Welcome to our Longboard Deck Buyer’s Guide. Today, we’re reviewing seven of the best deck-only longboarding options available. Some styles of longboarding can require specialized decks to perform properly, as in downhill longboarding. Others simply benefit from certain design characteristics; cutouts to eliminate wheel-bite, or the inclusion of kicktails, for example.
Another important consideration is the global impact COVID-19 has had on virtually every manufacturer in every industry. Longboarding hasn’t been exempt, and has seen lengthy backorders on many top brands as well as some successful brands disappearing entirely (we miss you, Boosted).
For this reason, we’ve scoured the market for you and curated a list of top-shelf products that are available.* It can take a lot of time just to figure out the right deck, and then twice as long can go into discovering that it’s on backorder until 2022. Using our list saves you from that huge waste of time.
With that purpose in mind, we decided to offer our top pick for seven different categories. The seven categories are representative of the principal styles of longboarding, and were chosen to cover the spectrum of longboard deck designs available in today’s market.
|Longboard Deck||Shop||Best for|
|DB Longboards Flagship Stalker||Check Price||Downhill|
|Loaded Vanguard||Check Price||Dancing|
|Loaded Bhangra||Check Price||Carving|
|Loaded Tan Tien||Check Price||Freestyle|
|Loaded Icarus||Check Price||Cruising|
|Loaded Fattail||Check Price||Pumping|
|Yocaher VW Vibe (Beach Series)||Check Price||Pintail|
Best Downhill Longboarding Deck – DB Longboards Flagship Stalker
“Professional equipment for professional thrill-seekers.”
- Deck is engineered for aggressive downhill riding and hardcore freeriding.
- Bamboo, Triaxial Fiberglass & Carbon X (carbon fiber) are layered and vertically laminated to provide a remarkably lightweight yet durable deck.
- Precision-Machined Flushmounts allow for clean and professional hardware installation, as well as extra stability and responsiveness.
- Boasting a comfortable rocker, simple radial concave and minimal (yet functional) tail, comfort and control are this deck’s dominant traits.
- Molded Wheel Wells are typical of pro-level downhill decks, and allow for optimal foot placement and finger positioning during slides.
Wheelbase: 22.5” – 25”
Best Carving Longboard Deck – Loaded Vanguard
“Crafted for Carving”
- The gracefully tapered shape of this deck maximizes wheel clearance for deep carves and tight turns. No wheel-bite; and it doesn’t look like a robot made it.
- The subtly-contoured side cuts reduce deck stiffness between the feet, bringing greater control throughout the turning radius.
- A mild concave shape provides greater edge-to-edge control, while the top mounting and cambered platform assure responsive carving performance.
- The Bamboo & Fiberglass combine well with the deck’s shape, and result in a lively and responsive flex that remains unrivaled.
Length: 42” (Flex 1-2) or 38” (Flex 3-5)
Wheelbase: 35” (Flex 1-2) or 31.5” (Flex 3-5)
Weight: 2.7-3.8 lbs
Flex 1: 175-230+ lbs
Flex 2: 150-210+ lbs
Flex 3: 150-200+ lbs
Flex 4: 120-170+ lbs
Flex 5: 80-140+ lbs
Best Dancing Longboard Deck – Loaded Bhangra
“The Iconic Dancing Longboard”
- A generous dance platform with slightly rockered profile allows for intuitive dancing, sliding, and pushing.
- The subtle concave brings edge control that doesn’t have a negative impact on footwork.
- The large nose and tail encourage using freestyle tricks throughout the longboard dancing routine.
- Minimal yet functional wheel wells eliminate wheel-bite while turning.
- The Loaded Bhangra’s design characteristics make it ideal for dancing, of course, but also urban freeriding and freestyle dancing as well.
Weight: 5.6 lbs
Flex 1: 150-270+ lbs
Flex 2: 90-190+ lbs
Best Freestyle Longboard Deck – Loaded Tan Tien
“The Freestyle Trickster’s Loyal Companion”
- Drop-through truck mounting provides greater stability and more efficient pushing.
- Large nose/tail cutouts maximize wheel clearance for deep carves and tight turns, and eliminate wheel-bite.
- The inclusion of pronounced nose and tail kicks facilitate advanced freestyle trick performance.
- A cambered profile and mild concave bring a responsive and comfortable platform for the ultimate freeriding/freestyle experience.
- This deck is engineered to be a performance longboard created for carving, pumping, freestyle, freeride, and urban commuting / alternative transportation.
