To all our readers, I am finally back! After a fairly long period of time off from posting on the site, I am back and ready to give more insight on the aspects of a healthy lifestyle. With that out of the way, I will introduce our guest writer for today, my own son Dylan. While on our family time, we discussed his interest in writing for the blog. So today, he will write about something he is very passionate about: skateboarding. I personally last skateboarded when I was in my 20s, so I wouldn’t know anything about current skateboards, which are the best longboards, and whatnot. Dylan, though, is right in the middle of his 20s and has been a skater for a long time, so I am sure he can help pick out some decks for you guys. Without further ado, from here on out is Dylan’s writing. Feel free to contact us and ask for him, and he will be happy to help answer your questions!
Longboards vs. Skateboards
Before I get started, I first would like to go over why you might want a longboard over the typical skateboard. A regular skateboard, usually identified by their rounded front and rear ends as well as their shorter overall length, are typically used for freestyle skating. They are used in skate parks to do tricks and thus are designed to be more lightweight and easy to manipulate with your feet. They also require a lot of pumping (using your leg to move yourself forward) if you want to get from Point A to Point B.
Longboards, on the other hand, are generally used for cruising. They are longer and usually much heavier. Longboards also require a minimal amount of pumping, as you would be moving your weight back and forth to keep up the momentum. For flat-surface longboarding, you only really need to pump when you begin to slow down. Due to the smoother wheel and truck structure of longboards, this happens less often. Because of the heavier weight, longboards also fare much better when balancing. This in turn makes longboarding a much easier hobby to pick up since you are less likely to fall or get stuck on a crack on the road.
Buying longboard decks
There are a plethora of options to choose from when picking a new longboard deck. The materials the deck is constructed from, the sandpaper, the weight, and even the shape of the longboard all factor into the decision making process. Likewise, you will need to decide how long of a deck you need. As I mentioned before, typically the longer the deck, the easier it is to cruise. However, that comes at the price of a heavier and more cumbersome board to carry around.
Windward Board Shop has an excellent reference guide for the different shapes, lengths, and widths of longboard decks.
Purchasing longboard decks seems to be a tough decision since they can be pricey. Thankfully though, they can be purchased online and usually for less money than what you would find at the store. Also, I have been longboarding for years and have yet to come across a longboard I purchased online that I didn’t like. Of course, you are welcome to visit a physical store, but just keep in mind they might charge you more for their decks.
Best Longboard Decks
Santa Cruz Lion God Longboard
The Lion God Rasta longboard is my most-often used longboard, at least for day to day riding. I’ve owned it since a few months after its release a couple years ago. From front to end, it measures 40 inches. The overall width of the deck itself measures 10 inches, which is an inch or two wider than most freeride longboards.
The wood uses 9-ply maple. I would say it is pretty thick, as the board still holds its strength even with several years of consistent use thrown at it. I must say, though, that because the wood is tougher and thicker, it tends to be noticeably heavier than other boards of the same length.
Despite its weight, I found no issue pumping to gain momentum on it. Additionally, I never noticed it slowing down earlier than other boards I have tried. The ride is extremely stable, even at pretty fast speeds. I experienced no scary wobbles whatsoever, despite making a few quick turns here and there.
This Lion God Rasta longboard does come complete with wheels and trucks included. However, if you have your own, you are definitely still free to replace them as you wish. All opinions on this mini longboard review, though, are of the stock trucks, wheels, and deck. I must say that this is probably one of the best longboards for cruising right out of the box. No customizations really need to be made to make this a smooth ride getting from one place to another.
Has thicker wood material, for better or for worse: you get a durable longboard deck, but some may feel it a tad heavier while skating. Though the ride is more stable, it comes at the cost of being more cumbersome in terms of portability.
With the stock wheels, trucks, and bearings, the Santa Cruz Lion God is perfect for day to day cruising. The wheels are softer, making them ideal for flat rides between places.
