Longboarding is an exciting sport that merges the water sport surfboard into the land. With new enthusiasts coming on board, it can be confusing where to start and what to do. If you’ve found yourself dwelling on such questions, don’t worry! We’ve got the guide for you.
Everyone starts as a beginner, and while the sport may seem intimidating, the right guidance and proper practice can make things easier. Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at this exotic sport and venture into the world of longboarding for beginners. From its origin to mastering the sport, this has it all!
Hopefully, with this guide, you’ll be able to hit the streets with ease and confidence! Let’s begin.
Longboarding is a sport that uses a board similar to a skateboard and soft wheels made of urethane. It is a stable sport and incorporates multiple sectors of riding it. Some of those include freestyle, downhill, long-distance, and so on.
Longboarding originated in Hawaii in the 1950s, mainly because surfers wanted to taste the water sport on land. Their enthusiasm made them create a new skateboard with a thick plywood base and dimensions smaller than a surfboard.
At first, it ventured out to live as an underground sport, and its popularity didn’t catch on. However, around the 1990s, longboards were selling out, and with the power of the internet, it just kept growing.
The Internet made the community grow, and new methods to play the sport were invented. Silverfish Longboarding was the advocate of this sport until it closed. But hey, once something catches an eye, there’s no stopping.
New techniques like Slalom and freeriding lingered around smaller enthusiasts until, in the late 2000s, they came back with full force around the street-oriented ventures. From then on, there’s no going back.
Longboarding and Skateboarding are pretty much siblings. While they have similarities in using a board with wheels played around the streets and similar riding patterns, their differences set them apart. Let’s dissect!
|Longboards have longer decks||Skateboards have smaller decks|
|Longboard decks are thicker||Skateboard decks are thinner|
|Longboard offers better balance for beginners||Balancing on a skateboard can be tricky at first.|
|Longboards are more suited to cruising around the town or getting down hills.||Skateboards can be used to learn tricks and get up on ramps.|
|Longboards are cost-efficient.||Skateboards can be pricey.|
|Longboards are safe.||Skateboards can be dangerous.|
Now that we have learned about the sport, let’s get into the fun stuff! Let me help you choose everything to hit the streets in no time. For longboarding, there are a few things to look out for
Picking the correct type of longboard is essential. Below are some of its attributes:
- Start with a smaller longboard size, then work up to longer boards.
- Pick the board width closest to your shoe size since the spacing between the feet is most important.
- The length of the board can be around 20-22 inches if starting, and then build it up from there.
- For beginners, the wheels must be softer, around 78A-87A durometer. It helps the board to grip better and has a good shock absorber, providing more safety.
- Trucks are used to connect the wheels to the deck. It should match the width of the board to have smooth stability.
- Finally, the bearings should have an ABEC rating of around 5-7; this helps to ensure the board flows at a constant speed with no hindrance.
Here are the best longboard types that are beginner-friendly:
- Cruiser: They are the optimal choices for longboarding for beginners. When I was starting, it was my prime choice. These boards are usually more extended parts, so they have better control. It is perfect for leisure riding.
- Freestyle: If you’re at the stage of learning a few tricks, this is the longboard for you. They have a flexible deck with cocktails and an even shape, which is great for extreme sports, dancing, and getting up on ramps.
- Downhill: Downhills have a stiffer body, lower deck, and small wheels. It is perfect for those who are fast and furious. The construction helps to carry out downhilling well while maintaining stability and mega speeds.
All set with the board? Let’s pick the safety gear now. The following are the ones you will need.
- Helmets: The most important of them all. Without a helmet, there is an alarming risk of head trauma. I recommend looking for a half-shelled helmet with a U.S. CPSC Bike or ASTM F-1492 and a European CE rating.
- Pads and Gloves: Get knee, hip, and elbow pads. Like the helmet, they absorb the shock from the ground and help to protect the body parts.
- Foot brakes: Foot brakes are necessary to stop the board’s speed. It is essential to get the right pair of shoes with a solid sole to cope with the friction from the ground.
It is essential to look for the best quality and double-check the sizes to ensure a good fit. Regarding safety gear, a loose fit is an open door to fatal accidents.
Let’s get into learning about the sport! Below are all the steps for learning how to longboard!
- Riding Position: It begins with your feet on the board. At first, it is important to keep the back and front foot parallel to each other. If the board is on your right side, the right foot is the back foot, and vice versa. Next, proceed to position the left foot toes behind the front foot.
