Best Longboard for Dancing: A beginner guide to buying your first longboard dancing setup
A longboard dancing guide for beginners (Updated Feb. 2022)
What is the best longboard for dancing? This is a question I have heard asked many times in my time as a longboard dancer.
I’ve met so many other dancers, that basically did the same thing I did when first selecting their initial longboard dancing setup, the sequence typically goes something like this:
- We become absolutely captivated by some display of longboard dancing that we see on YouTube or Instagram. For me, I was turned on to the sport by a video of Hans, Doyoung, and Moon effortlessly gliding around in Belgium (Endless Dancing). Who was it for you? Was it also Doyoung? Maybe Hyo Joo? Maybe you saw someone land a sick tiger claw? Let us know in the comments!
- We decide, this is what we wanna do! So we set out to spend countless hours online to figure out how we can start dancing on a longboard! Hazahhhh!
- We’re still a little insecure with ourselves, so in order to ”try it out and see if we like it” with minimal risk, we order what we think is an ok longboard from Amazon or something similar, normally based on an equation of how fast we can get it, cost, and average customer review score.
- Board comes, and yeah it’s ok for cruising, but as we rapidly dive more and more into dancing, we find out yeah ok maybe this isn’t the greatest setup for this sport…
- We abandon first board we bought online, go into a real skate / longboard shop, and buy a real setup meant for dancing.
And yeah this works…well kinda…I mean you’ll get started and at the end of the day, getting started is the MAIN thing.
But you’re definitely not being as efficient as you can be with your money and time. When I got to step five in the process, I was still pretty clueless on what all the parts and stuff did, and what I should be looking out for.
A side note on safety + online “reviews”
Safety first boys and girls! But beyond the obvious elements such as a helmet, knee pads, etc. I wanted to take a moment to talk about how the board and your setup itself plays a role in safety.
I get it. Quality gear for this sport is not cheap, and if you’re just starting out that cost can be a serious barrier for your. But my dude Brandon recently had some interactions with bogus “skate experts” reaching out to him trying to get him to promote certain brands that they recommend as being some of the “best longboards” out there.
Long story short, the brands these guys recommended were all crap. Cheap mass-produced junk found online that these “experts” get affiliate commission for, so of course it is in their best interest to push out as many of these boards as possible.
But it needs to be stressed here, that in addition to such boards not being a good use of your hard earned money, they can actually be dangerous.
A board that is not produced well, can break when you try a trick, wheels can crack when they should not be cracking, and trucks can bend when they shouldn’t be bending. All of this can be a recipe for disaster which can put you at risk.
The gear in this sport is expensive because it performs well AND it can take a serious beating.
Just some food for thought. Now…moving on!
I knew I wanted to learn how to dance on a longboard, and for that I knew I needed a bigger board, but beyond that, I was still fairly clueless…Me.
The local shop here in Leipzig is awesome, it’s a great place to chill, they make fantastic decks, and they’re very knowledgeable. But you need to know what works for you and your riding style! (Or at least your potential riding style).
So now we’re going to dive in detail into what can help you determine a setup for your specific needs.
Here’s our 7 tips for picking out the best longboard for dancing, both from a technical and theoretical standpoint
1. Truly have an idea of what style you want to get into
Being that this is a site dedicated to the style of longboard dancing, we won’t go too in depth into other longboarding styles, but since dancing and freestyle generally go pretty hand in hand with each other, we’ll cover the basics of each again here. In my own definitions:
- Dancing is “stepping” on the board in set sequences to get the board to carve while you do different turns, poses, holds, twists, pirouettes, and so forth.
- Freestyle is doing things that involve the wheels of the board leaving the ground. Ollies, Shuvits, No Complies, etc are all examples of freestyle longboard riding.
It is advantageous to have an idea of what you want to do, because that can influence your board setup, we’ll get more into this later as the article goes on.
2. Get into a real skate/longboard shop
I cannot stress this enough, the difference between a real skate shop and a non-real skate shop will greatly effect how you progress.
If you have no idea what this means, read the questions below, if the answer to any of the questions below for you are YES, then you are NOT in a real skate shop.
- Does the store sell mainstream designer clothes as well?
- Does the store sell other sporting good equipment, such as bicycles, football equipment, etc?
- Does the store have an elevator in it?
- Does the store sell any completely assembled “high quality” skate/longboards for less than 100€?
- Do the employees in the store wear matching vests?
- Does the store’s decor change based on upcoming holidays?
Ok ok, I think you get the point haha. But yeah, you should definitely get into a real skate shop because the gear will be much higher quality and can properly take the abuse that comes with skating.
Other than that, you’ll have staff there that should be knowledgeable on the equipment, and most importantly you should be able to try out various setups before buying anything!
That last part is crucial, a proper skate shop should have a variety of different setups that give customers a range of ideas of how their purchased setup will feel.
There’s a couple brands out there for longboard dancing gear that are standard throughout the scene, to name a few: Paris Truck Co., Bastlboards, Loaded Boards, Timber Boards, Caliber Trucks, Orangatang Wheels, Bloodorange Wheels – if the shop you’re in carries any or all of these, you’re in a good spot to start.
A side note on online shopping
To be honest, for longboard gear I’ll only turn to the internet if I need something super specific, or if I need something fast.
There are online retailers out there that sell quality equipment, but I rarely see any differences in price, and plus I like supporting the local skate shop scene whenever I can.
Besides, most of the online shops that sell quality longboard dancing stuff are all owned by a brick and mortar store anyways, so if you can get to their physical shop, definitely do so! 🙂
A word on finding longboarding gear in the COVID-19 era
So as we’re in a weird time right now, where most stuff is closed or operating in limited capacities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, here are some online shops I can personally recommend for finding high quality gear (all EU based):
- Sickboards – Netherlands
- Studio Longboard – Germany
- Concrete Wave – Germany
- Station Skate – Spain
- The Longboard Shop – Poland
- SZKEG Boards – Hungary
3. What size / kind of deck is ideal for a longboard dancing setup?
This is a common question and to answer it very plainly from the start, the deck should be at least 110cm long.
