Whats the difference between a Skateboard (street deck), Cruiser and a Longboard?
Skateboard, Cruiser, or Longboard?
Qn: What’s the difference between a Skateboard, a Cruiser, and a Longboard?
A: In the past, a skateboard meant anything with a board and 4 wheels…but these days the term “Skateboard” and “Skateboarding” generally refers to the modern established sport of doing tricks on natural street obstacles or at skateparks.
Modern trick/street skateboards have much the same shape and size, use the similar trucks and use small (compared to other skateboard styles) HARD wheels. The board are generally very stiff so you can achieve a nice 'pop' from the deck when dong flips and tricks etc. The purpose of a modern skateboard is mainly for doing tricks, for example ollies and flips over various obstacles or down stairs, or grinding and sliding on ledges or handrails. They are usually best suited to smooth ground and purpose built skateparks with ramps, boxes and rails. Skateboards are not ideal for transportation or cruising on rougher grounds, due to their small and hard wheels. This video shows what skateboarding in a skatepark is like down at St Kilda, in my home town of Melbourne Australia. Check these decks also for quality 'pop'.
A Cruiser is generally a board which is not purpose built for doing tricks (though you can, and a lot of guys now do so), but rather focused on the actual act of rolling around, but isn’t actually long enough to be properly called a longboard. Cruiser decks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, for example those tiny plastic boards can be called mini-cruisers, or sometimes a cruiser is simply a trick skateboard with soft “cruiser” wheels instead of small & hard “trick skateboard” wheels. The smaller size of cruisers makes them more convenient to carry around, but usually this also means they are less ideal for more aggressive disciplines of longboarding (such as freeriding and downhill-see videos for examples) than a purpose built full size longboard.
They typically use medium sized wheels, about 55-65mm compared to full size longboard wheels, 70mm and up. This keeps their size and weight down, and also uses skateboard style trucks which are shorter and lighter. The soft wheels allow a cruiser to roll over much harsher ground than a typical trick skateboard. This video shows what a typical cruiser looks like, although the riding is more advanced than most people would do.
A Longboard is a very broad term and will sometimes include cruisers which aren’t actually LONG, therefore when describing a short or small longboard, the term Cruiser, Mini Cruiser or Mini Longboard is usually better. I would say anything above 36 inches long would be considered a true LONG board. Longboarding has recently evolved to include many styles and therefore more descriptive terms are needed to differentiate the many different types of longboards. For example a 'Casual Cruising Longboard', a 'Freestyle Longboard' and a 'Downhill Longboard' can look totally different and are designed for different purposes.
Pretty much all longboards will have large wheels (70mm and up) and usually come with longboard style trucks which are higher and turn sharper than skateboard style trucks. There is also a few unique styles of longobard/cruiser trucks out there which break the conventional rules and introduce some great innovations (see Dr Tongue Skate Trucks, bmw street carver skateboard, avenue suspension skate trucks, plus many more).
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