As the world of longboarding keeps growing, manufacturers get better at making boards more functional, comfortable and better looking. That is shy we see so many types of longboards out there.
New features and manufacturing processes keep coming out to the market.
It’s easier to find something that will suit your riding now than ever. For that reason, it’s important to understand what each of these features will do for you and how they impact the feeling of board.
Longboard’s shape does effect the riding
In this article we’ll go through most of the features that manufacturers use, explain what they look like and why you might want them.
Types of concave
Arguably the most important and most significant feature in boards today is concave. The fact that they are not fully flat, it’s also the most simple and most basic.
On some boards it’s desirable to not have any. Some boards will be completely flat, like dancers and some old-school cruisers, maybe a bit of a tail. Flat boards will sometimes feel convex under your feet, so if it feels flat chances are it has a bit of concave.
There are three main types of longboards used today
Radial type decks:
Radial concave (sometimes called taco cave) is the most basic of all of them, also the most common. It supports your foot evenly throughout. Like the rest of the main concave shapes it’s mainly a matter of personal taste if you like it over the others, though it supports a bit less than the others.
Tub type decks:
A favorite for downhill and aggressive freeride. Tube concave is flat in the middle, with the rails sloping up at an angle. Tub concave will support your foot at the ends but more aggressively than radial concave Paired with coarse grip tape it will hold your feet in place great.
Progressive type decks:
Sometimes also called elliptical concave, it’s the in-between of radial and tub. It’s flat in the middle just like tub concave, but the concave gets steeper gradually towards the rails. Relaxed progressive cave will feel great on your wider kick boards and cruisers, more aggressive and it’s great for freeride and downhill.
Finally there’s w concave type decks.
W concave is not a shape on its own, it’s always paired with another shape, more often than not progressive.
Have w concave just means your board has a lump in the middle, the rails can still be sloped up tub concave like or gradually like radial concave. W helps you feel locked in by supporting the arch of your foot.
Some people will find it very uncomfortable. It’s mainly a matter of opinion. Do not ever get a board with w for something other than freeride and downhill, pushing with W will kill for feet.
W concave can range for wide to skinny.
This is also a matter of personal taste, though wider W are starting to gain more popularity.
Some manufacturers make something called double w concave, or cleavage cave. Instead of having a single bump in the middle, it has two of them offset to the side. Its purpose is to hold the ball of your foot during toeside slides.
Cleavage cave feels very comfortable under your feet compared to regular w, that’s because the middle of the board isn’t supporting the arch of your foot, and there’s flat in the middle of the board. It’s very rare to find this, most folk will love it, some won’t. Like everything it’s just a matter of opinion.
To check out what sort of concave your board has place a ruler over it and check the show, see what it resembles.
In the words of Zak Maytum, “you never go full topmount”. This refers to downhill almost exclusively. Boards with a lowered platform, even if minimal, will be inherently more stable than full top mounts. There are several ways to lower the standing platform, like drops, microdrops, flush mountss and rocker.
With the use of concave the platform is lowered significantly. Drop can range from ½” in the milder cases to 1.4” like in the landyachtz evo. The lower platform means way more stable, but it also take away a lot of leverage on the trucks, meaning the turn will feel more restricted and not as divey.
Some people like drops but not too much of them. This is where microdrops come in, the platform is lowered just a bit, enough to have some concave to nudge your toes against and make it a bit more stable. Microdrops are less than ½”
Another way to lower your platform is to have it arch inwards. This also means your feet are at a slight angle with the board which helps you feel more locked in. Rocker can range from ¼ ” all the way to 0.9”
There’s two types that can sometimes be used at the same time. Both are almost always paired with rocker or some drop.
In a flushcut, section of the board is cut out right where the trucks are mounted. If boards with rocker makes the trucks sit parallel to the ground, giving it its true angle. It can go a few plies deep; it could be half of the mounting area or the entire thing, depends on the manufacturer. Since you have your trucks mounted higher up in the board, the platform is lowered.
A newer technique being used by some manufacturers is a pressed flush mount, the truck mounts are pressed so they sit parallel to the ground. It can be paired with flush cuts to have the truck mounted closer to the center of the board.
Drop features are also used for LDP and for some freestyle decks.
Longboard shape features:
We’ll only talk about more distinct and functional shape features, cut outs in the shape of longboard that serve a clear purpose other than aesthetics.
The classic we’ve all seen are dropthroughs, so that you can mount your truck’s baseplate on the top of the board. This lowers your platform a lot, but a lot of people will dislike the feel of it. A newer versions of this are slidethroughs, just like a dropthrough but you don’t have to take your trucks apart to mount it.
A growing trend is boards with hips. Hips look really good on freeride and downhill boards.
It gives you extra platform for your back foot while still having the board taper. For people that monkey toe (though highly frowned upon) it provides a neat spot to place your toes and push against the board in toeside slides.
Other unique deck features:
We have the classics, tails and wheel cut outs. You’ve seen those, and if you haven’t you can guess what they are for.
Every year manufactures come up with new unique features to put on their boards for us to enjoy. Some really enjoyable ones have been flares, bubbles and pressed wedging.
- Flares: Keep your feet locked; act like a foot stop for your front foot, gives you something to push against for your back foot during toesides.
- Bubbles: Bubbles of concave. Act like a discontinued W, keeps you locked while still keeping the board comfy. The aggressiveness varies a lot.
- Pressed wedging: The trucks don’t sit parallel, one or both of the trucks are wedge on purpose. A forced directional setup with split angles, it will feel very stable. Usually creates forward rake on the board, so your center of gravity is closer to the front.
That covers the basics of longboard features. Based on what type of riding you want to be doing you can look for certain features in a board or avoid them.
Different types of longboards are better for different riders!
If you have any question about a board you can always ask others on reddit or silverfish, remember to follow their rules when doing so. The best way to actually figure out how these things will help you in your riding is to go out and try them, find a friend that has something similar or try to join a bigger group for a skate sesh.
Written by Juan!
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