To again refer to really having an idea of what style interests you most, this will make a difference in the size you pick.
- A longer deck will give you more room for stepping. Ultimately your longboard will be acting as a dance floor, so if you need the space, the bigger the better.
- A shorter deck will weigh less and require energy to pop into the air and to do flips if you’re more into freestyle.
To tack on some real world experience and learnings here: My first real setup was on the Bastl Bolero, which measures 108cm long. At the time of purchasing it, I already thought the thing was massive, and would be completely adequate for my needs.
I always knew I’d tend towards dancing over freestyle, even from the very beginning (because I’m easily terrified on my board and am certain too much freestyle will lead to my untimely demise hah).
It wasn’t until I started learning more advanced dance sequences that I realized the Bolero was actually too small for me. I wear a size 44 (US 10.5) shoe, and when doing certain variations of the cross step I would end up tripping all over myself, and this was very frustrating.
I then moved on to my second setup, the Bastlboards Walzer, which comes in at 124cm and that extra 16 centimeters made a world of difference.
About grip tape on a longboard dancer
If you come from a street skateboarding background, you’re probably used to having a fully gripped deck. My recommendation for a dancer / freestyle setup would be to first only grip the nose and tails, and leave the center un-gripped.
This allows you to have more slippiness where you are stepping in dance sequences, but still provides grip on the nose and tail for doing freestyle tricks. (Don’t worry, the center will still be grippy enough to ride safely, just don’t ride in the rain lol).
This is a good place to start and as you develop your own style, you might want to add more grip tape later.
What about flex in a deck?
Another topic that comes up often, and again will go back to your preferred style of riding, more dancing or more freestyle?
Generally, most brands go with a flex system of 1-3, but please, and I cannot stress this enough, DOUBLE CHECK THE FLEX RATINGS WITH THE BRAND YOU’RE INTERESTED IN WITH THE SHOP!
There are some brands that do this differently, so we wanna make sure you’re getting the flex you expect. But the breakdown usually goes something like this:
- Flex 1 / Hardest (basically no flex at all) / for riders over 78kg.
- Flex 2 / Middle (some nice bounce on jumps) / for riders 58-78kg.
- Flex 3 / Softest (basically a trampoline on wheels / for riders up to 58kg.
Again, these are general guidelines, and it will shift from brand to brand. Another great reason to visit a real shop, so you can stand on the boards and get an idea of how bouncy it will be.
Harder Flex in addition to being geared towards heavier riders, favors freestyle riding. Most freestylers don’t like the extra bounce when they land a huge flip or something, because the energy the board sends back after they land can send them flying right back off the board.
Softer Flex favors dancers, because we typically do smaller “hops” on the board, and the flex can help us carve bigger and more slowly, which gives the effect of these nice big graceful turns as we go through our lines.
In the end this isn’t the end all be all to this topic and it just comes down to preference. You’ll meet dancers that ride with no flex and you’ll meet freestylers that ride with a flex 3.
But you should have an idea of what this all means and how it pertains to longboard dancing. I weigh roughly 72kg, favor dancing over freestyle, and generally the flex 2 rating across all brands for me is pretty good for my longboard dancing setup and style.
Longboard dancing deck brands we recommend
- Luca Longboards – Poland
- Loaded Boards – USA
- Bastlboards – Germany
- Timber Boards – Netherlands
- Cosmo Longboards – Korea
- Travelol – Hong Kong
- Majutsu – France
- Crown Boards – Belgium
4. What trucks should I get for my longboard dancing setup?
There’s really a lot of science behind trucks and how they’re produced, and there’s no shortage of high-quality brands out there, but generally for dancing you want to pay attention to the following specifications:
- The width of the truck should measure 180mm. Nice long trucks are going to help you get those nice, big, smooth carves.
- The base plate angle of the truck should be 50 degrees. This is optimal for speed and turning, and will help you avoid wheel bite. (This is when you turn really hard, your board makes contact with the wheel, stops said wheel immediately, and sends you flying off the board).
Beyond that, pick a high-quality brand in your local skate shop in a color/design you like and that you can afford.
A note on precision trucks
If you have some extra money lying around and want to invest in trucks that will last you for life (literally), consider picking up a pair of precision trucks for longboard dancing.
Longboard dancing truck brands we recommend
- Paris Truck Co. – USA
- Caliber Trucks – USA
- Station Skate – Spain
- Air Trucks – Hong Kong
5. What about wheels, what’s to know here?
If you’re local skate shop is big, you’ll probably be very easily intimated and overwhelmed by the amount of different wheels they stock. So like with trucks, we’re not going to get into specific brands, but rather the specifications you wanna look out for:
- Size should be between 60-70mm. Riding style here matters again, smaller wheels will gain speed quicker and are best suited for freestyle, bigger wheels will roll longer without needing to push so often and are best suited for dancing. A good medium to go with in most cases is 65mm.
- Durometer (Wheel Hardness) should be rated between 80-86A. Harder wheels, just like smaller sizes, will gain speed faster and favor freestyle. Softer wheels will roll longer and favor dancing. With my build and riding style, I typically ride a 82A – 86A, and I find it ideal.
- Pay attention to the lip (or edge) of the wheel. Some wheels have a rounded lip, some of them a straight edge. Rounded lips are a bit more fun, as you can experiment with some sliding tactics, this is much harder to do with a straight edged wheel as the wheels will just bite into the ground if you try to slide on them.
