

Have you ever considered quicker alternatives to sail through your college campus? Sure, a bike or scooter might fit your style. Although those choices are pricey, bulky, and don’t present the advantage a cruiser or longboard does.

So should you pick a cruiser or a longboard for riding around campus? Get a cruiser if you only need to ride short distances and want something that is easy to carry around. They are affordable and easy to pack in tight places. Get a longboard if you also want to cruise long distances. They are a bit bulky and hard to store in a locker.

Cruisers are an effective means to go to class all while boosting energy to start any day off strong. Many offer a unique alternative that’ll get you to the class in a flash.

Longboards are another alternative for cruising around campus. Although, it is best to take into consideration the differences before forming a definite verdict. Let’s look at what you need to know with the skateboards available.

Types Of Skateboards For College

You can consume loads of time looking through boards, choosing the proper one for the very first time can be overwhelming. From all the various brands and styles, there is a board for virtually everyone. It’s not that hard though. Usually, a complete setup works fine for both longboards and cruisers.

You could also consider a regular skateboard instead of hard wheels, get softer and bigger wheels. It’s often a cheaper option if you already have an old setup that’s been collecting dust.

If you are completely new to skateboarding, a longboard is a better option but it has a few cons which I will address later. A cruiser has a steeper learning curve but they are very nimble and easy to carry around.

Cruiser Skateboards

Landyachtz Dinghy details

Cruisers are flat and thinner than a skateboard, and shapes are broader, with a pointed or flat nose and tail. Unlike a normal skateboard, we use cruisers for commuting, or transition style skating like pools and ramps.

Without a doubt, cruisers are perfect for college students searching for a quick, but insanely fun alternative to get to class. Big, soft wheels allow to clear cracks, bumps and rough asphalt, and even cobblestone. 

The cruiser in this picture is my Landyachtz Dinghy my personal opinion is that this is the best dedicated cruiser you can get. It comes with high-quality components and offers a superb cruising experience. Check out my review if you want to see how this board performs.

If you don’t want to learn tricks, this is the best choice for a novice or seasoned skater that enjoys transition skating. Several variations allow for a personalized setup that vary in size.

Cruisers you will see referred to as “mini-cruiser” or “micro-cruiser”. Mini-cruisers start at 27” long, 8” wide. Micro-cruisers come in at 25” long, 7” wide.

Size alters how a board feels and responds to the surrounding environment. A larger board is simpler to balance and maintain stability, which is good for a beginner. Also important is the size of a board “kicktail” which assists stopping, turning, and popping tricks. Some are notably larger or squared off based on what you prefer.

Longboards

longboard

Longboarding is a popular alternative amongst many. Although exhibits a different riding experience than a skateboard or cruiser. The difference is in shape, size, and components such as inverted trucks.

Longboards are suitable for long-distance travel, bombing hills at high speeds. You won’t push to maintain momentum like you do on a skateboard.

As far as weaving through foot traffic, portability, and swift response, this wouldn’t be the best option for riding around campus. You also have to be careful not to hit pedestrians and avoiding crowded places isn’t always possible.

Regular Skateboards

skateboards with cruiser wheels

This is the most popular, one discovered at parks, on the street, or Tony Hawk video games. They appear with a distinct shape attributed as a “popsicle” by its appearance.

This is the board you would consider for learning tricks, and you can convert into a cruiser by switching out a few components 

If you can’t afford a brand new cruiser and have an old skateboard setup collecting dust just acquire a nice set of bigger wheels instead and some riser pads. Make sure you get the right wheels and check out my guide I wrote which explains how to make this work. In a nutshell, the best way to accomplish this is by using a pair of tall riser pads to limit wheel-bite, and a nice set of soft wheels (around 60mm.)

I prefer wider trucks as hard corners might be tricky, but with the proper pads and a little wax under the wheel wells, you’ll be set to fly.

What Are Cruiser Skateboards Good For?

Just outside the realm of just cruising, their uses are limitless. The bigger, softer wheels deaden background noise that you hear from normal skateboards. This works well for shooting skate videos without all the loud background noise.

Skateboarding attracts attention for new friendships you may have not had the opportunity for elsewhere. This is one reason I encourage getting involved, notably for college students seeking a hobby, or just to blow off steam.

What About Penny/Nickel Boards?

These are smaller boards made from plastic and wood. These come without griptape, and vary from 22 inch (penny) and 27 inch (nickel) Used for cruising. Their small size allows for easy storage in a backpack or using public transit often.

