DECK 411 (Length, Wheelbase, Rail, Camber, Flex, Width)

DECK LENGTH longer = more stable at speed but not as quick to carve shorter = less stable at speed but quick to carve 22″-50″+ range for mini-cruisers to super cruisers Beginners stick to the shorter end 33″-38″ (even shorter if you prefer a mini-cruiser) Downhill and freeriders stick in the 38″-42″ range for stability and carve power The range of longboard deck lengths run across a pretty wide spectrum. You can get as small as 22″ on some of the mini-cruiser decks and as large as 60″+ with some of the super cruisers. When you’re cruising it really comes down to personal preference of what you prefer. Do you want a deck that is quick to maneuver around campus or tight turns on city streets? Then you might want to stick on the shorter end. For beginners, we usually recommend staying on the shorter end, 33″-38″, for better control in most situations. You can go below 33″ if you want to get into a mini cruiser but a board that is too short for beginners might not feel like enough board. If you’re looking to get into downhill and want something stable yet able to still take a deep carve at speed, you should stick in the 38″-42″ range for the best combination of stability and carveability. DECK WHEELBASE longer = wider turning radius and generally more flex shorter = tighter turning radius and generally less flex 11″-38″+ wheelbase range from mini’s to long cruisers 28″-32″ range for best downhill and freeride performance The wheelbase is the distance between the innermost part of your trucks (although technically, it is the distance between the truck axels most companies use the measurement of the distance between the innermost truck hole mounts). The Wheelbase directly affects the way the board turns. You’ll see a range of 11″-32″+ depending on how much the length of the deck can handle. Why are longer boards not as quick to turn? Typically, because they have a wider wheelbase that will as a result have a wider turning radius. It’s the same physics as why a semi-truck can’t cut a corner as sharp as a sports car. The other factor to consider with wheelbase is board flex. As you get more board between the trucks, your weight causes the deck to flex more. Keep in mind that flex also is greatly controlled by the materials that go into the board. DECK WIDTH wider = more stable but less responsive thinner = less stable but more responsive 6″-11″ width range from mini’s to downhill decks The width of the deck works with the width of your trucks to affect the stability of your ride. While trick decks will range in the 7.5″-8.5″ range, longboarders typically want a bit more deck space for more stability and balance as they often travel faster or use more deck space for fancy footwork. Downhill and freeriders need that extra width or they would have to battle the wobble wobbles at 30MPH+ which usually doesn’t end pleasant. DECK RAIL The rail is the edge around the deck and changes the way that your foot feels when standing on it. You’ll find rounded, sharp and beveled (gas pedal) style rails. They can be set in any of these combinations across any side of the board. DECK FLEX The flex of a longboard deck is the relative amount that the board bends under your weight when you stand on it. There are three types of flex: 1. LONGITUDINAL FLEX The bend from nose to tail. More longitudinal flex would be said to dig deeper into carves as the mid point of the deck actual drives closer to the ground under force. Camber decks will have more longitudinal flex than flat or rocker decks. 2. LATERAL FLEX The bend from left side to right side. Concave and camber/rocker combinations can have an impact on lateral flex. 3. TORSIONAL FLEX The twisting or combination of longitudinal and lateral flex at the same time. Hard carves and slides exercise the torsional flex quality of a board where less torsional flex would be stiffer and quicker to return center. You’ll see a range from soft to stiff to cater to the style of riding you’re looking to get into. A downhill setup will require something stiff or with no flex to stay stable at speed where as a crusier might have very soft flex to absorb more vibration giving the rider a smoother ride. Depending on their comfort level, freeriders and carvers might want a deck with a little flex to initiate deep smooth carves. Some brands offer multiple flex ratings for their boards depending on your weight so you can dial in the right flex for your size. For example, if you fall in between 140-180lbs, you can use the reccomended flex ranges to get a deck that might be softer or stiffer according to your personal preference. DECK CAMBER Camber is the amount higher or lower the middle of the board sits in relation to the nose and tail and has an effect on the way the board flexes under pressure. While the majority of decks have what would be ‘flat’ camber, some decks you’ll find will have positive camber or negative camber (rocker). A deck with positive camber will have a significantly greater amount of flex (bounce) to it. Flex and speed don’t mix well so you’ll find camber mostly on your cruiser style decks for a smoother ride. A rocker board would be the opposite of a camber deck and while it has less flex it is more recognized for the locked in feel on your feet and lower center of gravity it provides. Rocker boards are not as common but are nice and stable at speed if you prefer the locked in pocket type feel. DECK CONCAVE Concave is the bend across the width of the deck and effects how the board reacts to the force of your foot when turning and how your foot stays locked in. In general, the concave on longboard decks has a direct effect on the toe-heel energy transfer your foot communicates to your board. Here are some common concaves you’ll find and some of the differences. 1. FLAT NO CONCAVE The absense of concave that causes your board to not have much in the way of dramatic toe-heel energy transfer. Nice for folks who want a flatter platform for dancing and fancy footwork but won’t help much for speed and slide folk who need that extra foot lock. 2. RADIAL CONCAVE The most common type of concave seen on most decks. Also referred to as taco. It gives a good smooth balance of heel to toe energy transfer when initiating turns and keeps a solid place for your foot to stay locked in during slides. 3. ELLIPTICAL CONCAVE Similar to radial but has a sharper transition from center point to the edge of the board. This will give the board a more rigid response feeling from toe-heel. A longboard deck with eliptical concave will turn more ‘on a dime’ than its smoother radial brother. 4. W CONCAVE This concave actually has a W shape to it just like the name. It would be like putting two radial concaves on the same deck. The result is a center line that acts sort of like a pivot point for your foot to transfer even more energy toe to heel for even more response than a radial or eliptical concave. Racers who need the ultimate precision and quick turnability prefer this style. By: Tony, Windward Boardshop

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