Skateboards vs. Cruisers vs. Longboards: The Ultimate Board Showdown

Explore the thrills of skateboards vs cruisers vs longboards. Dive in, pick your perfect ride, and hit the ground rolling.

Confused between skateboards, cruisers, and longboards and trying to pick the right ride? Being pretty much a novice rolling through the world of skateboarding, I’ve learned the way these rides shuffle the deck isn’t always as straightforward as you might think. From street to park and vert, we’ll dive into these three bad boys, breaking down their unique features, differences, and how they skate to the beat of different drummers.

What makes skateboards distinct?

Like a stage performer doing sick tricks, skateboards are all about being technical. A skateboard is typically rigid, sporting a length anywhere between 30″ to 32″. This shorter size allows for a lightweight, maneuverable ride perfect for pulling off insane stunts, from grinding ledges to flipping decks. To dig a bit deeper, you can read my dedicated blog post on how to assemble a skateboard.

Image of a skateboard and a longboard on the floor unsplash
Image of a skateboard and a longboard on the floor unsplash

While versatility is definitely one killer aspect of skateboarding, not everything about it is smooth, especially if you’re a beginner. Skateboards can be more difficult to ride compared to cruisers or longboards.

Their hard and tiny wheels are not a big fan of uneven or rough surfaces, making them less comfy for longer commutes. However, swap those wheels with softer, bigger ones, and voila, your skateboard transforms into a cruising machine.

My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

Skateboards vs. Cruisers vs. Longboards: the ultimate board showdown | 61vn95mf7ql. Ac sl1184 | skateboard salad
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

I had my board stolen a few years ago and was forced to quickly replace it with a complete. I got one with an Enjoi deck and loved it so much that I still buy the Whitey Panda deck each time I need a new deck. This complete with budget-friendly, beginner-friendly parts, but I still swear by it.

How do cruisers stack up?

Cruisers, on the other hand, are your urban surfboards. Shorter than longboards but generally taller than regular skateboards. Their deck length varies between 22″ and 38″. They bring the ‘cruise’ to ‘cruising’ – ensuring smooth rides over short distances while offering easy portability. Remember, for a more detailed guide on choosing wheels, you can always refer to how to choose the right skateboard wheels.

With wheels sizing between 58mm and 61mm, they can handle rough surfaces. Plus, their softer wheels mean you don’t have to worry about those pesky little pebbles or cracks. Well, not entirely, but they handle them better than their skateboard siblings.

While they might not be as suited for carving as longboards or stunt performing as skateboards, their lightweight build makes them perfect for city cruises or commuting. Just remember, these guys aren’t designed for grinding curbs or fancy ollies.

What’s unique about longboards?

Then we have the longboards. Think of them as a mix of surfboards and cruisers but on steroids. With a length of 36″ or more, they’re the rulers offering the smoothest and longest rides. They’re built for the long ride, so if you’re up for skateboarding your commute, these boards might be your best bet.

Image of a man riding a longboard. Source: pexels
Image of a man riding a longboard. Source: pexels

Longboards can also handle more extreme activities like downhill racing. Their larger size and soft wheels, generally 65mm or more, allow you to ride over not-so-smooth terrains that other boards can’t. And those inverted trucks? They add an extra dose of carving goodness, making your ride feel just like surfing on concrete waves.

As a heads up, though, the varied shapes like pintail, drop-through, or downhill might be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out with longboarding. But no worries, check out my post on how to choose a longboard.

How do they really differ?

Skateboards, cruisers, and longboards each offer a unique riding experience and cater to different needs. Below is a table that outlines the primary differences between these three types of boards, helping both beginners and seasoned riders make informed decisions about their next ride.

Deck Length (inches)30 – 3222 – 3836 and above
Deck Width (inches)7.5 – 8.758.0 – 9.58.5 – 10.25
Wheel Size (mm)50 – 6058 – 6165 and above
Truck Size (mm)129 – 159139 – 169149 – 215
PurposeTricks, Skateparks, Street SkatingShort commutes, comfy ridesDown Hill, Long distance, Sliding, dance, free style
One crucial distinguishing point between these three is their wheel size. Skateboards typically have wheels within 50mm to 60mm, which is smaller compared to the cushy wheels of longboards and cruisers. This difference in wheel size plays a big role in how each board handles various terrains.