Keeping the knees bent at an angle of about 90 degrees, let the toes glide the board. The front foot would be firm on the board at an angle for better control and balance.
- Pushing and Balance: First, learn to balance on the board. Let your weight control the stability of the board. Next, keeping one foot on the ground, move the board left and right until you can reach the optimal control.
Lastly, practice pushing off with the back foot and move across a straight line while keeping the posture intact.
- Carving: Carving is the method to go for to learn turning. It starts by gently turning by shifting the weight across and then leaning toward the turn. Once you master that, go sliding and kick-turns.
- Stopping: Foot braking helps to stop the longboard. It involves dragging the sole of the back foot, and the friction helps the board to stop. Start with slow speeds and then practice by increasing the speed gradually.
Practice every day, consistently, and implement new skills once one of them is accomplished. Practice patience, and you will be an expert in no time! After you finish the initial parts, you can also learn about the different riding styles.
Every sport has its terminology, and longboarding has, too. Here are some of the standard terms used in this sport:
|Deck:||The longboard’s main board is where the rider stands.|
|Trucks:||It connects the wheels to the deck and helps in turning.|
|Bushing:||The soft and rubbery element inside the trucks that aids in turning and stability.|
|Grip Tape:||The rough, sandpaper-like surface on the deck for traction.|
|Kicktail:||The upturned ends of the deck.|
|Drop-Through:||A type of design where the trucks are attached through holes in the deck.|
|Camber:||The slight arch in the deck affects the flexibility.|
|Freeride:||A style of longboarding focused on sliding.|
|Downhill:||A longboarding style designed for riding from a steep hill at high speeds.|
|Carve:||Making smooth, sweeping turns while riding.|
|Stance:||The way a rider positions their feet on the deck.|
|Slide:||A controlled skid is often used for stopping or turning.|
|Wheelbase:||The distance between the trucks accounts for turning and stability.|
|Toeside/Heelside:||It shows what direction the rider is turning.|
|Cruiser:||A type of longboard designed for easy riding and transportation.|
Ready, set, go! Here, we begin our quest to longboard. Longboarding is more than just a sport. It has many benefits, but it doesn’t stop here. Remembering fundamental safety rules and tackling injuries is important because every day can’t be perfect.
Longboarding has many great benefits. How can we not share a few? Check them below.
- Longboarding is a low-impact sport. It is gentle on the joints, so people of all ages can enjoy it.
- It provides an excellent workout for the whole body.
- It improves balance and coordination and helps to relieve stress.
- It is eco-friendly and cost-effective as well and has a low carbon footprint.
- It provides an excellent adrenaline rush without any significant impact.
- Longboards are versatile and can be used to learn several riding styles like cruising, carving, downhill, etc.
- It also helps to develop mental resilience, overcome fears, and build character.
Longboarding is such a thrilling sport, isn’t it? Such thrills need certain safety measurements to make the experience even better. Especially for people who are looking into longboarding for beginners, these safety tips are vital. Let’s look at some of them:
|Wear Protective Gear||Protective gear is what helps save the day. Never compromise with it. Make sure nothing is loose and it is a perfect fit.|
|Stay Visible||Accidents sometimes happen when people can’t see you on the roads. So make sure to wear bright clothing. However, resort to neon accessories while riding at night.|
|Follow Traffic Rules||Rules apply to everyone. Be it cars or boards, stop at red lights and hand signals. Slow down when needed. It ensures good harmony.|
|Use Hand Signals||Hand signals communicate your intentions to drivers and people. It helps ensure everyone knows where you’re headed.|
|Stay Alert||Look around constantly and avoid distractions like headphones in your ears. Maintain a steady speed and watch out for bumpy roads!|
Injuries occur here and there in longboarding, and it’s common. So, preparing for such situations is necessary. Here are some pointers I go by:
- Having A First-Aid Kit: First-Aids are vital items to carry. Make yourself a DIY box by adding supplies like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze, and pain relievers. Along with that, train yourself in basic practices to treat injuries on the spot like a real sport!
- Be Mindful Of Your Ability: If you’re a beginner, start slow. Build up the abilities as you master each one. Create a mindmap to help keep track of your progress. If you have physical issues, don’t go too hard. Knowing about your limits and abilities helps you stay cautious from future injuries.
