The Top Longboards for Carving and Cruising in 2024

Longboarding has recently exploded in popularity as a fun, flowing riding style separate from traditional skateboarding. The oversized decks, soft wheels, and carving trucks provide a smooth ride, making longboards a popular transportation method.

There are two main longboard riding styles – cruising and carving. Cruising involves relaxed riding along mostly flat areas while carving utilizes deeper turns and maneuvers. The right longboard can optimize your experience for either style.

In this guide, we’ll review the key features to look for in carving and cruising longboards. We’ll also recommend our picks for the 5 best longboards for carving and the 5 best for cruising currently available. Let’s ride!

Certain longboard characteristics make them better suited for carving vs cruising purposes:

Low-riding drop-through decks place your feet closer to the ground for stability when carving at higher speeds. Traditional pintail shapes excel for cruising with higher clearance.

Stiffer decks provide more precision for carving, while flex offers shock absorption, which is important for cruising comfort.

Longer decks, around 42″, provide stability for fast carving. Shorter cruiser styles, around 32″-38″, are more nimble with quick turning.

Reverse kingpin trucks are engineered for tighter carving and stability. Standard skate trucks allow a looser feel, preferred for relaxed cruising.

Larger soft wheels, 70mm+, are ideal for cruising’s smooth ride. Smaller hard wheels grip better for sharper carving.

Softer durometer wheels absorb vibrations on cruising rides. A harder durometer is better for sliding during deeper carves.

Carving on a longboard involves deep, swooping turns using weight shifting and body angling:

  • Initiate turns by rotating your shoulders and angling your knees in the direction you want to turn.
  • Shift weight to your front foot to carve the toeside. Weight back foot to carve heelside.
  • Use momentum and pumping motions to maintain speed throughout the carve.
  • Foot placement impacts turn sharpness – wider stance for wide carves, angled forward for tight cross step carving.
  • Learn controlled slides, like shutdown slides, to shave off speed from carves.
  • Always wear safety gear like slide gloves and a helmet, especially when learning.

Here are our top picks for carving-focused longboard decks for 2023:

This versatile drop-through deck excels at high speed carving thanks to the cambered profile and responsive bamboo construction.

Style: Drop-through downhill deck
Material: Bamboo and fiberglass
Trucks: Paris V3 180mm, 50 degree
Wheels: Orangatang stimulus, 70mm, 80a

The micro-dropped platform and grippy Hawgs wheels make the Ripper ideal for tight technical carving across parks and bowls.

Style: Pintail downhill deck
Material: Maple laminate
Trucks: Bear Grizzle 852, 180mm, 52 degree
Wheels: Hawgs mini monster, 63mm, 78a

With its drop-through mounting and adjustable Gullwing Sidewinder trucks, the Meridian delivers ultra-responsive carving capabilities.

Style: Drop-through downhill deck
Material: 8-ply maple
Trucks: Gullwing Sidewinder II
Wheels: Sector 9 Skiddles, 69mm, 78a

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Here are the ideal longboard decks for relaxed cruising around town or campus:

Volador’s compact maple cruiser excels at casual commuting with its lightweight build and soft wheels that absorb sidewalk cracks.

Style: Cruiser deck
Material: 8-ply maple
Trucks: 7-inch aluminum
Wheels: Pu cast, 70mm, 80a

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The combination of flex, lightweight bamboo, and 70mm wheels makes the Zed perfectly suited for effortless cruising around neighborhoods or boardwalks.

Style: Cruiser deck
Material: Bamboo and maple
Trucks: 7-inch aluminum
Wheels: Retrospec wheels, 70mm, 78a

White Wave’s pintail bamboo cruiser provides shock absorption and an elegant look for smooth cruising along beach paths or park trails.

Style: Pintail cruiser
Material: Bamboo
Trucks: 7-inch aluminum
Wheels: White Wave, 70mm, 80a

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Compact cruiser styles with flex bamboo decks, 70mm wheels, and standard trucks work best for casual cruising.

Look for stiffer drop-through or drop-down decks, reverse kingpin trucks, and small soft wheels ideal for gripping through turns.

Cruiser boards are primarily for flatland riding, but some have kicktails to allow ollies and simple tricks.

Carving requires tighter truck tension for stability, hitting higher speeds. Cruising works best with looser trucks, allowing deeper turns.

The optimal longboard length is around 38″-42″ for cruising and over 40″ for carving.

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