Now, when considering the right pick for you, remember that these three amigos serve different purposes. So before going for any of these boards, it’s crucial to pin down your skating goals, whether it’s shredding a skate park, breezing through a commute, or surfing high on that downhill adrenaline rush.

My take on longboards, cruisers, and skateboards

From my own experience as much of a skateboarding buff rather than a full-blown expert, and strictly as my 2 cents, I’ve always found skateboards, cruisers, and longboards to be quite situation-specific. If you’re up and about for tricks, go for a skateboard.

“Skateboarding isn’t just a street style sport, it’s a canvas to paint your narrative. Whether that’s shredding, cruising, or downhill racing – there’s a ride waiting just for you.”

On the other hand, if you prefer the comfort of a smooth, effortless ride for short distances, a cruiser might ride your wave. If you’re up for the long hauls or downhill thrills, nothing beats a longboard. Remember, though, it’s always a good idea to better understand deck sizes and their implications by checking out the guide on how to choose a children’s skateboard.

If you are a visual learner, check out the video below from YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

As we roll along this exciting ride into the world of skateboards, cruisers, and longboards, here are a few more answers to questions that might pop up as you carve your own skateboarding path.

Can I modify my skateboard to perform more like a cruiser or longboard?

You bet! By just swapping those hard, tiny wheels with bigger, softer ones, your skateboard instantly transforms into a cruising beast. Adjusting the trucks certainly adds more carviness to the ride. But remember, a skateboard, even with modifications, may not completely mimic the performance of an authentic cruiser or longboard since there are fundamental design differences. You could also check out my piece on how to choose the right skateboard wheels for more details.

How can I choose the best board for my child?

Choosing the right board for your child boils down to their age, size, and what they want to use it for. If they are beginners and just learning, a cruiser or a longboard would be a safer, easier choice. But if they’re into pulling cool stunts, a skateboard could be a perfect fit. Always keep safety as a top priority and invest in child-specific safety gear alongside. Detailed tips for choosing the right kid’s skateboard can be found in my post on choosing a children’s skateboard.

Is it necessary to buy a complete skateboard, or can I assemble one myself?

A complete skateboard ready to roll right off the shop shelf can save you some sweat, especially if you’re just beginning or not so into the nitty-gritty of board components. But buying each part separately and putting them together can give you a totally personalized skateboard. It all comes down to personal preferences and how comfortable you are with assembling a skateboard. To help you out, here’s my guide on how to assemble a skateboard.

Can I use my board for commuting to school or work?

Absolutely! If your commute is shorter, a cruiser’s got you covered with its quick acceleration and balance. But for lengthier ones, longboards are really your best shot. They’re designed to keep the momentum going, and their larger, softer wheels make the ride smoother. If you need more info, you could dive into the skateboard for commuting guide.

Final thoughts

In the skateboarding world, there’s no one-size-fits-all ride. The right board for you ultimately depends on your goals, preferences, and comfort zone. Whether you’re keen on showcasing technical tricks on a skateboard, cruising a short commute, or tackling those lengthy downtown adventures on a longboard, it’s all about finding a board that jams well with your style.

Hey there, reader, what kind of board rides your wave? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below. I read and reply to every comment. If you found this article helpful, why not share it with a friend and swing by my full blog for more tips and tricks on selecting the perfect ride? Thanks for reading. Keep that stoke high and shred on, friend!

Key takeaways

This article has been all about cruising through the world of skateboards, cruisers, and longboards. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Skateboards, great for technical tricks and stunts, are generally stiffer and more challenging to ride for beginners.
  • Cruisers, with their soft wheels and shorter size, offer smooth, comfortable rides ideally suited for short distances.
  • Longboards, the beasts of the bunch, are perfect for long commutes downhill races and offer smoother rides over rough terrains.
  • Whether you go for a skateboard, cruiser, or longboard depends on what you’re looking to get out of your skateboarding experience.
  • Always consider your skill level, purpose, and skating terrain before selecting your board.

Helpful resources

Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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