Pantheon has 7 different distance longboards for riders looking to commute, athletes, and general cruisers, and would-be longboarders just looking to cover ground easily. I know this can get a bit overwhelming. How do I know? Because easily, the most popular question I get in my inbox is, “Which distance longboard do I choose between…?” or something along those lines. I realize we have quite a few options, and that can seem complicated. But with complexity comes specialization. Such is the nature of the world today, and this also applies to our longboard offerings. We wanted to be able to create the perfect distance board for every rider, or for every situation, and that required us to diversify the line.
Pictured here, from left to right, we have:
- Eternal Ember
Distance Longboard – The Common Thread
Firstly, every one of these distance longboards in our lineup is low. That’s their primary nature. They’re low, and they’re easy to push. Secondly, every one of these boards is optimized to run large wheels and thin trucks. The two outliers are our bracket decks on the right, which are designed to both push AND pump with ease, fitting slim trucks with adjustable angles to optimize for pumping.
Gone are the days where 180mm trucks should be your go-to for distance pushing. I will simply never get behind that. Thinner overall ride widths will reduce the likelihood that you will accidentally kick your wheel. This isn’t a common occurrence, by any means, but the further you go, the more tired you’ll be, and the more likely it is that you may make a mistake. We try to reduce risk by creating a board that will stay out of your way.
These setups feature large wheels that will roll over everything in your path. They also fit thin trucks that will reduce the overall width of your setup to keep your feet from hitting your wheels. For all of these boards, that means you’re running either 149mm street trucks, or 150-165mm RKP trucks, depending on your deck and wheel choice. And you can even go down to 130mm on the bracket decks!
Different Distance Longboards for Different Styles of Riding
It comes down to style. How do you envision yourself riding? What is your vibe?
Let’s first list the boards, and alongside their title, I’ll try to give a quick rundown of what makes it different from the others.
This is the most “cruisery” dedicated distance longboard that we make. “Cruiser” longboards tend to be small and easy to carry around, and generally, they carry with them a chill vibe of just pure riding a longboard, often times with a little bit of surf-style vibe to accompany ease of use. Though the Ember looks different than a lot of cruisers you’ll see on the market, its clean lines, bidirectional shape, and overall simplistic vibe really fit in next to other cruiser-style longboards. Now, granted, the Ember is the most “dedicated pusher” version of a cruiser longboard there is, anywhere. So much so that it really defies the category and almost starts its own category in itself. Let’s call it a “cruiser commuter longboard!”
One of the most noticeable differences this board carries, when compared to the other pushers, is its lightweight and small platform. There is a noticeable flex to the Ember, and it sports the smallest wheelbase of our distance longboards. For this reason, we tend to recommend it to people looking for commuter decks, specifically, and lighter riders who may be looking for their first longboard, in search of something simple, surfy, and easy to ride.
The Eternal Ember also really sets itself apart as a waterproof deck. You can literally ride this board in any condition, and the urethane sidewall combined with fiberglass shell make this deck totally water tight, while the urethane sidewalls also add durability. No, this board is not indestructible, but it’s basically made like a snowboard, and that makes it pretty darn tough, warp proof, and super flexible.
Note that the Ember deck is designed for TKP (classic “street” skateboard) trucks only. We sell it as a complete with 149mm Paris Street Trucks. We really like the Paris trucks for their deep turns, control, and agility. There really isn’t another truck out there that compares.
We typically sell the Ember as a complete with our 86mm 88WheelCo McFly wheels. Although it will fit smaller wheels, we really feel like the smoothness and massive riding momentum that larger wheels carry is a worthy reason to stick to them. The main reasons you might consider something smaller are to reduce weight and to get on a wheel that slides more easily. That said, our McFly slides exceptionally for such a large wheel! This board will ride just fine down to about 70mm without any issues of bottoming out. Obviously, your weight will be a factor in this. The Ember has been tested on people up to about 280 lbs, though I really feel like it shines if you’re under 200 lbs. or so.
The Pranayama shares the same sentiment as the Ember in being low and compact, and both boards are designed specifically around TKP-style trucks (best at 149mm). The most notable differences between them are that the Pranayama is stiffer (less flex), lower, heavier, shorter, and lower. I said lower twice, and it deserves to be noted as such, because the Pranayama is the lowest deck in our lineup!
That’s a lot of differences for two distance longboards that are generally looked at as very similar! So let’s pick it apart.
