What To Know Before You Buy A Longboard Or Skateboard

Have you considered purchasing a board, but cannot decide on whether you want to get a longboard or a small board skateboard? While there are tons of videos which will give you the obvious answer, that a longboard is longer than a “standard” short board, this does little to give you a comprehensive answer as to why you should buy one or the other.

Like so many things, the topic is greatly saturated in person preference, and in the end this will drive your decision. However, before you purchase your board here are a few differences between a longboard and the “standard” skateboard.


The basic design

Design of the two boards vary a great deal between brands, but there is a template which each design tends to follow. The skateboard is typically designed as an elongated oval or a rectangle with filleted corners. The width is consistent throughout the design.

Skateboard and Longboard design

On the longboard, the design resembles more of a surfboard, which is why some refer to longboarding as street surfing, where the center is wider and the nose and tail are narrowed, sometimes pointed. The bottom of the longboard also tends to have more of a bevel applied to it than the skateboard.

When considering the length of the board and the position of the wheels on the board, there is a bit more chance of damage to the center (breaking it in half) if tricks are applied as there is really nothing but wood supporting the weight, whereas a skateboard has the wheels closer to the center and helps to distribute the weight to the metal supports.

Tricks or Travel?

​The general design of the Longboard is for travel purposes. This is why you will not see a many longboards with pockets for the feet. The small board, on the other hand, is designed primarily for tricks, flipping, Nollie, and such. Therefore, the first question which needs to be answered is what is going to be your main use of the board? Are you going to use the board to do tricks or to skate around the neighborhood?


​The design of the Longboard is intended for traveling and cruising (hence why it is sometimes referred to as a cruise board). This means that the wheels are a bit wider, a bit larger, and a bit softer than that of a small board. On a small board, your wheels will be small, hard, and the depth will not be as great.

skateboard wheels

Longboards rest higher off the ground than skateboards. The difference between longboard wheels and skateboard wheels functionality is that on a longboard you will go further between having to do push-offs while on the short board, you will have to push off quite often.

​In terms of wheel construction, the edges of the wheel tend to be beveled on the longboard while the edges of the wheels on a skateboard tend to be crisp edges. Again, the beveled edges of the wheels give a bit more longevity to the time between push offs. Most of the time the wheels of the longboard or the skateboard are not interchangeable, this is something to keep in mind when purchasing. If your community has a strong skateboard community, you may have to order your replacement parts online and have them shipped if you have a longboard, and vice versa.

​Are you a novice or experienced in boarding?

​Skateboarding is grounded on the simple concept that a person has to stay on the board and get from point A to point B. That being stated, those which are new to skateboarding may want to use a longboard as I does appear to that most individuals can “break” into more advanced tricks on a skateboard at a later time. Longboards typically includes:

  • Downhill Cruising
  • Curving
  • Sliding

Grinds, jumps, Nollie, and greatly minimized. It should be noted that you can do tricks on a longboard such as the 180 Tail Drag Slide. Yet, this is not a beginner’s trick.

Terrain limitations

​Because the skateboard is a smaller board and because the tires are smaller, there are great limitations as to where you can use your board. Some would argue that skateboards can go anywhere, but this is simply not the case. Attempt to go down a dirt road on a skateboard and you will not get very far.

Longboard in terrain limitations

However, you can on a longboard. Paved roads which have a coarse texture may be problematic for the skateboard causing it to bounce around a bit and making tricks difficult for the beginner, while the longboard can navigate on such easily.

​There are restrictions, to an extent, of where a longboard should be used. Due to the large size of the board, it is difficult to do pops and Nollie tricks. This reduces the ability to navigate urban environments without having to step off the board.

For example, if you are on a skateboard and you come to a high curve, you could either hop over the curve or pop the board to bounce over it without much effort. Yet, on a longboard, you would need to use a bit more strength and technique to do such a simple trick.

​The culture

​Perhaps one of the biggest differences between the skateboard and the longboard is in the culture surrounding the two boards. The longboard is generally associated with a means of transportation and as such it is viewed as being something bought for function purposes only. It is faster than a bike and less expensive than a car.

​The skateboard has more of an association with a “punk” atmosphere. The tricks, designs, and culture surrounding the skateboard does tend to have an adolescent vibe, and as such the majority of purchasers are in their teenage to twenties. There are some out of this age bracket which use a skateboard, but the fact is that because they are trick based, those whose bodies cannot handle twisting and turning and jumping, tend to go with the longboard which requires less stress on the body.


​The costs of a skateboard and a longboard will vary from place to place. As a general rule, longboards are more expensive than skateboards. More material means more cost.

Kenny Woo

I'm Kenny Woo, chief editor of Skate Stuffs. We believe in empowering people with passion on skate to make them choosing better tool set and techniques.

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