How Longboarding Works

Adjusting Longboards

Depending on your purposes, there are a variety of options available in terms of outfitting yourself with a longboard that's going to meet your requirements. In fact, there are so many options, that we can't even mention everything here, so we'll just cover the basics [source: Karg].

One of the biggest determinants of how your longboard will ride has to do with turning. Truck bushings (turning), deck stiffness (flexibility), and wheelbase (stability) all affect the board's maneuverability.


If you decide to get a relatively short, flexible board with a narrow wheelbase and small, stiff tires, you're going to have more maneuverability. However, your board may feel wobbly at high speeds, and you won't have as smooth a ride as possible. Conversely, a long, rigid deck with a longer wheelbase and large, soft tires can offer a smooth ride even at fast speeds, but you won't be able to turn as sharply [source: Karg]. By now, all of this should be hammered into your brain, but there are seemingly endless adjustments you can make.

For example, there are a number of different truck options, as well as universal trucks for general-purpose longboarding. Truck bushings are an area for modification, but remember that the fundamental give-and-take relationship between maneuverability and stability stays the same. A soft bushing allows for easier turning, and a harder bushing provides more stability at high speeds. So depending on what you want to do, you can modify your longboard accordingly [source: Soul Boards].

The geometry of the truck helps determine how far it will turn, and through the use of wedges that go between the truck mount and the deck, turning angles can be adjusted, thereby tweaking stability and maneuverability. For more stability, you can insert wedges facing the outside of the deck so that the truck axles are tilted slightly inward toward the middle of the board, and for a greater turning angle, the wedges can be inserted on the inside of the deck to achieve the opposite effect [source: Robinson].

It mostly boils down to personal preference, but you should at least be aware of these relationships before you break out the toolbox and start messing with your longboard. It's a good idea to enlist the advice of a reputable skate shop or at least consult one of the many online technical forums for longboarding.

Now that you've seen the tip of the iceberg, keep reading for lots more information.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Cave, Steve. "Longboarding Instructions - Basic Just Starting Out." (Accessed Dec. 4, 2009)
  • Karg, John. Adjusting Longboards. Personal Interview. Dec. 7, 2009.
  • Karg, John. "Woody's Halfpipe." (Accessed Dec. 4, 2009)
  • KidzWorld. "Longboard Skateboards - A Faster, Smoother Ride." (Accessed Dec. 4, 2009)
  • Krcmar, Stephen. "Longboarding's fans are on a roll." Los Angeles Time. Aug. 18, 2008. (Accessed Dec. 8, 2009)
  • Longboard Empire. "Which longboard is right for me?" (Accessed Dec. 4, 2009)
  • Robinson, Kelly. Adjusting Longboards. Personal Interview. Dec. 10, 2009.
  • Soul Boards. "About Longboarding." (Accessed Dec. 10, 2009)
  • Silverfish Longboarding. (Accessed Dec. 10, 2009)