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Have you ever watched someone effortlessly glide down the street on a longboard skateboard and thought, “I wish I could do that”? Well, good news! Longboard skateboards are not just for the pros. They can actually be a great option for beginners as well.
Longboards are known for their stability and smooth ride, making them easier to control than traditional skateboards. So if you’re a beginner looking to get into skateboarding, you might want to consider starting with a longboard.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of longboard skateboards for beginners and provide some tips on how to get started. Whether you’re looking for a fun way to commute or want to try out a new hobby, longboarding could be the perfect fit for you.
Are Longboards Good For Beginners?
Yes, longboards are indeed good for beginners. The design features of longboards make them particularly well-suited for those new to skateboarding. With a larger deck and wider stance, beginners have more surface area to place their feet, allowing for better stability and balance. The wider trucks also contribute to a stable ride, making it easier for beginners to maintain control.
Additionally, longboards typically have larger and softer wheels compared to regular skateboards. These wheels provide a smooth and forgiving ride, making it easier for beginners to navigate rough terrains and bumps. The softer wheels also increase traction and reduce the risk of wheel bite, which can cause the board to suddenly stop or throw the rider off balance.
Longboards are a great choice for beginners who may have previous experience in activities like surfing, snowboarding, or rollerblading because they already have a basic understanding of balance and carving. However, even without prior experience, longboarding can still be enjoyable for beginners.
Longboarding vs. Skateboarding…which is better for beginners?
Longboarding is often considered a better option for beginners when compared to skateboarding. This is due to factors such as the increased board surface area, wider stance, wider/larger wheels, and overall stability of a longboard. These features make longboards more suitable for those who are starting out. They are specifically designed for activities such as cruising, surfing the boardwalk, and going down steep or long hills with unparalleled stability.
They have larger, wider wheels that provide a smoother ride and absorb more shock from bumps and cracks. The wider and longer deck allows for more comfortable foot placement over longer distances. Longboarding is like surfing on land when going downhill. On the other hand, skateboards are built for performance, stunts, and speed. They are more rigid and stiff, designed for doing tricks with a shaped board.
Most people tend to transition to skateboarding if they want to try advanced tricks or new challenges. However, for those who are interested in a new outdoor sport to keep in shape, longboarding can be enjoyed forever without even thinking about skateboarding. Overall, longboarding is the perfect starting point for beginners due to its stability, comfort, and smooth ride.
Switching From Longboarding to Skateboarding
Switching from longboarding to skateboarding can be a smooth transition for beginners, as longboarders already possess some fundamental skills such as proper pushing and carving techniques. This gives them a head start in understanding how a skateboard responds. However, there are a few key differences to consider.
One noticeable difference when switching to a skateboard is the smaller size, which may take some time to adjust to. Additionally, the harder wheels of a skateboard might feel unfamiliar at first. However, most longboarders typically adapt to these changes within an hour or so.
While longboarders may have an advantage in terms of basic riding skills, learning skateboard tricks requires additional time and practice. It is crucial to master the fundamentals of riding properly before attempting tricks.
Switching From Skateboarding to Longboarding
Switching from skateboarding to longboarding is a relatively easy transition. While the smaller size of a skateboard may take some time to adjust to, longboarding is generally accommodating for skateboarders. Longboards, especially cruiser boards, closely resemble the riding experience of skateboarding.
One noticeable difference when switching to a longboard is the increased speed and slower acceleration. Longboards provide a more relaxed and stable ride, which can initially feel sluggish compared to the agility of skateboards. However, skateboarders generally adapt to these changes within a short period of time.
Learning longboarding skills and techniques can be easier for skateboarders, as they already possess basic riding abilities. However, it’s important to note that mastering skateboard tricks requires additional practice and dedication.
What Is a Good Longboard for Beginners?
When it comes to finding a good longboard for beginners, there are a few key things to consider. Firstly, it’s important to invest in a reliable longboard with decent quality parts. While buying a cheap longboard may be tempting, it can make learning the basics more difficult and even lead to frustration and giving up.
Starting with the basics is essential for beginners. Focus on learning to ride and carve before progressing to more advanced techniques like pumping. It’s crucial to choose a longboard that offers the best value for your money without sacrificing quality.
While there are many options available, not all longboards are created equal. Look for a longboard that combines durability, stability, and smoothness for a comfortable and forgiving ride. Consider a board with a larger deck size, stable ride height, and wider trucks to provide better balance and control.
