Longboarding is a sport that combines speed, balance, and adrenaline. Longboarders often cruise the city streets or travel around the hills. This sport has become a trend because it has become a culture, mode of transportation, and artistic expression for many.
However, this sport raises a question: is longboarding dangerous? Longboarding might be a dangerous sport, depending on the rider’s skill, terrain, safety, and awareness of potential threats. Lack of skill and balance makes longboarding riskier for new riders. Accidents can increase when riding on hills or in bad weather. Riders can enjoy the sport without incident but with proper training.
In this article, I will discuss longboarding and its risks and how to stay safe while enjoying this exciting sport.
Before we answer whether longboarding is dangerous or not, let us learn more about longboards.
Skateboarding on a longer, wider board is called longboarding. It has become a popular recreational activity nowadays. Because it is a unique way to enjoy skateboarding while offering more excellent stability, it also offers various styles and disciplines to suit different skill levels.
There are several styles, including cruising, freestyle, downhill, freeride, and dancing.
Cruising: Cruising involves riding your longboard for pure enjoyment and basic transportation. You’ll ride along smooth streets enjoying the scenery.
Downhill: Downhill is all about racing down hills while maintaining control, which requires excellent balance and braking skills.
Freeride: Freeride adding a touch of style to your downhill runs. In this style, you’ll focus on sliding and drifting through corners, giving your ride a bit of adventure.
Dancing: Dancing is like a performance on wheels. Riders present unique tricks and dance-like moves on their boards. This makes it an art form as well as a sport.
Freestyle: In this style, riders perform various stunts on flat ground, ramps, or other obstacles, pushing the boundaries of what can be possible on a longboard.
Longboarding attracts fans for its ease of learning, physical activity, community, and adrenaline rush. Understanding these diverse styles helps riders assess risks and safety measures.
Now, we have learned what exactly longboarding is. Riding longboards can also be pretty dangerous sometimes. I have categorized these into two types: Road hazards and speed or control.
Road hazards for longboarders include road cracks and potholes, which can cause riders to lose balance or fall off their boards, causing injuries. Road debris like gravel, sticks, and small objects can trip drivers. Road traffic increases accident risk, especially at intersections and on busy streets.
Speed and control are key to this sport, but they also pose risks. High speeds make controlling harder. Any loss of control can cause falls or collisions. Accidents can also result from poor braking. According to statistics, braking issues cause many accidents. High-speed boards often can throw riders off balance and cause injuries.
Terrain is important to longboarding safety. The road surface quality affects board grip and rider control. Smooth, well-maintained roads are safer than rough, damaged ones.
Higher speeds and less time to react increase the risk of accidents, especially for inexperienced riders. Areas with little or no traffic are safer to ride. Traffic-filled roads and intersections increase vehicle collision risk.
Though longboarding injury statistics may vary by region and time, here’s an overview and comparison to other sports and activities:
Longboarding accidents often cause fractures. Hands, wrists, collarbones, and sometimes ankles and legs are most vulnerable. These fractures can be hairline cracks or severe breaks.
Fractures usually result from falls where the rider tries to break their fall with an outstretched hand or hits an obstacle or other rider hard. Some fractures require casts or surgery to heal. Recovery time depends on fracture location and extent.
Longboarders often get sprains and strains from overstretching ligaments or muscles. Ankle and knee sprains are common. Sprains and strains can result from sharp turns or sudden stops.
Sprains and strains can cause mild discomfort to severe pain and mobility issues. Physical therapy, rest, ice, and compression usually assist in recovery.
Road rash is a painful injury caused by falling and hitting the sidewalk. It causes abrasions, scrapes, and deeper skin injuries. Riders who fall or slide on the road without protective gear or slide gloves often get road rash. Infections can result from improper wound care.
A head blow causes concussions. Falling and hitting the sidewalks or other objects puts longboarders at risk of concussions. Unprotected head impacts from high-speed falls, obstacles, or sudden stops can cause concussions.
Mild to severe concussions cause dizziness, confusion, headache, and nausea. Even mild concussions need medical attention.
TBIs are severe head injuries caused by high-impact collisions or longboard falls. These injuries include skull fractures and brain bleeding. High speeds can cause riders to hit the ground or objects violently, causing TBIs.
TBIs can be fatal and cause long-term physical impairments. Diagnostics and treatment require immediate medical attention.
Here is a statistics of injuries which are caused by this sport:
|Name of Injury||Percentage (%)|
Here is another table, these are the statistics of longboarding injuries compared to other sports and activities.
|Sport||Injury Rate/Per 1,000 participants|
The table shows that longboarding and skateboarding have high injury rates, 7.5 to 10.0 per 1,000 participants, with fractures, road rash, and head injuries.
Longboard injuries can take place for several reasons. They are as follows.
Longboarding safety depends on rider experience. Due to a lack of skills, judgment, and safe riding practices, new riders are more likely to crash. Inexperienced riders may lose control, make poor decisions, and underestimate risks.