What about bearings and stuff?
To be honest, it seems bearings over all other parts of the longboard seem to have the most conflicting opinions from experienced riders I have met.
My advice, just grab a good set the shop recommends and spend no more than 25€ on a full set. These things take a beating quickly, and you’ll be replacing them every few months anyways (if you ride daily) so don’t spend too much thought or money here.
A note on hardware
There is some strategy involved with hardware as well. For the absolute beginner, hardware refers to the nuts and bolts that hold the trucks to your board. Here’s some things to be aware of:
- Get bolts with a dome top. These bolts have a flat part under them, so they sit flush against the deck. Most flat top bolts have a taper effect under them, which over time, will widen the holes in your deck which we want to avoid.
- Get bolts with a Phillips screw. You’ll typically have two options here, Phillips and a hex key (allan key for the US folks). All skate tools will have a Phillips screwdriver with them, but not all skate tools will have a hex key that fits your bolts.
- 1.25″ is probably the ideal length for the bolts. I ride a V2 Loaded Bhangra which is quite thick, and Paris V3’s and this length is ideal for me. You want to keep the bolts as short as possible while insuring that the nuts have enough space to really tighten adequately. Don’t go too long though, too much excess bolt under the trucks can rip up your hands if you get into hand tricks.
- USE RISER PADS. 1/8″ is a good size! This is just enough to give a bit of protection between the trucks and the board, to eat up some of that vibration when the board slams against the ground.
Don’t ignore these small parts in the setup, our gear is expensive and these small things can make a big difference in preserving your stuff as much as possible.
Wanna read more about hardware specifically? Then check out our ultimate guide to longboard dancing hardware.
Longboard dancing wheel brands we recommend
- Blood Orange
- Squid Wheels
6. Should I be concerned with Bushings?
Mmmmmmm, yes and no. For those unfamiliar, the bushings are the rubbery-looking things that are jammed in your trucks that control how the board turns. For most stock setups, they are black in color.
This is a complicated because, if you’re reading this guide you’re interested in getting your first longboard dancing setup. And for someone doing that, the bushings aren’t really going to matter at this point / skill level…
Case in point, there’s going to be a learning / fear curve you’re going to have to work over, and when you are doing that you’ll likely be starting with your trucks super tight anyways to feel more stable and safe on the board.
Under these circumstances, even the most professional bushings in the world aren’t going to make a difference, and the bushings that come with your trucks will be adequate for the start. So I would save the money, and no worry about bushings at this point.
The good news is, when you are ready to step up your bushing game, they are not that expensive!
If you are a more advanced rider, check out our guide on longboard dancing bushings. We break down the topic in depth there.
7. Accept from the start that you’re going to get addicted to this, and you’ll be spending lots of hard earned money on it
Ok maybe that sounds dramatic, but to an extent it is true. A proper longboard dancing setup can cost quite a bit of money. To get specific, a good longboard dancing setup will cost in upwards of $300.
You’re going to improve, learn new things, and you’re going to want to experiment with equipment as you go on. The gear certainly makes a difference with this sport, there’s tricks and moves I can now land with certain setups, that I cannot with a different setup.
The stuff in this article is all guidelines, but in reality as you progress, you’ll discover the certain specifications and brands that work for you specifically, and once you unlock that you’ll be set on it for life. (Unless you completely change riding styles lol).
Quality complete setups I can actually recommend to start with
This article gets by far the most comments and messages into my Instagram inbox. I take pride in personally trying to respond and help each person with picking out the first dancer setup and wanted to list two options here that I can actually recommend when starting out.
Option 1: The Odyssey Board Co. Nahoa V2
I actually did a full review of the Nahoa V2 in the Summer of 2021 as the guys over at Odyssey in Singapore were kind enough to give me one to test out. Simply put, I really like the little board. The deck itself is excellent quality, has really great flex for my size and weight, and is super poppy.
- Excellent quality deck
- Nice pop
- Complete setup for $247
- Wheels don’t feel on par with the quality of the deck
- A bit short at only 106cm
- If you’re outside of Asia / Pacific region, tax and shipping costs may negate benefit of the board’s price
Option 2: Landyachtz Stratus Complete
DISCLAIMER: I personally don’t like the Stratus that much, something about how it comes out of the box just doesn’t jive with me well, and I don’t really dig the feel of the board too much myself.
However, that’s a lot of preference and opinion talking there. What I can say, is that the build of the board, trucks, and wheels is excellent. Furthermore, a lot of people really really really really love this setup, and have ridden with it for many years.
So with that, I’m confident in recommending it as a good complete setup for someone new to the sport. Currently on Sickboards, the complete Stratus is priced at 274€, which will save you roughly 70-120€ over other setups in the “higher end” category.
I get asked about this setup a lot in my DM’s, and this answer here is essentially what I tell everyone – I personally don’t like it, but it is a good quality complete.
So, when are you gonna get your first official longboard dancing setup?
It’s a beautiful feeling, walking into a shop, spending some time in there going over options, finally picking out your setup, and seeing the shop assemble your first masterpiece.
And it hurts oh so bad when your brand new setup takes its first crash against the ground to take its first scratch, but it is all part of the experience!
We hope this guide has helped you out, if you’ve got any questions on anything, or have any ideas for making this article more comprehensive or better in any way, please let us know in the comments.
We’d love to make this the ultimate buyer’s guide for first time longboard dancers.
Wow, this article really helped me! I’ve just started riding my husband’s Longboard and really loved it. He has a cruiser but I’m really interested in longboard dancing. Thank you for all the tips!
Hey Beatriz, glad the article helped you out! If you need any tips on building your first dancer setup, let us know here or hit us up on our Instagram!
