Longboard Buying Guide: Youngsterz
— What’s up, Young Buck?! Tryna get a dope wheelieboard under your feet? Rad! We’re hip to your groove thing. We’ll help you out! Skip to the Deck section and read on!
— Oh? You’re Young Buck’s mother/father/relative/older-sibling doing some shopping on his or her behalf? I see! Well then, greetings, sir or madam! And welcome to our guide for the selection of a longboard for a younger rider! We’ll make some suggestions for various setups and/or configurations and keep it as trim as possible to get you back to all the other stuff you have to do today.
In this part of our guide, we’re going to discuss the qualities that we think make a longboard appropriate for a smaller and/or younger rider. Whether or not this young person is a beginner or an intermediate rider isn’t too much of an issue. The setups we’re aiming for will be ideal for all-around riding and will feature an easy learning curve. If your rider is an experienced rider, chances are he or she already knows what’s up! (Kids these days… Technology at their fingertips keeps them in-the-loop more than ever!) If that’s the case, trust the list and double-check with us if you’re unsure.
Covered in this Guide
It's kind of a big deal.
The metal that connects the wheels to the deck
They make a BIG difference to the ride.
Helmet and gloves once your riding gets more advanced.
1. The Deck
Much like a golf club, baseball bat, chainsaw or snowsuit, the longboards used by all riders should reflect a similar stature as the rider him/herself. A smaller rider needs a smaller board! For this reason, we’ll be focusing on boards at or below 36” in length. This will make for a nice standing platform while keeping it agile. And! The boards can still be used by larger/older as “minis” for the occasional goof-session.
“Easy-riders” (Beginners) - For Cruising and Carving
Here are some examples of decks that are styled a bit more simply than others. They’ve got minimal bending in the wood, which keep the shapes easy-to-ride. It’s also still possible to get fully radical on these, too! All that takes is a bit of practice!
“Progressors” (Intermediate) - For casual street and skatepark riding
Now these types of boards are the kind that pave the way for the next generation of boarders. These boards sometimes have kicktails which are great for going to the skate park or for a quick trip to the grocery store. The construction of these puppies is solid and they’ll be able to take a beating. One of our all-time favorites is the Earthwing MiniGlider because it’s (1) rad, (2) easy to ride, and (3) fun for just about everything!
“Dennis the Freeriding Menace” (Advanced) - For the kid that must get his/her hands—or feet for that matter—into everything.
These styles of boards can normally do everything in the realms of longboarding and skateboarding. Some have a kick on the nose and tail while others just have a single kick on the tail. These boards are normally very rigid and are constructed to withstand faster skating and more impact. If your youngster likes rolling and sliding around on the asphalt he or she will want something like the following that we have selected.
2. The Trucks
As you’ll notice on each of the product pages for the above Custom Completes, there are several trucks to choose from. The width of the trucks will depend on the width of the deck, so the options are relatively limited. Note: If our crew sees something incorrect in your truck selection after you’ve placed the order, we will contact you and help you correct it! Another benefit of processing all of our orders by hand!
Trucks for larger decks
For a board between 32-36”, we recommend going with a “Reverse Kingpin” truck like the ones shown below. These will help the deck turn easily and ensure plenty of fun is had!
Trucks for smaller decks
Decks under 32” (often referred to as “minis”) would be best suited for a “Traditional/Standard Kingpin” truck like Independents or “Polar” Bears. These types of trucks put the front and back wheels further apart and keep the ride feeling more stable on the smaller platform.
BONUS: Bushings! Get the right amount of turn for your setup.
Yep, there’s more to the trucks than just the metal pieces. The urethane sandwiched between the hanger and the baseplate controls how much (and how easily) the trucks will turn. Younger riders tend to be lighter than the twenty-somethings that most trucks are designed for, so they’ll need to adjust the bushings for their weight. The stock bushings will work fine to begin with, but it’ll be more fun to have the correct (weight-appropriate) amount of turn down the road.
For reverse kingpin trucks
Two Packs: Venom DH Bushings — 78-85a
For traditional / standard kingpin trucks
One Pack: Venom DH Bushings — 78-85a
One Pack: Riptide short cones— Soft (forverysmall riders) or Medium
3. The Wheels
Since the younger riders are riding smaller boards set up with smaller trucks, it’s only fitting that smaller wheels would come along next to wrap it all up. Smaller wheels are easier to push & slide and should help keep the speed in a suitable range for a young rider to handle. Wheels in the 60-66mm range are the best choice, with the occasional 70mm wheel thrown into the mix. The hardness rating (durometer) for the smaller riders should be in the range of 75-80a, with lighter riders on the lower end and larger (yet still smaller) riders on the higher end of the scale.
Sliding / Freeriding Wheels
If your rider falls into the category of “Progressors” or “Dennis the Freeriding Menace”, this would be the type of wheel to go with. Typically round-lipped and featuring a “stoneground” surface, these slide-oriented wheels will guarantee entertainment for days.
Gripping / Cruising Wheels
If your rider is more of the casual type, go with a sharp-lipped wheel. Chances are that no slides will be performed, so it’s safe to stick around the 75a durometer for maximum grip.
4. Wrap it up!
Alright, so you’ve got your board and you’re at the top of the hill, ready to break the sound barrier… But you’ve got this feeling. It’s like you’re forgetting something important. Something to top it all off… As the high winds rustle your hair and bring tears to your eyes, you remember. You remember that you haven’t selected a helmet or slide gloves! Better get on that... Oh, and all the cool kids are wearing stickered-up helmets, so you definitely are going to want to grab a sticker pack while you’re at it. Below are the necessary links to cover your precious extremities.
We’re gonna recommend you select the following helmet to begin with. It’s Dual-Certified so you know it’ll protect ya noggin’, it comes in the appropriate size for smaller riders, and it is available in three color ways.
Gloves are only necessary for riding hills since they don’t do much good on flat ground. Go with whatever you like and can afford! We’re stoked with all the gloves we carry, and they’re offered in plenty of sizes. For casual riding, select a non-leather glove. For serious stuff, go with the leather ones! Here are a few worth looking at:
That's All Folks
After reading all that text, if you’ve still got some questions, feel free to send us an email! You’ll get the info you need and we’ll be able to fine-tune the guide as time goes on! Until then, happy skating!
Written by Seth Brown