The Pranayama is 9 inches wide at its max. The maximum width is found right at the heel when standing in “snowboard stance” next to the drops. The Ember, however, has much more relaxed feeling drops. It almost feels like a heavily rockered platform. The Ember drop shape allows you to run your foot all the way up through the drop; however, when you do so, you’re now sitting quite a bit higher than you would be if you’re pushing in the middle of the deck. This is really what the shape asks for.
Combine the profile differences with a more snowboard-style vibe of the Pranayama with deeper drops and a lower ride height, add a ply for increased stiffness, and this board feels significantly more aggressive than the Ember. One way of looking at it would be to say it’s more capable in every way. And while that may be true and a big selling point for the dedicated pusher or the commuter longboarder looking to move with effortless ease aggressively, the board is noticeably heavier and less flexible. For some, they may find the chill vibe of the Eternal Ember more appealing.
How I ride the Pranayama
The Pranayama is actually my commuter longboard of choice for all things relatively flat. Usually, I would pull out one of the RKP style boards for high speed riding. Individual comfort will vary, but I can personally handle any straight hill up to about 35mph on the Pranayama without any fear. Most riders will prefer this deck on the flats, because the TKP truck style is especially easy to control on one foot, making small turning corrections with ease. This makes the board feel a little bit more “wild” at first.
Generally, when I hop on this board, I feel a little more out of control (when compared to the RKP-style pushers) and then about 15 seconds in that “lack of control” actually becomes “ease of manipulation.” The deck is just easy to control and easy to ride! It would be my board of choice for taking on substantial distance in most applications. That’s me, though! Everyone likes different things. For me, the wild but tamable stallion is what I am most into!
The Trip is our longest standing distance longboard deck in the lineup. It has always been the most integral piece of our pusher offerings. This is because it employs more standard “longboard” equipment with the RKP trucks. The Trip was our first highly competitive distance longboard when it comes to competitive skating. Guys like Joe Mazzone, Kyle Yan, Eric Palmer, and Harrison Tucker have all ridden and competed on the Trip at one point or another. Some of them still do! I designed the Trip and have competed on it plenty as well! It has not been outdated–only updated.
Difference Between RKP and TKP Trucks
The most notable difference between the Trip and Pranayama or Ember is the standard “longboard,” or RKP, trucks. These have been the gold standard design for longboard trucks since their inception. They are inherently more stable than street trucks, and their turn is noticeably more “linear.” This means that the second you start to lean on them, they’re turning. And the more you lean, the more they turn. That turn is consistent from top to bottom (fully leaning and compressing the bushings).
Alongside a street truck, you’ll find the street trucks to feel a bit more squirrely, and the turn is described as “progressive,” meaning that the more you lean, the turn increases on a parabolic curve. So they’re squirrely in the center, and then they dive over easily and increase their turn as they go. With the Trip and its RKP trucks, you get enhanced stability. This makes it especially great for more high-pressure rides like skating in traffic or racing. A lot of skaters will prefer the Trip for excessively long-distance skating because the increased stability allows them to focus less on their balance. That’s why we tend to recommend the Trip as our top double drop longboard for long distance skateboarding.
Furthermore, that stability is especially important once you start taking the Trip on hills. For me, I have no problem with riding the Pranayama and its TKP trucks through traffic. I even love it on extra long-distance rides. I thrive on that loose center, which, for me, aids in keeping the board under me any time I lose balance. If I fall to the left or right, I can twitch the board over underneath my center of gravity with zero effort. But once it comes to riding on hills, and especially when I need to grip some corners, the Trip takes over as my board of choice.
RKP trucks are inherently more grippy than TKP trucks are, and that grip is confidence-inspiring when you need it. And they definitely stay under control more easily, reducing the likelihood of wobble. Some would say that RKP trucks feel more reactive. I would agree with that, as the initial turn is more abrupt, with no floating around in free space. You’re straight, or you’re turning. But RKP, as a result of having a more defined center point and more definition while turning, also stay under control more easily. The Trip has been my board of choice for hilly courses.
One thing you can do to even further increase the stability on your long distance longboard, be it a Trip or any other, is to change the truck angles. Some riders may experience speed wobbles when they’re riding exceptionally fast. The best thing to do here is to improve your form and your confidence, because when riders get nervous, they tend to get tight. When riders get tight, their body no longer sucks up the road vibrations and truck oscillations as well as it should. Speed wobbles can be the result. So lean forward (you want to keep your weight around 80/20 front bias), stay loose, and ride it out!