This really helped! I do have a question though. I have already purchased a longboard and I don’t think I will be able to return it. When I was originally buying it the person told me that it was a good dancing longboard to also do tricks on (it’s a 35 inch board with raised edges and a kick tail). I was a little skeptical because I already had done some research and it didn’t seem to be the ideal board type for what I wanted to do but I was convinced because he was a professional. Anyway I guess my question is given how small my board is and it’s shape could I still longboard dance on it? Im pretty short with size 6 feet so I probably wouldn’t need to big of a board anyway. Sorry this is so long haha
Hey Nara! Ultimately the stuff I mention in the guide are all guidelines, but not strict rules. I mean Ana down in Brazil can jam on a Penny Board haha, so anything is possible. The guidelines in the article are idea. but 35 inches is also a decent size and if you have smaller feet, may even work more in your favor if you decide to get more into freestyle. The raised edges and kicktails are definitely also a good thing, remember, the main thing is to get out there and start 🙂
This article really helped my narrow down my choice for buying my first longbaord set-up! One question, I am trying to choose between a 44 inch and a 46 inch longboard but I can’t decide with is better. For context, I am pretty short (5’4″) and I plan on mostly dancing, but I still want to try some freestyle. Thank you!
Glad you liked the article and it was helpful 🙂 So at those lengths, I’d say get whatever is more affordable and/or which design you like better haha. In both cases, you’ll get used to it and they’ll both be good for freestyle and dancing. If you want to post the specific boards here, I can give you some feedback on the models themselves, or possibly recommend something better for a similar price point.
Thank you for your reply, the two boards I am trying to decide between are the Zenit Judo and the Zenit Jig 2.0.
I’m curious about the chubby unicorn if you have any opinions
I’d be careful here, the rockers could be good for freestyle, in my opinion they are terrible for dancing and stepping on the board. On the loaded website itself, the list nothing on the chubby unicorn description for dancing. If you like loaded, bhangra or tarab is the way to go.
Hey so I’m extremely new at boarding, I’ve always ridden my brothers long boards but Im terrible at it. I’m trying to choose a good shape, mines currently a cruiser but i wanna get one more dancing oriented i might try some freestyle but not much for now and maybe later get a board more freestyle oriented. I just was curious what your top boards would be, Im fairly small(5’4 and 115lbs ish) I know id probably want a flex 2 with rounded wheels but again idk really what shape. I was thinking maybe a double kick tail but i just like the look.
Hey Nyah, sorry for the late response, but I’ve been on vacation for a bit haha. Where are you based? That will help me give you some recommendations, because not all board makers ship internationally. It would also help me if I knew what kind of budget you have.
No worries! totally understandable lol. Im here in southern nevada, but as far as budget goes ideally around 130 ish but I figured id be a little flexible on it cause sometimes something might cost more idk.
Hey, Shawn! Suuuper helpful info here as far as dancing-specific longboard setup… Thank you! I’m building my own setup rather than buying a complete, and have questions about shockpads/risers–any recommendations on a particular one, ideal thickness/size, and what size hardware would be best when including a shockpad in the setup? I’d appreciate it 🙂
For riser pads, I would go as thing as possible which I believe is 1/8 of an inch. For this discipline of skating, the riser pads are more there to absorb vibration between the truck and the board, vs actually changing / effecting the ride as they do in some other disciplines. We don’t want to get too much extra height, as that can effect how you carve when doing dancing steps. For hardware, most decks will do just fine with a 1.25″ length bolt, and I’d recommend getting bolts that have the dome head, as these won’t dig into your board over time. Don’t go too long on the bolts either, as when you do hand tricks, sometimes we grab the trucks and if the bolts are too long, you can take a bolt into your hand which is never fun haha.
hi Sean! thanks for this article. it is super helpful. what do you think about grip tape on a longboard for dancing? i bought a land yahtz with no grip on the middle of the board, only on the tails. will that be helpful for dancing as i progress to pirouettes and stuff? or should i grip it up. thanks
Great question! I’m actually going to update the article to include this, but the answer is — it depends lol. So to make this easy, for 90% of setups you’re going to want normal grip tape on the nose and tails only, and you’ll leave the center of the deck ungripped. This allows more slide on the part of the deck you’ll be stepping on, and more grip for the tails which is needed for tricks. As you develop your style, you might want more grip tape, or even less, but this is a good starting point and what 90% of all dancer / freestylers ride. 🙂
Hey Shawn, i am looking for a budget-friendly dancing longboarf. What do you think about BFTL dance boards?
I haven’t tried a BTFL board myself, so can’t really give a personal opinion on it, however a friend of mine who is also a longboard dancer designs their deck designs, and I also know two of their team riders in Berlin. They all like the boards, and I trust their opinions so I’d imagine you’d have a pretty good deck via BTFL 🙂
Hey Shawn, I love the web page and the great articles. Really helpful for someone who just started this summer! Everything happened pretty much like you said haha I bought my first dropthrough on ebay to give the sport a go and now I‘m hooked on dancing! I‘d love to pick your brain on something if that‘s ok hehe: I found a deal for a Simple Boards Platypus with Paris v2s for around 140 euros. Bearings and wheels that come with it are nothing special. The board looks beat up and the owner covered the edges with Epoxidharz. So I have 2 questions: 1) Is it standard practice to do this with the Epoxidharz? 2) Sounds to me like a pretty sweet deal. Though the board isn‘t perfect it‘s still looks solid and it should be great to learn dance moves on. What do you think? Thanks so much!
I appreciate the work you‘re doing. Keep it up! Oh and if you happen to know any cool longboarders near Tübingen would love to reach out, since you‘re also rooted in Germany. Cheers man!
Glad to hear you are liking the website! Sounds like a pretty sweet deal you’ve found! The Platypus is a great board for dancing 🙂 So let’s get to your questions, the boards are designed to be as durable as possible, but that being said, they are still all primarily made of wood so there are some things we need to keep in mind.
