Are you about to start your Longboard journey? There are definitely quite a few skateboarding styles that interest you; however, you are not exactly sure how to do it. Don’t worry; even the finest
Longboarders didn’t know the fundamentals of Longboarding from the beginning. If you follow the guidelines and take the right learning steps in the correct order, Longboarding would not be a challenging task for you.
Some people purchase their first longboard to cruise across the city or campus and enjoy the fresh air while going wherever they need to go. Many take up the activity because they enjoy the adrenaline rush of hitting the peak speeds as they ride downhill. And others are just looking for a pleasurable adventure that they can do with friends.
Nevertheless, Longboarding is challenging and hard for beginners. Therefore, in this article, we will talk about longboarding tips for beginners in depth. We will explain all you need to know in order to select your first longboard and learn some necessary skills that in no time will get you cruising.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Choosing the First Longboard – Buying Guide:
Whenever it comes to selecting the first Longboard, beginner Longboarders are always confused. There are just so many brands and models around nowadays, and far too many parameters to take into consideration. Selecting the first board is certainly a challenging task.
Here is a short overview of the main features to consider when selecting the best Longboard for yourself:
1- Deck Size
The Longboard Deck is basically a long, plain board that you stand on while you’re skateboarding and it comes in a wide range of sizes and shapes. If you plan to ride a longboard to travel to school, to the office, or the shopping complex, chances are that you’re going to weave in and out of some pedestrian traffic. In such a situation, you would need a smaller longboard to make walking through the crowd easier. On the other hand, if you have no plans to ride through busy roads and would like to try some hills adventure, you should go for more extended deck size for greater stability wobble-free ride.
The gap between the two trucks, generally determined by the internal pair of screw holes, is known as the wheelbase. The smaller the space, the more lively and energetic the ride will be, but at higher speeds, it will be harder to manage. Boards with longer wheelbase may feel like a living room sofa with plenty of room for a guest, particularly when compared to the short wheelbase boards. The shortboards will ensure a more comfortable ride and wider surfer turns, thus making it harder to maneuver around pedestrian-packed pathways.
3- Deck Height
Deck height is the gap between both the ground and the deck. It significantly impacts the longboard riding experience. Higher decks are far less stable and more difficult to push/ brake on due to the greater distance of the foot from the ground. In comparison, the low-lying deck gives the rider more stability and a more substantial potential to balance and control the Longboard.
4- Mount Type
It’s extremely hard to understand exactly what to get with so many longboard shapes and styles nowadays. It’s undoubtedly confusing to start; however, you learn about the differences over time and would be able to find the best shape for your style. There are a few main types that we will discuss here:
Top Mount longboards are a board style in which the trucks are inserted directly underneath the deck. This construction makes the board more maneuverable and adaptive to the input as you drive the board. In order to turn the board sharply, you can also position much of your weight directly on the trucks, and you also get a lot of traction from the wheels. This aspect makes top mounts perfect boards where you require a lot of grip and turning, like freeride and downhill riding.
6- Drop Through:
Drop Through Longboards include a cut out in which the baseplate lies on top of the board and the trucks directly underneath. This style lowers the center of gravity and makes the board seem more balanced, more comfortable to push and apply the foot brake. However, these boards are less reactive to your input. Drop Through boards are ideal for pushing, sliding, cruising and also carving.
7- Drop Down:
Drop Down boards are basically a top mount with a drop-in concave that allows the board to move super close to the ground which makes it a very stable ride. These Longboards are very easy to ride, and generally popular among beginners to intermediate riders. They have far more traction than a drop-through, however, less than a top mount which makes it easier to slide. Beginners love to use Drop Down boards for pushing, pumping and freeriding.
The pintail is a leaf-like board with a flat or no-concave. This makes it much easier to ride and therefore, a perfect board for beginners. The pintail is by far the most common and traditional longboard out there, ideal for a large size campus cruiser.
Kicktail is very similar to pintail but has few additional features. The kicktail longboard offers more versatility to the rider, and it’s straightforward to kick up the board without bending over. It incorporates a low concave gradient and a kicktail to give more control and power to riders while riding.
You can quickly identify a fishtail as it has a fish-like tail on its rear end just like a steeper radial concave. Because of their low flex and concave, you will have more heel-toe leverage; allowing great velocity control and broad carving.
The cruiser is a sweet and compact ride, and it is also known as a campus cruiser. It fits conveniently in your backpack, and you take it along from class to class on the campus. The compact size helps in extreme carving and complete control when you use it for sharp and fast turns. It can be used by young children or skilled Longboarders who can carve into and out of tight spaces.
Deck Profile Types
Deck profiles play an important role in determining the stability and reactivity of the board. It also tells how convenient it is to push on flat ground and how comfortable the foot-braking is. As a general guideline, the elevated the board is off the ground, the better the center of gravity. The lower the board, the more stable it would be, however, the ability to fall out on sharp corners may be increased.
