Why is wheelbase important on skateboards?

Many skateboarders assume that “width” is all that matters on a skateboard and are unaware of the importance of wheelbase. Do your parents and teachers think skateboarding is a waste of time? Show this video to them! You can use it to prove that skateboarding teaches you things about biology and physics and geometry! Shot at The Cove Skatepark with Sarah Thompson of Silly Girl Skateboards in January of 2011.


49rockon says:

Very informative. Thank you.

Brian Shelford says:

Great video. Thorough!

Samuel Dolnik says:

its a penny board very hard to drive?

Brett Huet says:

Great informative video! What park was this filmed at? Thanks you!

DHT&E says:

Hey I was wondering if you could talk a little about your orange Alva Piranha (16.5). I see Pool King also makes “Pirates”, roughly the same L x W x WB; but the Alva Piranha boasts about it’s “retro surf lines, almost like we shaped it in a surf shaping room with a planer”. Do you think any of that would make it a better choice than the Pirate? Thanx so much!

Jonas says:

Hi Vision, great video. I started skating transitions on a 14 inches wheelbase skateboard and I have a hard time doing it. Now I found that a ~18 inches wheelbase work very well for me but only with RKP trucks (with RKP truck on front and TKP on back it also works very well). My current setup is a riviera cosmic wizard with paris v2 trucks. I really like this deck and its big tail. I found that for me, on wheelbases longer than 18,  reverse kingpin trucks works better. The board with TKP trucks on this WB length seems to loose a little bit of control. Have you ever tried to use RKP truck on the 18 pool king deck of the video? 

BlueJazzKat says:

Nice video! I really like that Pool King Piranha board. What kind of trucks are you running on it?

mylongbrothers says:

Amazing video, good job

Paddy O'Lantern says:

I skate a 42 inch Madrid.

T-Rex says:

i love how your example of a freeride board is a bamboo flexcruiser

Avon G says:

No, your name isn’t Vision

letterbekmen says:

dang that pool seems fun!


The absolute variety of boards, trucks, and the variability in steering angles (by the design of the trucks) mean that your personal choices are just HUGE. I’m not going to get into using angled ‘wedged’ risers here, as I covered those on NCDSA years and years ago, but BUSHINGS, (the urethane or rubber cushions in a truck) are a major factor in how well a board can (or not) turn. And, bushings alter ‘the feel’, greatly as you do any move that makes a truck lean, be it an ollie, a turn, a slide, or an ‘edger’ on one or two wheels. So, Explore that on whatever you skate on! If you like a quicker board feel, or are lighter in weight or lesser in strength, use a softer bushing set-up. If you’re powerful, fast, or a heavier rider, go with some stiffer bushings. They can ‘tune’ your ride exactly if you can feel what the changes are underfoot. Consider doing a ‘mix + match’ with both different sizes and/or durometers of bushing set-ups; this can quell speed wobbles, make ollies/flips easier, allow better steering in freecarve or slalom, or simply make pool grinds more predictable.

The relationship of your trucks, in respects to the gap between trucks (wheelbase size) is, as a general rule, this; A short wheel base will turn a tighter arc than a long one. So, by expanding a wheelbase, you’re making a longer turn shape; Thus, longboards like speed better than freestyle boards.

The turn geometry of a given truck matters, too. I’m not going off the deep end on this ; It can quickly get complicated…. But, if the pivot is near vertical, and the axle right atop the pivot, the truck will turn quickly. If the truck is tall, not ‘low’ like street-skating trucks, it will turn deeper (lean more), but may not turn so quickly (note, Bennett’s; this is a 70’s design, very tall, but with the axle near the pivot tip-point; so, they’re Quick, And turn Deep). If the truck is a Reverse Kingpin (common now on longboards), it will turn deeply, but retain stability because the axle isn’t very close to the pivot’s tip-point.
Again, ALL TRUCKS are affected by BUSHING CHOICES, and the STEERING RATES can be altered by WEDGED RISERS. So, ‘tune’ your trucks carefully, first by picking the type of truck, then by selecting the bushings, and finally, consider wedges to get the steering ratios dialed-in to fit your needs.