Quest Bamboo Super Cruiser
If you have ever seen a skateboard made of bamboo or even faux bamboo, that idea originates back to Quest Skateboards. The Bamboo Super Cruiser is the original bamboo longboard, designed right in California and popularized by the popular Quest brand.
Having a real bamboo deck feels unique compared to other types of wooden longboards. Quest particularly makes some of the best boards and they use the highest quality materials. I am continuously impressed by their products not just in longboarding but in the entire skateboarding industry, from truck bearings to longboard wheels.
The Bamboo Super Cruiser is no different in its quality. The wood is absolutely beautiful and looks refined to perfection. With 44 inches of artisan bamboo mixed with hardwood maple, the deck brings itself to the top of my list for highest quality longboards.
Size of deck in proportion to body size
The other components with the board are absolutely genuine and top-notch. From authentic ABEC-7 speed bearings to the 7″ trucks made of aluminum, this board really is engineered carefully for increased performance.
You will notice right away that the wheels are mounted underneath the flat board, bringing the deck higher off the ground than a typical drop through longboard. It makes this board harder on beginners, since a deck higher off the ground naturally means it’s more difficult to find stability. Because of this, I would recommend the board for more experienced riders or even intermediate skaters.
If you are familiar with riding a standard skateboard or any other cruiser board, the ride on the Quest Bamboo Super Cruiser feels almost water-like. The turning is very precise as well, especially for a cruising longboard. It makes the board extremely versatile.
The bamboo on the deck is my favorite material on any board I have ever held in my hands. The print design on this particular deck is lacking (check out Quest’s California Native Spirit board for a good example of excellent longboard aesthetics), but that should not take away from the outstanding Super Flex bamboo this board boasts.
The overall quality of the board itself, bearings and trucks included, are almost professional-tier. Quest Skateboards makes their own parts with superb materials.
You may need to customize the wheels and trucks to your preferences, as this is a mild cruiser board to get into. The customizations probably won’t have to be too major, though.
While this longboard cruiser could surely work for beginners, I lean toward recommending it more for intermediate riders. This is only because the wheels are mounted farther away from the deck, thus potentially causing wobbling while turning and cruising at high speeds.
Best Longboard for Cruising
Many people define longboard cruising differently. Some may specify it to simply freeride from place to place, no matter the terrain (it has to be ride-able, of course) or the obstacles (in the city, for example). Others characterize longboard cruising as riding in a flat, open area with as much ease as possible. While I do agree with a little bit of both, I tend to base my recommendations for cruiser longboards on these factors:
It needs to excel at straight-line longboarding. If it too wobbly to skate for extended distances toward one general direction, it is not suitable as a cruising longboard.
In contrast, it still needs to be proficient in turning or carving, in some situations. I tend to rely more on the first point, but good longboards need to be versatile and not just suit one particular need.
Again, being able to cover longer distances with ease is the first priority. Using longboards to cruise is almost synonymous with managing large areas. I do need it to not suck at turning like many longboards do, though. Those boards are often too one-sided to actually use, unless you are consistently have access to skate in wide and open areas.
White Wave Bamboo Cruising Longboard
This was actually my first taste at a bamboo longboard, long before I was gifted the Quest Bamboo Cruiser from earlier on in this list. That board is in its own tier in quality as well as being the original bamboo longboard, but White Wave’s deck is not far behind. The bamboo and Canadian maple on the board is well-constructed and not synthetic like a lot of the cheap longboard decks out there.
The 7-inch trucks are made of aluminum too, complete with sturdy bushings and well-constructed ABEC-9 bearings.
The furnish on the bamboo wood is beautiful
The longboard deck design itself is quite simplistic. The bamboo top and bottom are furnished well, and the grip tape is clear to emphasize the material. I would recommend its aesthetics only to those in love with the pure bamboo look. The heat transferred White Wave logos work well with its general theme. The graphic color-matches with the wheels, depending on which cruiser you end up buying. I would only vouch for either the white + bamboo or the black + bamboo color schemes, though. The other color variations almost take away from the overall bamboo wood aesthetic.
