The best longboards for cruising and carving exemplify the two ideas that identify most with longboarding culture: surf style, and leisure. These two ideas permeate throughout longboarding on many levels. Specifically, all longboarders are immediately introduced to this mentality when they first step on a board.
Cruising and carving on a longboard are usually the earliest stages tackled in every journey to longboarding greatness and they are the essence of what longboarding is. Cruising is the slow, and fluid way of getting around town or relaxing with friends: the leisure of longboarding. While carving is the surf style. It is the motion of pumping while doing quick, fluid turns as if you’re riding a wave.
Both cruising and carving are the pillars of longboarding and essential to learn for everyone who wants to advance in any other style of riding.
Learning to Carve
The carving longboarding style comes directly from the pioneers of the sport. The invention of longboards came from surfers who needed their skills at their peak while tides were flat. Carving mimicked surfer’s motions on the waves and translated that weightlessness, power, and speed to land.
How to Carve
The purpose of carving is to use the board and your body to generate speed naturally without having to let your foot off the board to push. This is speed and energy comes from a few different factors; body mechanics, pumping, and board construction.
The art of carving well comes from practicing the proper body mechanics and maintaining balance. Basically, you will be turning the board from toeside to heelside in an “S” motion. The best way to maintain balance and get solid turns is to use your entire body.
Typically, a lot of beginners will overlook the importance of using your head and shoulders to generate a solid carve. A good carve will come from using your head to guide each turn. For a toeside turn, turn your head almost backward which will make your front shoulder turn inward, and your hips and knees will follow.
Follow up that motion by turning your head the opposite direction, which will pull your front shoulder outward. Your hips and knees will follow, turning outward as well, creating a heelside turn. Repeating the inward to outward motion with your head and shoulders will result in the “S” motion carve. As you get comfortable and really start to dig into those turns, you’ll experience the weightlessness and power that carving will offer.
Want to add some flare to your carve? Once you are comfortable with the general motions and you can go long distances without having to push, try bending all the way down or squatting into each turn, and “springing” out (or standing up) while exiting each turn. This generates extra energy in and out of turns, making it possible to go further in your carving session. Using your knees to bounce, or pump, while your carving is another great way to expel more energy into each carve.
As you practice these motions will become second nature and you will naturally get more creative with your carves.
Setting Up Your Board For Carving
Most boards on the market can be carved on, as carving is used in almost every longboarding technique. When shopping, you will find that longboards for cruising and carving can be pretty similar. If carving is your main focus, however, the best longboards for carving will have some key features you’ll want to look out for.
The best longboards for carving will be best around the 35” to 40” mark. Shorter boards can be carved on but they will have less of a wheelbase which results in less stability in tight turns. On the other hand, boards longer than 40” are usually reserved for cruiser boards for the amount of stability. However, there are some exceptions to the rule.
The length of the deck is just as important as the shape of the deck. There are a few key factors on the shape that will be important in creating the perfect carving experience.
Firstly, one of the biggest focuses of carving well are the heelside and toeside turns. The best feature a board can have that will make these turns as easy and stable as possible is concave. Concave is a curve in the width of the deck. A mild to medium concave is great for carving because it helps your feet dig in and stay in place while doing tight turns.
Secondly, when it comes to board shape is the camber of the board should be a consideration. Earlier we discussed how pumping the board helps create the energy needed to really etch out those carves. Camber is the lengthwise curvature that creates a high point in the center of the board. A lot of carving boards are designed with camber because it can be compared to a spring that helps you generate power into your turns.
Third, You can’t generate power if your board is as stiff as a board. Having the proper amount of flex on your board should also be a consideration with deck construction. If your board is too stiff it won’t help you generate power into your turns, making you have to work harder to get into a carving rhythm. Having a decent amount of flex will help you generate power and the board will work with you as you carve. You will see a lot of boards made with a bamboo hybrid or completely bamboo. Something light and flexible like this will be perfect for carving.
However, you don’t want too much flex because you need to have good stability in turns. You don’t want to risk bottoming out or scratching the bottom of your board onto the street, especially if your board doesn’t have high trucks or camber.
Longboards for cruising and carving will have a lot of similarities when it comes to trucks. There are two types of mounts on all types of longboards: top mount and drop-through. Both can be used for cruising and carving but they will feel pretty different as you ride.
