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LONGBOARD (longboarding)

Welcome to the first Slovak website about longboards and longboarding. If you don’t know what longboarding is then this is the right page to visit.

What is a longboard?
A longboard is a skateboard with a longer and sometimes wider shape used for longboarding. Longboards can be shaped in different ways, depending on the type of the use. The main difference between longboard and skateboard is especially the length, the construction and the flexibility of the deck, the width of the truck and particularly the type of the wheels that are wider and larger than the wheels used on regular skateboards. Most longboards measure between 70 and 140 cm, sometimes even longer. Wheel sizes will vary between 60 and 90 mm. The wheels of this size will deal with any imperfections of the streets easily.
The long longboards with wide wheels are designed for “surfing on the concrete” and give the riders a “surfy feel”. The prices of regular longboards vary between 150 and 300 Euros. The custom-made completes can cost even more. If you are interested in purchasing a longboard, feel free to visit my e-shop and choose from the listed offer.

It is not known who constructed the first skateboard or longboard but it is known that this sport became popular in the 1960s among Californian surfers, who were looking for some type of fun during the period when the waves were flat. They were looking for something similar to surfing but on the land. So the first longboard was created as a land alternate to surfers. It didn’t take long and an idea - to attach the roller-skating wheels to the deck similar to the surf - came along. This is how the first skateboard or longboard originated and it was rather different from those used today but nothing could stop it from riding along Californian rolling paths.
At the beginning it was only a street attraction or riding in the empty pools. Many gatherings were organised due to the increased popularity of board riding. The first Roller Derby Skateboard was sold in 1959. The first official performance was organised in 1963. In 1980s there was a huge spread of slalom and freestyle. From the pool we got to the U-ramp. Later another discipline – downhill was created. In 1974 hard material urethane was discovered and it was a perfect option for the wheels. The first companies, focused only on skateboard and longboard production, were based. In 1990s, the board riding was spread all over the world. The first clubs were created and the first international competitions were organised. It seems like skateboarding and longboarding are becoming massive worldwide.

There are many longboards of different shapes and sizes.
The four basic groups are: SLALOM, CARVING, DOWNHILL, and SPEEDBOARD.

Slalom longboard
It is the smallest longboard. Due to its small size, it isn’t very stable but it allows better turning radius. And it is used almost exclusively for the ride between cones or slalom situations. This type is also suitable for free riding along the streets. Slalom longboard is very similar to a regular skateboard. On the other side, slalom longboards aren’t good choice for fast rides and high speed because of their instability.
The length of slalom longboards is usually up to 80cm. The shape of the boards is various and almost every producer offers different types. The trucks are 130mm wide. The typical size of the wheels is 60mm. Slalom longboard is designed for those who travel a lot and need a small board suitable for the transport.

Carving longboards
It is the most popular longboard because of its excellent riding characteristics. Most carving boards have perfect flexibility effect, which is the result of using right shape in combination with highly flexible materials. The ride is very pleasant; it is possible to make nice big curves as well as different tricks. This type is suitable for riding in the city and middle-speed rides.
The length of carving longboards is about 100cm. The choice of longer or shorter alternative depends only on a rider. The most suitable size of the wheels is about 70mm. The wheels shouldn’t be too hard and the best durometer is 80a. The most used trucks for this type of board are 150 to 180mm wide. It isn’t recommended to use narrow trucks as they make the board less stable. The carving longboard is the most suitable for the beginners who wish to get to know longboarding.

Downhill longboard
So this is a typical longboard used for downhill riding. These boards are usually longer than carving longboards as well as stiffer so as to improve stability. It is very common to use this longboard for speed riding up to 50 km/hour. This type isn’t suitable for rides in the city due to its size and weight.
The length of downhill longboard is about 120cm and usually is flat. The trucks mounted for this type are usually 180mm wide but it’s possible to use wider ones, too. The wheels are also bigger, about 77mm. The hardness of the wheels is a bit higher, about 82a. This type is recommended for those who seek adrenaline, downhill rides and fast speed.

Speedboard longboards
The last representative of longboards is a speedboard. It is a special type of a downhill longboard, commonly used for the highest speed up to 70 km/hour and more. A speedboard is heavier than other longboards and not flexible at all. Drop-thru decks have holes machined between the truck mounting hardware so that the baseplate can be mounted to the top of the board. This is probably the most popular method of lowering a board and is used by many board manufacturers. Thanks to lowering the centre of gravity speedboards have high stability.
Speedboards use the widest trucks – 200mm. They are as long as downhill longboards. The size of the wheels is the biggest – 90mm. To get the highest speed it is necessary to use the stiffest wheels as well. This type is only for those who are serious about longboarding and downhill rides.