Whitewave’s longboard measures at 41 inches in length and 9.25 inches in width. That is a tad longer and less wide than the standard 40″ x 9.5″ longboard.
— They also have a more compact longboard that measures at 28 inches long and 8 inches wide. It has most of the same features their true longboards has, but in a more portable form. —
As for its execution, it is a highly suitable longboard for cruising. The deck is stable and, despite being a little slimmer, is very easy to balance on. The trucks are screwed on optimally, though I’d advocate tightening them if the ride feels shaky. It’s all preference.
You will notice the longboard’s deck itself is flat all the way through. Unlike other boards, the front and rear ends do not descend. Instead, it is horizontal all the way through and the wheels/trucks are mounted directly underneath. Though riser decks could be harder to balance on, I found no issues achieving a steady ride. Turning, as a result of the flat deck, was also much better.
Size of deck in proportion to body size
It is not the original bamboo longboard, but the quality is second only to the Quest Bamboo Super Cruiser, which is in a tier of its own. The trucks, wheels, and bearings are also top-level in durability and performance.
The deck is a riser, meaning it is slightly farther off the ground. This carries its own potential costs, but it has its benefits as well, such as being able to turn more than an ordinary longboard could.
Overall, a very smooth ride. I would recommend to tighten the bearings slightly if you experience anything short of an easy/balanced ride.
Best Longboard Wheels
I decided to include this section here instead of another post for a few reasons:
It is related to longboards, and ActiveAuthorities.com is not exclusively a skateboarding website, so a list of the best longboard wheels probably doesn’t deserve its own post.
Most of the people looking for longboard decks are looking to customize the parts.
While my review of the longboard decks and cruiser boards above are of the stock parts, I have found performance to increase even further with custom board pieces. Out of the box, these longboard decks are top-of-the-class in performance for cruising, freeriding, and drop riding. However, with customized parts they perform exceptionally better.
As a basic rule, you should try to exchange pieces of your longboard that match the approximate size of its stock counterparts. This is because manufacturers put in hundreds of hours of research to match the engineering of their longboard decks with the design of their trucks and wheels.
Orangatang Stimulus 70mm Longboard Wheels
Unquestionably, the Orangatang Stimulus set is the best longboard wheel out there. They are almost professional level in terms of performance.
The result I get out of replacing stock wheels with this one is an almost perfectly smooth ride, more fluid than any other longboard wheel set I have ever tried on. They run right over small pebbles or rocks. On flat surfaces, the speed lasts much longer, making them ideal for actual longboard cruising. I find that because its speed continuity is so well-optimized, you have to be careful to expect it. If you have never purchased a set of professional-grade longboard wheels like these ones, always expect to go much faster for longer.
Buying the Otang Stimulus
Keep in mind the size, however. They are slightly bigger than most standard wheels, but they install just fine. The color options are pitiful, with only three choices that are hard to match decks with: orange, purple, and yellow.
Also, watch out for the price. At a retail price of roughly ~$50 in stores and online, the Orangatang Stimulus quickly becomes the priciest of the bunch. However, I can assure that these are absolutely the best longboard wheels you can install for an instantly smoother ride.
I’ve included a video if you are interested in a comprehensive Orangatan Stimulus review.
Everland 65x51mm Longboard Wheels
Everland is a highly competitive retailer for skateboard parts, so I trust them with their wheels. These are impressive wheels for the price they ask. I bought them at retail of around 20 bucks and they have lasted a solid 1-1.5 years before I moved on to a different board.
The feel is slightly soft, which makes it ideal for cruising about. I have found that while riding, it runs right through small rocks in the pavement. I have even skated through small potholes/dips and the wheels have never stopped.
Gary is a proud father and grandfather. He has two sons and five grandchildren. As a retiree, spending time with family seemingly is the only priority. His hobbies include playing fetch with dog Harrison, teaching his grandkids how to play sports, and jogging.