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What’s the Difference Between Skateboards and Longboards?

Skateboards and Longboards

Colloquially speaking, a skateboard used to be anything that had a wooden plank, a pair of trucks, and a set of wheels. However, since their popularisation a few decades ago, a few different types of skateboards have popped up that have significant differences between them. We’ve already covered the differences between rollerblades and skateboards, so now it’s time for something slightly more confusing – the differences between the longboard skateboard and the standard skateboard.

Longboard Purpose

The longboard skateboard is a specific type of skateboard that has been used for decades now, and its popularity has remained at an all-time high. When people think of skateboards for getting around town, they mostly think of longboards, as they’re the ones that are primarily used for transportation. 

Most people purchase a longboard skateboard for cruising, as it’s significantly larger than its skateboard counterpart, and is quite easier to handle for commutes or moving around town. However, they are also great for downhill racing, which as an extreme sport, is challenging and quite ideal for performing with a longboard. Just don’t neglect to wear the necessary equipment if you plan on racing downhill. Still, longboards are primarily used for transportation. 

The size and length between longboards can vary, and they can use different types of wheels, such as round wheels and square wheels, which are used to focus on speed or cruising respectively. It’s important to note that longboards aren’t ideal for tricks, which is why the skateboard design is generally more popular when it comes to tricks.

longboards vs skateboards
source: m.timesofindia.com

Skateboard Purpose

Unlike the longboard, the skateboard’s primary purpose is performing tricks. That does not mean they are ill-suited for transport, but that they aren’t as good at that as longboards are. 

Classic skateboards are the most common form of skateboards you could see on videos or in skate parks, as they are perfect for tricks. That means they might appear flashier, however, if you’re not interested in tricks, then skateboards wouldn’t be an ideal choice for you. It’s important to note that skateboards aren’t quite as fast as longboards because the skateboard has smaller wheels. If you’re a person looking to do tricks, then you can’t go wrong with a classic skateboard.

Shape and Size

At first glance, it might appear that the longboard skateboard and the classic skateboard are nearly identical. However, when put side by side, it’s obvious they have striking differences. 

The longboard’s nose and tail are significantly flatter, while the skateboard has a curve to allow for landing on tricks. Longboards are also significantly longer, and they can reach up to 150cm, while the typical skateboard is somewhere around 90cm. However, it can get a bit more confusing as some longboards can be as short as 70cm. That’s why the best metric to discern a longboard from a skateboard is the flatness of the board, meaning a curved nose and tail is most likely to be a skateboard.


Another significant difference between longboards and skateboards is the flexibility of the deck, which is the basis of the board. Depending on what you want to achieve, lower flexibility usually means a thicker board, which is ideal for longboards due to their ability to support you while cruising. 

Otherwise, skateboards generally have significantly higher flexibility due to them being intended for doing tricks. If the board has a generally higher flex, that means the board is more likely thinner and will have a specific spring-like quality that allows it to bounce when jumping.

longboards vs skateboards
source: rollingstone.com


Balance is always an issue for anyone starting out. Unless you have excellent inherent balance, then you might be wary of picking either option. However, longboards are generally easier to handle due to their size and shape, so they tend to be more balanced for most situations.

However, they are not balanced to do tricks with. It’s possible, but skateboards are balanced in a way that longboards aren’t, and if you’re looking to do tricks, then the skateboard is a great choice, as previously mentioned. Once you get used to any type of board, balance will no longer be an issue though.

Which to Pick for Beginners?

When you’re looking at skateboards and longboards online, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of offerings. There are multiple boards to choose from at any given time, and wanting to start somewhere can start to feel like a huge task. 

Longboards are often a good starting point because they’re wider, longer, and generally easier to balance on when cruising. They’re designed for easy riding and will do the brunt of the work for you when it comes to balancing yourself. Their wheels are also significantly sturdier, making it more difficult to be thrown off the board when riding. 

Although, it’s worth noting that longboards are heavier and might be a bit more difficult for a younger rider to control. If that’s the case, and classic skateboards don’t appeal to you, then you should consider a shorter longboard, which is a very valid beginner’s choice.

longboards vs skateboards
source: cnet.com

Which Board Is Overall Better?

There is no clear answer to this question because either board has been designed for completely different, and totally valid, reasons. It always comes down to personal preference, and what you intend to use the board for. However, the boards should always be made of quality materials, for example, skateboards need sturdier trucks due to them being intended for tricks and will wear down quicker if the materials aren’t good. 

Both boards can be excellent fun to the prospective rider. They offer such unique perspectives on riding, that it’s always a good idea to try both before committing to one type of board. Lots of people around the world constantly and consistently skateboard, so finding groups to skateboard with should never be an issue. It’s been a popular activity for decades now, after all. Just remember that you’re supposed to have fun with it, and don’t forget to experiment which board suits you more.

By Anthony Hendriks

The life of the party, Anthony is always up for spending some time with family and friends, when not blogging of course! Ever since a child, his love for books of mystery, race cars and travelling keeps on growing so it's difficult for him to single out that one all-time favourite hobby. If there's one thing he hates, though, it's having pictures taken but you already guessed that from his choice of plant photo for the blog.