When you first start longboarding, it is easy to get lost in the sea of available options. Board types can be confusing, lengths vary tremendously, and prices make little sense. As we discuss the best longboards for beginners in 2017, bear in mind that individual preference plays a role that cannot be overstated. Ultimately, the best longboard or skateboard is the one that puts the biggest smile on your face.

Top 10 Longboards For a Novice

Yocaher Professional Speed Drop Down

yocaher speed drop down longboard

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The Yocaher Professional Speed drop down is a good choice for those who want to start out cruising and maybe move into downhill speed runs. It is a good all-rounder, though its length limits its usefulness in tight areas.

A simple deck

The Pro Speed features a 9-ply maple deck. It has considerable concave with little flex. The 41.25-inch by 10-inch deck drops down between the trucks to lower your center of gravity and provide stability at higher speeds.

Trucks and Bushings

Aluminum trucks are an industry standard, and the Yocaher drop down features heavy-duty aluminum alloy with 180mm hangers. However, the bushings in Yocaher completes are harder than some others and will require upgrading. This is a cheap fix, though.

Wheels & Bearings

The wheels are Yocaher’s Q-Balls with a 70mm height and 52mm contact patch. The 78a durometer is a typical hardness in a beginner’s board. It allows for some sliding if forced, but is otherwise soft and grippy for smooth rides. I have to mention, that the ABEC-7 chrome bearings wear out quickly, though their reduced speed makes them perfect for learning. A change to better and faster bearings will make the board feel like new later.

Pros:

  • Drop down style more stable at speed
  • Lack of graphics keeps down costs
  • Deck remains useful as parts are upgraded
  • Smooth wheels will require replacing last

Cons:

  • Lack of flex can cause cracking under harsh use
  • Trucks and bearings are weak and need upgrading

Krown Rasta Freestyle Elite

krown rasta freestyle longboard

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The Krown Rasta Freestyle Elite features the drop-through truck design and short length favored by freestyle riders. It is not limited to freestyle, though, and can serve as a commuter or a cruiser equally well.

Freeride deck

The Krown Rasta features an 8-ply maple deck with cutouts for the trucks. The cutouts allow the rider to lean without fear of wheel bite.

Trucks & Bushings

The Krown trucks are black painted aluminum with 7-inch hangers. They feature reverse kingpins, which reduce the tendency to wobble at speed.  The bushings are relatively soft, providing a decent amount of adjustability for a longboard in this price range. An upgrade will help performance, but isn’t necessary.

Wheels and Bearings

The Krown wheels are 71mm, with a durometer of 78a. They are smooth-riding, and will slide if coaxed. They are not pro-quality, but are a solid option for beginners. Krown bearings are the weak link in this complete longboard. They roll smoothly, but slowly, and will only get slower. An upgrade is a given at the time of purchase, but will make this board a winner.

Pros:

  • Shortish length makes for maneuverability in tight spots
  • Quality trucks will not need replacing
  • Multi-functionality
  • Smooth and relatively fast wheels

Cons:

  • Slow and cheap bearings
  • Occasional issues with wood (slight warping, cracking)

Atom Drop-Through Longboard

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The Atom drop-through comes in several length/color combinations, making it one of the best longboards for beginners. It has a cambered profile with moderate concave. From a short 36 inches (good for freestyle) to a longer 41 inches long, Atom’s drop-through longboards are superior multitaskers. The widths vary with the length.

Drop-Through Deck

The Atom drop-through decks are 9-ply, full-laminate maple. They are cambered, lending a bit more flex to aid in carving. The concave is subtle but functional, and they are durable and long-lasting.

Trucks & Bushings

The Atom aluminum trucks are an extra-wide 245mm. Some variants come with Navigator Drone trucks (9-inch hanger), which are much better than the stock Atom trucks in every way and eliminate the need for an upgrade.  The Atom trucks use substandard bushings, which are hard and brittle, necessitating replacement sooner rather than later. The Drone trucks have quality bushings, though. Also, Atom uses cheap, non-standard hardware for mounting its trucks, which require constant tightening. Installing quality hardware is an easy fix.

Wheels and Bearings

Atom’s drop-through longboards come with 70mm Atom wheels with a 78a durometer. They are smooth riding, and should suffice for most beginning riders.

