Over the past few years, there has been a major influx in the amount of people who want to learn longboarding. The increasing popularity of this sport is growing on a large scale.
Naturally, beginners who are planning to learn longboarding should start from the basics and then move towards more advanced skills, such as downhill longboarding or tricks. Beginners may feel drawn to more complex areas of the sport, such as downhill, however, this is not advisable when first starting out.
But what are the basics....
Learn How to Ride a Longboard
Understanding the basic parts of a longboard is the first step to learning how to ride one. Generally, people who have skateboarding experience already have some knowledge about the parts that comprise a longboard. These are the parts that make up a longboard:
There are other more technical parts, such as the riser pads that allow you to change the height of the board or the bearing spacers, but these are the five basics components.
Having the knowledge of these five components will help a person to know their ride better.
The deck is the main feature of a longboard and it comes in different styles, designs, materials, and colors. There are also different categories of longboards, one of which is a drop down board, and is considered to be the best selection for learning longboarding. Other categories comprise of different wheel cuts, different top mounts, double kick, single kick, pintail, and lots more features. Knowing about all types of boards will help a person make the right decision when selecting a board for themselves.
Knowledge About Style And Discipline
After learning about the different parts and types of longboards (Drop through longboard, Cruiser Longboard, Downhill Longboard, etc.), the next step is to learn about the styles. Different styles of riding give way to different techniques, some of which are pushing, freestyle, dancing, cruising, and downhill.
As a beginner, a person always starts with pushing or cruising, whether on a standard skateboard or longboard. All you do is push your board with one leg and cruise around. When carving, the person moves back and forth while riding, instead of just riding in a straight line. Carving requires a special board with soft, gripping wheels which makes it easy for the rider to make hard curves without slipping.
Freestyle riding is all about technicality; it is the same idea as street skating in that you must demonstrate difficult tricks and stunts. A freestyle board is also different than a normal longboard, it’s smaller in size and has at least one kicktail.
Dancing is a difficult form of longboarding and is most commonly known as boardwalking. It’s a very advanced form of longboarding and in some ways can be related to cruising. There are various dancing styles that require a person to perform tricks ranging from easy to difficult.
In freeriding, the rider can ride freely on the street or down a hill with additional style. This style of riding is more technical than your traditional longboarding.
So to summarize, initially, you need to choose the board that is best suited for you, then learn the basic riding style, cruising.
Determining Your Stance
Before you start longboarding, you need to make sure that you have the right stance. As in any board sport, there are two types of stances: regular stance and goofy stance.
In a regular stance, you ride with your right foot back and with your left foot leading.
Goofy stance is basically the opposite of regular stance, in that you ride with your left foot back and your right foot leading.
There are two basic methods that you can determine your stance with.
The first method is to try moving or kicking something with your foot and note which foot you use. Whichever foot you used is the one that will be placed on the back of your longboard. The second method is to ask a friend to give you a push and whichever foot you step forward with first will be placed in the back of your stance. While these two methods work, they are not 100% accurate. They can, however, help guide you in the right direction. When starting longboarding, try both stances and see how they feel. One of these stances will make you feel comfortable, confident and relaxed, and the other will be shakier and less natural.
Learn How To Stand On A Longboard
Now that you have determined what your stance is, the next step is learning how to stand on a longboard. In the beginning, the standard stance can be very helpful, but as you get more comfortable with longboarding, there are many different ways of standing.
When standing on a longboard, you need to have a solid base and low center of gravity. To begin, stand in the center of your board with both of your feet directly beneath your shoulders. Then slightly bend your knees to solidify your base and lower your center of gravity. If you are not comfortable, you can slightly widen your stance. Always be aware of which direction you are leaning towards. When you are riding downhill, try to avoid leaning backward; leaning forward and tucking yourself together a bit will help you maintain your balance and low center of gravity.
