Appearances can often be deceptive. While a longboard might look like a surfboard that’s been’ jerry-rigged to ride on the land, it’s actually a skateboard. It’s true that longboarding’s origins can be traced back to Hawaii in the nineteen fifties when a band of local surfers fixed trucks and wheels to their surfboards so they could “surf” the hills in style, but that was then and this is now. A lot of boards have flowed down a lot of hills since then and in the intervening period, longboarding has evolved far beyond it’s secretive, if not exactly humble, beginnings.
Where it was once the sole domain of surfers, longboarding now belongs to the skating world. Shifting its focus away from high impact tricks and stunts, longboarding is a more time-honored and classical form of skateboarding which emphasizes downhill racing, cruising, carving, orthodox skating and “dancing” - a combination of nineteen seventies and old-school inspired tricks that revolve around walking and spinning moves that originated in surfing circles.
Longboarding, just like all genres of skateboarding, can be tricky to break into. However, without a longboard, it’s impossible to even think about making that daunting transition. After all, if you want to be a longboarder, you’re going to need a longboard. But with so many boards to choose from, how do you know which longboard is the right one for someone who is looking to start longboarding?
Which longboard is ideal for beginners? We’re glad you asked and you’ve come to the right place, as we’ve come up with a list of five of the perfect longboards that any beginner, or anyone new to the sport, would feel right at home on.
That’s right, we’ve found the longboards, so all you have to do is skate. Would you like to see which longboards are best suited to you? Of course, you would, so let’s begin…
Best Longboard for Beginners
OUR TOP PICK
Taking their name from, depending on who you believe, a flying fish native to Calfornia or the Luchador who specialized in high-risk aerial moves, Volador is a longboarding institution, That’s why the Freeride is our first choice. Generations of longboarders can’t be wrong, and if they give Volador their vote of confidence, who are we to argue?
Drawing from the surf based heritage of longboarding, the Freeride was built with the environment in mind. Made from eight-ply maple hardwood, the Freeride is a substantial, hard-wearing board that’s designed to be as indestructible as possible and carry skaters of all shapes and sizes in comfort and style. It’s naturally shock absorbent deck has enough flexibility, which is increased by the camber of the board’s design, to ensure that it’ll handle even the roughest of bumps in the road without throwing you off.
The Freeride’s shape means that even when you’re carving down the steepest of hills and taking the tightest of turns, you’ll never be slowed down or stopped by the wheels rubbing against the deck. And those wheels? They’re made from polyurethane and use precision bearings and fixed to seven-inch aluminum trucks which mean that you won’t lose a lick of speed and you’ll always have a comfortable, smooth ride.
With a host of possible designs to choose from, the sublime beauty of the Freeride is matched only by its astonishing price. Seriously, for a longboard of this quality, that price is something of a miracle and makes us wonder if an over-caffeinated accountant misplaced a decimal point when it came to fixing the Freeride’s price. Whatever the reason for it, we’re not going to argue, we’re just going to snap it up the first chance we get.
- The Freeride’s deck is made to carry the heaviest of loads without losing a beat or any of the board’s performance. It doesn’t matter how big or small you are, the Freeride is made to let you carve to your heart’s content.
- Wide and long enough to accommodate any skater’s stance and style, the Freeride is a near-perfect board to learn all of the basics and far more on. It has all of the space that you’ll need to perfect all of the moves that you ever wanted to master and probably a few that you haven’t even thought about, or heard of, yet.
- The design, and double kicktail, means that the chances of you being stopped or hampered by wheel burn are about the same as being struck by lightning in a thunderstorm whose epicenter is three counties away. In other words, it’s just not going to happen.
- And we’re back to the price. You have seen it right? It’s not just us that can’t believe it. That’s a whole lot of longboard for not a whole lot of money. Forget about carpooling and rising gas prices, you can commute to work and school on the Freeride and make your money back in a fortnight. And you’ll look getting there too.
- Much as we love the aluminum trucks that the Freeride comes with, they’re fully adjustable and as such are almost certainly going to need to be adjusted so that you can find the ride that suits your style. It’s an easy job though and a one tool endeavor that won’t take forever.
