Skateboard, Longboard, Penny Board. What's the Difference?
“I crashed a couple of times but I can’t live without it; longboarding as like a drug; I can’t imagine commuting without my penny board”. Those are the feelings of hardcore skaters that simply fell in love with boards on wheels. If we are to be honest though, most people have no idea what the differences between the various types are and what kind of riding they are for. Because the skating phenomenon is only growing, let’s take a look at the individual board types. “No board is just a board” after all.
At the moment, skateboards are divided into 4 main categories, varying in both attributes and design. We are talking about skateboards, longboards, penny boards and the less-known waveboards (caster boards). Think about where and how you intend to use the board before you buy it.
Skateboard is still the most common and popular board type. However, it is closely followed by longboard, which skyrocketed in popularity in the recent years (read about longboards below). Skateboard is distinctive with its rectangle-shaped board, 7.5ʺ - 8ʺ wide and rounded at both ends. Compared to longboard, the wheels are smaller, harder and highly durable.
Based on these attributes, skateboards are used mainly in skate parks or on U-ramps – everywhere where the skater needs to ride across any kind of obstacle. Skateboards are also suitable for short urban or park rides. Let’s keep in mind that not so long ago, everyone was riding through parks on skateboards as longboards and penny boards were unknown to most people. That’s why when it comes to versatility, skateboards are at the top.
Advantages: smaller dimensions, high durability, good steering ability
Use: skate parks, U-ramps, parks
Longboards are the current main trend of skateboarding, that’s why there are number of models with varying attributes on the market right now. As you can guess from the name, longboards are distinguished by their board, that is usually about one meter in length. The longboard’s shape depends on its purpose (road, downhill, uphill riding), however, the most common shape is that of a prolonged tear. Unlike skateboard, longboard has wider trucks with bigger wheels for fast riding. The hardness of the wheels depends on what style of riding you prefer.
Longboards were designed for fast rides on tarmac roads, sort of simulating “surfing on the ground”. When you ride a longboard, your movements are basically the same as if you were surfing. You can also use a longboard in parks, on tracks or even for riding downhill. There are also mini versions of longboards – they are shorter, narrower and more suitable for urban riding (similar to penny boards).
Advantages: big wheels, higher maximum speed, comfortable riding
Use: hills, roads, tracks, (for mini longboards even urban traffic or parks)
Until recently, penny boards were only known to the biggest skating enthusiasts. Today, the situation is different - their popularity is on the rise, especially with the younger generation. These approximately half a meter short skateboards are usually made of plastic and have no grip. They are visually similar to their “big brother” – the longboard – because the front of the board also has a rounded tip. The wheels are usually the same size as those on a longboard (60 – 80 mm), making the board more stable and better adherent to the surface.
Its size doesn’t make the penny board exactly a hit in skate parks, but it will come handy as a way to commute across a city. The small size and low weight make the penny board easy to carry, either in hand or in a bag, which is useful in urban traffic. Penny board can, in fact, be used in parks or on the road, and the more experienced skaters can even use it on U-ramps. These days, who wants to be cool must have a penny board.
Advantages: compact size, low weight, higher stability, lower prices
Use: urban areas
Waveboard (also known as caster board) is a type of skateboard. Its use is not very wide-spread, but it will surely find a purpose among enthusiasts. Waveboard is made of 2 decks joined by a torsion bar usually made of durable steel material. Another characteristic feature are two wheels that can be turned by 360°, independently from each other. Riding a waveboard is done by leaning on your legs from side to side. This way you create enough energy to propel the waveboard forward without needing to touch the ground.
This type of skateboard is suitable for fun rides in parks and on roads. If the rider properly learns the riding technique, they can even ride slightly uphill without needing to touch the ground. The riding technique is one of waveboard’s greatest advantages.
Advantages: move without pushing off the ground, balance training
Use: park, roads
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