Barring changes to your riding, you always have control over how you set up your board. The best thing you can do to focus your attention to the front is to set up an asymmetrical setup. Lower the rear angle and leave or even increase the front angle. This provides more front-steering control with the rear of the deck doing more of the trailing. This is a setup basic when it comes to stability.
For many truck companies, the industry standard is a 50 degree truck. Some of the more awesome truck companies know the importance of a lower degree truck offering, and companies like Paris offer a 43 degree option. Caliber offers a 44 degree option, and Bear Trucks actually offers a 40 degree option! All of these lower degree angles, when place in the rear, can increase your stability.
The Quest was actually the original Pantheon distance longboard back when we started Pantheon in 2014. At the time, we weren’t even sure we could get these curves to work. The crescent drop in the Quest, in 2014, was the most radical mold curve in skateboarding. We still haven’t seen anyone match it, now 6 years later.
So why pick the Quest? Well, this is fairly simple for me. First, the Quest has a LOT more foot space than our smaller boards. And while most riders can get used to the small platforms on the Trip, Pranayama, or Ember (some riders even prefer having the lower area of foot space, given that the boards are extremely utilitarian with no waste space), some riders will just simply want more room. Having more room in the platform can certainly induce confidence. You don’t want to be taking on a long skate and concerned that you might step back onto a wheel while you’re in the middle of some epic adventure.
The Quest construction is built with an extra ply when compared to the Trip or Pranayama. It is a 7-ply Canadian maple core, and that extra ply actually significantly increases the Quest’s stiffness and strength. This makes the Quest especially great for larger, heavier riders that are specifically interested in pushing distance. It also couples nicely as a distance longboard that can manage skate packing adventures and/or ride comfortably at speed, ascending and descending hills.
The Quest is equipped with a bit more concave than the Trip. That makes is especially comfortable at speed, as riders will feel locked in and stable. While still flat in the center, the Quest definitely feels very comfortable in foot-forward pushing stance, but when you dig into the board in more of a downhill stance, you’ll feel locked in, with a slightly stiffer platform, mild concave, slight rocker, and active crescent drops which allow your foot to wrap around the drop and use it as a leverage point. Though the boards are similar in practice, the longer wheelbase of the Quest is notably more stable, which is especially useful when skating downhills.
Skate Packing and Adventure Skating
The Quest is our recommended deck as a skate pack or adventure skate longboard. Because it still features our standard layup with the fiberglass and veneer shell and full epoxy layup, the deck is exceptionally weatherproof. You can trust the construction of the Quest to weather some storms, and because of the longer wheelbase and stiffer platform, you can trust the board at speed, knowing that whatever lies ahead on the trail, you will be okay. It has a very slight flex–enough to feel–and will suck up a great deal of road vibration when coupled with large and soft wheels like our 86mm McFly Wheels.
One of the top reasons we recommend the Quest for skate packing is because it comfortably runs 150mm trucks with our wheels. This slim setup is especially ergonomic, and on long multi-day adventure skate treks, you’re going to be trying to make every single push as easy as possible.
The Nexus is the beefiest of the distance longboards in our quiver. It sports the deepest concave, the most “active” drops (meaning we cut the profile to make the entire curve of the drop a big part of the shape), and the stiffest platform of any of the push decks. It also has the longest wheelbase options. For this reason, we consider the Nexus to be primarily a freeride / downhill board that ALSO is super low and pushes very easily. It is the widest board in our pusher lineup and couples very nicely with 165mm trucks and offset wheels.
There are two truck mounting options on the Nexus. The Nexus truly shines as a double drop freeride board, and if you set it up right, you can ride 165mm/43 degree Paris trucks on the inner holes with a 69-70mm slide wheel like Powell Peralta Snakes or our 65mm 88WheelCo Mooonwalkers! This is a killer combo, as it gets your feet closer to the wheels for added control. It is a fantastic setup for learning on, putting you closer to the ground for increased stability and releasing traction super easily, while still providing a large enough wheelbase to feel comfortable at just about any speed.
The one thing that the Nexus stands out in is speed management. The longer wheelbase and stiffer platform will assist in comfort at just about any speed you can take this thing. Truly. I would take this board down the fastest hill I’ve ever ridden, given the right truck and wheel setup. I wouldn’t think twice about it until I started really needing an increased grip around corners. At the same time, you can ride that same setup for miles and miles comfortably, given the low platform and comfortable concave. For this reason, the Nexus is my board of choice for my favorite type of ride: the up-down.
