Best Longboard Brands & Longboards in 2018 : Ultimate Buying Guide
In 2018 the longboard market is saturated with different brands. They all seem to offer similar products and its hard to identify which are good and bad, which are worth the money and which are gimmicks.
I have written this article to help you sort the wheat from the chaff, highlighting the best companies and some brands to avoid. This article will be your guide, it will be a good reference point to come back to when looking for a new board.
In my longboard brands list, we feature Landyachtz, Rayne, Sector 9 – to name a few. After reading this you should be able to accurately pick the right longboard brand or go with one of the suggestions below.
Best Longboards in 2018
- Landyachtz Dinghy – 28”cruiser, great for short commutes. (View on Amazon.com)
- Sector 9 Lookout – Versatile 41” longboard, great for longer rides. (View on Amazon.com)
- Loaded Tesseract – Pro level complete, great for free riding, freestyle riding (View on Amazon.com)
- Sector 9 Brandy – Downhill complete from the well-known Sector 9. (View on Amazon.com)
- Santa Cruz Lion – Decent entry level 40″ longboard. Great to learn things on (View on Amazon.com)
- Quest Super Cruiser – Long 44″ cruiser board. Great if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but wan to get from A to B. (View on Amazon.com)
Longboard Brand Rankings
Type : Premium
Arguably one of the best longboard makers. Landyachtz has been making skateboards since 1997 with a mission to improve lives through them.
The Vancouver based brand is quality driven and all their skateboards have undergone rigorous testing and rider feedback. This results in high-quality products guaranteed to function appropriately and last long.
Under their brand, they also have the Bear trucks and Hawgs wheels companies. Products from these brands will be just as good. Landyachtz started out focused on designing downhill longboards. Over time, they diversified their line up and produced cruisers, dancers, street decks and freestyle setups. All of which have undergone their thorough design process.
Unfortunately, this quality is reflected in the price. Being a premium brand limits access from people with a smaller wallet. Unique fact: For every skateboard sold, Landyachtz will plant a tree. This is part of their quest to give back and have a positive impact on the world.
They are a very community driven brand. They put up and sponsor events and riders around the world. Trying to give back and spread the stoke in various ways.
Type : Premium
Adding on to our list of good longboard brands from Canada. We present Rayne Longboards. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, these guys have been producing skateboards since 2004.
The ethos of this brand is to exceed the expectations of every customer. They accomplish this by pushing the boundaries of their products. They firmly believe that a quality product will sell itself. Working hand in hand with some of the best skaters in the world, they produce a variety of boards, from cruisers and dancers to absolute downhill machines.
The quality of these boards shows, a lot of them have seen podiums at world cup races and freeride events. These guys know their stuff. Once again, with a premium brand, you get premium prices. I recommend investing in their boards once you’re a little more experienced.
Unique fact: All boards are made in their small factory out of a bamboo and laminate construction. Resulting in a strong waterproof skateboard.
Its crazy how many great brands come out of Canada. Must be something in their water eh?
3. Loaded longboards
Type : Premium
Straight outta Cali! You have probably come across this brand through a viral video or seen someone riding their deck around town. These guys started their company in 2000 and struggled for years to have it take off. Eventually, the world took notice of their quality products and they haven’t looked back since.
They are committed to working with shops and distributors worldwide to ensure the long-term success of the industry and longboard community as a whole. You can learn more about their ethos here.
They mainly focus on the production of freestyle, dancing, freeride and downhill boards. One thing I have observed is how in love people are with their products. It seems once you go loaded, you never go back. Their high-quality products are the tools of some of the best riders in the world, and they are one of the few brands easily recognizable inside AND outside of the industry.
They also own the Orangatang wheel brand, which is known for their amazing wheels. Unfortunately, a lot of their products are on the pricey end of the premium equipment. But as I said, once you go loaded, you never go back. They are well worth the investment.
- Loaded Tesseract – This board is a freeride machine. If you have the budget. Go with this. You can check the current price on Amazon.com here.
- Loaded Tan Tien – More of an all-arounder. Be it dancing, cruising around or even high speed freeriding. This board will be a good option. Check the up to date price on Amazon.com here.
4. Riviera longboards
Type : Premium
These guys make some of the most beautiful skateboards I have seen. As an owner its a struggle to not just hang their decks on a wall and simply enjoy looking at them. From micro-skateboards to drop throughs and downhill decks to street decks. They have a huge diverse lineup.