Weight: 3.1 lbs
Flex 1: 170-270+ lbs
Flex 2: 130-210+ lbs
Flex 3: 80-170+ lbs
Best Cruising Longboard Deck – Loaded Icarus
“Designed for Soulful Carving & Cruising Performance”
- Snowboard-inspired composite construction aims to bring soulful carving to the streets.
- Combines vertically-laminated Bamboo and Fiberglass for a durable, lightweight, and responsive ride.
- Cork bottom-layer provides extra vibration dampening – crucial for reducing fatigue on long rides.
- Engineered for efficient & effective pumping, without sacrificing the carving experience.
Weight: 2.9 lbs
Flex 1: 170-250+ lbs
Flex 2: 75-200+ lbs
Best Pumping Longboard Deck – Loaded Fattail
“Snowboard-inspired construction that results in a lively and responsive flex in a class of its own.”
- A subtle concave keeps your feet planted comfortably against the aggressive g-forces of sliding.
- Top mounting to a cambered deck provides lively and responsive performance.
- The tapered shape provides controlled leverage and maximizes wheel clearance for deep turns.
- Pronounced kicktails enable freestyle tricks and extreme downhill slide control in freeriding situations.
- Vertically-laminated bamboo & fiberglass deck is lightweight and durable.
- Engineered to build speed via pumping..
Weight: 3.1 lbs
Flex 1: 170-270+ lbs
Flex 2: 125-215+ lbs
Flex 3: 75-175+ lbs
Best Pintail Longboard Deck – Yocaher VW Vibe (Beach Series)
“It all started with ‘Sidewalk Surfing’, and the Pintail longboard ensures we never forget it.”
- The 9-Ply Maple Construction is an industry standard, and translates into a durable and long-lasting deck.
- A “true” pintail shape with a flat deck – no concave at all.
- Vintage VW bus graphic is inspired by longboarding’s roots in “Sidewalk Surfing”, and resonates with a beachside/boardwalk vibe.
- Couple this deck with Paris Savant trucks and Shark Wheels for the ultimate beachside longboarding experience.
Weight: 3.65 lbs. (pkg. wgt.
* – All products are available, without back-order, at the time of publishing. The longest wait for any of the reviewed products was 4-5 weeks from date of purchase.
Types of Longboard Decks
In the following sections we’ve provided a brief description for each of the categories we kept in mind while making our selections. We looked primarily at the manufacturer’s design intentions, features & characteristics of importance to a given category, and user reviews across marketplace and social media platforms.
Some styles overlap almost seamlessly; carving and pumping, for example. This can make things dreadfully confusing when you’re trying to find the right board for the style of longboarding you want to engage in. A poor choice can make your journey exponentially more difficult, and often results in people giving up entirely.
We want everyone to have a most amazing longboarding experience, without regard to their level of expertise (or lack thereof). Starting out with the right longboarding setup is a very important first step towards a great experience.
The categories we considered are:
Cruising is longboarding at its most fundamental level. Cruising, as a style, is relatively easy to engage in, and can continue to provide a lifetime of satisfaction and development. Cruising is where most longboarders start and where a good many stay, and rightfully so!.
Cruising skills are all you really need to enjoy the time spent on your longboard.
Once longboarders become more proficient in cruising, they sometimes transition into freeriding. Freeriding, in this sense, incorporates elements of freestyle riding that complement cruising across urban terrain. Advanced freeriders can seamlessly blend certain freestyle tricks into their cruising session, as in this demonstration by Original Skateboards below. In downhill-suitable environments, freeriding is less a derivative of cruising, and more so of carving.
Cruising longboards are probably the most common available, which is both a good and bad thing. It’s always good to have plenty of options, but it can be bad when too many of them are inferior. Drop-decks are popular with cruisers for the extra stability they provide. Just be sure to understand the distinction between a drop-deck longboard and drop-through mounting.
Freestyle is all about the tricks. Generally speaking, longboards are thought of as better for transportation and skateboards are better for doing freestyle tricks. Some tricks, like a No-Comply perhaps, could be seen as easier to pull off on a longboard. Put another way, some tricks are easier on a skateboard and others are easier on a longboard.
Due to the longboard’s larger size, many of the same tricks feel grander somehow. The awesome length of the longboard whipping around in masterful compliance to the deft footwork of its rider can be mesmerizing. But at the end of the day, it still comes down to the tricks. The tricks you can pull off whenever you want, and those that still elude you.
The freestyle rider is constantly pushing the envelope and requires a durable yet responsive deck that can shrug off incessant abuse. This is a good reason for freestylers to invest in a quality deck sooner, rather than later. In choosing a deck, consider the materials being used, the manufacturing process, the desired level of flex (and availability of flex options), and the inclusion (or omission), size, and shape of nose or tail kicks.
