There are a number of different reasons that riders choose to customize a longboard. One of the main reasons is to show off their artistic talent.
The process allows riders to see their daily sketches printed on a longboard and then are able to ride that longboard daily. It’s a great feeling and point of pride for artists to see their own design underneath their feet as they’re riding around.
Custom longboards are also popular because of the poor offerings that stock longboards can come with. Do you really want another Sector 9 Longboard with a beach graphic on the bottom? Or a panda vomiting a rainbow? I know you’ll never find the panda graphic on a stock longboard.
For parents, have you ever wondered what you get your skater kid for Christmas or their birthday? You can surprise them with a custom board. While I don’t advise that the parents design it themselves beforehand (let the kid design his own board so he’s guaranteed to love it), offer to pay for the process. It’s a unique gift that he can hold onto and use for years.
How to Create Custom Longboards
There are a number of companies that offer custom skateboards such as Whatever Skateboards, Board Pusher, even Bustin Boards offers customization options. For the purposes of this article, I worked with Whatever Skateboards to explore the world of custom boards.
Whatever Skateboards offers a wide selection of different board shapes for the blank or starter longboards. Because artwork needs to be printed on the longboard, the one feature that all of the starter boards share is that they are made out of maple.
While maple provides a sturdy base for the other longboard components, it is a hard wood which means the starter boards range from highly stiff to maybe (at the high end) medium flex. Bamboo is traditionally used for more flexible longboards but it makes customizing difficult so it is not an option among the starter longboards.
Besides the material, Whatever Skateboards offers a large number of different deck shapes. As the shape of a longboard drastically changes what it can be used for, their varied selection allows any rider to find what they need.
Their best seller is the Dart which is made out of 7 ply maple and features a pintail shape with a shallow concave. It is aimed at riders looking for a classic cruiser longboard (see our list of top cruising longboards). It also features small cutouts for wheel wells to allow you to get that little extra carving capability.
Customizing a Longboard
Once you choose your base board the customization process starts. When creating a custom longboard you can either use the graphics that the company provides (this is what I did) or upload your own artwork.
One thing to note when sketching out personal designs for your longboard is that longboards are very narrow and long. Keep this in mind if you want to use your own artwork on your board.
If using the provided graphics don’t worry about running out of options. There are hundreds of different designs and graphics that Whatever Skateboards lets you use for free to create your custom longboard.
If you are looking for inspiration, turn to the designs of other users. Whatever Skateboards offers large galleries of user and community submitted designs to allow you to draw inspiration from and show off your own designs. After taking a look, I was blown away by the quality and imagination used in many of designs.
As most other custom longboard companies do also, Whatever Skateboards default offer is simply the deck of the longboard. They do offer complete options also if you simply want to buy the entire board from them.
As the designers of the board shapes, they do have the most experience with regards to what parts go with what longboard shape. Because of this, you should take note of what they suggest for the board.
However, if you are willing to shop around a little on Amazon you might be able to find a better deal on the same parts that they suggest. Or if you decide that you don’t like the part suggestions, do some research on the best longboard trucks and your choice of the best wheels for your deck type and buy your own.
Whether you choose to buy your longboard complete or shop around for better deals, at the end of this process you have a customized longboard which is unique to you. Wherever you ride, there might be boards similar to yours but nothing exactly quite like it. Your longboard is unique among the millions of skateboards and longboards in the world. And that is the beauty of custom longboards.