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Have you ever watched someone effortlessly glide down the street on a longboard and thought, “I wish I could do that”? Well, good news! Learning to ride a longboard is easier than you might think. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some skateboarding experience, I’ve got the tips and tricks to help you master this fun and exciting sport.
Longboarding is not just a trend; it’s a lifestyle. From cruising along the beach to carving down hills, there’s something for everyone in the world of longboarding. And with the right guidance and practice, you can become a confident and skilled rider in no time.
In this article, I’ll break down the steps to learning how to ride a longboard, from choosing the right board to mastering basic techniques. So grab your helmet, hop on your board, and get ready to hit the pavement with confidence!
How do I start longboarding?
To start longboarding, you’ll need a few essential items: a longboard, a helmet, and any additional protective gear you feel comfortable wearing. Make sure to wear flat, all-rubber soled shoes for better grip on the board.
Begin by finding a spacious, flat surface away from traffic and obstacles. This will give you plenty of room to practice and minimize the risk of accidents. Start on a smooth surface, such as a car park or a quiet road, to get comfortable with riding.
When riding, position your feet on the board according to your preferred stance – either the standard stance (left foot forward) or the goofy stance (right foot forward). Find what feels most natural for you.
To maintain stability, distribute your body weight evenly on the board and keep your upper body relaxed. As you gain confidence and skill, you can experiment with different foot positions and stances for more advanced maneuvers.
Goofy Or Regular Stance?
When learning how to ride a longboard, one of the first things you need to determine is your stance – whether you are regular or goofy. Regular stance means having your left foot in front, while goofy stance means having your right foot in front. To find your natural stance, try standing on the board with your left foot in front and then switch to your right foot in front. Usually, one stance will feel more comfortable and easier to balance.
If you are still unsure, you can ask a friend to give you a gentle push from behind. The foot you naturally stick out to catch yourself should be your front foot.
When determining your stance, it is important to position your feet properly on the board. Try to have your feet balanced in the center of the board, with your heels and toes touching each rail.
It is also recommended to ride with your feet pointed slightly forward to ensure better steering control. Avoid the common mistake of having your back foot too far off the toe-side and your front foot too far off the heel-side edge. This creates an imbalance in weight distribution, making it harder to feel comfortable at higher speeds or when attempting tricks.
Types Of Longboards
When it comes to longboards, there are various types to choose from depending on the kind of riding you want to do. Consider the following options:
- Cruising: If you primarily use your longboard for commuting or casual riding, a cruiser or pintail board is ideal. Cruisers have a gently pointed nose and a slightly rounded tail, while pintails have a more sharply rounded nose and a tapered tail.
- Freestyling or freeriding: For those interested in technical downhill riding or showing off a range of skills like dancing, a dropdown or drop through board is recommended. These boards have narrow, symmetrical heads and tails with blunt ends.
- Downhill longboarding: If you have a need for speed, a stiff cruiser deck, top mount, or speed deck is your best bet. Speedboards resemble dropthroughs but have asymmetrical heads and tails, while topmounts have symmetrical heads and tails.
When selecting wheels for your longboard, keep in mind that they are wider than those for shortboards to provide a smoother ride. Most longboard wheels are made of urethane and come in different shapes. Square-edged wheels are great for cruising flat surfaces or smooth, straight hills. Beveled-edge wheels are suitable for twisty roads, while rounded-edge wheels are ideal for carving and sliding.
Before You Start Riding On A Longboard
Before you start riding a longboard, there are several safety precautions you should take. First and foremost, make sure to wear the proper safety gear such as a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. This will significantly reduce your risk of injury in case of an accident.
1. Choose The Right Longboard To Start On:
Choosing the right longboard is crucial for learning how to ride effectively. Opt for a beginner-friendly board with a low-riding deck and a decent wheelbase for stability and safety. Drop-through or double drop boards are great options, such as the Arbor Dropcruiser or the Landyachtz Switchblade.
