Beginner's Guide to Longboarding
Recent years have generated an increased enthusiasm for the sport of longboarding, and many people, just like you, are here to learn to ride. You are not alone in your journey to master the board! The internet is rife with videos of professionals and amateurs alike that show off their skill and fancy footwork and we want to get you there but first, learn the basics. Patience, young grasshopper! We must learn to walk before we can run, or in our case, push before we can dance. Begin with the basics and then move towards more advanced skills, such as downhill longboarding or tricks. Welcome to the first step in your quest to becoming a confident skater.
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.
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.
Remember, this is just the beginners' guide. As you get more comfortable on your board, you will find that there are other ways to stand. Some longboarders prefer to stand on the tail or the nose of the board, while others stand with both of their feet together while pointing towards the nose of the board. Longboards are made for variety and different positions for style, tricks, dancing, and more. 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 more experienced, you won't even have to think about your stance as it will become natural and your muscle memory will kick in.
How To Carve
Longboard carving may not come naturally to a beginner. But to achieve a high level of comfort and skill, it is important to practice, practice, and practice some more. 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 control because 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.
To learn how to carve properly, practice on a street with a slight decline or in a parking lot. 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, but with some practice, you will start feeling more comfortable. 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. 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.
Style And Discipline
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. You can learn about style and discipline here. Styles can also be merged and most people enjoy experimenting with their own unique style. Have fun, stay safe, and always wear the correct safety equipment gear. Also remember, it is important to choose the board that is best suited for your current ability, and first learn the basic riding style, pushing and cruising.