Please note that this is not the only way to stand on a longboard; this is just the beginners' guide. As you get more acquainted with longboarding, you will find that there are several other ways to stand. Some longboarders prefer to stand on the tail or the nose of the board, while others stand with both their feet together while pointing towards the nose of the board. Longboards are made to allow different positions to make different tricks, such as dancing, possible.
Many longboarders also crouch on their board when riding, which is an awesome way to lower your center of gravity. When bombing hills, it can help make you feel more steady at high speeds and when going around curves. As you become a more experienced longboarder, you won't even have to think about your stance as it will become natural and your muscle memory will kick in.
Introduction To Carving
Many beginner longboarders want to have expert skill, but to achieve this level, you need to practice, practice, and practice some more. Longboard carving may not come naturally to a beginner longboarder. Many beginning longboarders don’t know what carving is, or how it helps a longboarder? Carving is not only a fun activity, but it is also necessary for speed control. To carve, shift your body weight to the toe edge of your foot and then shift your weight to the heel side. Continue to shift your weight back and forth so that your board makes an “S” pattern while you are riding. Making an "S" pattern while riding helps you maintain your control being that it slows you down. In addition, carving gives you a sense of control on a longboard. When you are longboarding, it’s very easy to lose control if you do not know how to carve correctly.
The Primary Step To Learn Carving
To learn how to carve properly, you need to start out by practicing on a street with a slight decline or in a parking lot. When starting out you don’t want to deal with anything that is too abrupt. As always, make sure that you wear a helmet while you longboard.
- Initially, push a little to get some speed with your back foot, heading down the hill.
- Next, you need to bend your knees slightly. Then, shift your weight towards your heel to begin your carve.
- You will notice that your longboard turning in the direction that you're leaning. Stop when you reach the side of the street.
Once you stopped carving towards your heel-side, it’s time for you to carve towards your toe-side. Carving towards your toe-side can be a little more difficult than carving towards your heel-side. With some practice, you will start feeling more comfortable. When you're ready to try for yourself, push with your back foot and lean towards your toes. As you ride, remember to slightly bend your knees to maintain balance. Try to not lift your heels off the board as you lean and you should feel your board tilt under your feet. Now with this position, you should be heading towards the other side of the street. Once you have reached the other side of the street, stop. Now that you know how to carve heel-side and toe-side, keep repeating them to get more practice and each time you reach the side of the street, stop and go back in the other direction. This will help you get familiar with carving without gaining too much speed.
Once you feel comfortable, try combining your heel and toe carve. Instead of stopping when you reach the side of the street, lean towards the opposite side to change direction. You can carve with wider turns to descend the hill slowly or carve with narrower turns to descend with more speed. With some thorough practice, you can carve on your longboard in no time.
Longboarding is one of the most interesting sports; it involves a lot of imagination. The tactics and skills you show on your longboard are only limited by your imagination and a little by physics.
There are many different ways to riding a longboard. You need to determine what you want to do with your board and pick the right style according to your skill level and what you enjoy to do while riding. Some people are adrenaline junkies, while others just want to cruise.
You might be surprised to find that you need two or more board's to cater to your longboarding style, but first, let’s figure out what exactly is your main style?
Many different styles can be merged into each other and most people enjoy experimenting with their own unique style.
There are four main Longboard riding styles, which are as follow:
- Downhill Longboarding
- Freestyle Longboarding
Downhill long boarding is all about speed, meaning you have to bomb a hill as fast as you can while maintaining your balance and control. You should be crouched on your board to increase your stability and to reduce wind-resistance.
Freestyle means you get to be creative; you can do anything you want with your ride. However, freestyle riding includes a lot of technical skills such as board tricks, dancing, sliding, or regular tricks.
This style is for all skill levels and can be enjoyed by beginners and experts alike.