Regarding Epoxihardz or anything similar, yes, this is standard practice. A lot of riders maximize the life of their boards by using some kind of epoxy to smoothen out the edges as they wear. There are two things you need to look out here for, the first being is if the board is actually starting to “split.” This happens when the board takes a severe impact on a very concentrated point, think of the board hitting like the corner of a metal dumpster really hard or something. This can cause splitting of the layers of the board, which no amount of epoxy can fix. I’d ask the seller for really detailed pictures of the nose and tail. Secondly, you need to have an idea of how worn the noise and tail actually are. At some point, a board is going to lose all of its pop. Meaning the nose and tail are so worn down, that the angle they used to have to be able to pop them in the air is no longer there. This is important if you want to learn freestyle. Unfortunately, this is hard to gauge from photos, the best/only way os to have the seller take a picture of the board lying flat on something like a table. This way you can see the angle of the nose and tail compared to the 0 degree flat surface, and compare it with the pictures of the current platy on the simple site. Good luck, and I’ll let you know if I find anyone near Tübingen!
This article was really helpful! However, I do have one question. The board I purchased isn’t symmetrical like the ones I’ve seen experienced dancers used. It’s about a 110 cm board that I’m going to learn on and try simple moves. My plan was that if I change my mind and just want to cruise instead, I’ll just keep using my board. But if I want to keep dancing, should I invest in a new board that’s symmetrical?
I wouldn’t invest in a new board just yet. Main thing is to get a solid foundation down in the start so you can start to really get a feel for which disciplines you want to develop once you start getting more comfortable with the basics, and basics steps can be done on any longboard! 🙂
I currently ride the loaded Bhangra, which is also not symmetrical and it is a blast to ride.
Which wheels are good for freeride and dance for the Bhangra?
Hmmmmm I don’t have too much experience in freeride, but for freestyle and dance I am personally riding Blood Orange 66m Jammerz now, and I like them a lot.
This was so helpful and AMAZING! You are great! Thank you so much for writing this. I am new the longboard dancing I have been practicing on a cheap Target board just riding in general lol. I am Bad I guess I am buying my board online. I am in Colorado. I am getting my board from here https://landyachtz.com/product/tony-danza-watercolor/. I am going to get the long one because the board I have now is short.
Omg sorry I just saw this! For some reason this landed in spam comments 🙁 But I think we connected on Insta already right, all good?
Hey Shawn, nice and helpful, thx! Can you give an advice concerning trucks with rake (like Paris) vs. trucks with zero rake (like caliber). I don’t mean the gerenal “physics” of rake which one can find on some good websites but more the question how it effects the dancing setup.
Good question! Sadly, like most things it all comes to preference but let me get you a bit of a breakdown in the science (or lack thereof lol). Basically, rake-less trucks like Caliber will provide a more linear curve and turn, meaning once you lean, theoretically you should stay in that exact turn / turn-feeling the entire time. This makes sense as Caliber’s roots are in downhill, and when you’re going that fast, you typically don’t want to suddenly change how your turns are behaving. Raked trucks like Paris, will eventually “dive” in a turn, meaning you’ll turn turn turn turn and then BOOM at some point in the lean your turn rate will increase drastically.
Again this is all theory, and many things can effect this with your setup. Typically, for dancing and freestyle the bushing setup you use is going to play more of a role in your style than rake. That being said, when trying to keep the comparison as apples to apples as possible, most dancers prefer raked trucks (Why Paris probably has such a following, they are raked and the most accessible dancing trucks) without even knowing what rake is, because it gives them these nice surf-style turns when doing dancing lines.
Does that mean Calibers are bad for dancing? Absolutely not, they’re widely loved in the scene as well haha. This answer has mostly like just confused you more than helped, but my honest advice is they are both good trucks for dancing and freestyle. If you’re just starting out, get whichever ones you can get a better deal on. Like I said, later on you can custom configure you bushing setup, and that is going to do much more for your dancing and freestyle than rake will.
Ähm, hi 🙂 I wanna start longboarding and get my first board. I wanna use it to travel to school (short distance in my village and a bit distance in a small city) and maybe do some little trips, but I am super fascinated with dancing and freestyle (more dancing tho). Do you have a tip for a not to expensive board (I am from Germany) and is it better to get a dancing board (bigger and with kicktails or so) or should I get a cruiser?
I am more drawn to the dancer boards at the moment, bacause the bigger boards look cool, but I don´t know if it is fitting for cruising . And I also have the problem that all shops are closed because Covid….
Servus Nele 🙂
ich schlage vor, dass du einen “kleineren” Dancer holst zB hier von einem Skateshop in Hamburg: https://www.studiolongboard.com/produkt/landyachtz-tiny-danza-watercolor-40-complete/
Ist ja circa 101cm, also im Durchschnitt kurzer aber damit kannste immer noch die Grundlagen von tanzen lernen, freestyle auch (Freestyle wird sogar einfacher mit dem kleineren Bretten). Es ist ein bissl teuer, aber alle Teile hier sind sehr hochwertig.
101cm ist auch ok für cruising geeignet. Klar, ist noch bisschen schwerer und länger als ein cruiser, aber du kannst damit cruisen, tanzen und tricks lernen. Ein reiner Cruiser ist nur dafür geeignet…cruising lol.
