Longboarding has been a popular street sport for quite some time now. Many people are acquainted with the term skateboarding but not really sure on what longboarding is, and how it’s different from skateboarding.
In comparison to skateboard, longboards boast better stability, traction, and durability due to the elongated size. Both of them need a board and more or less activity in all regions of the body.
However, longboarding is rhythmical and smooth with more of a flow to it while skateboarding is generally “explosive” in nature. Additionally, skateboarding is generally used to display tricks and jumps whereas longboarding is mostly about surfing – optimized for curving and cruising.
So if you’ve just joined the longboarding craze but don’t know how to ride a longboard, don’t worry – all journeys started with us being beginners. You might not even have a clue about what board to get, what equipment you need, or how to simply stand on board. To help you surf the streets, we bring this guide containing the basics of longboarding.
Good news for all the skateboarders out there! You already have a head start if you can ride a skateboard. But then again, these two are just similar, not interchangeable.
How to Ride a Longboard: Beginner’s Guide
After you have picked a longboard that meets your requirements, make sure to pick out a few necessary accessories like a protective helmet, knee and elbow pads. These aren’t a must but we strongly recommend them for newbies as they will help you sustain lesser injuries in your untrained days.
Surfing the pavement all jumbled up inside padding probably isn’t how you thought longboarding would be, but we suggest you keep the accessories till you’re relatively more comfortable on the board.
It’s safe to say that no one wants to fall and hurt themselves before coming to the conclusion that longboarding isn’t their cup of tea. There’s a saying that goes, once you go long (board), there’s no going back.
Avoid flip flops as well as similar footwear during longboarding practice, especially in the start. Or, you could ditch the shoes completely and ride barefoot. There are no barriers!
For the first lesson, pick a peaceful location. Make sure there’s ample space, no cars around, and a flat surface where you’ll ride. As you practice on, you will be cruising the pave in no time. For beginners, removing potential distractions and danger is crucial to protecting them from harmful injuries.
Put the logger down on the ground, take a deep breath and prepare yourself. For right-footed ones, the standing foot will be the left foot and vice versa. Position your standing foot on the center of the board, leaning a bit to the front. Push yourself with the other foot, getting a smooth momentum forward. This is your cue to place the other foot on the back.
Don’t be too stiff on the board or you may lose balance easily. Bend your knees and relax the body; you will much more stable as you stand on the board.
We recommend against experimenting too much during the first couple of days. These should be the go-to moves to give you a solid start. But as your confidence grows, try switching your legs to give both enough practice.
When you feel like you’re slowing down, use the other foot to push yourself. Maintain balance with the standing foot and push the board gently by slowly lifting the other foot of the back.
Contrary to popular belief, longboarding is fairly easy. Simply lean the body to the side where you wish to turn and the board will comply, thanks to the pressure being applied on the sides.
You will notice the board dropping a bit to the side before it makes the turn. As mentioned before, longboards are more flexible than their skating counterparts which facilitate smooth turns.
With enough practice and experience, carving (sharp turns) will become a beloved part of turf surfing. So when you’re really up for it, carve around objects and check how fast and tight you can do it.
Beginner riders can argue that putting the brakes on is one of the scariest bits of longboarding. However, after we share our secret to perfect braking, you won’t feel so.
First, stand in the same posture as the one you have when you want to push yourself on the longboard – standing foot to balance and the other lifted off the board a little. Now, brush your foot against the ground ever so gently.
Try to do this as gently as you can and the brakes will hit smoothly. Over application of pressure may cause aggressive braking, which can throw you off the board.
For your beginner days, we suggest you only do longboarding on a flat surface. You will surely get more comfortable on the board, and that’s when you better test its speed. If you can, practice on a small hill that goes up and sloped back down – really puts the muscles to a challenge.
If you board starts to get faster, don’t panic. This may cause your body to stiffen up which will hurt you in the process. Instead, remind yourself to bend your knees while relaxing the body. This method is useful when you want to perform all movements.
Once you’ve found your stance and pace, you’ll be able to start making those deeper turns and sharp carves. This is where the fun really begins. Aside from the important balancing position with your feet, it’s important to look at where you need to go and prepare to point your front shoulder in the targeted direction.
We hope our guide on how to ride a longboard was helpful! With enough practice and the correct techniques, you can be a pavement-cruising master in no time. What are you waiting for? Pick up the longboard and surf on.