- Those incredible good lucks that are partially reliant on the custom paint job and graphics? They’re held back by the fact that the aforementioned graphics are all on the underside of the board. So unless you’re planning on grabbing a whole load of air, which sort of defeats the purpose of riding a longboard, most people aren’t going to get to see them.
Atom has spent the last fifteen years pushing itself to give skaters exactly what they need, and deserve. Great longboards at even more affordable prices. Tightly focused and driven by perfection, Atom does business the skating way. They make longboards that are fashioned by skaters for skaters and don’t employ suit and tie management types, publicity obsessed marketers, or over-enthusiastic sales teams. They just let their longboards do all their talking for them. And the Drop Deck longboard could talk all day and every day.
The unique design of the forty-one inch Drop Deck longboard makes it stand out from the skating crowd, which will make you the center of attention at any longboard gathering. It isn’t just made to look good though, as the drop-down deck means that the board rides closer to the ground producing a smoother, more stable ride for the skater. That stability? It’s not just important for a beginner, it’s crucial. It’ll give you a confidence boost that no other board can the courage to carve hills that you never dreamed you would, or could.
Let’s stay with the Drop Deck’s design for a minute, as it’s not only been made to give the board an exponentially more stable ride, it’s also been built to do away with wheel rub and provide a wide and long enough deck to give the beginner all the space they require to get comfortable and start carving. It may have been created with the beginner in mind but there are plenty of Drop Deck devotees who swear that it’s the only longboard that you’ll ever need.
And that board? It’s also tough, durable, and incredibly long-lasting thanks to it being made from laminated maple wood. Atom know longboards and they know exactly what to make their decks from to make them shock absorbent, flexible, and remarkably strong. If that wasn’t enough to make you want to throw all of your money at Atom, the Drop Deck also comes with a one year defect and manufacture warranty. So if for some inexplicable reason your Drop Deck does fail in the first twelve months, Atom will replace it, or give you your money back, no questions asked.
- The Drop Deck is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most stable longboards that you’ll ever ride. It’s lower than low height and design make it an ideal board for beginners.
- We’re still focusing on the design, as not only does it prevent wheel rub, it’s made to let you do some crazy carving thanks to it’s incredibly tight turning circle and maneuverability. It’s almost like Atom, when they made the Drop Deck, was trying to turn amateurs into professionals overnight.
- Then there’s that warranty. We love a good warranty. It’s Atom’s guarantee that the Drop Deck will do everything that they say it will and won’t come apart at the seams while it’s doing it. It’s an extra helping of both peace of mind and confidence that allows you to stop worrying that the board will break in tow and send you headfirst into a ditch. Atom is sure that won’t happen, so you should be too.
- As prices go, it’s not cheap but it won’t run away with your pocketbook either. Yes, it’s more expensive than the Freeride and yes, you won’t see any change from two hundred dollars (it’ll actually cost you a little more than that), but the Drop Deck will transform any beginner into a believer. Who can put a price on that sort of faith? Well, as it turns out, Atom can and that overwhelming belief costs just under two hundred and ten dollars.
- While the Drop Deck will provide a lifetime of fun, it doesn’t, according to some of those more in the know hardcore skating types, lend itself to some of the more advanced tricks that you’ll inevitably see the longboarding old guard pulling off. If you want to move up the longboarding food chain, at some point, you’ll have to start thinking about another board.
Relatively new kids on the longboard block, French company Plashion is quickly making a name for themselves as purveyors of all types of skateboards at astonishingly reasonable and affordable prices. And their Drop Through Freestyle Longboard proves that what Plasyhion says they’re going to do, they actually do.
One of the reasons we love this longboard is because it’s made from a combination of environmentally friendly and sustainable bamboo and the more traditional maple wood that’s been used in longboard manufacture for decades. The Freestyle is resilient, durable, and strong and thanks to its planet-friendly deck, is also incredibly flexible and will easily absorb all sorts of shocks, both big and small so that you don’t have to.