The disadvantage of a tiny board limits surface area for foot placement, this decreases stability, making for a more uncomfortable riding experience.

People love these for their portability, while others prefer the feel. I advise first-timers to stay away from practicing on these. You can pull off a few tricks though, but it’s harder compared to a regular skateboard.

What is Easier to Ride? Longboard, or Cruiser?

For the complete beginner, either selection occurs with a degree of struggle. Not to mention the biggest question, what is your overall goal? Do you wish to learn tricks, or a setup strictly for cruising? Remember, a wider board is easier to balance on.

Cruisers are exceptional for streets to go to work, school or grandma’s house without the extra weight a longboard has. With time, you will lean to pop your board on and off curbs. Cruisers are simpler to handle.

Learning tricks on a cruiser is challenging. They are heavy, tied to a wider wheelbase and big wheel size makes it challenging. Attempting flip tricks is a tricky task, but is desirable if you don’t mind painful shinners. If you’re considering picking up tricks, hit the skatepark daily or taking lessons a regular skateboard is your best option. You will concentrate on grinding rails, curbs, ledges, or Ollie over stairs and gaps.

Bombing hills with a longboard will be much smoother than a skateboard or cruiser. Not to mention that either choice is just as fun or dangerous.

Preference is key to figuring out what fits your demands. Learning to ride either will bring its challenge, it’s about understanding how to balance at first that’s the biggest test, not to mention the best feeling ever.

With time, I amassed all kinds of skateboards over the years as it’s nice to have an assortment for whatever situation presents itself.

What Are The Best Cruiser Skateboard Brands?

There are many cruisers to choose from. For beginners, I’d advise going with a pre-assembled complete. This board is out of the box, ready to go. Shoot for a wider board for excellent stability 8 inches wide and 28-30 inches long to start. I tested a bunch of great cruisers that you can check out here. Fast nimble cruisers for experienced riders and stable cruisers for beginners.

I’d prefer a shape that stands out to you most. Just for cruising, you can’t go wrong with most shapes offered. Santa Cruz and Powell Peralta are also great brands that have been around forever.

Landyachtz is one of the most respected brands in the industry that produces some of the finest cruisers and longboards on the market. They offer the same products in a range of sizes, modest prices, and a long-lasting product. Some popular choices are their Dinghy and Tugboat boards.

Like I mentioned before, I personally own a Dinghy and it’s just the greatest cruiser I ever owned. If you missed it, check out my review. I tested this board under different circumstances and was amazed by its performance.

The variations between both are the overall size. Dinghy roll in at (28” long, 8” wide) Whereas the Tugboat are (30” long, 9.25” wide.) A greater response is detected with the Tugboats’ wider trucks and surface area. Many claim the Tugboat is the better pick for beginners and well worth the minor cost increase over the Dinghy.

How Much Should You Spend?

Cruiser completes start from $80-$170. Prices vary depending on what setup you prefer. Decks alone (if buying separately) range $30-$90.

A suitable set of wheels goes for around $30, risers are just under $5 (if planning to switch/replace wheels.)

There is no need for urgency to upgrade bearings, although for quicker response, Bones swiss are one of the best upgrades to increase speed, and roll time.

Longboard completes range $100-$300. Another reason a cruiser is a great starter board. And for those curious, an electric skateboard starts around $300 up to $2000 for high-end designs.

Check Campus Rules

Skateboarding is an exciting experience. However, some campuses may restrict skateboarding because of liability concerns. The other obstacle is hills surrounding the area, which makes biking or an electric skateboard a possible option, otherwise, you will be in for a solid leg workout pumping up those hills!

Note that people might comment or make remarks when you’re riding a board. To be fair, this happens everywhere and you should just ignore hecklers. Women often get more remarks than men and don’t be surprised if you catch someone staring.

Conclusion

This basic guide is a general layout of various styles of boards and what’s best for you. Proper maintenance will assure a long-lasting cruiser. If you’re a skater seeking smoother transportation options a normal skateboard doesn’t provide, I’d recommend a cruiser.

If you don’t mind carrying around a bulky longboard and want to ride long distances, a longboard is a good choice. For beginners, it’s easier to ride a longboard than a cruiser, but they are more expensive in general.

For a beginner uncertain what challenge to pursue, interested in learning tricks, go with a regular skateboard. Down the road including a cruiser as a backup is a sensible decision when you just want to blast through rugged terrain.

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Ruben Vee

I'm an aged skateboarder, but I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago and I'm out there whenever I can. Insta @skateboardershq

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