Skateboard vs longboard characteristics
Skateboards and longboards have distinct characteristics that make them suitable for different riding styles and preferences. Whether you’re a beginner looking to start riding or an experienced rider considering a new board, it’s important to understand the differences between the two. Here’s a breakdown of the key characteristics of skateboards and longboards to help you make an informed choice:
1. Deck Size and Shape
Skateboards typically have a deck size ranging from 8″ to 30″, while longboards can range from 24″ to 48″. Skateboards usually have a popsicle-shaped deck, while longboards come in various shapes like symmetrical, directional, drop platform, pintail, and more.
2. Stability and Maneuverability
Longboards are generally more stable than skateboards due to their longer wheelbase and wider deck. This makes them ideal for beginners who need a board that offers better balance and control. Skateboards, on the other hand, are more maneuverable and suitable for tight, urban environments where quick turns are necessary.
3. Riding Style and Tricks
Skateboards excel in freestyle tricks with their cocktails, hard wheels, and full-length concave. They are designed for skatepark riding, street tricks, rail grinds, and more. Some longboards, like small cruiser longboards and hybrid models, are also capable of street tricks, but they offer a more comfortable cruising experience.
4. Smoothness and Comfort
If you’re looking for a smooth and comfortable ride, longboards are the way to go. They typically have larger and softer wheels that easily roll over cracks and small rocks, offering a smoother ride compared to skateboards with smaller and harder wheels. Longboards are a great choice for leisurely cruising and long-distance transportation.
5. Speed and Downhill Riding
When it comes to speed and downhill riding, longboards are designed to provide better control and stability at high speeds. The larger wheels, longer wheelbase, and low deck of longboards make them the preferred choice for riders who want to ride fast or do slides. Skateboards, even with cruiser wheels, may not offer the same level of stability and comfort for downhill riding.
6. Dancing and Freestyle Longboarding
For riders interested in dancing and freestyle longboarding, longboards are the ideal choice. Dancer longboards, with their large, flexy, and symmetrical decks, provide the stability and maneuverability needed for cross-stepping, spinning, and carving on flat ground. Skateboards, with their shorter and stiffer decks, are not ideal for this style of riding.
Bringing it all together
When it comes to choosing between a skateboard and a longboard, it all depends on your riding style and preferences. If you’re looking for a versatile and portable option for tricks, tight turns, and urban commuting, a regular skateboard with interchangeable wheels can be a great choice. You can use smaller and harder wheels for tricks and larger and softer wheels for cruising.
However, be aware that mounting big wheels on a street deck may cause wheel bite in tight turns. To minimize this issue, you can use risers or tighten your trucks, although this may affect the board’s carving ability.
For a balance between tricks and urban cruising, consider a small or mini cruiser. These “longboards” are designed to perform well with cruiser wheels, offering comfort, agility, and the ability to kick.
If you’re interested in freestyle riding, hybrid longboards can provide added versatility while still resembling skateboards in shape and size.
Is Longboarding Good Exercise?
Longboarding is not just a fun and exciting activity, but it also offers a wide range of exercise and health benefits. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, longboarding can be a great form of exercise to improve your overall fitness level. Here are some reasons why longboarding is considered good exercise:
- Full-body workout: Longboarding works practically every muscle in your body, from the core and lower back to your feet. The pushing or kicking motion required to propel yourself on the board engages your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves, giving them a great workout.
- Muscle tone and weight loss: Regular longboarding sessions can help improve muscle tone and contribute to weight loss. The repetitive lunging motion involved in pushing yourself on the board can be compared to a workout in the gym, making it an effective way to burn calories and shed those extra pounds.
- Cardiovascular fitness: Longboarding can also improve your cardiovascular fitness. Riding a longboard involves continuous movement, which increases your heart rate and gets your blood pumping. This helps improve endurance and cardiovascular health over time.
- Low impact: Unlike some high-impact activities, longboarding is a relatively low impact on your joints. The smooth and fluid motions of riding a longboard put less stress on your knees and ankles than activities like running or jumping, making it a suitable option for individuals with joint issues.
- Balance and coordination: Longboarding requires excellent balance and coordination skills. As you ride and navigate through different terrains, you are constantly challenging and improving your balance and coordination abilities, which can have a positive impact on your overall athleticism.
So, You’ve Decided You Want Get Longboarding How Do You Get Started?
If you’ve made the decision to start longboarding, congratulations! Longboarding is a thrilling and enjoyable activity that offers a range of health benefits. But how do you get started? Here are some steps to help you begin your longboarding journey.
- Test it out: The best way to start is by stepping onto a longboard and seeing how you feel. If you know someone who owns a longboard, ask to borrow it for a day or two. Practice standing on the board with your feet shoulder-width apart, getting a feel for the balance and flexibility of the board.