Pros:

  • Navigator Drone trucks offer premium upgrade quality
  • Well-made maple decks
  • Wheels are long-lived and smooth

Cons:

  • Truck-mounting hardware needs immediate upgrade
  • Inconsistent bearings, some of which are too slow
  • Atom trucks are a weak spot – opt for Navigators 

Quest Super Cruiser

quest super cruiser longboard

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The Quest Super Cruiser longboard is 44 inches long and dwarfs many other cruisers. This length provides a large platform to learn on, though. It is not maneuverable, but it is solidly built. After a few common upgrades, the Super Cruiser becomes a standout longboard for beginners.

Deck with a kicktail

Quest uses cold-climate maple, with a bottom layer of flexible bamboo. It has slight concave and a small amount of rise (kick) in the tail.

Trucks & Bushings

The Quest trucks are aluminum, with 7-inch hangers. They are neither great nor horrible, making upgrading optional. Bushings, however, are problematic. They are stiff and cheap, deteriorating quickly and becoming noisy even more quickly.

Wheels and Bearings

The wheels, also Quest, are 70mm and have a hardness of 80a. They are harder than average for a beginner’s longboard, so they are prone to chipping and wheel bite. ABEC-7 bearings should be fast as hell, but these are not. Replacement is a given, but is an effective upgrade that makes this Quest a good beginning longboard for cruising.

Pros:

  • Quality, maple deck
  • Upgrades make a good board great
  • Large size aids in learning

Cons:

  • Wheel bite is an ever-present danger
  • Slow bearings

Atom Pintail

atom pintail longboard

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As cruisers go, the Atom Pintail is run-of-the-mill. It is not stellar and will not help you grow if you specialize in a longboarding discipline. Where it excels is in its everyday role, enabling beginners to learn the basic skills that are the foundation of more advanced riding.

Pintail deck

The Atom Pintail longboard features an 8-ply Canadian maple laminate deck with wheel wells prevent wheel bite. It is 39 inches long, 9.4 inches wide, and is relatively flat with just a touch of concave.

Trucks & Bushings

Aluminum trucks with 8.5-inch hangers provide the suspension. They are notoriously unresponsive, requiring heavy input to impart slight steering adjustments. The hard bushings on the Atom trucks are a glaring issue. Noisy and fragile, they require immediate replacement.

Wheels and Bearings

The 65mm Atom wheels are small for a longboard, meaning more pushing is required to hold speed. The 78a claimed durometer is a common one in boards of this type, but they seem hard compared to some competitors. The Atom Pintail comes with ABEC-5 Atom bearings. They are slow by any standard, and you should consider an upgrade as an added cost, like sales tax.

Pros:

  • Classic pintail style perfect for cruising
  • Beginner-friendly shape and size
  • An everyday rider’s ideal starting board

Cons:

  • Wheels and bearings are slow and require upgrading
  • Bushings should meet trash can immediately
  • Lack of kicktail limits usefulness

SCSK8 Bamboo Series

scsk8-bamboo

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Being as good as most of your competitors at half the price is a winning idea. The SCSK8 bamboo boards (pintail, pintail cut and kicktail) are the equals of boards costing twice as much. If you’re unsure if you even want to ride, these boards deserve a look.

Bamboo Deck

With lengths ranging from 34 to 44 inches, and corresponding widths ranging from 8 to 10 inches, the SCSK8 bamboo pintails suit most beginners. 7-ply hard rock maple and bamboo laminate provides a lot of flex.

Trucks & Bushings

The SCSK8 trucks have 7-inch hangers and steel axles. They are what you might expect for the cost — usable but not special. The bushings are unnecessarily hard. They will last a beginning rider through the learning curve, but you can expect to replace them early in the board’s life.

Wheels and Bearings

The 70mm urethane wheels provide a decent roll. At 80a, they are harder than a typical beginner’s wheel. They are smooth, though, and allow time to decide on replacements during wear. SCSK8 uses its own, ABEC-9 Red series bearings. For a new rider, they are fast enough, but an upgrade will provide more speed.