2. Get Some Safety Gear:
Investing in safety gear is essential to prevent injuries. The most common areas of impact for beginners are the wrists, elbows, and knees. Prior to riding, make sure to wear knee and elbow pads, as well as wrist guards. Wearing a helmet is also highly recommended for added protection.
3. Find Your Natural Stance:
Determining your natural stance is crucial for a comfortable riding experience. You can find your natural stance by having someone gently push you from behind while standing with your feet close together. Whichever foot you catch yourself with is your front foot in your natural stance. Most people have the same natural stance across various board sports.
4. Practice Static Balancing:
Before attempting to ride with wheels in motion, practice balancing on a stationary longboard. Place the board on grass or a thick carpet to prevent the wheels from rolling. Adjust your stance and focus on finding the most comfortable position for optimal balance. Keep your knees bent to lower your center of gravity and use your arms for stability as you get accustomed to the board’s movement.
Basic Longboard Riding Skills
Learning to ride a longboard requires mastering some basic skills. Here are five essential skills to help you get started:
- Step onto your longboard: To step onto your longboard, place one foot on the deck first, according to your natural stance. Then, place your other foot on the board, either in front or at the back. Find the foot positioning that feels most comfortable for you.
- Roll down a soft incline: Find a gentle incline with smooth pavement to practice rolling. Start by holding onto a wall or rail for support. Once you feel stable, let go and focus on maintaining your balance while the wheels are rolling. Keep your feet flat on the deck and avoid turning initially to get comfortable with the motion.
- Push on your longboard: Find a flat surface to practice pushing on. Step onto your longboard and lower your rear foot to the ground while balancing on your front foot. Push off the ground with your rear foot to get your wheels rolling. Once you gain some speed, bring your rear foot back onto the deck and return to a 45º angle with both feet.
- Learn a simple way to stop: As a beginner, the easiest way to stop is to jump off your longboard and run it out. Alternatively, you can step with your rear foot onto the ground in front of your longboard. This will cause your front foot to push the board backward, causing it to stop or slow down. Another option is to roll on grass or a rough surface, ensuring there are no obstacles that could cause accidents.
- Do simple turns: To make turns, press with your toes onto the front edge of your deck while rolling (toeside turn). This will steer your board in the desired direction. Shift your body weight slightly towards the turn to put more pressure on the rail. To make a heelside turn, shift your weight slowly from your toes onto your heels.
Learning Intermediate Riding Skills
Learning intermediate riding skills on a longboard can take your riding to the next level. Whether you want to go faster, control your speed, or learn more advanced techniques, practicing these skills will improve your overall riding experience. Here are some key steps to help you learn intermediate riding skills on a longboard:
- Practice going faster: To increase your speed on a longboard, find a soft and quiet hill that ends in a flat or inclined section. Start by riding down the hill, focusing on maintaining your balance and making small turns. Try experimenting with different stances and weight distribution to find the most effective technique for you. If you encounter speed wobbles, consider shifting more weight onto your front foot and making slight voluntary turns.
- Learn to foot brake: Foot braking is an important skill to slow down or stop when riding at moderate speeds. Start by getting comfortable balancing on your front leg while lowering your opposite foot to the ground to create friction and slow down. Brush the ground with the sole of your shoe to increase friction and brake. Remember to get low on your longboard and keep your knees close together for stability.
- Control your speed through carving: Carving is a key technique to control your speed on a longboard. Find a slightly steeper slope and start heading slightly downhill. To ride down steeper hills, follow these steps: 1. Slow down and turn slightly uphill. 2. Ride perpendicular to the slope. 3. Reach the edge of the road and make a hard turn. 4. Ride across again in the opposite direction. 5. Repeat tight turns to carve down the hill. 6. Shift your weight and rotate your body. 7. Keep your eyes and front shoulder aimed towards your target direction.
