The Longboard for The Newb

 by your friends at Bustin Boards
For those of you new to the sport of longboarding, you may find yourself asking really simply questions that you're afraid might be laughed at if you said them aloud. Worry not, longboard newb, we are here to help you. Part of the culture that we are most proud of at Bustin Boards is that we get stoked when we help fuel stoke. From the experienced hill shredder to the first-timer, we focus on making the best Longboards for all disciplines and all experience levels. The more people we can reach and stoke out, the happier we are as individuals working together as a skateboard company.

With all that said, let's start with basics of the longboard.

What is a longboard? What makes it different from a skateboard?

A longboard is a skateboard. Skateboarding started with things that we would call longboards nowadays, even though they were shorter than today's "classic" skateboard shapes. This is because most everything that does not have two kicktails and between a 31 and 33-inch length these days tends to get placed in the longboard catagory. Though longboards are, in fact, skateboards, what defines the longboard under skateboarding is its purpose. And that is, in some form or another, to get from Point A to Point B, whether its down a hill, up a hill, or across town. This is how Bustin began. We made skateboards that were designed for commuting in style. And we still do!

What are the parts of a longboard? A longboard is like a small surfboard, generally made of a laminated and shaped piece of wood; however, it cannot function alone. It requires a number of longboard specific parts to make the entire longboard function properly. These parts include:

Longboard Trucks and Wheels

Longboard Trucks - The trucks support and separate the longboard itself from the wheels and allow the board the turn. Longboard trucks are typically made of aluminum and, these days, are pretty specific the longboarding in the sense that longboard trucks are designed to turn more than classic skateboard trucks. There are two types of trucks out there - what is considered to be a conventional skateboard truck, or TKP (Traditional Kingpin) where the kingpin, or central bolt which acts as the pivot point, is towards the inside of the axle, and more commonly to longboarding is the reverse kingpin truck, or RKP, where the kingpin actually feeds through the body of the truck, crossing the line of the axle. Reverse Kingpin trucks like Randals, Bears, Paris, Calibers, and Surf-Rodz RKPs are considered to be more stable at speed and turn more than most TKPs. Traditional Kingpin trucks, like Independent, Gullwing Pro-Series, Bennetts, and Surf-Rodz INDeeSZ generally have more lean and less turn and tend to run a little bit lower in overall height. Depending on the setup, you may be able to get more turn out of these trucks, but it will either require a lot of riser or big wheel cutouts so that you don't get wheelbite. These trucks generally have less stability at speed but are a ton of fun.

Longboard Wheels - Chances are you can point out the wheels on a longboard even if you've never seen longboard wheels or any skateboard for that matter, but what you should know about longboard wheels is what differentiates them from any other skateboard wheel. The answer is quite simple. Longboard wheels are softer and usually larger.

Longboard wheels are soft and large because longboards are designed to be comfortable to ride, carve, and stick to the road. The shape of the lip, softness of the wheel, diameter of the wheel, and width of the contact patch all play into how the wheels will interact with the road. Check out this blog on wheels if you want to get really deep into longboard wheels and all the attributes that affect their performance

Longboard Hardware

Longboard Hardware is pretty much the same as any regular skateboard hardware, except most of the time when we put a longboard together, we usually use what's called a panhead bolt as opposed to a trick skateboard's countersink bolts. This is to protect the deck, as a countersink bolt fits into the board and over time can be a greater cause for stress cracks. Also, because panhead hardware sits on top of the deck, when you step on top of it, you can feel it under your feet and you will know where you are on the deck without having to look down.

Longboard hardware tends to be a little bit longer than trick skateboard hardware, as the majority of longboards are thicker than a typical 7-ply popsicle deck, and many are outfitted with riser pads. Longboard and skateboard hardware industry standard is 10/32 thread count (if you ever need to go to the hardware store to replace a bolt) and typically ranges from 1 inch to 3 inches in length, depending on the setup.

