Interestingly enough, longboards have been around since the 1950s. During those times, Hawaiian surfers modified their skateboards and gave them more extended decks and larger wheels. They did this to create a design similar to surfboards.
This new longboard is meant to cruise around the streets rather than the rolling waves of the sea. Hence the name ‘sidewalk surfing.’ To better understand the thrill of longboarding, here are a few things that you need to know.
- 1. How To Get Started
- 2. Different Boards, Different Riding Styles
- Wrapping Things Up
1. How To Get Started
If longboarding is an activity that interests you, there are many tips to get you started. Here are some of them:
Choosing The ‘Right’ Board
The first thing to remember when you want to start longboarding is to select the right board for you. The ‘right’ board will always be different for everybody, depending on several factors and preferences.
Begin your selection by considering your body size. You must be able to stand on it for some time while cruising. Another thing to consider is your age and body size.
Make sure that you also take into account your skills in riding a longboard. Whether you’re a beginner or an impressive master of the craft, there’s a perfect board for you. There are several manufacturers and websites, such as longboarding.co, that will help you find that ideal board.
Master Your Riding Stance
A stance is how you position your body while riding, and this includes the placement of your legs and feet on the board. Everybody who engages in this sport has their own unique, natural way of riding the longboard. However, for beginners, this is a thing that you need to establish first.
Identifying your stance is incredibly important because it’ll determine how you’ll be maneuvering your craft.
To find out what stance you’re comfortable with, you can enlist the help of a friend that’ll push you around while you are on the board. Pay close attention to how your feet respond.
The Importance of Locating Your Balance
Like riding a skateboard, you must begin by becoming comfortable with the board before you get yourself moving. First, safely practice on a static board. To achieve this, place your board on a surface full of friction, such as a grassy area or heavy carpet. These surfaces will prevent, or at the very least minimize, your board from moving.
The next thing to do is stand still on the longboard. Establish your natural stance. Your feet on this case should align with—or be more expansive than—your shoulder. Your front foot, whether left or right, should be angled slightly with the deck. Your other foot situated in the back should be perpendicularly placed with the deck.
After this has been established, try bending your knees and lean slightly forward until you’re comfortable with your position. Keep on practicing this daily until you’re confident enough not to have to step down from the board.
Practice Your Push, Turn, And Brake Stances
Aside from your riding stance, there are also several other stances that you have to master. Such postures include the push, turn, and brake. The push and brake stances are somewhat similar in execution, albeit with different functions.
The key to executing this form is to balance yourself on one foot. While standing on your deck, rotate your front foot until it faces toward the nose. While doing this, coordinate your shoulders and hips to face forward as well.
Then, while you squat, execute either a brake or a push with your back foot while it touches the ground. The postures are quite challenging since it requires you to stand on one foot. Therefore, to be familiar with it, it’s highly recommended to practice this on a static posture until you fully understand how to execute these stances.
On the other hand, the turning stance requires you to shift your body weight while using your ankles to swing the longboard around. This movement will cause your deck to lean on its sides with every shifting of weight that you do.
To practice this movement, try to create a rolling back and forth motion using your ankles. Your aim with this is to make your deck lean on its edge. In a moving scenario, this is how you’ll be able to turn on each side. Next, adjust your body weight forward and backward while you lock your ankles to make the deck lean on its edges.
Rolling and Braking
Once you’re familiar with the stances, you’re now reading to get moving. Try searching for a safe spot, maybe a vacant parking lot or a driveway, and begin to position your body with the push or break stance. A strong suggestion is to start on an even terrain so you can balance properly.
For the rolling part, drop your back foot on the ground and do a little push with it to create movement. Keep pushing until you’re comfortable with your speed. Retrieve your back foot and balance your body atop your deck.
For the braking part, what you’ll need to learn is to drop your back foot once again. This time, your goal is to create a steadily increasing friction to reduce your speed until you finally came to a full stop. Make sure that your foot is firmly flat on the ground. This technique works if you’re going at a slow speed. However, it gets more challenging as you move faster.
Learn How ‘To Fall’
Another important thing you need to know about longboarding is that falling is an ordinary occurrence in this sport. People fall all the time. It’s a fundamental part of the learning progression towards becoming an expert.
Falling can be dangerous in some cases. Nevertheless, there are plenty of approaches to reduce the risk of getting injured, or at least in some sense, reduce it to a more manageable manner. This technique is called a ‘Tuck and Rolling.’
As you’re falling, try to land on your forearm while folding your arms towards your torso. The next thing to do is roll on your shoulder in a sideways manner until all the momentum is lost. This maneuver may sound complicated. If you’re still unfamiliar with it, try to practice this on a soft area, perhaps on a pile of pillows on the ground.
As an added protection, wear protective equipment when you’re on your longboarding activities. These pieces of equipment include shoulder, elbow, and knee pads, and don’t forget, a helmet. Also, don’t forget to wear your gloves as they may come in handy during falls.
2. Different Boards, Different Riding Styles
Riding styles is another crucial aspect of longboarding. The type of riding activity you’ll do will directly correlate to the kind of deck that’ll best serve that purpose. However, it can be confusing to choose just one from the extensive number of longboards present in the market.
This section will discuss each commonly used riding style and the boards that best fit them.
Cruiser boards are mainly used as a medium for transportation, either for crossing several streets or leisure around your neighborhood. You’ll most likely encounter a smooth, flat terrain and perhaps a rough pavement in this scenario.
A good cruiser deck will mainly be made out of maple or bamboo to facilitate flexing and shock absorption. These boards often have big soft wheels for easy gripping and rolling over bumps and cracks during the ride.
Longboards designed for carving activities have similarities with cruisers. Yet, they have extra features that make them ideal for sharp turns and leaning. Some of these features include higher mounts to facilitate responsiveness. They also have wheel wells that protect against wheel bites during abrupt maneuvers.
Freeriding boards are those types of decks that are incredibly diverse. They differ in shapes and sizes. Standard freeriding decks are found to be symmetrical with drop-throughs. The fact that there are so many options available speaks to the flexibility of this riding style.
As flexible as your options are, it’s the total opposite when it comes to boards themselves. Decks of this type usually have less flex, and their wheels are typically smaller. Their decks are also designed to be slightly concave to accommodate a more secure feet positioning.
Yes, you’ve read it right. Some longboards are specifically designed for dancing and freestyle! These boards are usually broader, more flexible, and are designed to be symmetrical to facilitate extra movement for the rider.
Dance type boards, specifically, are very long (>42 inches) and wide. These features are intended to allow extra movements such as spinning and dancing on the board. These boards are mostly made with slight concavity to enable a firm grip.
Downhill boards are generally stronger compared to the other boards mentioned in this list because of these decks are typically used in extreme activities such as downhill runs. They’re made out of fiberglass materials that can withstand high speed. They also possess concaved decks with deep rockers for added comfort and security during weaving and descend.
Unlike cruiser and carving boards, downhill decks mainly use hard wheels. These wheels are designed for firmer grip and slides at the maximum speed possible.
Wrapping Things Up
Longboarding is a fun and engaging sport. Whether you’re in it for leisure or its extreme maneuvers, there’s no denying that this sport injects you with enough adrenaline to have you wanting more.
If you’re a beginner, be patient in learning the basics. You’ll get the hang of it eventually. If you’re adept at the sport already, always remember to keep safe while you enjoy the thrill of riding.