Downhill longboards - for speed and slides
Downhill longboarding is all about speed and the best way to gain speed is going down a hill – hence the name. With downhill longboards you therefore typically seek your adrenaline rush on steep hills that allow you to go fast (make sure to follow the local traffic regulations to avoid any accidents). Downhill longboards are also made for making slides which is a must in downhill longboarding because you do not have actual brakes. You therefore need slides to control and reduce speed.
The deck on downhill longboards, no matter whether they are intended for beginners or experienced riders, is made stiff to provide more stability in the deck. This reduces the risk of speed wobbles when going at high speeds. The decks are typically made of 8-10 plies of maple. Some high-quality decks are even reinforced with carbon to make them more stiff. In general, you want to have a low balance point of your body to make it easier to keep balance as well as to initiate slides. This can be achieved with either drop through mounting of the trucks, a drop deck or with rocker. On the product pages you can see the specifications of the specific longboard in question.
Downhill longboards - experienced riders and beginners
This riding style is intended for experienced riders who are already well-familiar with the basic longboarding techniques. As a beginner you should first learn the basics as well as how to slide, since this is the only way of braking when you skate down steep hills.
Even though downhill longboarding as a sport is only suitable for experienced riders, the longboard itself can also be used by beginners, however, the boards for these two target groups differ in some aspects (read the following sections).
A good downhill longboard for experienced riders is equipped with hard wheels – typically 86A. Hard wheels can go faster due to less rolling resistance. The bushings are also made hard to decrease their sensitivity to movement and in this way reduce the risk of speed wobbles. To provide more stability the trucks are pretty wide, in general measuring 190-200mm. For maximum control on the board the griptape is very coarse creating more friction and a secure stance. If you need to lock your foot even more, you can attach a footstop on the deck which will then reduce the risk of slipping. Using foot stops is a matter of personal preference.
Freeride / Downhill: If you are into tricks and want to do a more trick-oriented form of downhill longboarding, you should go for a freeride longboard
Since downhill longboards are stiff and stable boards, they are great for any beginner who wishes to learn the basics of longboarding. Many therefore choose these solely for cruising and because they like the shape. Others, in the meantime, go for entry-level boards to first practice their basic skills on plain surfaces before going one step further “downhill”. Once you start getting a hang of it, you only have to upgrade your trucks and wheels to use your longboard downhill, because you already have the right deck.
Entry-level boards have softer wheels which are good for cruising. The standard truck size is 180mm and they have softer bushings to make turning easier. The griptape is less coarse than on the downhill-intended boards, because you do a lot of pushing when you cruise and with coarse griptape you would end up ruining your shoes very quickly. When you go downhill, on the other hand, you do not push the board but want to be able to stay in place.
Since it is possible to reach really high speeds, all the way up to about 130km, it is highly important to wear safety equipment. You wear a full suit protecting your back and upper and lower body, just like you see within motorcycling. And to protect the head and face you use a full-face helmet. Downhill gear is specifically made for speed, for example, you have slide gloves that not only protect your hands but are also designed with a puck on the palm for you to control slides with.
Check out our huge selection of downhill longboards on this page.
If you still have questions, you can read our longboard buying guide.
You are also more than welcome to contact us. We are always ready to help you find the right downhill longboard.