Longboard bearings are the same as any skateboard bearing, with one exception. Bearings designed around longboarding will require a 10mm spacer and should be especially resistant to side loads. While some skateboard bearings fall into this category, others don't treat side loads as importantly as others. Because sliding is such a large part of longboarding these days, this is quite important, especially if you intend to slide. Bustin's standard ABEC-7 and ABEC-9 bearing were chosen specifically because they withstood a great deal of side load testing and still remained tight and fast. Other bearings such as Bones Swiss have a little more side-to-side slop but may feel faster on straightaways or down hills. Ultimately, the "speed" of bearings have much less to do with how fast you go than how much force you put into your push or how tight your tuck is. Bones Swiss Ceramics feel super fast, but if you're not tucking properly, you're getting passed no matter what bearings you have in your wheels.

Grip tape is an important feature of longboards because grip it what helps you stay on your board. When you're going sideways, a larger grained grittier grip tape is going to keep you on your board better than a fine-grained grip tape. Bustin's stock grip tape is usually 60-grit and is epoxy sealed to make it water proof and exceptionally long-lasting. In some cases, we've been known to special release some of our decks with super gritty 36-grit grip tape. Be on the lookout and jump on an order when this happens, because it's a really useful added feature and will reduce the overall cost of any upgrades you might put on your deck.

What are the different types of longboards and how can I tell the difference?

There are lots of ways to separate different longboards. We like to separate them by purpose. Below is a list of different ways you might find yourself riding, along with some video links so you can see these styles in action:

Cruising/Carving - This is generally how we all start longboarding. Learning to push, turn, lean on the rails, footbrake, all the basics. This is the essence of longboarding and it's all about the joy you get out of the ride. Most cruising and carving decks will have a mild flex and can be a variety of different shapes, with top mount decks providing more grip through turns and dropped decks making the push a little easier. Check out the original Complex video featuring some cruising and carving through NYC.

Downhill/Freeride - This is the type of skateboarding that tends to be the most popularized in today's videos. It is fun to watch and pushes the limits of what you can do on a longboard. This requires some slanted earth, some general knowledge of how to act at speed, and some good balance. Downhill and freeride decks will generally be quite stiff for tons of control at high speeds and when going sideways. Check out this video featuring Will Royce and Jonas Richter at the Brittania Classic DH race and then some awesome freeriding toward the end of the video with Will through Vancouver, BC.

Commuting - Commuter longboards are designed to move forward easily and comfortably. For many, this is the basic function of a skateboard -- to get from point A to point B. Today's commuter decks are generally low to the ground and are easy to pick up and move around with. The Bustin Maestro is the classic Bustin commuter deck, while the newer Bustin Sportster combines the ease of push of the Maestro with some freeride capabilities of decks with more aggressive concave and stiffer overall structure. Longboarding has provided a new outlet for commuters, as well, with distance skateboard racing. Check out the first ever Adrenalina Marathon in the video below!

Freestyle - As longboarding continues to evolve, we have seen the creative tricking aspects of skateboarding find its way into longboard shapes and into the hearts of longboarders. Freestyle basically means that you skate whatever you have around you with as much creativity and style as you have within you. This generally involves slower speeds than freeride and downhill, and many freestyle oriented boards will incorporate kicktails to allow for more classic skateboard maneuvers. Bustin's most popular freestyle boards include the Boombox and the fiberglass Maestro. Check out the video below of Toti freestyling his Boombox in Madrid, Spain.

Classic Skateboard Shapes - Bustin's most classic skateboard shape to date is the Bustin Yoface. Classic skateboards will generally feature kicktails on either end and a typical "popsicle" shape. Though the Yoface does not fall in between the classic 31-33" range, at 35 inches, it is as versatile as any skateboard could ever be of its size. Classic skateboards will be able to ollie, hit ramps and bowls, and are convenient for traveling through the city because of the short wheelbase maneuverability and the implementation of kicktails. Check out the original Yoface video from Bustin Boards to see just how versatile a 35-inch twin-kicker can be.

Visit our Longboard Decks Specs page for all the information you need on our variety of boards perfect any terrain.