- Warm-up: Warming up helps the muscles to loosen up and prevents the risk of muscle strain and pain around the body. Try to stretch your legs, arms, and back before you begin.
- Learn the Ideal Falling Technique: How you fall impacts the severity of the injuries faced. So, learn how to fall safely by tucking and rolling.
- Emergency Contacts: Sometimes injuries and accidents are uncalled for, so having someone who knows your whereabouts is good practice. Always carry identification and contacts with you.
Weather can be unpredictable, and depending on it, how you ride also changes. To ensure you have a smooth longboarding experience, here’s how to tackle the weather to get the most out of this electrifying sport.
- Rainy or Damp: Try to stay at low speeds and choose wider roads. Use softer and broader wheels as it helps for better grip on the slippery land.
- Cold Weather: Stack up on warm clothes. Stay at low speeds as the snow and frost may dampen the road.
- Hot Weather: A sunny day calls for SPF and hydration. Keep up with the hydration by drinking lots of water or electrolytes. Wear sunscreens that provide at least 40-50 SPF PA++++. Keep the activities low, as the heat may affect your stamina, and don’t forget to take breaks!
- Wind: Strong winds can affect the balance of your board, so don’t go speeding across the road. Make sure the board has wheels with an excellent grip to avoid falling off the track.
To progress as a longboarder, it is essential to practice and track the progress on how far you’ve come. Gradually implementing techniques and getting to know members along the way is key to mastering this sport. Here’s some pointers to guide you.
Set aside the basics; it’s time to introduce the advanced stuff. To be exact, intermediate skills involve sliding, controlling speed, and turning. These skills are what differentiates a beginner from a pro.
Begin by learning introductory slides like the Coleman or pendulum slides. Begin training on smooth surfaces slowly and gradually make your way up to steeper hills and at a faster pace.
Here’s a video for Coleman.
To learn speed control, use a gradual slope and learn how to foot brake and slide. After that, slowly make your way to steeper slopes.
Experiment with carving techniques like pumping and tic-taking to improve your turning skills. Don’t forget to maintain a constant flow throughout.
Here’s a video for pumping.
If you’re struggling to learn, here’s some advice.
- Know your motive. Are you learning for fun or sports events? Treat it the same way. Having a goal helps to stay consistent.
- Patience is your best friend here. Take time and move at your own pace. What matters is you get good at it.
- Watch videos on experts taking on sports. Seek expert guidance, or you can also enroll to take lessons from professional instructors.
- Practice! Practice! Practice! Give your muscle memory some time to get to know the new sport.
Practice makes perfect, right? And no doubt, a sport like longboarding needs a suitable place to learn the essential skills. Finding better sports can also make good progress as a longboard junkie.
Remember to be mindful about the skill and preference level as well. Here’s how you can find the ideal riding spots.
- If you want to go for downhill longboarding or want to play with speeds, choose a hilly area.
- For road boarding, pick a smooth pavement.
- To enhance the experience further, incorporate routes that have natural sceneries involved.
Lastly, contact a local rider for details on the best spots if you don’t want too much hassle. Local riders have more experience on specific spots to choose from and hence will make looking for spots easier.
Getting involved with the community is an excellent practice to progress as a longboarder. It helps to enhance both the experience and progression. There are various ways to incorporate yourself into this world. Here’s how:
- Clubs and Groups: Look into local longboarding clubs or groups in your area. Keep your eyes peeled for new events and meetups.
- Online Communities: Social media is another method of looking for communities. Join groups or longboarding-specific apps to connect with riders worldwide. These platforms are great for connecting with fellow riders to communicate and share experiences.
- Participate in Events: Attend longboarding events, races, or slide jams to meet people who share the same experience and thrill for this sport or just simply to cheer and learn from the pros in action.
Connecting with fellow riders is the key to improving and progressing as a longboarder. These pros can guide the sport and give tips and tricks. You can also find a friend to share memories with and, in exchange, create memories together.
When someone’s passionate about a sport, you see a personal touch added to it. With passion, there’s also a lot of taking care involved. Keeping up with maintenance also helps to keep the rider safe too.
In this part, we’ll dive into all of it. Let’s look at how you can maintain a longboard’s longevity and customize it.
Supplies needed: Brushes, mild soap, skate stands, cloth, and water (lukewarm)
- Step 1: Remove the hardware, which involves the trucks and the wheels. It helps to access the deck better.
