From a beginner’s perspective skateboarding has a steeper learning curve because you have a smaller surface to keep your balance. Longboards have a larger surface which helps you to stay on your board. At higher speeds, you’re also less likely to experience speed wobbles because of the larger wheels, wider trucks, and wider deck.
Longboarding is easier than skateboarding. Longboards are wider, longer and have softer wheels which makes it much easier to keep your balance. Skateboards are harder to ride because of their smaller size and harder wheels.
Skateboarding and longboarding are quite different sports and also have much in common. In order to find out what is easier for you, ask yourself what is you want to do. You won’t take a longboard to a skate park and you won’t be bombing the hills on a regular skateboard. Just a bit of cruising can be done on both if you slap on the right wheels.
So let’s see what types of styles are out there so you can determine for yourself which type of board you should get.
- Differences Between Skateboarding and Longboarding
- Is It Harder To Do Tricks On A Longboard Or A Skateboard?
- What Skateboards and Longboards Have in Common
- Switching From Longboarding to Skateboarding
- Switching From Skateboarding to Longboarding
- Regular Skateboards and Styles
- Longboarding and Styles
- What Is a Good Longboard for Beginners?
- Something in the Middle, a Small Cruiser
- What Is a Good Skateboard for Beginners?
Differences Between Skateboarding and Longboarding
Many people don’t have a clue, to them skateboarding and longboarding is just the same. To me and you the differences are pretty obvious just by looking at them but there are a few key factors that set them apart.
Longboards are made for smooth rides and turning, have bigger wheels and trucks and are much bigger. Longboards are less agile and take more time to get up to speed, it’s easier to go for long rides because they offer a smooth riding experience.
Skateboards are much smaller, have harder and smaller wheels and are made for tricks and accelerate much faster.
I’d argue that longboards are more expensive, sure you can get a cheap board but that’s at your own risk. Low-quality parts can be outright dangerous and you wouldn’t want a truck or wheel coming off at full speed. The same goes for regular skateboards, cheap boards are a bad idea.
Is It Harder To Do Tricks On A Longboard Or A Skateboard?
This depends entirely on the type of tricks. An ollie for example is a lot harder on a longboard because of it’s weight and shape. Skateboards have a nose and tail that curve upwards which makes is easier to press down and pop your board.
Even though some longboards come with a kicktail, in general the lack a nose and tail making it almost impossible to pop. This also means that longboard tricks are limited, but a skateboard can almost do all tricks you can do on a longboard.
Another issue with tricks on a longboard is the fact that longboard wheels are positioned differently. Many longboards have the wheels placed close to the front and rear making popping quite difficult.
What Skateboards and Longboards Have in Common
Skateboarding and longboarding both come from surfing. In the early days, surfers found a way to practice their moves when there weren’t any waves to ride. This quickly evolved into pool skating and a new type of board came to life. There’s much more to it but I’ll save that for another post.
Both have their own subcultures, music, and apparel. To some, it’s a lifestyle and both are great ways to make new friends. Up to this day, I’m still friends with many skateboarders from my childhood.
Obviously, both have a board, bearings, bushings, trucks, wheels, etc. Oh, and both sometimes have issues with this thing called gravity. We all eat sh*t now and then and both skateboarders and longboarders like to just cruise around sometimes.
Switching From Longboarding to Skateboarding
Longboarders have an advantage when switching over to skateboarding. Usually longboarders know how to push and carve properly and have a feeling for how a skateboard responds.
Still, it takes some time to get used to the smaller size of a skateboard, and the hard wheels might feel awkward at first. It probably won’t take more than an hour before adjusting.
This doesn’t mean tricks are easier to learn, but at least it requires less time compared to beginners. The best and fastest way to learn skateboard tricks is to know how to ride properly.
Switching From Skateboarding to Longboarding
I personally like to ride cruiser boards which comes pretty close to longboarding. It’s a good workout and a fun activity on sunny days.
Switching from skateboarding to longboarding is fairly easy. The only thing that takes some time to get used to is the increased speed, slower acceleration, and rather sluggish behaviour longboard provides. A skateboarder will ride a longboard without any problems.
Regular Skateboards and Styles
It’s hard to pin this down. Most skateboarders like to do a bit of everything but at some point, some skateboarders love to shred the streets where others only skate bowls, verts, and mini ramps.
Just riding is something that everyone can learn with a bit of patience. Once you want to move on to tricks it becomes much harder. There are a few beginner tricks you can pick up relatively fast, but grinding rails and jumping huge stairs is something else.
If you just want to learn how to commute but feel like at some point you want to hop a few curbs, go with a regular skateboard. Buying an expensive longboard and then buying a regular skateboard is a waste of money unless you really like both.
Here are a few styles, vert, park, mini ramp, bowl/pool are often addressed as transition skateboarding. The street is the gnarly hardcore stuff which is often more technical. Big air is sort of new where few mortals dare to thread, but it’s spectacular! Freestyle is one of the oldest forms of skateboarding and very technical.
- Min ramp
Longboarding and Styles
Again, lots of overlap and many longboarders do a bit of everything (except for bombing the hills perhaps). Just cruising can be a relaxing experience where downhill is for adrenaline junkies (that stuff is scary). Depending on the style you like you’ll need different setups more so than regular skateboarding.
Dancing is a gracious form of longboarding requiring lots of skill and technique. Fluid cross-stepping and flowy movement while maintaining your balance.
Downhill is for very experienced longboarders that seek thrill and adrenalin rushes. This is not I would recommend to beginners before you know it you don’t know how to slow down and you’re in a world of trouble.
Slalom is about weaving in and out of obstacles on a course. it requires a technique called ‘pumping’ to maintain speed which you also see longboarders sometimes do when they’re just cruising.
- Downhill (bombing the hills)
What Is a Good Longboard for Beginners?
That’s a tough question. It depends on what you want to do, as mentioned before. You need something reliable and a setup with decent quality parts. Buying cheap longboard will make it harder for you to learn the basics. It might even get you frustrated and give up. Sure they are cheap but from what I can see, most people return them within a few days.
The best thing to do is to start with the basics. Just riding, a bit of carving and when you get more confidence, work on pumping. There are many options but not all are equal. Go with something that gets you the best bang for your buck and still offers high-quality components. I wouldn’t splurge all my money on something that I might or might not enjoy.
Something in the Middle, a Small Cruiser
I often see people asking about just a board for commuting. You know, cruising on campus or just small commutes to work or anywhere. This requires something portable, lightweight and reliable. Mini cruisers are excellent for this purpose but are harder for beginners.
Because of their small size and agility, it’s harder to keep your balance. I suggest to practice a lot before and become familiar with it before you decide to take it out for a cruise in a crowded street.
There is one board that really stands out, the Landyachtz Dhingy. It has been specifically designed for this purpose and it even allows you to hop curbs once you get the hang of it. It’s the most popular mini-cruiser for over a decade now and for good reasons. Check out my more in-depth review of this board.
What Is a Good Skateboard for Beginners?
Like longboards, you shouldn’t go for a cheap toy skateboard. it will be an incredibly frustrating experience. You can either assemble one yourself or buy a complete and be done with it. Assembling one yourself means you pick the trucks, bearings, wheels, grip, and board. It’s not rocket science and you get to pick higher quality parts.
Assembling one is more expensive though and it requires a bit of knowledge of wheel specifications, decks and trucks. You can get a decent complete skateboard for around 70-80 bucks and gradually upgrade. Sure the wheels on these boards are less forgiving, but you won’t notice that until you become better. I recommend buying one of these completes, you get a lot of skateboard for a good price.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.