Other variations
Let me mention mountainboards and freeboards.
Mountainboards are designed especially for uneven thick surface. They are suitable for grass surface, grit and ground surface. The wheels are more than 10cm big. The wheels are basically tires therefore they easily adjust to the uneven surface. The special trucks are used for this type of a longboard. Sometimes they are even mounted with a brake and strap bindings similar to those used on kiteboards.
Freeboard is basically very similar to a longboard. The difference is that it contains two more wheels attached to each truck. These wheels are in the middle of the truck and rotate in all directions. Skyhood bindings are used to provide more control over the board. The freeboard is closely designed to simulate the snowboard rides. However, it isn’t recommended for high speed and longboard tricks.

Longoboard consists of following parts: DECKS, GRIPTAPE, TRUCKS, SHOCKPADS, WHEELS, BEARINGS and ACCESSORIES.

It forms the base of the longboard and the rider stands on it. The boards are usually made of wood. The most popular wood is Canadian maple or birch usually in 7 or 10 layers. These plywood layers are glued together horizontally as well as vertically and are compressed in the vacuum under the certain pressure and temperature. Another popular material for longboards is bamboo that is very elastic. Recently the longboards made of composite materials (eg. laminate, carbon fibres) are becoming popular, too. Unfortunately, these materials aren’t as good as wood. The shape and the length of a longboard depend only on the riders and their preferences.
The important parts of the longboard are convex and concave. The convex means that the middle part of the deck is higher than the front and the back. It helps to distribute the energy evenly when loading the board. The concave means that right and left side of the deck is higher than the middle part. It helps to control the deck better and the contact of feet with the board is better, too.
I prefer the decks from the following manufacturers: SECTOR9, LOADED, LANDYACHTZ and GRAVITY.

It is a non-skid layer also called a grip and it is an important part of the longboard. The grip is a sharp layer stuck on the upper part of the board. It can be produced during the manufacturing process of the board. It helps the rider have the better contact with the board. Without this sharp surface the riding would be difficult and dangerous.
These adhesive tapes or layers can be of different colours and sharpness. The most basic colour is grey then another popular grip is clear. Other colours are less frequent. The aesthetics seem to be more important than its function. The recommended manufacturer is JESSUP.

Trucks are an important part of longboards. Each longboard has two trucks that are screwed directly to the board and are attaching wheels, too. There are several types of longboard trucks. The 180mm is the most common width. Other trucks are 129mm, 150mm or 205mm. A set of trucks is made up of baseplate, hanger that holds the axle and connected by a kingpin with bushings.
Bushings are flexible polyurethane parts that control flex and turning. The softer bushings allow the truck to turn with ease. The harder the bushings, the harder it is to turn a longboard.
The most popular are trucks manufactured by RANDAL, SEISMIC or TRACKER.

Shockpads are small rubber or plastic pads that fit between the trucks and the deck of a longboard. They have several functions, for example to prevent damage to the deck, to prolong the life of the longboard and to increase turning features of the whole longboard.
Shockpads come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes and thicknesses. The most popular manufacturer is KHIRO that also produces the bushings for longboards.

The wheels are necessary to allow the longboard to move on the road. The longboard wheels are completely different from skateboard wheels. They are bigger, wider as well as softer. The wheel sizes will vary from 60mm to 90mm, the width is between 40mm – 60mm.
The hardness of longboard wheels is often measured in durometers. The suitable hardness for longboards is 78a to 98a. The higher number, the harder the wheel is. It is necessary to realize the style of the riding and adjust the hardness of the wheels. The harder wheels are used when sliding at higher speed. Softer wheels are useful when performing various longboarding tricks.
The most popular producers are ABEC11, SEISMIC and ORANGATANG.

The type 608 is used for longboards and they sit inside the wheel and spin on the truck axles. Each wheel needs two bearing so it makes total of 8 bearings for longboards. The wheels are made of different materials; the steel bearings are in widespread use. Ceramic bearings are meant for the riders with higher demand.
There are several types of bearings ABEC1, ABEC3, ABEC5, ABEC7 and ABEC9. It is the method for rating the accuracy and quality of the bearing. The higher an ABEC rating is, the more precise and accurate the bearing is. The individual parts are carefully designed and assembled so there is a little space as possible. The low thermal resistance makes them ideal for high speeds. The worldwide producers are OUST, GRAVITY and SWISS.

The accessories are bolts or kingpins for attaching trucks to the decks and spacers for the wheels with bearings. The bolts are of sizes M5 and the hardness is higher (for example 10.9). The spacers are an important part between two bearings. These 8mm and 10mm spacers prevent from creating the resistance inside the bearing when tightening the bolt on the truck.
Other accessories for longboards are equipment for installing and removing other parts as well as oil and cleaning products for the bearings.

The last but not least let me mention safety gear, especially helmet, elbow and knee pads, gloves with special pads and wrist pads. The leather overall is necessary during dangerous downhill rides and the protection of the back known as “turtle”. Longboarding is quite dangerous sport so do not forget to wear safety gear.
I’m very happy that you’ve come all the way down here and I hope I’ve helped you to get a closer look at longboarding – another adrenaline sport. Thank you for your time and enjoy perfect moments on the longboard.

Any ideas, comments and objections please send to info@longboard.sk.

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