Die Dinge sind leider im Schnitt sehr teuer, wenn der zu teuer ist, du kannst auch das hier ins Betracht ziehen: https://www.decathlon.de/p/longboard-dance-500-totem-mat/_/R-p-306533
An der Brett sich selber habe ich viel gutes darüber gehört und der wurde von einem Dancer aus Paris entwickelt. Die Trucks, Rollen usw. kann ich leider davon nix sagen. 🙁
Hi Shawn, your article was awesome. I do really need some help though. I recently bought a drop down board because I was only wanting to cruise. I recently came across longboard dancing and I now want to buy a new board more suited for that. However, I still want the ability to be able to do some freestyle, nothing crazy lol anyways, my height is 5,3 and I really want to get a good board but have no idea where to start. If you could link me to any full set up boards that are good, that would be amazing. Thank you!
Sorry for the delayed response, somehow this ended up going under my radar. Where are you based? It’s going to make a difference because a lot of brands are having trouble getting supplies due to the pandemic. Let me know where you are and I can help you out further, you can hit me up on Insta as well.
Hey Shawn, love this article! I recently purchased a Loaded Vanguard, Flex 5 (96 cm), as I’m only 105 lbs and was really drawn to the bounce of the board. However, now I’m thinking I’d like to get into dancing. Do you think a Flex 5 is too “bouncy”/unstable for dance moves? I’m scared to try haha.
Truth be told, you can dance on any kind of board. I’ve got skateboarder friends here that have recently tried incorporating some steps on traditional street deck, and it kinda works (somtimes) haha. The guidelines in this guide are just that – guidelines. Following them will of course make the journey easier, that’s for sure, but it won’t be impossible with a vanguard. I’m sure you can still get some foundational stuff down!
From a technical perspective, dancer decks will typically be offered in a maxium of three flexs, a 5 is unheard of in a dancer deck. The vanguard, judging by its shape, looks like it is built for pumping. You can probably start off with some peter pans and cross steps, and if you’re feeling comfortable and safe build up from that.
Appreciate the input. Thank you!
Firstly, this is a great article.
The importance of good advise when starting out is paramount. You can easily waste money or not enjoy the sport through poor kit. Don’t restrict your source of info to longboard shops though. There are often local longboard groups who will always be willing to help you out. Outside of lockdown I have always loved to help advise beginners and let them try my setups.
Contrary to the above advise however, I have found a really good deck in decathlon called the totem 500. It is well built and flexy and stable on the longer wheelbase setup for dancing yet stiff with bigger kicks for freestyle on the shorter wheelbase setup. The board is very reasonably priced BUT only buy the deck, the complete setup comes with trash hardware.
Apart from the decathlon deck my setups are all loaded/lush with paris/holey trucks. In the UK the best longboard shop I have found is http://www.vandemlongboardshop.co.uk they are very knowledgeable and won’t sell a setup unless they would ride it themselves.
Good luck to any beginners getting their first setup, enjoy this amazing sport. I’m off out to ride right now!
Thanks for the input! That’s interesting with the Totem, I’ve heard it was actually designed by a French longboard dancer who has a background in engineering or something similar.
If I can get my hands on one, I may just snag one to try it out and write a review with it.
I wanna be a member of this Longboard dancing Community. I’m going to visit our local shop in the Philippines to see if they have an available design based on your description! Thank you.
Good Luck! (I’m also Filipino 🙂 ) If you have any further questions please let me know.
I’m an average height female looking to start longboarding. I’m most interested in dance and flatland cruising. I’m in a big city though so I’m nervous about a long 46” board trying to get around. Would you recommend I use something shorter closer to 40” to get started or is that too short for dance? Thanks!!
So truth be told, you can dance on anything. I’ve even seen people dance on Penny Boards lol. 40″ is also very doable, my first setup was only 41″ and at the time I thought it was gigantic. It wasn’t until I stepped on a bigger board did I really feel I could do more with more space. In the world of longboard dancing, that extra six inches can make a world of difference.
But to start, you can definitely get by with 40.
Thanks so much! Really appreciate your input
your article got me thinking. i wanna get started with dancing and i have a cruiser longboard. a 44 inch pintail that is really stiff and has a lot of grip tape. i am wondering if a need another board set-up for dancing to make it more do-able for myself. what is your opinion on this?
While this site and a lot of my life is dedicated to longboard dancing and the best way to go about doing it, I want to emphasize that anyone can get started on any board! I’ve seen a girl in Brazil do dancing on a Penny Board which is probably the worst option possible, so if that works for her it can work for you on the pintail haha. Basics of longboard dancing such as the cross step and the peter pan can easily be replicated on any type of on board. Where you’ll start to have challenges is when you want to try doing anything with freestyle. I myself started with some cheap santa cruz cruiser board, and when I finally did switch to a proper dancer, it made me appreciate it that much more. So go for it, and if you have questions I am happy to help!
Just wanted to ask if you have any personal experience with travelog from HK!
Considering them but a little concerned with trying a relatively small brand vs going with a bigger brand with established great quality reviews
What do you think?
I know a couple of their team riders, and also people in the scene that ride them and the general consensus is that they are excellent boards for riding and technical tricks, but generally are not that tough at taking hits and need to be replaced a bit faster than some other brands. Hope that helps!
Great, thanks so much for the quick answer!
Would you say it’s not the best board for a beginner then? (first board to start learning on)
I think it would be great to learn dancing on! But just gotta keep tricks in mind, when you’re learning the board takes a lot of hits, and that can tend to damage the boards more quickly than desired lol.
The roads around here are kind of rough, big, small cracks, small holes, little rocks and debris. I have a Bhangra, with Orangatang Stimulus wheels that came with the board. They are 77 mm and 77a. Is there a bigger wheel size I could get that wouldn’t cause wheel bite and maintain carving for dancing for these road conditions, or should I just stick to the wheel size that came with the board?
I only do dancing, no tricks. Thanks.
To be honest, I’d stay with what you have. Bigger and/or softer wheels are not really going to help with the cracks, debris maybe, but the difference won’t really be noticeable.
Great write up really enjoy the reading thanks for sharing.
