As longboards are meant to make you surf easily, selecting the best longboard for varying abilities is more troublesome for experienced surfers than for beginners.
Longboards have been around for a very long time, thousands of years in fact, as they were the primary mode of transportation between neighboring islands in Polynesia. The main reason is that they are so easy to use.
New longboard surfboards are somewhat different, but much more so on the inside than on the outside. While old longboards went all up to 15 feet, modern versions rarely pass the 10 feet mark, as there is no need.
Finally, unlike the old wooden longboards, new ones are made with lightweight materials that make it possible for everyone to pick up and carry a longboard.
As you can imagine, carrying a 15-foot wooden plank is quite difficult, even for those with good upper body strength.
What Makes a Longboard?
As can be seen from the name, longboards are bigger than their surfing cousins.
Generally, any surfboards longer than eight feet would be considered a longboard, but there are some discussions if the use of the board is important for this title.
Most longboards will have fins, as well as traction surface in the middle that makes it easier to stand and paddle, but not all of them. Some longboards will be much more streamlined and with a bit of actually surfing in mind.
Also, a longboard is much more stable than smaller boards, as it is made for people to easily stand on and paddle with an actual oar rather than their hands.
Finally, there are longboards now that are not even technically boards, as they are made from plastic and inflated to become buoyant.
Best Longboards for Beginners
While most experienced surfers make a little smirk every time inflatable soft-tops are mentioned, these are not a bad choice for those just starting with the activity.
But, solely due to the fact that inflatables are not technically boards, they will be excluded from this list.
Additionally, practicing on an inflatable board will not give you a good feel for the real thing, and you will need a new beginner’s longboard when you switch.
Thankfully, these soft beginner boards are not hard to find, and they are of excellent quality, usually taking the best of both worlds between firm materials and foam.
The Wavestorm is slick, easy to ride, lightweight, and comes at an amazing value.
Additionally, the board is versatile due to its small weight and excellent buoyancy. This means that you can both stand on it and surf the waves with ease.
While as hard to nose-dive as longboards in general, this piece is quick to maneuver as the soft foam construction responds to even small pushes.
The core of the board is made from marine plywood, keeping the form in place and preventing the waves from flexing it too much. Combined with the polyethylene bottom, surfing on this longboard is a real joy.
- Soft Water Barrier Skin IXL
- EPS Core
- Polyethylene Bottom Skin
- 8 feet long
- Good Textured Traction Pad
- Bolt-Thru Fins
This is a very fun longboard that is so versatile that you will be able to use it well into your intermediate surfing.
Apart from being easy on the eyes, this board is also easy to ride and behaves excellent on the waves. It is soft on the top and firm on the bottom, which is ideal if you are just starting, as you will be able to stay on the board over most waves.
The core is made from dual wood stringers and compressed foam composite. With the higher density bottom, the board will cut through the water, and the changeable fins are there for additional maneuvering.
- Dual Wood Stringers Core
- Composite Foam Body
- High-density Bottom
- 8 feet long
- Very Light
- Easy to Ride
- Changeable Fins
The North 2 combines the advantages of solid fiberglass and EPS foam to create a durable and versatile board. This is why it will not just cut through the waves, but protect your feet while doing it.
The soft core wrapped in thermoplastic is an excellent solution for warm-weather surfing as it removes the need to wear scuba socks when surfing.
Finally, with the combined weight of only 10 pounds, this board is incredibly easy to maneuver, and the fins are there to help you do just that.
- Wood/Fiberglass Body
- EPS Foam Core
- Thermoplastic Soft Skin
- 8’5’’ long
- Very Lightweight
Best Longboards for Intermediate Surfers
Once you are already firm on your feet and want to try out something faster, you will want to find something firmer.
A rule of thumb is that the better your skill is, the firmer your board should be. Thankfully, modern materials mean that this doesn’t translate to weight directly, but these boards are heavier than foam models.
Beside the stiffness, we see a greater accent on hydrodynamics, making intermediate longboards go faster and stronger, even on smaller waves.
Finally, as your foot will not sink into the fiberglass as it would into foam, good traction on the top is really important when selecting a longboard for intermediate surfers.
The Stormblade can be described as a transition model between the foamies and the plastics.
This board can be as much as 10 feet long, and while the core is made from marine plywood, the top has a 1/6th of an inch thick layer of EBS-IXL foam.
This reduction in weight and the existence of the three fins give this longboard excellent stability, while the polyethylene bottom provides with an excellent base to just cut through the waves.
It is highly recommended for this board to be waxed, as this can add a lot to the speed and maneuverability, as well as protect the board from salt and debris.
- EPS Core with Marine Plywood Stringers
- High-quality HDPE Bottom
- EBS Foam Top
- 9 feet long
- Bolt-thru fins and leash
In the middle of the run, we have the Blackbird PU which is the first board from our list that is completely firm. No foam or other shenanigans, just a solid plexiglass build.
This longboard hits the sweet spot between speed, durability, and stability. This is done with a very firm body and a moderate rocker base that keeps your feet on the board.
This longboard is designed so that everyone could ride it, without needing some special skill, but for those with experience, it will offer much more.
- PU Construction
- Full Outline Design
- Rounded Nose Area
- Tapered Tail
- Moderate Rocker Base
- VtD Concave Bottom
- 17 lbs Heavy
Best Longboards for Advanced Surfers
Even though longboards are very easy to ride, they are one of those things that are quite hard to master.
If you are an experienced surfer, you will know that the ocean is a tricky mistress and that no two waves are alike. You need something stiff and sturdy if you want to take the maximum out of the board.
Thankfully, this doesn’t mean drugging along 100-pound boards made from hollowed out wood anymore, as new materials made advanced boards lighter, cheaper, and objectively better than their predecessors.
Epoxy boards are truly fascinating, as the glue is stiff, flexible, lightweight, and rather buoyant. When properly cured, it gives everything you want from a surfboard.
The Walden Mega Magic 2 is a precisely made longboard for experienced riders, which is made from an EPS core with full timber stringers, over which epoxy is layered to create a streamlined design.
As this board is over 9 feet long, it is fascinating that it doesn’t weight more than 20 lbs, which is quite easy for most surfers to pick up and carry.
The main focus of this model is the redistributed weight of the board that is both thicker and wider than the original Walden. This makes the board behave as it was longer, while still being as maneuverable and light.
- SLX Construction
- EPS Timber Core
- Concave Bottom Profile
- Lots of Rocker
- 9’6’’ Long
- 5 Lbs Heavy
While the Seahorse looks and acts as a modern surfboard, being generally light, maneuverable, and really polished, its design is an hommage to traditional boards from the sixties.
This board has a traditional PU construction with a conventional rocker, making it very stable and very responsive.
The nose is rounded, and gives some help when taking a dive, while the rolled V makes it easier to move while on the wave itself.
- PU Construction
- Polyurethane Body
- Traditional Rocker Profile
- Rounded Nose
- 9ft 8in Long
- 4 Lbs Heavy
- Great Decals
While for a time longboards have lost favor to short surfboards, they are getting a great comeback as more people are returning to this wonderful activity, even as a competitive sport.
Because of this boom, the market is filled with excellent quality merchandise meaning that it is not as hard to ding the best longboard for varying ability.
Beginner, intermediate, or advanced, you are sure to find the right longboard, just for you.