Cruising is the first style most longboarders learn. In cruising, you cruise around the town, park, campus, your neighborhood, or wherever there is a flat hard surface. Whether you are going from point A to B or just riding to have some fun, it’s all cruising. Activities like board-walking or dancing or a relaxed ride are all a part of cruising. This style of riding is ideal for beginner riders as it is an excellent way for the beginners to learn how to maintain their balance and practice their board control.
Dancing on a Longboard
Dancing on a longboard is a term created by Adam Stokowski and Adam Colton; the two passionate longboarders who combined the characteristics of surfing, freestyle skateboarding, dance, and whatever they found interesting, into a new, creative longboarding style. These tricks are not like the tricks found in traditional longboarding, but instead, this form of riding is all about style and incorporating a variety into longboard riding.
Every style of longboarding is fun, so try them all and see which one fits your style best, and most importantly find which one you really enjoy doing. Have fun, stay safe, and always wear the correct safety equipment gear.
Some cool tricks on a Long board
Everything You Need To Know About Downhill Longboarding
Longboarding emerged as a sport in the mid-1950s, the same time that surfing exploded in Southern California. When the surfers just didn’t get enough from the waves, they took their surfing skills to the streets with homemade longboards made from wood planks with roller skate wheels.
Soon sidewalk surfing became a sport of its own, blazing the path that led to the emergence of skateboards in the 60s and 70s. Currently, longboarding is a sport that is evolving with every passing minute, with different disciplines and styles. And over the past years, companies have become more devoted to creating new designs and well-developed longboards for every kind of longboarder, making different options much more accessible.
Downhill Longboarding – What Is It?
Just like with a skateboard, there are a lot of things which can be done with a longboard; you can use it as transportation and cruise around the streets of a busy city or you could use your longboard for doing freestyle stunts in the park. Ride your longboard anywhere, in any way you like, and in whatever way you can imagine. There are many different types of longboards for every style, terrain, or purpose with the structure of longboards constantly evolving and becoming tailored to every skaters' needs.
Here let’s discuss one particular type of longboarding – Downhill Longboarding.
Downhill Longboarding is one of the most popular styles of longboarding; it is the fastest, most thrilling, and perhaps the riskiest out of all the longboard styles. Downhill longboarding has come a long way from being a trick in skateboarding to becoming as its own unique sport.
Downhill longboarding is all about speed; there are different variations of downhill longboarding, but they all share the same fundamental concept- riding down a hill at fast speeds.
In downhill longboarding, most of the time the rider stands up on their board, however with some variations of downhill longboarding, a skater may lay down on the board with his feet forward. This technique helps the rider attain a higher speed because of their reduced wind-resistance, however, this makes control over the longboard a lot simpler and some riders don't enjoy the limited options this style provides.
Downhill longboarding is a famous style of longboarding and its counterpart, stand up downhill longboarding, has gained more popularity over the past years. Longboarding was not as popular in comparison to its elder brother skateboarding, but with time it has gained massive popularity and people have started exploring it as an extreme sport. Longboarding sports have started to have competitions as well, where boarders from all over the world compete to reach the bottom of a hill first.
How Dangerous Is Downhill Longboarding?
Downhill Longboarding isn't dangerous if correct safety precautions are taken, but 'correct safety precautions' can vary widely depending on the circumstances.
In terms of safety it all depends on how well you are protected, you must wear a good quality leather suit, helmet, and protective pads. If you are dressed in appropriate attire for longboarding, then you must crash quite badly to get injured.
If you are wearing a t-shirt and shorts while downhill longboarding then the chances of getting injured are greatly increased. If you dress properly you will enjoy longboarding and also find it a relatively safe extreme sport.
The most highest risk when longboarding is the danger of colliding with cars. To avoid this danger always ride on empty roads and keep a watchful eye for cars. In addition, never assume a car sees you coming and is going to avoid you.
Here's a downhill longboarding video that showcases what, with enough practice, you too can achieve on a Magneto Longboard.
Now go outside and skate!
Peace, Magneto Longboards