Longboard dancing has enjoyed a boom in popularity, starting with Ko Hyojoo and growing into a movement of girls inspired to follow suit. The graceful allure and delicate footwork has entranced millions – plenty of whom have sought to emulate the style.
Since those early days, longboard dancing has evolved into a niche of its own. Every major longboard manufacturer in business today offers some kind of dance longboard (or markets one of their larger decks as such, anyway). The boom in popularity also attracts plenty of generic-label import manufacturers and copycatters (bootleggers), so buyers beware if you deviate away from a trusted source to chase a deal. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Longboard dancing involves moving all over the place, so rider weight and agility are important considerations before you even begin looking at decks. Important features of a dance longboard setup include top-mounting, generous width/length, deck flex, and the inclusion of nose/tail kicks..
Downhill longboarding is for the people who always wanted the swing to go higher when they were kids. Downhill riding provides one thing in abundance above all other styles – speed. If you like to go fast and feel the adrenaline flow, downhill longboarding might be for you.
Downhill can be thought of as containing a few “sub-styles” within it. Some riders like to downhill vert; the rider tucks in for a straight shot for maximum speed down a hill. Others prefer downhill freeriding, which is essentially downhill riding with aggressive slides and carves used to slow down when necessary (and sometimes just for fun). There are even slalom relay races that occur in downhill longboarding, where heats of skaters compete in team events. In fact, the International Downhill Federation posts global and national rankings for professional downhill skaters.
Where there is speed, there is danger, however. It can be minimized with proper training, proper equipment for longboard safety, and a proper mindset. This style may require the largest investments in equipment, but can also bring unique benefits that other styles can only dream of.
The style of Longboard Carving lies somewhere in the ambiguous space between Cruising and Freeriding. And perhaps a next-door neighbor to Pumping. Seriously.
It’s like this – most people that are new to longboarding start out with Cruising. As their skill develops, their confidence grows. For some riders, this can lead to more aggressive riding, until they begin leveraging the deck into their turns harder and harder.
And that is when they discover Carving. Leaning aggressively enough into a turn that either the turn radius is “bottomed-out” or you enter into a (presumably) controlled slide. Carving is used in downhill riding to help control accumulated speed, and is what led to the Coleman/Pendulum slide as an “emergency stop”. This has evolved into its own form of freeriding, albeit different in technique and principle from the urban variant.
The best Carving Longboards will be mid-sized decks that are wide enough to provide the necessary leverage.. Flex is less important. You’ll want some, but too much flex will impact your carving before too little does. A subtle concavity along the deck will help with leverage and tight-turning, as well as provide ideal foot-positioning while riding.
Wheel-cutout might be the most important feature to consider when planning on aggressively carving. Wheel-cutouts are essential for eliminating wheel-bite, which occurs on tight turns when the deck contacts the spinning wheel. The sacrifice is giving up the ability to plant the feet directly over the trucks, which can be an important one if downhill freeriding is something you’re considering.
Longboard pumping is essentially an alternative to the kicking technique for propelling the longboard forward. Pumping has evolved beyond that and into a means of exercising the entire body and is considered preferable to pushing among the enthusiasts that swear by it.
The act of Pumping is somewhat difficult to explain in words. Generally, movement is started with an initial push. With both feet planted on the deck, the rider will rhythmically rock their body weight while bending the knees to add to the momentum. Learning to swing higher by tucking and kicking the feet in time with one’s motion is analogous.
And like the swing, there’s a knack to Pumping that presents a bit of a learning curve. It’s one worth investing in, however, particularly for anyone interested in developing their Cruising and Carving skills.
We know that “Pintail” isn’t exactly a style of longboarding – at least not in the contemporary sense. Technically speaking, pintail decks would fall under the Cruising category.
The actual experience of riding a Pintail deck, however, is unique enough that we feel a separate category is justified. The eye-catching aesthetics alone set this longboard apart from the rest; a design that can be traced back to longboarding’s roots in “sidewalk surfing”.
Whether it’s because the pintail design is a timeless icon of longboarding, because it represents a unique character that embodies the spirit of the longboarding culture, or because it’s important to preserve those iconic roots in surfing, the Pintail remains in a class of its own.
This concludes our review of the Best Longboard Decks of 2020. We put a lot of work into getting all of the information in one place, so you don’t have to dig around to find a longboard deck you can have confidence in.
Whatever your longboarding style, we’ve got a deck here for you. Building out your own setup and selecting each piece of hardware with careful consideration virtually guarantees an enjoyable longboarding experience. We are excited to be a part of that adventure and wish you the best, no matter what kind of riding you prefer.
Stay safe, stay skating, and thanks for reading!