Glad you dig it Robert 🙂
HI! I Wish I saw your article a few years ago when I purchased my first dancing longboard. I’ll definitely share this with my friends!
I got mine from a legit skate shop but they had me pay $40 to grip tape the ENTIRE board with the grittiest tape. It felt wrong at the time but I didn’t do my research properly and listened to them. Do you have any tips on how I can REMOVE the middle section of this grip tape? Thanks so much!
Wow $40 for griptape is a serious rip off! I mean the product itself should only costs like $5-10, did they seriously charge you that much for “labor” ? Ugh…Anyways, to get it off you wanna use a hair dryer, start at an edge or a corner, and do the highest heat, but with lowest force. Make sure to angle the dryer away from your hands, as the heat generated at such a small distance will generate quickly and can burn you. Slowly pull the grip tape back, using the hair dryer as you progress. The guys at Braille Skateboarding did a great YouTube tutorial on this in case you need visuals.
In hindsight, I think the entire store was a ripoff… but I trusted them because it was a skate shop and they sold Canadian brands (where I live). It does seems like a really high quality grip tape but too bad I need to take it off in the end. Thanks for your help! I’ll check out the tutorial you linked too! Hope I don’t mess up my board, lol!
Lol how’d it go?
This article is so helpful. I just ordered my first setup after reading it. Thank you for your recommendations, too. Studio Longboard is a great side. I ordered my new trucks und wheels there.
My new longboard will be a landyachtz stratus 45,5’’ but with caliber trucks and blood orange wheels instead off the original setup.
das freut mich zu hören! Viel Spaß mit den neuen Roller und mit den neuen Trucks, die sind Super 😉
How old is too old for longboard dancing? Can dance well with feet on the ground but haven’t really started learning on top of a board. Can’t find any place here in NJ and in NYC either coz I want to take lessons with other people!
Well as cliche as it may be, age truly is just a number! I mean I’m 37, which is definitely on the “older” scale of skating haha. But I’ve met a couple dancers that are even older than I am, one guy was even at the longboard camp in Portugal and he’s in his sixties, so it’s never too late in my opinion! Regarding learning, hit up my friend Daniel. He’s in the NYC / NJ area, and even does workshops sometimes in the area! I’m sure he’d be stoked to get another rider!
So much excellent info and advice here. ????????
However I did stumble on something that I think is not right. You say, that a softer wheel wil roll for longer. As long as we are on a relatively smooth surface, this can not be true. Imagine if our wheels where inflatable and we pumped them really hard. They would roll long. Then when deflating them, they would have more and more roll resistance untill they would almost instantly stop when fully deflated.
You say that harder wheels will accelerate faster and that is true for the exact same reason as above.
(But if the surface is really bumpy, there might be a point where a slightly softer wheel rolls longer than a super hard wheel, but I think everybody would do their best avoiding that surface. ????)
Science-wise you’re not wrong lol. But writing from my own personal experience, I find much less intertia is required to maintain a roll if my wheels are softer. Never got into the physics of it haha
Bin grad auch auf deinen Artikel gestoßen. Vielleicht kannst du mir auch mit meiner Longboard Wahl helfen!
Ich hatte bis vor kurzem ein Tan Tien Flex 1 von Loaded, suche jetzt aber nach einem “richtigen” Dancer.
Generell sollte das Brett gut commuten können (bis zu 5 km), mit rauen Untergrund klar kommen und freestyle/dancingfähig sein. Ich bin 170 cm groß und wiege knapp 60 kg.
Hab mir mal das Tortini Brett mit 43″ von Timber Boards angeschaut und das scheint perfekt zu sein. Weiß nur nicht was für einen Flex ich holen soll. Die Länge von 110 cm hat das Tortini ja auch. Frag mich auch nur, ob das zu lang zum Cruisen ist. Mein Tan Tien Flex 1 wiegt gerade auch 1,6 kg und das Tortini wäre mit 1,8 kg nicht erheblich schwerer.
Hättest du vlt. noch eine andere Empfehlung? Suche generell halt den altbekannten “Quiver Killer”, wobei das Board jetzt kein Freeride oder Downhill aushalten muss. 😀
Ich habe dich grad per Insta geantwortet 🙂
Hi Shawn, thanks for sharing your tips on the longboard dancing setup. I’m going to follow your tips, hope it will be easier for me. I really enjoyed reading this article because I found it extremely helpful.
Thank you for sharing your valuable tips. Keep it up
Sorry for the delayed response, but thanks for the nice words 🙂
Great article! I was surprised to be featured haha, glad you enjoyed the video with DoYoung and Moon. They are amazing longboard dancers and people!
My man! Such a privilege to have you reading my stuff! Like I said that video is what got me into this stuff! ❤️❤️ Hope to ride together one day 🙂
Hi Shawn! Your article is very informative! Thanks a lot for this! Can you please help me? I am interested to purchase a longboard which I plan to use for just cruising and dancing on it around the neighborhood or parks. Now at the moment, I only found 2 options within my budget. (1) OXELO Longboard Dancing 100 (Decathlon) Forest: Deck: 117 cm x 22.3 cm, 7 plies of Canadian maple; Wheel: 65 mm diameter, 80A (2) Big H Nacional LongBoard (Big H Skate Co.) – Deck: 106.045 cm x 22.86 cm, 7ply Canadian Maple + Bamboo deck, Flex – 3; Wheel: 70mm Formula 5 wheels, 80A. If you were to choose, what would it be? I hope to hear from you soon!