These guys are based in California and have been making skateboards for a while now. With their ethos to produce skateboards in all types of genres and blend/mash the lines between them.
In my opinion, they excel in producing cruiser boards. Using materials such as bamboo, fiberglass and carbon fiber to combine the perfect mash-up for strength, durability and in some cases flex. It seems these guys have stopped being very active, leaving their boards in limited supply. I recommend you go out and grab one as soon as you can. They won’t be around long.
Their boards are relatively affordable on the scale of premium pricing, but still expensive nonetheless.
- Riviera Beta Fish – A well, high quality board. Will work great as a cruiser. It’s moderately priced on Amazon.com here.
5. Sector 9 longboards
Type : Premium
Arguably making the best longboards for beginners. This staple of the industry has been around forever! It’s not uncommon to see a longboard of theirs in the street.
Based in San Diego, these dudes started out in 1993, they were making skateboards out of snowboards and in a roundabout way transitioned into making longboards.
Their mission statement is ‘We make fun’ and they strive to achieve this.
With their hand in the pocket of the surf, skate and longboard industry, they produce decks in a variety of shapes and styles. They literally have something for everybody and one can struggle to choose from their vast selection of products.
For example composite downhill decks, simple wood ply decks, bamboo cruisers and double kick cruisers etc. There are many many more. All produced in a high-quality manufacturing process.
They produce their own wheels and own the Gullwing truck brand. They also produce hardware, gloves knee pads etc. These guys truly understand how to bring together a skateboard and its accessories.
6. Arbor Longboards
Type : Premium
Also known as the Arbor collective. These guys have committed themselves to producing some of the best skateboard products in the world. They aim their products to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. Using recycled materials and products from sustainable sources of supply. Paired with forward-thinking design, these guys are industry leaders in a commitment to the environment.
All their complete setups feature premium parts and they have partnered with Paris trucks to do so. In line with this their wheel brand, the Sucrose Initiative, produces great wheels for all styles of riding.
In business since 1995 (over 20 years now), they manufacture a variety of boards. Cruisers, street boards, downhill decks, large pintails etc. There is a lot to choose from and they all share a unique look that is easily identifiable as the Arbor style.
Unique fact: These guys also produce snowboards, clothing, glasses, knives and other unique items.
I would recommend this brand to someone interested in matching a board to their style.
7. Santa Cruz longboards
Type : Entry level
Literally the oldest skateboard manufacturers in the world. These guys are the real OGs.
Having started out making the plastic cruisers in the 70s, these guys developed boards over the years to match industry trends and sometimes lead them.
They are the sister company to awesome brands such as Road rider, Independent and OJ wheels. All owned by NHS.
Their main focus are trick decks. Making various shapes from pool, popsicle and cruiser decks.
So when it comes to longboard, they are not their main focus. One cannot expect them to be of the highest quality or having undergone a rigorous design process. However they are good enough for most, and I would recommend them to any beginner.
After all, these guys make skateboards so they can build a decent longboard.
Their boards often come paired with parts from their sister companies. Most decks come with road rider trucks and wheels, which are decent and of good quality.
In terms of beginner brands, these guys are the higher side of the quality spectrum.
- Santa Cruz Cobra – Old school inspired cruiser board. It’s so cool you’ll want to hang it on your wall. Premium quality for premium price.It’s on Amazon.com here.
- Santa Cruz Lion God – A great all-arounder. If you’re a bignner on a tight budget. This the best price/performance board on the guide. You can find it here.
8. Atom longboards
Type : Entry level
Easily one of the most affordable beginner brands. Atom longboards have been around since 2005. They have succeeded in providing entry-level longboards to many people around the world.
With a diverse line up of boards, they strive to meet customers needs, whilst remaining low cost. Their main focus is producing longboards and as a by-product, also produce all terrain and electric skateboards.
If you are looking for a board to try out longboarding or simply cruise around. Atom longboards will not let you down. Their affordable prices present a low-barrier of entry for everyone. Critical in maintaining longboarding as industry and getting beginners stoked.
A word of warning, the quality of the setup is often reflective of the price, and with Atom longboards the deck is where the real value is. If you are selecting your second board, go for one of the premium brands (like Sector 9), you will be able to appreciate the difference.