Top mounts are better for carving and are common for a lot of carving riders. Top mount means the trucks are placed underneath the board making the board sit higher off the ground. Being higher off the ground makes that board less stable but allows it to be more nimble and responsive as opposed to drop-through trucks. Not to say drop-through trucks are not responsive, but they will secure more stability with a lower profile.
The most common will be 50º trucks. 50º trucks are a great middle-ground of responsiveness and stability. Many riders do go higher (maxing out around 54º) but the higher the degree, the higher you are off the ground and the less stable the ride. Over 50º are normally for more extreme and experienced carvers.
Longboards for cruising and carving often have hangers that are 180mm. Carving enthusiasts, however, will have smaller hangers. The standard 180mm hangers mean the hangers are longer making the board more stable. For a more extreme carving experience, some will opt for 150mm hangers making a more responsive and nimble ride. That sacrifices stability but makes for some fun carves. Your preference may depend on your skill level.
Wheels and Bushings
Longboards for cruising and carving will have pretty similar wheels and bushings with some slight variations.
Square lipped wheels are going to be best when carrying out good carves. Wide wheels, anywhere between 72mm-75mm, will help grip the road. However, it is common to find carving longboards that have wheels around the 65mm mark as well.
You will also want some soft 78a-80a wheels to have the smoothest ride possible without feeling the ground beneath you too much.
For the smoothest and most responsive ride you will want soft bushings. These will give you a nice long roll and comfortability when carving.
Learning to Cruise
While longboards for cruising and carving are pretty similar, cruising requires less technical riding techniques. However, mellow carves are very common and can be used to control speed, and add a fun flowiness to a cruising session.
Cruising focuses more on smooth long rolls and the relaxation aspect of longboarding. Everyday commutes like riding through the street, in a park, or down to the beach is what longboard cruisers are made for.
The differences in riding styles are going to require differences in longboard construction. As we stated before, longboards for cruising and carving will be full of similarities as both of these riding styles are not as extreme as downhill or dancing, for example. However, there are key features that you will want to consider depending on your intended style.
Setting Up Your Board For Cruising
Essentially any longboard can be a cruising board. But if you want to maximize your cruise you will want to have some specifics, Most cruising boards will be around 36” to 46” depending on the rider’s size and preferences.
Longboards for cruising and carving differ when it comes to overall deck shape. Cruising boards do not necessarily need to have any camber or concave. If an easy, mellow ride is your plan, a flat board will suffice. However, having a mild concave on your cruiser would make smaller carves more fun and provide that little extra stability. If you did want to eventually venture into learning more carves then this feature would be an asset.
Flex is something to consider as well. If you will mostly be riding in areas where more gradual turns will be the norm then having a stiff board wouldn’t be an issue. However, if you will need to be doing more tight turns, then having a flexible board to help you pump through some turns will be great in that situation.
The ideal trucks for cruising are going to be at the 50º mark. 50º trucks are going to have that great middle ground of responsiveness and stability as stated earlier. Higher than 50º are going to create a less stable ride since it’s higher from the ground, while lower than 50º is made more for gaining speed and downhill riding.
Cruising boards are going to be right on the standard mark with hanger length as well. 180mm hangers are perfect for having the right amount of control and stability. Anything over 180mm and you will lose some agility with the board. For example, downhill boards tend to have longer hangers and those are used for stability at high speeds.
Wheels and Bushings
A good cruise will come from nice large and soft wheels. You are in a good wheelhouse with 70mm-75mm and 78a-80a. These measurements will give good stability with the size of the wheel and you will feel less of the ground beneath you with this softness.
There’s not a massive difference in the type of bushings you will want between cruising and carving. As a good rule, soft bushings will create a nice smooth ride that will be comfortable for all skill levels.
5 Best Longboards for Carving
The discussion for the best carving longboards cannot be had without the Vanguard by Loaded. The Vanguard meets every expectation of a carving longboard, and then exceeds all of them.
One of the most important stand out features of the Vanguard is the fact that it comes in five different flexes. The different flex options for the Vanguard provide every riding type and size with the perfect flex. The flexes range from one to five. One, being for larger/heavier riders. While five is for lighter/smaller riders. The bamboo and fiberglass hybrid with an epoxy resin deck keeps the board lightweight and maneuverable.
The top-mounted deck has both camber and a mild concave, making pumping in and out of turns powerful and stable. It is also complete with cut-outs to prevent wheel bite and a symmetrical shape and stance that helps the rider achieve perfect balance. Another great feature of the Vanguard is it is extremely customizable so you can create the set up that works best for you.