- Learn to fall off your longboard safely: Falling is a part of learning and riding a longboard. It’s important to learn how to fall correctly to minimize the risk of injury. Instead of catching yourself with your hands, tuck your arms in across your upper body, land on your forearm, and roll sideways on your shoulder. Practice falling on a soft surface like a mattress before attempting it on places like thick grass. You can also consider using protective gear like wrist guards and knee pads to further protect yourself.
- Find your natural stance: There are two main stances when riding a longboard: regular (left foot forward) and goofy (right foot forward). Experiment with both stances to determine which feels more comfortable and natural to you. Stand at the base of a staircase and take a step up. The foot you extend first will be your back foot on the longboard. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to ride a longboard, so go with what feels best for you.
Learning these intermediate riding skills will enhance your longboarding experience and help you become a more confident and versatile rider. Remember to practice in safe environments and always wear the appropriate protective gear to ensure your safety. Happy riding!
Longboarding Basics: Learn How to Ride a Longboard
Learning to ride a longboard can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, mastering the basics is crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable longboarding journey. Here are some essential tips to help you get started:
1. Determine your stance:
To determine your stance, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and have a friend gently push you from behind. The foot you naturally stick out to catch yourself should be your front foot. This will be your leading foot while riding.
2. Find the proper foot position:
Position your feet balanced right through the center of the board, with your heels and toes touching each rail. Aim to have your feet slightly pointed forward for better steering control. Avoid the common mistake of having your back foot too far off the toe-side and your front foot too far off the heel-side edge, as this can create an imbalance in weight distribution.
When pushing off to gain speed, your front foot should be pointed straight forward, making your stride more natural and ergonomic.
4. Slowing down and stopping:
As a beginner, it’s important to never go faster than you can comfortably stop. There are three main ways to slow down and stop on your longboard: foot braking, carving, and sliding.
- Foot Brake: To foot brake, shift your weight to the back foot and gently drag your front foot along the ground to create friction, gradually slowing you down.
- Carving: Carving involves leaning your weight from side to side, making slightly sharper turns. The flexibility of longboards makes turning and carving easier and smoother.
- Sliding: Sliding is the most advanced method to slow down, especially at high speeds. It requires wearing slide gloves and involves using controlled sideways movement to decrease speed.
5. Safety first:
Always wear the appropriate safety gear, including a helmet, knee pads, wrist guards, and slide gloves when attempting tricks or riding at higher speeds. These protective gears not only provide safety but also help boost confidence.
Learning to ride a longboard can vary in difficulty depending on individual experience and comfort with balance. With consistent practice and patience, most people can pick up the basics relatively quickly. Starting on flat, smooth surfaces and gradually progressing can make the learning curve less steep.
Longboarding is versatile and can be enjoyed by individuals of various ages. Children as young as six or seven can start with proper safety gear and supervision. There’s no upper age limit; it’s more about one’s enthusiasm and physical ability to maintain balance.
Wearing protective gear, including a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads, is crucial when learning to ride a longboard. Falls and accidents are part of the learning process, and proper gear significantly reduces the risk of injury.
Basic techniques to focus on include finding a comfortable stance (regular or goofy), mastering pushing off, learning to balance while riding, and practicing controlled braking methods. These form the foundation for more advanced maneuvers.
Consistent practice is key to improving your longboarding skills. Aim for regular practice sessions of around 20-30 minutes initially, gradually increasing the duration as your confidence and abilities grow.
Beginners should start on smooth, flat surfaces with minimal traffic or obstacles. Empty parking lots, quiet sidewalks, or dedicated skate parks are ideal places to practice. As skills progress, gradually introduce gentle slopes or mellow hills to enhance abilities without overwhelming oneself.
Learning to ride a longboard is not just about mastering a new skill, it’s about embracing a whole new way of life. It’s about feeling the wind in your hair, the thrill of the ride, and the freedom to explore the world on wheels.
So grab your board, put on your helmet, and get ready for the ride of your life. Remember, every journey starts with a single push, so go out there and carve your own path. Happy riding!
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