Decks are gender-neutral. Guy, girl or however you define yourself – it doesn’t matter. What matters for dance and freestyle decks are your shoe size, height, weight and preferences. Many components of your setup influence your skating and security when dancing and freestyle skating. There is no fixed setup that fits everyone perfectly, so take the challenge: Find the deck that fits you best. Once you’ve found it, it’s like skating in paradise.
If you’re short with small feet, then you don’t need a super-long, plank like deck. A common size for a dance deck is between 1.10 m and 1.25 m (43.3”–49.2”) in length and 20 cm to 24 cm (7.87”–9.45”) in width – there should always be space to move up and down the board. A longer wheelbase is good for beginners because it’s more stable, but a shorter wheelbase is better for advanced moves because it’s more agile. As long as there’s enough space on your board to comfortably cross-step (and it isn’t too narrow), then it fits your feet.
Personally, I like a symmetrical shape with wide kicks and wheel flares (instead of cutouts) because I can use more space and feel more in control without being afraid of stepping on the wheels. I also prefer a constant width that offers me enough space for all my steps and moves.I prefer rocker over camber because it provides more security, orientation and a better foothold. I like concave because it helps me feel my deck, and stay on it, while dancing fast with flow and quick carves. Specifically, I prefer a mild, smooth concave – although intense concaves can give you more stability and agility.
Most brands offer decks in different flexes, from stiff to super flexy. Some flex can be nice for dancing, but it’s not necessary. For me, it’s always a great feeling when a light flex (which is stiff for my weight) responds to carves and I become one with the flow. If you want to combine dance moves and tricks, then a stiffer board may be best for you because it’s easier to control. Remember, the right flex is dependent on your weight and style. A wobbly board that touches the floor isn’t fun – not for dancing or freestyle.
When it comes to a more freestyle and trick-based riding style, you should choose a board with kicks and a sweet pop that offers enough space for your feet. I recommend a topmount, so you don’t have to maneuver around your trucks and wheels when doing tricks. A lighter board will also be helpful because you’ll have an easier time picking up, flipping and tossing your board for tricks.
In the end, longboards are all different. That’s what makes them so special and gives you more options to choose from. So find your perfect fit: Try different decks, know what you want to accomplish with your board, and feel comfortable skating on it. I promise, once you’ve dialed in your perfect setup, you’ll love it and won’t want to skate anything else.