Being in Colorado, we have access to a wide variety of terrains, and one of my favorite things to do to challenge myself is to push up a mountain and then ride back down. A lot of people might call me crazy for this, but every person I’ve ever taken on one of these rides has enjoyed it substantially, combining the challenge of a distance ride with the excitement of downhill. To me, this is the future, and as long as I can stay healthy, this will be the type of riding that keeps me young in body and mind. In fact, the main reason I chose to redesign the Nexus and bring it back was simply so that I had a board that could manage this terrain and type of riding, for me personally.
As a side note, and probably equally important, the Nexus is easily the strongest of our double drop longboard quiver. The Nexus is the best long distance board for heavy riders. This board has been tested up to 350 pounds, while the Quest has been tested up to about 280 lbs. The increased concave on both of these decks adds to their stiffness and makes them ideal contenders for heavier riders looking for a low ride that is super easy to push. If you’re looking for a double drop longboard designed for heavy riders, the Quest and then the Nexus (depending on weight) are the boards you want to be looking at.
Quickly, let’s just discuss the weird boards to the right in our photo at the top of this post. What in the world is going on, right?
Well, if you haven’t seen bracket boards before, here’s the quick rundown. Essentially, a bracket of some type fits to the ends of the standing platform. Generally, that bracket is going to lower the board. It will also set up the truck angles to be more efficient and effective at pumping. And so the effect is twofold. The platform is nice and low for pushing and then the setup is also effective at pumping as well! These are advanced and more complex setups for the type of riders that want to tinker with angles, bushings, trucks–all in the search for peak performance.
These are used for about 80% of riders who attempt the UltraSkate (24 hours of skating to see how far you can go). And many riders prefer these for ultra long distances. For me, it really depends on the course. All flat, few turns and/or very long turns? Bracket decks can be truly awesome. But count me out when you start to incorporate significant hills, hard turns, traffic, or conditions where you just don’t know what will be in the path. Many riders will set these boards up with zero degree rear trucks or close to it. Often times this results in a very long turning radius, which you just don’t want on really tight turns. But they are very efficient in the straights! You’ll have to evaluate whether this makes for a good fit for your needs.
The Bandito is our utilitarian pro model for Joe Mazzone. Joe rode his Bandito to a world record in the UltraSkate, skating just over 313 miles in 24 hours. This deck is lightweight and small with just enough room for two fairly large feet (Joe is a US size 12) with really no extra room. We mapped out the board specifically for his feet and his needs, and it is a performer. The utilitarian design of this board and winged flares at the front combine for great board feel with no wasted space, making the Bandito the best longboard bracket platform for UltraSkate. It’s proven! It happened!
Riders who choose the Bandito because they want a utilitarian bracket setup. This is the only bracket platform that I would consider for city-style riding, because it’s small enough to still feel agile. For city style riding, you should consider doing a double-bracket setup so that you can run two trucks and find a nice happy medium between pumping and pushing. It will not be the most efficient at speed in the straights, but it will be nimble and fun and it will pump very well. For UltraSkate, I would set up the board with a zero degree rear. Joe sets his board up with a DontTrip Delirium, and usually I would set it up with a GBomb torsion tail. Personally, I like the flow of the TTX. Be prepared to spend a lot of money, but these setups are indeed quite cool!
The Wiggler is pretty wild looking. It is so different from the Bandito as a design concept that one almost wonders if it even makes sense. While the Bandito is the record breaker, the Wiggler offers something that the Bandito never will. And that something is pure comfort. There are a couple schools of thought for UltraSkate, and the reality is that there is only one record, and each year there is only one winner.
If you’re gunning for that win, you want something lightweight and minimalist, most likely. But if you’re me–and I am by no means ever going to be taking a win at UltraSkate–you’re not thinking about how fast you can go, but rather how long you can stay on the board. The Wiggler is designed for me and people like me. The Wiggler is designed for pure comfort.
The long platform of the Wiggler provides ample foot space. It creates an obscenely long wheelbase that is exceptionally forgiving for switching around your feet and your stance. This is the board that I learned to switch pump on. It feels so good on this board, because when properly set up, it is hyper efficient and forgiving. The long wheelbase really asks for a super soft setup in front. This is intentional, because it requires less muscular input to turn the truck.