Hey Ira, def the OXELO. I can’t speak to the other options, but the OXELO deck was actually designed by a prominent French rider here (forgot his name exaclty) and it’s actually quite good. I’ve tried it myself and really enjoy the pop! The trucks and wheels you’ll outgrow once you start getting more comfortable, but they’ll definitely be good to start with, and the deck should actually last you quite a while. Good luck and have fun!
vielen Dank für den super informativen Beitrag! Ich möchte mir ein Longboard kaufen, fange aber gerade erst mit dem Longboarden an. Vielleicht könntest du mir den ein oder anderen Tipp geben. Ich weiß schon, dass ich gerne in Richtung Dancing gehen möchte. Brands wie Loaded oder Simpleboards sind natürlich cool, ich möchte aber nicht direkt so viel Geld ausgeben (+-200 finde ich noch okay, dann wirds aber auch langsam viel für den Anfang). Auf der anderen Seite möchte ich kein Einsteigerboard kaufen, mit dem Tricks oder Dancing gar nicht erst möglich ist. Mir wurde im Geschäft das BTFL Flora empfohlen, weil es ein Einsteigerboard ist, aber dennoch zwei Kicktails hat. Nun habe ich aber auch gelesen, dass sich Dropthroughs nicht als Dancing Board eignen. Ich möchte eigentlich kein Board von Decathlon, habe bei deinen Kommentaren aber nun gelesen, dass das Deck ganz gut ist und überlege nun, ob ich das selbst mit guten Komponenten ergänze, wo ich natürlich auch wieder auf Tips angewiesen wäre. Ob ich da am Ende günstiger bei weg komme, ist auch die Frage. Vielleicht übertreibe ich es nun am Anfang auch mit der Recherche, aber ich möchte kein Board kaufen mit dem ich keinen Spaß habe. Ich würde mich sehr über deine Meinung freuen.
Liebe Grüße, Saskia
vielen Dank für deinen Kommetar und für die Fragen! Dropthrus würde ich auf aller Art und Weise für Longboard Dancing vermeiden. Es ist möglich, aber meiner Meinung nach, mega komisch und ungemütlich haha. Was du gesagt hast über den Decathlon Setup stimmt, der Deck an sich ist ziemlich gut, und die Trucks, Wheels usw. sind eigentlich nicht schlecht, aber man kann die auch später mit besseren Parts ersetzen. Andere Option wäre natürlich etwas gebrauchtes zu holen. Ich gehe davon aus, dass du in Deutschland wohnst, du kannst mich gerne auf Insta finden und schreiben, ich kann in den Gruppen hier in nachfragen, ob momentan jemand was cooles verkauft, und dann ein Intro machen. Das wäre auf jeden Fall die beste Option aller Seiten 🙂
Thank you for good article for the beginner. I still have some questions to ask about the size and the brand.
1. Can I dance with the size 40″? I am very small (only 154 cm) and my shoe size is also only 36 EU size. I am worried that 47-48″ is too big and too heavy for me. That is why I try to search for smaller one and I found 40″ in the dancer categories but I not sure whether I should go for it or I should go for from 44″ long.
2. Have you heard for Rayne? Do you recommend for this brand? (I ask because I model I found for 40″ is this brand).
I really happy to hear from you. Thank you very much!
40″ is certainly fine, I started on that size and I’m taller and have a bigger shoe size, so I think you’ll be ok 🙂 Rayne is also a very reputable brand, never rode them myself, but certainly quality.
excellent article. Thank you so much for the great advice!
One quick question though, if I may. Do you consider the arbor axel serrat 39 as an adequate beginner board?
I‘m rather tall (1,90m, shoes 45 EUR) starting from scratch and the goal is some dancing but more freestyle.
Please keep up the good work. Cheers.
I can’t comment on it directly as I’ve never ridden it, but from the specs it does look like it should do the job! I know a couple people with other Arbor boards and they’ve been generally happy with them, although most of them have basic cruisers. My only concern here is that it’s quite small at 99cm. You might have some issues doing more advanced dancing on it in case you go down that path. Either way, good luck and enjoy!
thank you for your help!
Since the right number of boards seems to be n+1 (n being the current number) i‘ll give it a try, figure out what i like best and maybe get a longer board in future considering your concerns.
Thanks guys. Your article has shown information that I don’t know. This helps me a lot. I think longboarding is only for the thin. Thank for this posting I know that longboards come in different specifications that fit any rider, including me.
Glad to help 🙂
I’ve been riding a Landyachtz stratus 46″ for the past 1.5 years (my first ever board), I like it a lot but now I’d like something flexier to improve my dancing steps. I’m very light (48kg) and my budget is up to around 250 eur, which board would you recommend? I like the Bastl Walzer (busy hands) but cannot find it anywhere 🙁
Hey Hey! 🙂 If we’re talking 250 EUR for the deck alone, you have a ton of really great options. The Walzer is so much fun to ride and I enjoy it so much, and can fully recommend it, but as you mentioned it’s a difficult deck to track down, especially if you’re looking for an older design. If you can track down any used Walzer (or even new for that matter) a Flex 2 would be really great to give you more space for steps and also more flex. Another option is the Odyssey boards, they have a really great flex, and for your weight would be perfect. The only trouble with them is that they are based in Asia, and shipping + import tax can sometimes be quite a lot. The loaded lineup in Flex 2 will also be a good bet, they’ve got nice predictable flex as well. Hope this helps!
Thanks a lot! will check them out.
I also see that the Luca ballar is not too expensive, but not sure if it has enough flex for someone my weight…any thoughts on this?
As a Luca tram rider I’m usually pretty biased here 🙂 the Lucas are awesome to ride and are super tough too, they last forever! But in the spirit of recommending things that fit how you want to ride I don’t think it’s the best bet. There’s only one flex and it’s on the stiffer side. I’m 69kgs and at my weight I find the board doesn’t flex much. But if you convince yourself to get into freestyle as well, the Lucas are brilliant.
got it, thanks! 🙂