Pros:

  • Blank deck with beautiful bamboo bottom
  • Options for shape and size abound
  • Beats everyone else’s price, hands down

Cons:

  • Wheels may be too hard for some, bearings too slow
  • Overly flexible

Santa Cruz Land Shark Series

santa cruz land shark longboard

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The Land Shark series is Santa Cruz’s answer to the mini cruiser. It is a smallish, fish-tail design, meant to mimic the shape of surfboards. This longboard is excellent for cruising and carving and comes well equipped. Its size makes it easy to store when you reach your destination, making it an ideal commuter longboard. Check out this video, which shows different live views of the Land Shark (retro), as well as some riding action.

Crusing deck

This micro cruiser is 27.7 inches long and 8.8 inches wide with 7-ply maple construction with a 16.5-inch wheelbase. The swallow-type tail has some kick for learning tricks.

Trucks & Bushings

The Bullet B137 aluminum trucks have 140mm hangers. They are a better option than most boards in this price range, and are smooth-carving. The Bullet bushings are also great. They allow for adjustments that make the trucks as loose or as tight as you will ever need.

Wheels and Bearings

Though Santa Cruz makes great wheels, the Land Sharks mostly use Road Rider wheels. These wheels are 65mm with a 78a durometer. They are fast and smooth. One issue with the Land Shark is the ABEC-5 bearings. Though they are fast enough for the average beginner, improving skills will necessitate a bearing upgrade.

Pros:

  • Quality wood from a legendary company
  • Surfboard shape is appealing and functional
  • Quality trucks and wheels need no upgrades

Cons:

  • Bearings are smooth, but not the fastest
  • Some riders may find length too short

How To Find Your Longboard if You’re Just Starting Out?

longboard for a beginnerThe decision before you as you sift through the unending choices in longboards is yours and yours alone. Personal taste will play a large role in your decision, but, certain considerations help to ensure you only make one purchase. The way you intend to use your longboard plays as big of a role as cost in determining the right board. The expense of a brand-new longboard can prohibit new riders from joining the fun, and the fear of not getting approval can cause a beginner to spend entirely too much money on something that will not work for them. Following these guidelines can help ensure you find the pure enjoyment that skating can bring.

Which Riding Style do you like?

longboarding a hillThe first factor determining your choice should be the discipline you wish to pursue. Are you into speed and downhill bombing? Maybe the dance-like moves of freestyle? Or, do you just want to cruise? Your choice here will cut your options down to a manageable few. You still may evolve to ride in a style you can’t foresee now, but that’s why some people collect longboards. At least you won’t be buying a decoration.

How Much money can set aside for a longboard?

Next, decide what your budget is. Don’t necessarily opt for the most expensive longboard you can afford. Sometimes, a longboard can be priced high simply because of the name on the deck. A brand’s history can also affect pricing, though it may ultimately be made at the exact same factory and with the same wood as a much cheaper board. The decision to shop around and find several boards in a broad price range narrows the selection down to a few favorites.

Pick The Materials Wisely

making a longboard in china

Also, peruse each board’s materials and hardware. Sometimes, you will easily see why a board is lower-priced (cheap components), but sometimes you have to search for the reason (discontinued model). Companies that use their own name on trucks, wheels and bearings seldom make any of those things. Factories in China mass produce much of these products and simply stamp the company’s name on them. The same goes for wood. Manufacturing that rushes the process of board pressing (hot pressing) saves money, but can produce warped boards. Quality control issues can lead to these boards making it into the market, disappointing new riders. Reputable companies let fewer of these defects get out the door.

Researach on our site!

beginner longboard rating

Finally, before making the final decision, reading honest reviews like those on HellsideChill can lessen the chance of buying a bad board. Learning from those who have made purchasing mistakes before will eliminate a lot of expensive trial and error. When I started out, I made some questionable decisions with my limited funds. In the end, I spent more money than necessary upgrading parts, and I was stuck with poorly functioning equipment while I saved for the upgrades. In the information age, there is no reason to spend money blindly.

The Bottom Line

The best longboards for beginners meld purpose and value into one package. You can take steps to reduce the possibility of buyer’s remorse, but you cannot eliminate it. As enter this most individual sport, you will learn to pick up on sales gibberish. Also, you will gain an appreciation for companies that do things the right way and build their reputations one satisfied customer at a time. In the process, you will make mistakes. No matter what happens, though, don’t be discouraged. The lessons you will learn are as valuable as learning to keep your balance and lean hard into an aggressive curve.