Like the other longboards on our list, the Freestyle’s nose and tail design means that it won’t be slowed down or stopped by the enemy of all longboarders, wheel rub. It’s a carving, downhill monster that’s as straight forward and simple to ride as any beginner could, and would, ever want a board to be. It’s a click and point longboard for the digital generation.
- The bamboo and maple pairing mean that this longboard is one tough old street beast of a longboard that can take whatever punishment you hurl at it and be ready to do it all over again in less time than it takes a 1969 Dodge Charger to get from A to B on a quarter-mile track.
- Wheel rub is a thing of the past thanks to the nose and tail design of the Freestyle, so you can carve away and not have to think about slowing down or being stopped by the trials and tribulations of longboarding’s yesterdays.
- The Freestyle is available in a myriad of colors and designs so the biggest thing that you’re going to worry about if you choose this board is which model looks the prettiest. As they’re all a fine-looking bunch, that’s a not a choice that we envy and it’s not going to be an easy one to make.
- When you get right down to it, everything is always about money. The good news about the Freestyle is that its, so far, the cheapest longboard on our list, so if your budget is an issue, then look no further, Meet your new longboard.
- The Freestyle has a weight problem. There’s no denying it. It might be light and maneuverable, but it can’t carry a rider who surpasses the 250-pound mark. Anything over that and it is game over for the Freestyle.
- It isn’t built for tricks either. It’s a carving cruiser that’ll let you learn what you need to know, but if, you’re looking for a longboard that’ll allow you to do a little more, then it’s probably wiser to give the Freestyle a hard pass.
Don’t worry you’re not alone, we weren’t familiar with Junli either. Which means that they’ve either been hiding under a longboard shaped rock, are newcomers to the skateboarding world or they’re one of the best-kept secrets in the rather secretive longboarding community. Judging by the response to their Freestyle Longboard, we’re going to go with the last option, as Junli seems to know exactly what they’re doing.
The Junli is all ages longboard that thanks to being made from eight-ply Canadian maple wood is light, strong, and durable and has a deck big enough to accommodate and help even the most awkward of longboarding beginners. We’re all long time skating enthusiasts and firm believers in maple decks. That old adage about not needing to fix things that aren’t broken? That applies to maple longboard and skateboard decks. Junli knows that and that’s why they use maple wood. Because it’s tough enough to cope with the demands of even the most ardent longboarders.
It seems that, like all longboard manufacturers, Junli has learned from the mistakes of the past, as the Freeride’s design, like the other boards on our list, means that it won’t be troubled by wheel rub. While we’re on the subject of wheels, the super-responsive aluminum trucks and polyurethane wheels that are fitted with high-speed bearings that the Freeride uses means that it goes like a bat out of Hell, so if you the feel the need for speed, then this might be the ride that you’ve been looking for.
- It’s a high speed, made for everyone, tougher than you’ll ever want to give it credit for longboard that does everything and anything you’ll ever need or want it too. Junli might just have cracked the longboarding code with the Freeride as old-timers and newbies are smitten with it.
- Now we’re not saying that the price has anything to do with the praise and devotion that the Junli has been receiving from all quarters of the skating community, but it’s under one hundred dollars price-tag might have something to do with it. We know, its a frankly astonishing price for such a good board.
- You have to look hard to find anything of note, but there are a few grumbles and gripes and most of them fixate on the boards finish, which apparently, isn’t the best. The paint will chip and crack, but if a little aesthetic damage is the worse thing that you have to worry about with this board, then we reckon it’s a small sacrifice given what the Junli costs.
Our final choice and the one that we’re more than a little taken with is the Island Style Longboard from Landshark Skateboards. Landshark are true boardsport fanatics and have combined their love of surfing and skateboarding to create longboards that any skater, old or new, would kill to get their hands on.
Being skaters and surfers themselves, Landshark knows that there’s only one material that longboards should be made from; maple wood. That’s why their Island Style longboard uses eight-play maple to ensure that it’s durable, light, and strong enough to keep you safe and sound while it hurtles down any hill.