- Atom Drop Through – A cheaper entry level board. That will get you going. Go with this if you don’t know if you don’t want big investments. You’ll find it here.
9. SCSK8 longboards
Type : Entry level
Probably the most affordable entry-level brand. These guys produce products that are unbranded. Such as decks that don’t have graphics and no name trucks and wheels.
Having started their brand in 2010. They seem to have come up with this mad idea and as a result, they save a lot of money in branding and in costs. Meaning – SCSK8 produce a lot of very cheap longboards. And it shows, their products are the cheapest on the market and therefore most accessible.
They only do this with some of their longboards, a few of the others have graphics, so those options are available as well. If you are a creative person and like drawing (or stickers) on your boards, this one is for you.
Don’t be put off by the absence of a graphic, I personally have had a few blank skateboards in my life and one of them made favorite cruiser. I would recommend these to those with a super tight budget, or those simply wanting a new deck. If possible, go for a longboard from Santa Cruz instead.
- SCSK8 Natural Blank Pintail – You’re only paying for the basics here. This is not your downhill hardcore speed machine. But for simple cruising? Good enough. You’ll find it here.
10. Rimable longboards
Type : Entry level
Finally on our list we have Rimable. Another entry-level brand, these guys produce longboards at affordable prices.
I would recommend this brand to beginners or those with a tight wallet. However those looking to get more out of their equipment and decks should look elsewhere. These guys focus on cutting costs for those affordable prices. With cruisers, stable boards and mini-skateboards making up majority of their line up.
With a brand like this, you get a cheap price. This price is mainly attributed to the cost of the deck. Highlighting that the trucks and wheels will not be the best. However, as an experienced rider, I can tell you that they do well for cruising and carving.
This brand and others like it are there to fill the gap for beginner longboards. Not everyone wants to commit hundreds of dollars just to be able to skate (and it puts of some people). These brands provide the skate experience at a low cost. This brand will definitely provide an enjoyable skate experience.
- Rimable Drop Through – This is the last board on my list for a reason. If you’re on a shoestring budget this one’s for you. It’s ridiculously cheap. You’ll find it here.
Best small longboard companies
Coming out of Washington state, these guys make some of my favorite longboards.
Their brand started in 1999 and has been going strong ever since.
They use CNC machines to cut their boards and finish them by hand, every skateboard they produce is unique because of the handcrafted finishing.
Subsonic make a variety of decks, from cruiser to long distance pushers to downhill skating machines, and they all look fantastic.
For example, check out their Subsonic Vega on Amazon.com, easily one of the best looking downhill boards out there. They also make custom boards, so you can hit them up if you want one.
Coming out of the PNW, these guys make some of the best premium longboards on the market. All of their boards are waterproof, use special vertical lamination and feature urethane rails, which makes them practically indestructible.
Their boards are so good, the current downhill skating world champion Thiago Lessa rides a deck made in their factory.
Good example is this Country line cruiser you can find on Amazon.com here.
You’ve probably heard of Powell-Peralta through their famous wheels, but I bet you didn’t know they made skateboards and longboards too.
Owned by the company Skate-one, these guys started out in 1978. They still make skateboards and skate wheels, but these days, they also make badass longboards, particularly for high-level downhill racing. They also make some of the best longboard wheels for freeriding to the point they have notoriety in the longboard community.
Their boards are the choice of some of the best racers and freeriders in the world; Byron Essert, Kevin Reimer, Thiago Lessa, and Ryka Mohamadian. So you know they make quality stuff. Check out the Powell Peralta Samurai on Amazon.com here. if you want to find out more about one of their race boards.
Buying Guide: Choosing a Longboard
As always with buying anything, there are some things you need to look out for. You need to make sure you don’t get the wrong thing.
We’ve put together a buying guide for you and gone over some important factors. Please note that this is just a brief overview. We have other articles and guides that go super in depth given the riding style or board you want, please check them out.
As we go into these guides, a rule of thumb is to work within your limits, but strive to get the one that catches your eye.
Are you buying for yourself or your kid?
In general, kids are small in size. This will affect how they would ride and control a longboard. It’s an important factor to consider because a longboard that is too large can prove cumbersome. It would be difficult to control and maneuver. It would be hard to turn as they don’t have sufficient weight to lean on the trucks.
