Longboard Buying Guide: Freeride
Longboarding on hills while doing technical maneuvers. Intermediate to Advanced.
Choosing the Deck Style
Although any deck can be set up for freeride purposes, some are more ideal than others. A good downhill deck will be longer than the average longboard and will be completely rigid! Thin, flexible boards are designed for fun in the parking lot, not bombing down steep roads! Through our experiences with longboarding (both direct and through customer feedback) drop-through and drop-platform decks seem to be the best choice for getting into the freeride discipline. Drop-through decks, since they are somewhat easier to manufacture, seem to be more common than drop platform decks. But the balance does appear to be shifting toward drop-platform decks!
Drop Platform - for the beginner
The introduction of newer drop-platform decks like the Earthwing Road Killer and double-drop decks like the Landyachtz SwitchBlade may be the direction that freeriders are headed. The lowered platform on the drop platform (and double drop) decks gives riders an enhanced sense of stability and makes initiating slides much easier.
Drop Through - for intermediate
If you're concerned with the weight of the deck, either for flip tricks or so you can carry it around as a fashion statement —please don't do that — the drop-through decks will be lighter thanks to a slimmer construction. If you are choosing a drop-through deck, be sure to select one with very little flex. Flex is not a good idea for freeride setups.
How about top-mount decks? Sure! If you've already got a deck that doesn't fall into either category suggested above but you'd like to make into a freeride setup anyway, don't worry! Just make a mental note that top-mount decks usually feature unique types of concave and curves which cater to specific types of riders. For this reason, we suggest a more simple drop-platform or drop-through deck for your first freeride setup. Read through the rest of the guide and you'll be shredding that urethane in no time. Like we mentioned above, any deck can be set up for freeride purposes, as long as it is comfortably long and does not flex! When given a choice, though, stick to drop-platform and drop-through decks.
Choosing Deck Dimensions
Decks in the length range of 38-42" will be ideal for freeride. Any shorter and they won't feel very stable, and any longer and they'll just feel too bulky to be comfortable. The width is less important since it is generally correlated with the length of the deck. The 8.5-10.5" range is most common for drop-platform and drop-through decks; anything in this width range is totally acceptable.