Skateboarding gained popularity in the early 1950s as the surf culture of Southern California spilt onto the streets. Sidewalk surfing consisted of surfers skating down the sidewalks to practice their surfing manoeuvres. Skateboarding as well as longboarding, created by early surfers, both share popularity in the current alternative sports scene in the United States.
The greatest difference between skateboards and longboards is in the board itself. Standard street skateboarding decks, usually 30 to 32 inches in length, have a width of 7.5 to 8.5 inches. Longboard decks can range from 35 to 100 inches long and can be up to 10 inches wide. Unlike street skateboarding decks, longboards do not have a concave in the tail. The concave of the street deck tail allows skaters to perform modern day tricks while jumping into the air. Longboard decks, used for cruising, do not require a concave tail.
A skateboard's wheels range from 48 to 55mm in diameter. Decks used for street skating need smaller wheels to cut down on the board's weight. The lighter weight of the street deck allows skaters to flip their boards while rolling. Longboard wheels range from 60 to 80mm in diameter. These larger wheels ensure traction as they cut sharp corners and carve steep hills.
Ball bearings used for skateboarding come rated by the Annular Bearing Engineer's Committee. The street skateboard bearings, rated on speed, have a 1, 3, 5 or 7 rating. The slowest bearings on the consumer market receive a rating of 1 while the fastest bearings garner a rating of 7. Bearings used for longboarding can receive a 9 or 11 rating. Longboards can function with these very fast bearings due to their loose trucks which allow for wide turning.
The bushings, located on the kingpins of the trucks, act as cushions when turning the board. The kingpin, attached to a truck's hanger, allows the board to turn. Longboard bushings, produced with softer materials than their skateboard counterparts, enable the longboard to turn at a much sharper radius than the skateboard.
The pictures manufactured on the bottom of longboards often portray a tropical or beach scene. The longboard graphics cater to the surfing demographic as they remain closely related. Street skateboarding graphics vary widely, featuring artwork and popular sayings.
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