The “flex” (flexibility) determines the stiffness of the board, how shock absorbent the board is and influences the stability of your ride at different speeds. Finding the right board flex for your longboard is an important part of selecting your perfect board.
To Flex or Not to Flex that’s the question
Sorry, flex and speed don’t go well together.
For high speed you want low flex and your board needs to be more ridged. You want that stability when you race down the hill and want to be standing on a sturdy board.
On the other hand when you want to cruise around on a mellow ride you will benefit from soft flex so you don’t feel every bump or crack in the pavement or sidewalk.
Finding the right Softness for your ride
When you choose a style and shape of board the deck will come with a certain flex. Sometimes you can pick between a couple of options in respect to flex. Knowing the impact of flex will help you narrow down your choices. Not every combination exists, however it is good to know what’s out there and to know what the flex means for your ride.
For freestyle you want a little bit of soft/medium board flex so you don’t feel every jump, however to still keep control over your board when carving you don’t need a super soft board as that might make your tricks and turns harder to perform.
When free riding you are looking for some speed, so lean towards a medium/stiff board which will give higher stability also at moderate speeds. For downhill riding you want stiffness so the board doesn’t start to wobble when you pass the speed limit, you want to keep complete control and stiffness is a must.
Profiling your board / board profiles
Board profiles come in 3 shapes
- camber deck – ideal for cruising
- flat deck – great for free style
- rocker decks – a bit more appropriate for free ride and downhill
With the cambered shape the middle of the board is a bit higher and results in a slightly higher ride. This gives you the option to lean-in more and makes it easier to turn your board. It behaves and flexes more like surfing and snowboarding where you “spring” out of the carves. Great for people who want their water or snow experience to continue on concrete.
Flat is flat – it has best of both the camber and the rocker worlds – great for freestyle.
By the rocker shaped decks the middle is a bit lower, resulting in a slightly lower ride. The lower center of gravity gives more stability and quite a bit more board control.
In many aspects a longboard is similar to a car, it needs to fit and match the activity you want to perform. Driving very fast with a pick-up is not something the car was build for. Trying to move a sofa with a sports car can be a challenge. So just like selecting the right car for the right job – pick the appropriate board flex for what you want to do.
Next time we will look at kicktails, should you have one or can you do without?
Go shred and have fun.