Deck Concave Types
Concave is the curve around the deck’s width and affects how the board responds when turning to the force of your foot, and also how your foot remains locked in. In fact, the concave on the decks has a significant impact on the energy that your foot transmits to your board. Here are some famous concaves you’re going to find in the market:
Flat or No-Concave:
The absent concave allows your board to have nothing in the way of a drastic transition of energy from toe-heel. It is nice for people who prefer a flatter base for fancy longboarding; however, it does not provide extra foot lock for speed and slide enthusiasts.
Radial concave is the most common type of concave used on most decks. It is also known as Taco; a constant arc from side to side. It provides a powerful toe-heel energy transfer while performing turns and holds your foot in a strong position to stay locked in between slides.
Elliptical Concave is similar to radial a lot, but it does have a steeper transition from the center point to the board’s edge. This feature gives the board a much more rigid response from toe-heel. On your broader kickboards and cruisers, an elliptical concave deck will feel perfect, and it’s nice for freeride and downhill.
Just like its name, this concave has a W shape to it. It is like having two radial concaves on the same deck. The outcome is a middle line that functions as a pivot point for your foot to pass much more toe-heel energy than radial or elliptical concave for even more reaction. This style is preferred by racers who need the utmost precision and fast turnability.
Longboards come in all sorts of constructions, from Maple to carbon fiber and more. A variety of materials are also used to execute various flexes and ride patterns. These are only a couple of the various constructions out there:
- Ultra-High Molecular Weight (Polyethylene)
- Carbon Fib
Explore your Stance:
Your stance is a crucial part of learning how to ride a Longboard. Stance not only applies to how you put your feet on your longboard but also how you hold the rest of your body while riding. To put it another way, your position on your board and how you stand on it. Besides how you position your feet, the orientation of your shoulders and hips, the degree of bending in your knees, as well as the leaning of your torso, decide your longboard stance. Before starting longboarding, you need to evaluate the type of skateboarder you are..
You should also consider your football kicking capacity to verify if you are skate-goofy or not. The most common longboarding stances are:
- Cruising Stance
- Pushing Stance
- Foot-Braking Stance
- Carving Stance
- Sliding Stance
- Speed Stance
- Freestyle Stance
Longboard stances are highly diverse, which is the beauty of this sport. The more you start practicing, the more naturally you can find yourself in the right position for the objective in hand.
Practice your Balance in Static Mode:
If you are a beginner and about to start longboarding, you must achieve your balancing skill in a static position. A perfect approach to practice safely is to lay your longboard on grass or a thick rug, so that friction prevents the board from moving. Get on your static longboard and then settle into your natural position, your legs should be around shoulder-wide apart or a bit wider. Depending on the length of your board, your legs should be near to or above the bolts of the trucks.
Your rear foot (left if you are goofy, otherwise right) should be perpendicular to the board, whereas your frontal foot should be mildly inclined towards the deck. Now, bend your knees and gently lean forward to feel pleasant and stable. Practice this regularly until you become confident to stand without needing to step down.
Practice Low Stance:
Using the right stance is a very crucial aspect of longboarding. As a beginner, you should practice low stance right after learning to balance in static mode. Then, as soon as he begins to feel confident and comfortable with the longboard, you should practice other stances as well. To practice the low stance, a Longboarder must position his feet between both the trucks and then tilt his front foot about 45-degrees forward. Whereas, the rear foot should be angled at 90-degrees in the direction of the board.
Practice Moving Forward:
If you are a beginner Longboarder, you should practice moving forward as soon as you start balancing the board. Hop on to the board and then use your rear foot to drive forward. Make sure you hold your body loose when making a push because it will maintain your balance.
However, if you can not use your rear foot to push the board forward, then give your front foot a shot. Although most Longboarders prefer the front foot, it does not matter how others do it; you should feel energetic and comfortable in whatever way you want. After training this for a few days, try doing a harder push. A stronger push can help you achieve more speed and keep the longboard running comfortably for an extended time.
Now that you know how to balance your board as well as how to move forward, the next step is to learn how to make a turn. Turning the board isn’t a challenging and complex task. Below are some maneuvers that you can practice:
1- Moving your weight to the side, you intend to turn towards can be adequate for slight curves. Over time, you will learn how much weight you need to shift for more drastic turns.
2- Carving is another way to keep moving around curves. To carve, you should shift your body weight to either your heel or toe and then use that part of the body to steer the board.
3- To increase your pace while turning, you can crouch while shifting and leaning your weight into a curve.
4- Always keep your focus and eyes on the direction you’re heading; your board will follow and move in the direction of your eyes.
5- Carving and turning slows you down dramatically, so either prepare to push off right before going into a turn or delay until you have built up enough speed to practice this technique.
The most terrifying yet crucial part of riding a longboard is learning how to stop it, and it is not a very hard task. You can apply brake by the following methods:
One of the simplest ways of stopping for beginners is the foot brake, and with experience, it can work at any speed. The balance on your front foot, and while holding most of your weight over the foot on the longboard, carefully transfer your back foot to the ground. At first, it’s safe for your foot to do absolutely nothing, then skim slightly above the ground level, and build pressure to stop the board gradually.