Dru Jacobs says:

Most downhill longboards wheelbases now a days go any where for 24-33 in. It just depends on how people like there boards to feel

Ricky Rodriguez says:

Thank you for covering the wheelbase of FREESTYLE boards. Sometimes we freestyler’s feel left out. There aren’t as many of us these days. 

Chris Swepston says:

Hi Vision great video this helped me out a lot. I’m riding a Mc Gill’s blank deck it’s got a 15 inch wheelbase. But I’m thinking a getting a piranha or the pool crusher from Alva. I’m originally a surfer so it feel so much more natural to have my feet farther apart. By the way can you some videos about bushings and wheels and what’s your setup your riding right now in pools?

SkateboardCalifornia says:

Thanks. They are Tracker 161mm trucks. I painted them myself, so don’t look for that color.

BlueJazzKat says:

Cool! Thanks!

Ben says:

I’m about to get a 10″x32″ deck so what size wheel should I get for the board???

Vaes Joren says:

She always mentions how the boards seem more stable, but don’t you loose a lot of agility as the board gets longer, and the main mass, the trucks and wheels, further from the center of gravity? I’ve always loved small short boards because they are so agile and light and feel more responsive.

Carlos Rojas says:

1) shes cute
2) that park looks awesome
3) thanks for the informative videos! Subbed

Andrew Marquez says:

What does he use to sketch on the griptape?

luis lievano says:

I just wonder what Paul Schmitt think about this video, is against everything he thinks.

evelasq1 says:

Thanks for sharing this episode because I surely learned something. Peace!

Dr. Snuggles says:

I’m looking at a long skateboard for street, park and tranny riding, and you seem like the kind of guy to ask about this. I’m between the Skull Skates Gnardog and All City. The Gnardog is 9×35 with a 16″ WB, and the All City is 9×36 with a 17 3/4″ WB. I know that it’s a very small difference between the two boards, but which do you think would be better for my disciplines?

Curtis Williams says:

I’m like 5’9″ and I skate pretty much only street. I find that the longer boards longer around 32″ with a 6.75″ tail and a 14.125″ wheelbase are perfect for me. I also sized down to 8.125 because I find that with narrower trucks I’m able to get it to whip around on 360 flips and the likes a lot easier than with the indy 149’s I’ve been riding. But I noticed my old 8.26 wide, 14.353 wheelbase creature with the 6.5″ tail was way better when trying to skate the small halfpipe at the park. So I’ve kept it for that purpose.

BloodM1st says:

Why do I feel like I just watched an episode of rocket power?

SkateboardCalifornia says:

Thought of doing that a few times, just never got around to it.

SkateboardCalifornia says:

As I say in the beginning – there’s a “sweet spot” for wheelbase and that sweet spot will be different for everyone. Too long a board is bad. Too short a board is bad. Experiment with different lengths and you’ll learn what sizes work best for you.

Donnie says:

push her into the bowl why dont ya

GuitarLord3000 says:

I have a question, is overall skateboard length important when considering what skateboard to buy? Say there’s 2 skateboards that are both 8 inches wide. But one is 30 inches long while the other is 32.5 inches long.

gustavo arturo acuña vielma says:

hellow can you say what model is the board at time 6:00 ? plis . the 15¨wheelbase one .

awsomereseram109 says:

If my back foot standes right over my back truck should I move it back and how does it affect my riding

uscuci says:

Helpful :)

Kemar Burrell says:

Hey thanks for making this video it’s really interesting. I wanted to know what the truck and wheel set up is on the 16.5 inch pool king board.

SkateboardCalifornia says:

Well, if the overall deck is 2.5 inches longer, obviously that means the tail, the wheelbase, the nose, or a combination of a few of those things will be longer too. Of course, it’s impossible to know what elements would be longer without physically getting out a tape measure and comparing the two decks.

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