- Practice balancing: Balancing on a longboard is crucial. You can start by practicing on carpet or grass, where you can safely work on your balance. Practice pushing and carving by shifting your weight and pushing against the board with your heels or toes. This motion is how you control the board and turn left or right.
- Master kicking: Kicking is the motion of propelling yourself on the board. Practice balancing on one foot while the other foot kicks off the ground, simulating the motion of pushing yourself forward. This skill is vital for longboarding, so make sure to practice with both feet.
- Seek guidance: If you’re having trouble visualizing these steps, there are many helpful videos available that demonstrate these techniques. You can also try visiting a local skate shop for a trial if there is one in your area.
Where Is The Best Place To Practice Longboarding?
The best places to practice longboarding are all around you. Look for local parks that have paved trails, skate parks, tennis courts, or basketball courts. These areas provide a smooth surface that is perfect for learning and practicing your longboarding skills.
If you have a sidewalk in front of your house that is relatively level, it can be a great place to practice. One advantage of practicing on a sidewalk is that if you need to bail or fall, you can easily fall into the soft grass rather than onto a hard surface.
Another option is to find a local paved trail system. Many areas have converted old railroad tracks into paved trails, commonly known as “rail to trail” systems. Websites like traillink.com have a searchable database of over 30,000 trail systems, so you can check if there is one in your immediate area. These trail systems are often car-free and provide a safe and uninterrupted space for longboarding. You can cruise for hours without having to worry about cars or other hazards.
What Kind Of Safety Equipment Is Needed For Longboarding?
When it comes to longboarding, safety should always be a top priority, especially for beginners. Regardless of your background or experience, accidents can happen, so it’s essential to invest in the right safety equipment. At a minimum, you should have a helmet, elbow guards, hand/wrist guards, and knee pads.
These areas are most susceptible to injury during a potential fall, so it’s crucial to protect them. Even though safety equipment may not seem cool or sexy, it is absolutely necessary for beginners. Don’t underestimate the potential risks involved in longboarding.
Let me share a personal story to emphasize the importance of safety equipment. When I first started longboarding, I was overconfident due to my previous experience in roller skating and skiing. I felt I had great balance and took naturally to longboarding. However, during one of my rides on a local trail system, I had a nasty spill without any protective equipment.
Towards the end of my ride, when fatigue was setting in, I hit a pebble while going too slow down a gentle hill. Had I been going faster, I might have cleared it with ease. Unfortunately, I ended up flying off the front end of my board and left a lot of skin on the trail that day.
What Are Your Best Longboarding Tips For Beginners?
When it comes to longboarding, beginners often make three common mistakes. Firstly, they tend to stand at the center or too far back on the board. It’s important to have a slightly forward stance until you become comfortable with the entire board. Standing forward of the center helps prevent the “banana peel” effect, where the board slips out from under you, causing you to fall backward and increasing the risk of head injury. If you do fall, it’s better to fall forward or on the side, as it allows you to brace yourself with your hands or knees.
The second mistake beginners make is making foot contact with the rear wheel when kicking to push themselves. This can lead to getting thrown off the board. To avoid this, keep your body forward or center and kick out and away from the rear wheels.
Lastly, beginners often forget to keep their knees bent. It’s essential to maintain a slight bend at both knees, as it allows for quick adjustments in balance and helps absorb any external shocks.
Yes, longboard skateboards are great for beginners. They offer a stable and forgiving ride, making it easier for beginners to balance and control their boards compared to regular skateboards. Longboards have a larger deck size, giving riders more space to comfortably place their feet and find their center of gravity.
Selecting the right size longboard depends on your height and riding style. As a general rule of thumb, taller riders may prefer longer boards, while shorter riders may find shorter boards more manageable. Longer boards provide a smoother ride and more stability, while shorter boards are more maneuverable.
Cruising and carving are popular riding styles for beginners. Cruising involves relaxed riding and enjoying the smooth ride that longboards provide. Carving is all about making wide, flowing turns while maintaining control. Both styles are great for beginners to practice balance and control.
Safety should always be a priority. We recommend wearing a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads to protect yourself from potential falls or accidents. Additionally, investing in comfortable skate shoes with good grip will help you maintain control of your longboard.
If you’re a beginner looking to get into skateboarding, longboard skateboards are definitely a great option for you. With their stability, smooth ride, and versatility, they provide the perfect platform for learning and improving your skills.
So grab a longboard, hit the pavement, and get ready to experience the thrill and freedom of skateboarding. Remember, everyone starts somewhere, and with a longboard by your side, you’ll be cruising like a pro in no time!
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