Which came first?
Let’s start at the very beginning of this longboards vs skateboards battle. We have to go back into the history in order to understand the state of skateboarding and longboarding today.
Skateboarding was the original sport and it was initially born out of a wish from surfers to find a way to keep their surfing skill during the off season. This occurred about 60 years in the mid 1900s.
As riders were looking for chances to go faster and faster, the problem with skateboarding is that the deck was too small to handle high speeds. Above 20 mph riders would experience significant speed wobbles and have to bail or slow down unless they were very experienced riders.
Looking for a solution to this problem, the longboard was born. Longboards have a longer deck hence the name long board. The deck length is the main difference between longboards and skateboards but this one change makes a whole lot of difference in how each ride.
One thing that is nearly universally agreed on is that skateboards are better at doing tricks. It’s simple when you look at a skateboard vs a longboard. The shorter skateboard deck allows riders to pop the board up further than longboards.
In addition, most skateboards are lighter by over 2 pounds than the average longboard. While 2 pounds might not sound like a lot to you and me, on such small boards it makes a huge difference when carrying these boards around.
This difference amongst skateboards vs longboards is why we have hugely popular skateboarding competitions and skateboarding games, such as Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and we don’t have anything like that for longboarding.
Making it even easier for skateboarders to learn and perform tricks are skateparks across the nation. If you’ve never heard of a skatepark, it’s a specially constructed place where riders go to learn new tricks and practice some old ones.
Popular features of skateparks are bowls, ramps, and rails. Each component provides riders with the opportunity to do different types of tricks.
One thing I will note here, though, is that it is not easy to learn most skateboard tricks. Sure, you can learn to ollie within a day or two but more complicated tricks can take weeks or months to learn and hit consistently.
For longboards, the deck length increases the overall stability of the board which allows it to go faster. While high speeds can be achieved on a skateboard, you have to be a highly skilled rider in order to control the board.
That’s not as much of a problem with longboards. The fastest speed ever clocked on a longboard was an astonishing 80 mph. A video of the attempt that set this world record is shown below.
That guy travels faster in that video than 95% of cars on a highway! And it’s all due to a longboard.
In the world of longboarding, the equivalent to those huge skateboarding competitions I talked about earlier, is longboard racing. Longboard racing is an exciting action sport where competitors often get up to 50 mph on some of the steepest hills around.
Besides pure speed, I personally believe that longboards are more used for cruising around than skateboards. Due to the design of the longboard, one push covers more distance than on a traditional skateboard. This helps with just cruising around as riders have to spend less effort to go the same distance.
Longboards vs Skateboards: Which is Best for You?
As an avid longboarder, I know I am biased but I’ll attempt to go at this objectively. Ultimately it all comes down to personal preferences.
You have to decide what you want to be able to do with your board.
Do you want to do tricks such as ollies and shuv-its? Choose a skateboard. Our pick would be the KPC Pro Skateboard Complete as it is a solidly constructed board for beginners and has received a lot of rave reviews.
Do you want to go very fast and start going downhills? A longboard such as Sector 9 Fractal Complete would be perfect for this. Besides the longer deck, this specific longboard also has features which increase its stability making it perfect for beginners.
Cruising Around: What board should I get?
Do you want to simply want to cruise around? Honestly, both will allow you to do this. While skateboards were used first for this purpose, longboards will take you further distances and often have the same maneuverability as some skateboards.
If you know that you don’t want to hang out at the skatepark for hours every day, I think the question of longboards vs skateboards is easy. I would go with a longboard. Not only are longboards inherently more stable than skateboards but they can go faster, further, and can carve just as hard as skateboards.
In essence, some longboards are in fact hybrids of skateboards and longboards. The Quest Super Cruiser and Penny Board come to mind especially. These boards are relatively short for a longboard and have kicktails which are the main aspect of every skateboard.
These hybrid longboards give you the best of both worlds: longboards and skateboards. They have kicktails to enable riders to perform tricks and they also have the stability of longboards. For anybody still on the fence, try out these boards (bonus they are both very cheap! Check Penny Nickel Price here), and see what you think. They should help you decide more firmly which path you ultimately want to pursue.