If you want the top of the line, best carving experience you can recieve today ,the Vanguard is the only option.
|Bamboo and fiberglass deck with epoxy resin|
180mm Paris VS 50-degree trucks
Jehu V2 Bearings
75mm 80a Orangatang Wheels
|Length: 38” or 42”|
Wheel Base: 31.5” or 35”
The Globe Chromantic is an excellent board for those who are learning their comfort level in the carving world. While this board may be short, it has a nice wide platform that still allows for secure foot placement and stability. This is one of the best longboards for cruising and carving, but it has a lot of features that gear it more toward carving. The Chromantic is top-mounted on tensor alloy trucks, so it’s going to provide high responsiveness when you’re carving through the street. One of the most interesting features of the Globe Chromantic is the rubber grip on the back end of the board. This grip provides extra stability and control while digging in to make some more intense carves.
6.0 Tensor Alloy Trucks
62mm 83a Wheels
92a durameter bushings
ABEC 7 Bearings
|Length: 33” |
Wheel Base: 22.25”
Sector 9 Sidewinder Series, Never Worried Fractal
The Sector 9 Sidewinder series has taken the world of carving by storm. The double hinge on the Gullwing trucks are made specifically for adding power and liveliness to your carves. These trucks are very responsive and precise which makes them the ultimate carving truck. The Never Worried Fractal is made of durable 7 ply maple, but sill keeps its flex. All this coupled with the grippy 69mm 78a Nineball wheels makes this a fun board to carve and slash down any street.
The Sidewinder series has a lot of different options that suit a variety of riders. For example, the Monsoon Shoots is a smaller version made with bamboo. The bamboo is going to make it flexy and springy, perfect for carving. However, it is 33” with a smaller wheel base, so that will be something to consider. The entire sidewinder series can provide everything you need for lively carving experience, so you will definitely find one that suits your style.
|Drop Through |
7 Ply Maple Deck
9″ Gullwing Sidewinder Trucks
69mm 78a Wheels Nineball
ABEC 5 Greaseball Bearings
Wheel Base: 26.3″
Arbor Fish Bamboo
Arbor is one of the most eco friendly and sustainable longboard companies out there today. Their commitment to the environment and creating quality products is evident in every board they make. Sustainably sourced Bamboo is their wood of choice for the Fish. This springy, directional pintail board is fantastic for carving. It’s lightweight and responsive being top mounted on Paris 150mm 50 degree trucks with an extended wheelbase. If that’s not enough quality hardware, then the Mosh Wheels equipped on the Fish might do it for you. These hybrid wheels are made to slide, grip, and keep you rolling effortlessly on all types of terrain. Arbor did everything they could to make this an easy riding carving machine. If you are eco-friendly, but also want a carving beast to ride in the street, this is the board for you.
Paris 150mm 50 Degree Trucks
7 Ply Canadian Maple with Carbonized Bamboo Finish
⅛” Paris Risers
65mm 78a Arbor Easyrider Series Wheels
ABEC 5 Bearings
DB Coreflex Crossbow
DB Longboards has come through and designed the perfect longboard for carving! Every feature needed to make a carving longboard has been placed into the Coreflex Crossbow package. The Crossbow is made from DB’s Coreflex technology which is made with bamboo encased in triaxle fiberglass and HD plastic. This combination not only makes this board one of the most flexible on the market, but it is also impact, scratch, and water-resistant. Not sure how bouncy or flexible you want your longboard? No worries, The Crossbow comes in two variations. Flex 2 is a medium flex board for riders 120 to 170 pounds, While the Flex 3 is stiffer recommended for riders 160 pound and up. The Crossbow also has a cambered deck so pumping into deep carves will be no issue.
This longboard is perfect for when you are ready to take your riding to the next level and want a board that works just as hard as you do.
Multiple Flex options
Scratch and water resistant
180mm Atlas 48 degree reverse kingpin trucks
Cloud Ride 69mm 78a Wheels
Cloud Ride ABEC 7 Bearings
Standing Platform: 25”
5 Best Cruising Longboards
Landyachtz Drop Hammer
The expression “as smooth as butter” must have been created to refer to the Landyachtz Drop Hammer. This board glides through the street with minimal effort and has the ability to roll for days. This longboard’s drop through mount gives you a lower center of gravity.
Coupled with the mild concave and premium hardware, this board is a dream for stability and long smooth commutes. A lot of the features on the Drop Hammer make it one of the best longboards for cruising and carving alike. The Gen 6 Grizzly Bear trucks also give it a ton of responsiveness. So if you are looking to add some carves or even get comfortable doing some light freeriding, this board is a great start.