- Step 2: Clean the deck with lukewarm water and mild soap. Use a soft cloth to cover the entire surface, and be cautious about the grip tape. For harsh marks and grime, use a brush to scrub it gently.
- Step 3: Inspect the trucks and wheels. For the trucks, check for any loose parts and tighten them. For the wheels, look for any wear or tear. Make sure there are no flat spots, either. Replace if needed.
- Step 4: Lubricate the bearings to ensure the ride is smooth throughout. Customize the bushings according to the rider’s preferences.
- Step 5: Routine checks are crucial. Inspect the board every day to keep the integrity of the longboard intact. However, it’s probably time for a new one if you notice cracks or dents on the board.
Adding a personal touch to your board brings beaming passion. It’s also a fun process that helps you stand out. Here are some ideas!
- The Deck: Choose a custom color for your deck that reflects your personality. You can also create designs with spray paints and stickers. Try getting unique cuts in your grip tape to create a custom look while revealing the deck beneath.
- Wheel: Swap the standard wheel colors for vibrant or unique options to match your style.
- Truck: Get trucks in your favorite color; if you want something minimal, you can add stickers.
- Stickers and Vinyls: Decorate your deck with stickers or decals that reflect your interests. The good part is that you can change it depending on your aesthetic and vibe.
Customization goes beyond adding personal touches and standing out. It has some benefits, too. For instance, it helps connect with and build a passion for the sport. It makes it feel like your own.
It also helps in enhancing performance since customization helps in tweaking the necessary adjustments to the board.
Lastly, it helps in being recognized and helping to create connections since people may get curious about the designs and allows you to stand out.
As you get to know a sport, you slowly become a part of it. At first, it starts as a hobby, then a passion, and finally, something to achieve recognition with.
It all comes with having an open arm to embrace this lifestyle. Here are some tips to fully immerse into the lifestyle:
Every sport has developed its distinct culture, characterized by freedom and creativity. Here’s how to dive into this culture:
- Look into the local scenes: Participate in events, connect with local riders, and bond with fellow enthusiasts.
- Incorporate Art: Everyone has a way to express art through sports. You can customize your board and express your art for Longboarding by learning specific tricks.
- Sport of Freedom: The longboarding culture encourages freedom. This freedom can be expressed by using this sport at your convenience. For example, some use longboarding as a commute, for meditation, or as an escape. Whatever your motive, it helps to express freedom into learning this sport however your heart desires.
If you want to embrace it as a lifestyle, use it as an element in your daily life. Here are some ideas.
- Transportation: The most apparent one is transportation. You can use this to commute to places, and it also serves as an eco-friendly and sustainable travel method. It helps save a lot in the long run and is also fun! How cool is that?
- Activity: You can replace your daily workouts with longboarding. It promotes an active lifestyle, training the whole body, and you get fresh air in as you go outside, too!
- Mindfulness: Longboarding can also be used to promote mindfulness. It helps to connect with nature, practice focus, gratitude, and relax. Feel the breeze, listen to the surroundings, and release stress.
Lastly, embracing involves looking back at progress and memories. It comes together by documenting every process and achievement along the way. Here’s how you can do it!
- Photos and Videos: Invest in a good quality camera or a phone to capture HD photos and videos. Edit those footage however you like. Tell a story, add music, or just accumulate the memories and store it in a compilation.
- Social Media: Social Media’s all the hype right now. Use it to your power. For platforms like Instagram and Facebook, get the best pictures and videos to post, and do not forget the #hashtags!
For platforms like YouTube and TikTok, create eye-catching videos and share experiences so fellow enthusiasts can watch and learn. Remember to connect with fellow riders and establish a big community for all the platforms.
- Participate in Forums: Reddit, Tumblr, Ask. FM and Google offer forums to discuss longboarding, which you can join. Discuss tricks, share tips, and share experiences to watch and learn together.
And there you go, we’re at the end of our guide. Hopefully, with this, you will learn everything about longboarding for beginners and use this advice for the start of a new adventure!
I hope this inspires you to take on this thrilling sport. I think it’s so cool that some sports can be similar yet way different from each other and how people find ways to create a sport for every situation.
What were some of your favourite aspects of this sport? Let us know! I hope you had fun reading this guide and learned something till next time!