**This content is sponsored by Daddie's Board Shop**
Chances are you've seen people cruising around campus on overgrown skateboards. Don't be fooled, they're called longboards, and they're loads of fun. Longboarding isn't complicated like skateboarding. It's relatively easy to learn and most people are well on their way to cruising glory after just a couple hours. Longboards are longer (duh), faster, and more stable than skateboards, making them a great way to get around campus. Want to know more? Then hold on tight: here goes your crash course in longboarding 101.
Longboards come in all shapes and sizes. While you may think a longer board is better for cruising, most of the time that’s just not the case. You see, a big, long behemoth of a board may be fun to ride but unless your campus is in the middle of the Great Plains, you're probably going have to maneuver through some tight squeezes from time to time. A good length for cruising campus and beyond is 34''–40''. The thing to know when choosing the length of your longboard is the longer the board, the bigger the turning radius will be. Thus making it more difficult to turn sharply.
You may have seen longboards that have holes cut out in each end of the board. This is called a drop through deck. This shape allows the trucks to mount on top of the board, creating a lower, more stable ride with cut outs that permit carefree carving. Drop through boards have become very popular due to their user-friendly design and versatility. Kick tails and board flex are two more things to check out. Having a slanted tail (kick tail) allows you to make easier kick turns (the sharpest way to turn, although a bit tricky at first). If you know you will need to turn on a dime, kick tails are your friend, they also allow for some freestyle freedom, if your heart desires. And finally, board flex. Flexy boards, like the very popular Loaded Dervish Sama, have a ride that is similar to snowboarding. Flex allows you to pump through your turns and helps smooth out those bumpy bike paths.
Next on the menu are wheels. Longboard wheels are generally larger and softer than traditional skateboard wheels. This lets them roll longer, faster, and smoother over various types of terrain. Although there are some HUGE wheels out there, one thing to keep in mind is that bigger is not always better. Most common sizes for good campus set-ups are between 65mm and 75mm. Going with a wheel that is really big can make your board harder to push and less willing to turn.
Last but not least, trucks are what make the board actually turn. Longboard Trucks are measured by their width. The most common sized longboard trucks are either 150mm or 180mm. 150mm will turn sharper and not stick way out on a smaller shaped longobard. Having a wider truck, like 180mm, will create a nice stable ride without sacrificing much turning performance. 180mm trucks are by far the most popular sized truck in longboarding.
As with everything in life, safety comes first. While a few years back it wasn't cool to sport a dome piece that resembled a bobble head costume, helmets have become stylish, lightweight, and super comfy. Look for a helmet with terry cloth lining like the Triple 8 Brainsaver.
For more in depth information, click here to visit Longboard Buyers Guide featuring FAQ's, Sicktionary, and Recommended Set-Ups.