When it comes to the design, the minimalist style actually makes it stand out and turn heads. Coming in Walnut and White Oak, the graphic is so clean and simple and it’s the perfect addition for someone who doesn’t want a design that is too flashy. The Drop Hammer is perfect for beginners and veterans alike. I challenge you to not fall in love with the smooth and precise Landyachtz Drop Hammer.
|100% Canadian Maple|
Gen 6 Grizzly Bear 180mm Trucks
70mm 78a Supreme Hawgs Wheels
Wheel Base 27.25”
Are you planning on cruising on your longboard but wouldn’t mind doing a teeny bit of downhill on the side? Then the Mercer Shattered Drop Through may be a board worth your while. This longboard is perfect for stability. It’s drop through profile keeps you riding with a low center of gravity for more comfortable rides at slow, and higher speeds. Also, the mild concave gives your feet an excellent amount of grip while you’re riding through the streets. The Shattered Drop Through is on 37″ with a long wheel base making it perfect for stable smooth turns. Beginners are welcome to take this board for a spin, and see if you’re not inspired to take it down a mild hill. While this board isn’t engineered specifically for downhill, it has the elements to help you find out if a speed demon really lives inside you.
|7 Ply Maple Construction|
180mm Compound Trucks
70mm 80a Mercer Wheels
ABEC 5 Bearings
|Length: 37” |
Wheel Base: 27.5”
Santa Cruz Shark Dot
Stable? Check. Responsive? Check. Crazy fun graphics of sharks? Check. The Santa Cruz Shark Dot has taken their classic old school vibe and mounted it on top of some modern, top of the line hardware for a fun, agile ride all around town. The 9 Ply maple pintail deck sits on top of 180mm Road Rider trucks for the perfect mix of stability and agility. Sector 9 has always been known for their high energy and stand out graphics. You will definitely turn heads when you wiz down the street on one of the Shark Dots.
9 Ply Maple Deck
Road Rider 180mm Trucks
Road Rider 72mm 78a Wheels
ABEC 3 Bearings
Wheel Base: 27”
Globe has come through yet again with a great board that is great for multiple riding styles. When shopping for longboards for cruising or carving, you can’t go wrong with the Globe Spearpoint. This is a drop-through board the boasts great stability and comfort while cruising through campus, or down a mild hill. The mild concave also keeps you comfortable on your feet if you decide to do some carving during your commute. The Spearpoint has great flexibility so adding some pumps into some carves will be a breeze, as will making some tight turns on the city streets. It also comes equipped milled wheel wells for deep turns with no wheel bite. Globe is one of the most trusted companies, and constantly makes longboards that are ready to shred right out the box. The Spearpoint is no exception.
Cork Resin 8 Hardrock Maple, or Durable Bamboo Maple Sandwiched construction.
High rebound Globe 69mm 83a Wheels.
180mm Slant reverse kingpin trucks.
ABEC 7 Bearings.
Wheel base: 30.75
Have you ever wanted to take your cruising to the next level? Maybe add some power slides? Have you ever heard of the Prism Revel? This is probably the time to start looking into one. The Prism Revel is a drop-through mounted cruising machine. All of the hardware that comes standard with the Prism delivers a smooth and responsive ride. This board is made for faster cruises and is stable enough for you to really get comfortable doing powerslides.
The deck has a mild concave that will keep you stable as you lean into tight turns. It is also a flat deck, so with no concave, you won’t get extra spring while you’re cruising. On top of the smooth and comfortable ride, you’ll be skating on a truly awesome design. The Revel is part of the Artist Series by Prism and features some eye-catching graphics. Get ready for long days of shredding and cruising once you pick up your Revel by Prism.
7 Ply Maple Construction
Prism 69mm 78a Wheels
Reverse 10” Caliber II Trucks
ABEC 7 Blood Orange Bearings
29.95 Wheel Base
Whether you are just starting out on your longboarding journey, or you’ve been deep into it for years, it would be hard to deny that cruising and carving are at the center of longboarding culture. Cruising is such a relaxing way to chill with friends, while carving can be a high energy thrill ride. No matter your skill level, having the board that suits you is priority number one. Learning how flexible you like your board, or how soft you like your wheels will give you the information you need to grab the perfect board for you. There are so many longboards for cruising and carving to choose from. The only way to know is to ride, and riding any one of these boards can be an eye-opener for any longboarder.