- Advice: New riders should practice and, ideally, receive formal training or mentorship to develop basic skills. Gaining experience on easier roads and moving on to more difficult styles can reduce accidents.
Longboarding injury mostly depends on speed. Speed increases the force of impact during falls and collisions, increasing injury risk. High-speed riders are less likely to recover from control or balance issues.
- Advice: New riders should be cautious about speeds. Carving and foot braking improve speed control and safety. Riders should gradually increase speed as they gain confidence and skill.
Helmets often reduce concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Wearing a certified helmet is the best head injury prevention method. Head injuries are more likely in helmetless riders. Only 14% of riders who are hospitalized are reported to be using helmets.
- Advice: Longboarders should wear a certified helmet and consider additional protective gear based on their riding style and preferences.
Safety gear is an investment in your health. It greatly reduces injury risk and boosts your confidence. Here is some suitable gear advice that is a must for a longboard rider.
- You must wear a Helmet
Choose a certified skateboard or multi-sport helmet with good impact protection. Make sure it fits perfectly on your head. Downhill riders benefit from a full-face helmet for face and jaw protection.
- You can use Gloves
Gloves with slide pucks or palm protection to prevent hand injuries during falls and improve slide control.
- Use a Knee Pad
Padded knee and elbow pads can prevent scrapes and fractures in these vulnerable areas. Knee joints are very vulnerable to the human body.
- Wear Wrist Guards
Longboarding accidents often cause wrist fractures or sprains, so it is wise to wear wrist guards.
- Slide Gloves can be handy
Slide gloves with replaceable pucks improve control and protection for freeride and downhill riders.
- Use Footwear for grip
Control, and foot protection is also required for this sport. Closed-toe shoes with good grip are useful.
- Rear padded shorts for Hips
Some riders wear padded shorts to protect their hips and tailbone during falls.
- Body Armor for Advanced Riding
Advanced riders on high speed may want body armor when they are downhill racing.
Experienced riders are always safer than inexperienced ones while longboarding. Proper training and experience will make your riding experience smoother and professional.
Longboarding safety depends on rider experience. How new and experienced riders handle situations can vary significantly. The learning curve for new riders can be difficult, and their lack of experience may lead to accidents.
Starting in controlled environments, beginners should wear helmets, gloves, and pads and practice pushing, turning, and foot braking. They should gradually increase their skills and confidence on harder terrain.
Experienced longboarders understand the sport’s demands and have better muscle memory and reflexes. Still, they must be cautious. Experienced riders should wear safety gear and check equipment for wear.
Formal training and skill development can improve longboarder safety. These programs help riders improve their skills and awareness of dangers through structured training. Skate shops, community centers, and longboarding associations offer formal training programs for longboarders.
Basic techniques, safety, and emergency procedures are taught in these programs. Learning from formal training can give riders valuable insights and certifications.
Weather conditions impact the safety of your longboarding. See how this impact below.
Longboarders face unique challenges in bad weather. In the rain, longboarding is dangerous due to reduced traction. To avoid slippery roads, avoid riding in heavy rain or immediately after. Slow down and avoid sharp turns to stay in control.
Longboarding in the snow is also dangerous. When riding in light snow, upgrade your longboard with larger, softer wheels for stability and traction. Keep dry by dressing warmly and in water-resistant clothing.
Extreme heat can damage longboard bearings, trucks, and wheels, so check them regularly. Maintaining longboarding gear ensures safe rides. Regular maintenance extends the life and performance of your gear.
The deck should be checked for damage, wheels checked for wear, trucks tightened, bearings cleaned, and lubricated. Maintain your helmets, gloves, and pads for maximum protection. Maintaining your longboarding gear reduces accidents and extends its lifespan.
Kyle Benton, an 18-year-old longboarder, was riding downhill with a friend when he lost control and fell, hitting his head on the pavement. He was not wearing a helmet and sustained a traumatic brain injury, including a skull fracture and a blood clot in the brain.
Kyle was transported to the UC Davis Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to remove the blood clot. He was then placed in a medically induced coma for several days.
After waking up from the coma, Kyle was paralyzed on his right side and had difficulty speaking. He spent the next 43 days in the hospital, undergoing rehabilitation therapy.
Kyle’s recovery was remarkable. He learned to walk again and was able to regain his speech. He was discharged from the hospital and is now attending college.
Collin Matthews, 17, was longboarding with a friend on Friday night when he lost control of his board and fell. He was not wearing a helmet and hit his head on the pavement.
Matthews was taken to Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith, where he was placed in a medically induced coma. He is currently in critical condition.
The longboarding accident is a reminder of the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a longboard or other wheeled device. Head injuries can be serious and even life-threatening, and helmets can help to prevent them.
As we have discussed a whole lot about this sport, it should now be clear that it is a fun and fitness-packed sport. But when I answer, is longboarding dangerous? It will still meet the answer yes.
Understanding things like rider experience, speed, and the use of protective gear is important for reducing these risks and making the sport safer. Being a responsible longboarder means getting better at it through practice, keeping your speed under control, and always wearing the right protective gear.