So when thinking about longboard size for kids, I recommend you go with cruisers to begin with.
In short, you want something that’s about as wide as their shoe size and a wheelbase (truck to truck distance) that is about as wide as their shoulder width stance. This will ensure that they can easily balance and control the board.
Don’t be held back if its bigger or smaller than those measurements. This is just a general guide and one might prefer a board that is longer or shorter according to their advantages.
You want the setup to be lightweight. This will make it easy to push, maneuver and carry around. Lastly, make sure they like the board. Nothing will prevent a kid from using a board more, than if they hate how it looks. Once again, this is an entire article condensed to a few sentences. For something more in depth, look at our other guides.
How big should a longboard be?
If you are an adult and are thinking about what size longboard to get, you should first consider your riding style. This is the most important factor as certain sizes would be better for different riding styles. For example: If you want to push a long distance, a longer, wider board is best for it. This is because it will be more stable and comfortable to stand on.
If you want a compact board to commute short distances, get something as large as Penny Nickel (28in long) or a short as a Penny Original (22in). This makes it easy to store and carry around.
The final decision it is all up to you. For example, I like smaller boards for commuting and even though they are uncomfortable, I have built up a good balance and leg strength.
Thusly I only recommend this when it comes from a place of experience, knowing what you can handle. Only take a risk when it’s your 3rd or 4th board and when you understand how size, shape, trucks etc. affect how the board feels underfoot.
The same goes for picking longboards for girls but will be different for kids. The difference in size affects how their riding experience will be.
How to pick the right longboard type & deck style?
As we had mentioned above, riding style determines board size. The same goes for longboard types and deck style to some extent. You could also use the same board for many things.
They will often be similar traits shared between styles. People mix and match, though I only recommend this if you are experienced and understand the drawbacks of mixing deck styles and such.
For sure,some deck styles are more suited to some purposes than others. We have super in-depth guides on things like the best drop through longboard, the best cruiser boards, the best longboard brands for cruising boards etc. I highly recommend you read them as they are far more informative.
If I had to summarise, I would say that drop downs and drop throughs are good for beginners in all riding styles. Top mounts are better for hard carving and cruising. Drop throughs and top mounts are better for tricks, freestyle, and dancing.
As you are putting together your dream setup, don’t forget about truck styles. In brief, there are only two – traditional kingpin (tkp) and reverse kingpin (Rkp). Rkp trucks are more suited towards cruising. They have a smooth turn and feel very stable.
Tkp’s are the trucks seen on skateboards. They are best suited for tricks but can also be used to cruise. However, they are not as stable and smooth turning as Rkps.
Try to get RKPs if you can, but for a beginner, the difference won’t be that noticeable.Finally, your riding style will determine the wheels you want. Typically, wheels between 65mm and 75 mm are great for cruising, pushing, freeriding, i.e all round purposes.
Wheels around 60mm are great for freestyle and dancing.
Check out our wheel guide for more information.
Other Important Things To Consider.
As with any hobby, there will be a bit of wear and tear, both of the board and potentially you as a rider.
I recommend buying safety gear. At the minimum a longboard helmet. This is critically important because we never know when accidents can happen. We should be prepared to prevent the worst. A helmet will prevent concussions and brain damage. Helmets have saved my life twice now when LEAST expected them to.
Other safety gear you can get are:
- slide gloves (if you want to slide and safely stop going downhill, read more here),
- hip pads
- knee pad (for a beginner, a helmet and some knee pads would go a long way)
- elbow pads.
I recommend you practice foot braking. This technique of slowing down will reduce your speed in a smooth and controlled manner. You can use it in a variety of situations and it is better than simply running off and letting your board roll into the distance. When you get your first setup, chance are the bearings will be bad. I recommend replacing them with some aftermarket ones. They will roll faster and provide a better riding experience. Also, buy some bearing oil to put in your bearings once a month. This keeps them from locking up and makes sure you are rolling smoothly.
There is definitely a lot to talk about with longboards. I can’t go over everything in one article, please check out our other guides for more info.
To summarise, go with an entry-level brand if you are a beginner and a premium brand if you are looking for your second setup. However, if something catches your eye, go for it!
My favorite brand of 2018 is Landyachtz. Their boards are amazing and their commitment to the environment and communities is admirable.
I hope this article has served you well and has helped you get the board you need.