Skating comes in so many forms, it's hard to find the one best suited to you. Here is a quick guide to help!
Location is one of the most important things to consider when getting into longboarding.
Mountains - If you live in the mountains/hills perhaps Downhill would be a very accessible subcategory of the sport to get into. This is one of the more niche types as its very reliant on where you live.
Hills - If you live somewhere flat with smaller hills perhaps something like freeride would be more suited for you. This is normally far more technical and makes use of smaller spaces.
Flat - If you live somewhere flat lots of people go for freestyle or dancing. Both of these use kicktail boards to do very technical tricks. This can often look the most impressive and easiest to get the basics down.
Longboarding can be made from some of the latest materials and building-technics making them stronger and lighter. Decks that can withstand many impacts, trucks that stay true for years and wheels that can be very predictable and consistent, all of this will come at a cost though!
High End - High-end longboards will normally set you back upwards of £250+ and will be picked out piece by piece to make a fully custom board. With some much choice out there anyone who has never done this will find it hard to put all the right parts together that will make a good performing board for there needs.
Middle Ground - The middle ground boards are between £125-£250 and will come completely from a shop. They will be the high-end gear but put together as a complete. Most of these will use cheaper material throughout than the high-end products but do a similar job. If you have the extra cash and feel like this is the sport for you, this is the best place to start.
Entry Level - The entry level boards are what have brought many people into longborading. With the completes coming in at less than £125 they tend to use cheap parts and not as thought out parts choice. Often they will have wheels that do not like to slide, bushings that are far too soft/hard and decks that fall apart as soon as it rains.
Buying your first board will come down to what sort of longboarding you want to do. The inner speed freak in all of us just wants to bomb down big hills then go buy a downhill or freeride board, or if you'd rather skate around the city on a big dancing board poping a few tricks here and there then go for a dancer or freestyle deck!
Downhill - Downhill is all about riding down a big hill as fast as you can. This is normally done while tucking (A way to stand to reduce aerodynamic drag to go as fast as possible) This is considered the most dangerous type of longboarding and takes a long time to get the hang of it. As most of the people doing this have a way to stop at any point and are under full control form years of practice.
Freeride - Freeride is a form of downhill with technical sliding thrown in there as a way to control your speed and turn it into a skill. The idea of freeride is to drift the wheels sideways without touching the floor in a very graceful and carefully balanced way. This can take years to master and has lots of small tricks that can be done within it.
Dancing - Dancing is the fastest growing type of longboard as its easy to start and relatively low risk. It can look very impressive and some of it can be useful for getting around the city on your day to day travelling. The boards tend to be very large and flex with kicktails each way. Lots of people who do dancing gather in the parks in large cities and always welcome new-comers.
LDP - LDP is 'long distance pushing' and is a form of travel. People have always been getting from A to B on skateboards since they were first invented, but these boards are designed around being the best at doing this. Low platforms, large wheels and narrow trucks help keeps the weight down and speeds up. With the record for 24hours on a skateboard now sitting at over 300 miles its always going to be a type of longboard people will do.
Cruising - This is a very broad category with covers more of the cheaper boards. People who just use their board to get from A to B for fun. Pintails, drop through and other cheaper board types are great for this and it doesn't need to be anything over the top. Most people start by doing this and many will only do this type of skating.