The Landshark Island Style is a fast board that uses tail and nose cut-outs to eliminate wheel rub and aluminum trucks and carbon steel bearings in its polyurethane wheels to make sure that you’ll get to wherever it is you’re going in half the time you were expecting to. It’s a full-on, street carving, downhill racing, surf-tastic longboard that’ll make the hairs on the back of your arms stand on end and send shivers of excitement tingling down your spine.
And if you’re worried about falling off this high-speed skating machine, don’t be. The top of the deck is smothered in grip tape, so when you get on this longboard, the only way that you’re coming off is if you want too. Put your fate, and faith, in the hands of Landshark. They won’t let you down.
- The Island Style is a longboard made by longboarders for longboarders. It’s super-tough, super-fast, and super-responsive. It’s an all-in ride for beginners and professionals alike and is, in our humble opinion, the only board that, once you’ve carved the streets on, you’ll ever want to ride.
- It’s literally the best-looking longboard that we’ve ever seen. Drawing on retro good looks and built with today firmly in mind, the Island Style is the beginner’s longboard that we’d choose to ride.
- If you needed another reason to choose this board, then here it is. The price. It’s under the one hundred dollar threshold, and we can’t figure out how Landshark has delivered such an incredible longboard at such a ridiculously low price.
- You’re going to have to trust us on this because we’ve searched and searched until our fingers bled and our brains felt like they were going to implode and we found… nothing. Seriously, it looks like this the Island Style is the perfect beginner’s longboard that won’t make your bank account weep. Longboards, it would seem, don’t come any better than the Island Style.
Best Longboard for Beginners Buying Guide
The first thing that you’ll need to know before leaping into the world of longboards is that they are primarily designed for speed and maneuverability, and as such, loosely fall into the following categories -
Cruisers / Cruising - The get you from here to there in style longboard, cruisers are the all-purpose workhorse of the longboard scene and are made to carve, cruise, and ride the streets. Designed to be durable, tough, and long-lasting and give you an extra burst of speed when you need it, the majority of longboards fall into this group and all of the boards on our list are, at their hearts, cruisers.
Freeriders - What’s in a name? As far as Freeriding is concerned, everything. As their name suggests, Freeriders are all about giving you the freedom to do whatever you want to do with your longboard. Whether that’s racing downhill, cruising and carving the streets or learning, developing, and mastering your skill and trick set, Freeriders are designed to let you dip your toes into everything that longboarding has to offer and sample its myriad of skating pleasures.
Boards need to be light and flexible enough to pull off tricks, have the stability and maneuverability downhill racers need and the made to take a beating and a pounding durability that the cruising scene demands of its longboards
Downhill Racers - The gnarliest of gnarly longboards and longboarders attend the church of the downhill scene and regularly place their lives in the hands of their boards. Incredibly fast and demanding, downhill racing pushes longboarders to the point of breaking and beyond, as they skate down the steepest of roads and mountain tracks, hugging and carving the corners at death-defying speeds. It isn’t for the faint of heart, and if we’re being truthful, it isn’t something that we’ve ever been tempted to try, but each to their own.
If the downhill scene has captured your imagination and your soul, you’re going to need a longboard that combines stability, speed, and maneuverability in equal measure, because more than anything, you’ll need a longboard that’ll get you to the bottom of whatever hill, or mountain, you’re charging down in one piece.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Longboard is Right For Me?
That depends on what you want your longboard for, what you’re going to need it to do, and what element of the longboarding scene has stolen your heart. If you want to join the Freeriding scene, then you won’t go far wrong with the Junli Freeride, but if you just want a cruising board to learn how to carve, ride and experience all the freedom that longboarding has to offer, then we’d always hand our money over to Landshark as their Island Style longboard is one of the best boards that we’ve ever seen.
However, if you’re looking to mainline adrenaline and for the sort of insanely fast thrills that only downhill racing can offer, then you’re going to need a longboard that’ll push you to your limits and keep you safe in every turn. Which is why you’ll need the Atom Drop Deck. No other longboard will do. Trust us, we know what we talking about.
Whatever you want your longboard for, there’s one on our list for you. You just have to decide which one it is. More than anything though, just remember that longboarding is all about having fun, keeping fit, and staying sharp. So choose your board well and have a good time, all the time.