From the outside, a longboard and a skateboard seem the same. But the two sports have distinctive differences that the casual onlooker might not notice. However, if you are thinking of getting into board sports or tricks or think you need an eco-friendly riding board, it helps to understand the differences between the longboard and skateboard.
This article presents to you the most important differences between the two board types.
But first, let’s get a little background on how the overland boards came into existence.
Skateboarding, as the two boarding sports are loosely called, started in the 1940s and 1950s as a result of surfers’ searches for an alternative to surfing for those times when the oceans were still with minor waves. Experimentation led to the addition of roller-skate wheels. This helped to replicate the thrill of surfing on land. From then on, the skateboard was transformed in various ways to fit different applications. Thus, the sporting boards were specialized into skateboarding and longboarding.
Differences Between Longboarding and Skateboarding
Below are the six main differences between a longboard and a skateboard:
- Deck Size;
- Wheel Size;
- Wheelbase Size;
- Speed; and
- Terrain Suitability.
Deck size is the most apparent distinction between longboards and skateboards with the longboard being both longer and wider than the skateboard.
While there is no exact standard length, longboards generally range between 33 inches (84 cm) and 59 inches (150 cm). Their widths range between 9 inches (22.8 cm) and 10 inches (25.4 cm).
Skateboards typically range between 28 inches (71 cm) and 33 inches (84 cm) in length and between 7 inches (about 18 cm) and 10.5 inches (27 cm) in width.
While, at a glance, the longboards and skateboards seem similar in shape, the fact is that both come in varying shapes that are suited to the specific use they are designed for.
The wheels on a skateboard are relatively smaller and narrower than those on a longboard. These wheel-size differences help suit the two types of boards to their applications. The bigger wheels on a longboard help the longboarder travel faster, while the smaller wheels on a skateboard help the skateboarder retain balance by lowering the center of gravity. In addition to size, the longboard wheels are softer, making the longboard more comfortable to ride over longer distances.
Longboard wheel sizes
range between 2.6 inches (6.5 cm) and 4.2 inches (10.7 cm).
In contrast, skateboard wheel sizes range between 1.9 inches (4.8 cm) and 2.1 inches (5.4 cm). The variation in wheel sizes is used in customizing the skateboard to its specific application. The skateboard wheels are also more rigid than longboard wheels. This allows for the skateboard to be manipulated in smaller spaces faster.
Longboards have longer wheelbases than skateboards. This is the case mainly due to the board size. The longer wheelbase on the longboard offers better support than would a shorter wheelbase for the same size board.
While the longboard is used in either commuting or high-speed cruising, the skateboard is used in the performance of various tricks. These applications determine the overall dimensions of the specific board even within each board category.
Overall, longboards attain higher speeds than skateboards. This difference can be explained by their design.
The overall dimensions of the longboard allow for the achievement of more stability at high speed even though the board is relatively higher above ground because of larger wheels than the skateboard. This further explains the overall bigger-sized boards with longer wheelbases.
By contrast, the skateboard is designed to achieve a lower center of gravity and overall ease of fast maneuverability.
While longboarding and skateboarding can be performed in generally similar terrains, skateboarding, by the design of the board, is more limited to even terrains than longboarding. The larger and softer wheels of the longboard allow the longboarder to ride longer distances and at higher speeds with relative comfort compared to skateboards.