Coleman slides a perfect slide for beginners and young skaters; it can be used for speed regulation, cornering and complete braking. To execute a Coleman slide, squat on your deck and carve your board into toe-side. If you are riding a narrow deck, ensure your heels are on the heel-side of the board. On the other hand, if you are riding in a broader deck, you may hang your foot off significantly. Align the rear knee towards your forward leg and put all of your weight over the front leg truck. When you launch yourself into the slide, put your front hand on the ground of the heel-side and twist your shoulders in the direction of the board to stop the board.
There are few other braking strategies that you can learn as you advance with longboarding, such as:
- Toe-Side Hand Down Slide
- Heel-Side Stand Up Slide
- Toe-Side Stand Up Slide
Learn to Fall:
Longboarding is a sport in which falling is a part of the game. It sounds crazy and strange, but you’re going to fall eventually, so don’t be afraid. If you are riding on a longboard or any other board, learning how to fall is really essential. In board games, having a funny accident is not a significant problem, however, learning to fall and roll allows you to escape severe and permanent injuries.
When riding, strive to get low on your board if you fear you’re going to fall. Always try to fall forward and not on your back, but if you do fall backwards, do not lock your elbows when you hit the floor. Always wear safety gear, such as knee pads and gloves, so that you can easily slide out on your knee pads. There are lots of informative videos on YouTube, do check them out before starting longboarding.
You can now look forward to practicing some longboarding tricks for beginners after you’ve grasped the techniques explained above. To practice sliding, you need to buy some safety protection like slide gloves. The slide gloves are going to allow you to slide without injuring your hands.
Stand Up Sliding
To slide, shift your weight towards the front, bend your knees slightly, then point your forefoot in the forward direction. Next, slide your rear foot off the board and make contact with the ground by bending your frontal knee carefully.
Hand Down Sliding
For hand-down sliding, go very low on the longboard and position your hands on the ground to keep some of your weight off your deck. In the meantime, grab the edge of the deck using your other hand and pull it firmly in a sharp turn to carry the board sideways over the slope.
When you do a slide for the very first time, do it at a slow pace. It will allow you to do the right speed adjustments, so it will be much smoother the next time you slide with your friends.
The First Ride:
Now you know how to ride your longboard, as well as how to move forward, how to apply break, how to slide and how to fall. You are now ready for your very first ride. When riding a longboard, the very first thing you must do is start moving but to do that; you have to practice to push off. Gain your balance on the frontal foot, place your rear foot on the floor, and push.
Once you are comfortable with moving forward, try cruising your board on a slight hill. Do not push much on the hill; let gravity do all the work. It would be best if you aimed to increase your velocity when you’re more comfortable with it. As you move forward with the stances and techniques mentioned above, attempt to take easy turns and also apply brakes whenever necessary. If you get out of balance, don’t be frightened to bail; jumping off and reaching the ground running is much safer than a crash.
Longboarding Precautions for Beginners
If you’re in the very early stages of learning, the following steps should be kept in mind to prevent any unforeseen incident.
Helmets are safety gears to shield your head if you fall mistakenly on the concrete. This isn’t just about putting the shell on your head, it’s also about making sure that it’s fitted correctly and buckled up on your head. Change your helmet every five years or quickly after it has been broken, never compromise on a decent helmet as it improves your safety.
Always wear slide gloves while riding your longboard. Slide gloves are safety gears to help prevent damage to your hands and also enable you to retain balance as you slide and move.
Don’t forget to wear Elbow and Knee pads while riding. The kneepad defends from direct hits and prevents the friction burns. The more turns and flips you do throughout your ride, the more essential it becomes to wear your security pads. Elbow pads are also crucial to protect your elbows from getting hurt if you accidentally hit a wall or pavement.
Once you are all set to roll on your new longboard, don’t forget to tighten up all parts of your board. We always encourage beginner Longboarders to inspect their bearings and trucks and fix them whenever they feel it’s necessary.
Never disregard local rules like places where you can and cannot board.
Do not take undue risks. The rail may look fabulous, but it’s wiser to not go forward with it if you feel it could shake your teeth out. Try to follow all the longboarding surfing tips for beginners to enjoy this sport to its fullest.
If you can not control and handle any particular move, do not feel embarrassed to admit it. Do not risk your life and save yourself from any major accident.
When longboarding, consider wearing flat-bottomed shoes and avoid using flip flops at all cost.
Ensure to keep your line and follow traffic signals while riding between cars on open roads, just as you would when driving. While boarding on sidewalks, allow pedestrians the right of way and use your voice to let everyone know when you’re about to pass by them.
Longboarding has become a trendy and exciting outdoor sport; however, you’re going to encounter a few bumps on your way to being a successful Longboarder. Practice as much as you can to improve your surfing and don’t expect to be absolutely perfect from the beginning.
You’re going to make a lot of mistakes, and you’re going to fall a lot. When you fall, just dust yourself off, get back on the deck, and try again until you are absolutely skilled. We really hope that this comprehensive Longboarding tips for beginners will prove to be of great benefit to you and that you will enjoy this wonderful sport.