Although the top speed may be a little lower, if your goal is to stay on the board, you want to use as little energy as possible to keep that board moving forward. The long platform of the board sags a bit down in the middle. This makes the Wiggler the lowest bracket platform setup I’ve ever tried. For that reason, it is also a bit limited. You are going to use the Wiggler for wiggle-style pumps toward the front of the board. These are front foot weighted pumps. If you put too much into the back, riders can usually bottom it out quite easily. The back, then, is made for low pushing, so that you can use as little energy as possible to continue moving forward. This is the essence of distance longboards. The Wiggler’s extra long length has a true purpose here.
I don’t think anyone is going to be breaking world records on the Wiggler. Riders who just want to stay on the board will find themselves riding for longer. Every time I take that board to UltraSkate, someone ends up borrowing it from me. And then I never get it back. Next time I go, I am not going to lend it out. I’ll just bring a second setup! I’m trying to break my own records here! I’ll have to stay on the board for an entire 24 hours to do it.
Obviously, lowness is a major factor with all these boards. So, quickly, I’m just going to list the differences in center profile shape and ride height between all of these decks.
The Ember sports about a half inch drop with a 1/4 inch rocker, for maximum lowness at 3/4 inch. Combine that with a bit of flex and TKP trucks, which tend to be lower than RKP trucks, and you have quite a low board! It is probably about the same lowness as the Trip. It is lower than the Nexus and Quest, but not as low as the Pranayama. This is true for our stock setups.
If desired, this board can be made lower by switching from Paris trucks to Indy 149s by around 1/4-inch, or you can add drop-through risers and lower the board that way. I prefer the Paris trucks, so if I wanted a lower board, I would add the drop-through riser. Even then, I’ll take a small addition of ride height for a better feeling turn, personally.
The Pranayama is the lowest of the distance longboards in the quiver. It sports the deepest drop and a slight mustache profile, much like a snowboard. There’s a tiny bit of rocker in the foot pockets and just a tiny bit of camber in the center. This gives the Pranayama a nice lively flex to it. It’s not going to bounce a lot, but it definitely holds a little bit of energy in the center. That slight camber in the center is there to give the center of the board a little extra clearance and keep it from rubbing on the ground. In total, the deck drops 1.3 inches at the lowest point, right in the foot pocket. It combines with TKP trucks, which are typically lower than their equivalent RKP trucks.
The Trip sports the exact same platform shape and size as the Pranayama. It just has a longer neck design to fit RKP trucks and 85mm wheels. The fit is perfect. This particular curve on the Prana and Trip is THE most radical wood bend in skateboarding. Prove me wrong. When set up, the deck is higher than the Pranayama because of the trucks. Stick it right next to an Ember, and the lowest points on the platforms line up almost identically.
The Quest and Nexus are the same platforms in terms of lowness. They both have 1-inch drops with a very slight rocker in the center, for a combined lowness of 1.15 inches. You will typically set these up with RKP trucks. They will be the highest of all the double drops, but only by slightly over 1/8-inch. We are not talking about a ton of height difference. While you can feel it, I would let things like stiffness, setup design, and intended use be the reason for choosing one board over the other. That said, if lowness is a big factor for you, the Pranayama is the lowest board in the quiver. It’s definitely noticeable!
Of the bracket decks, the Wiggler is going to ride the lowest because of the long platform and flex. The nature of brackets is such that you have a lot of control over ride height based on the bracket and truck combination you choose.
Quivers are the Future
The idea that one longboard can or should do anything is the past. We created five different distance pushers and two bracket style longboard platforms because they are all different. They ride differently, and they will manage different riders, riding styles, and terrain differently. Every detail has been heavily considered. The smallest shape changes and multiple mold changes over the years truly bring out the best possible riding characteristics for each deck and deck purpose. Be sure you check out our complete options on the website.
These offerings are the completes which we feel offer the best value and exceptional ride characteristics. You can certainly go out and purchase a set of $400 CNC trucks for these. Many people do, but for most riders, this is not necessary. In October 2019, I took a stock Pranayama to Beijing, China. I rode it to win an international distance skateboard marathon there against some of the best in the world. This was a full-stock setup, exactly as we sell it on the website. I even rode stock bushings!
Consider your purpose, your vision of yourself, and how you intend to ride. Then, feel free to reach out and ask questions if you need extra clarity in making your decision. Our lineup varies enough that if you’re looking for this type of deck, you should be looking at a Pantheon. If they’re not available, they’re worth waiting for. If they ARE available, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger on a board. It will be a mainstay in your longboard quiver on day one and will continue to be. You ask just about anybody with a Pantheon pusher longboard which deck they ride the most. One of these will likely be the answer.