How to Pump a Longboard: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Pumping is a skill that can be learned with practice and patience. By using your body weight and shifting it in a specific way, you can generate momentum and keep yourself moving on your longboard.

To Pump A Longboard, Follow These Steps:

  1. Identify the Nose and the Tail
  2. Get Rolling
  3. Leaning
  4. Pumping While Leaning
  5. Stop Pumping
  6. Pump Curves
  7. Pump Long Distance
How To Pump Longboard

How to Pump on a Longboard

Pumping on a longboard is an art form, and it requires the right combination of truck angles, wedging or dewedging techniques, and other adjustments in order to achieve optimal performance. Here are some tips to help you get started with pumping on your longboard:

1. Identify the Nose and the Tail

When it comes to pumping on a longboard, it is essential to know the difference between the nose and the tail of your board. The nose is the very front part of the board, while the tail is the back part. Identifying these two parts is crucial because pumping requires leaning towards what is called the “pocket,” which is the area between where your front foot naturally wants to be and where your back foot naturally wants to be.

To effectively pump, you need to lean towards either the nose pocket or the pocket on the tail. It is important to avoid pumping towards obstacles on your heelside or toeside edge, as this will hinder your pumping ability. By understanding the distinct features of the nose and tail and leaning towards the appropriate pocket, you will be able to initiate efficient and effective pumping motions on your longboard.

2. Get Rolling

To get started with longboard pumping, the first step is to get rolling. As with any sport, it takes some practice before things start to feel natural. The easiest way to practice pumping is to simply cruise around on your longboard.

To get the hang of it, start by pushing off with one foot and then rolling along on the opposite foot. The distance you push off with each foot will determine your speed, so experiment by pushing off further away from the center of your board to go faster or closer to go slower. As long as you are cruising and maintaining momentum, you are pumping. It’s important to practice and get comfortable with this basic pumping motion.

While practicing, you can even try adjusting your stance during pumping. For example, you can switch your feet position for a few pumps to challenge yourself and try something new. Just make sure to stay consistent with whatever stance feels more comfortable for you.

3. Leaning

To master the art of leaning on a longboard, follow these steps:

1. Positioning: Place your back foot on the tail of the board and slightly adjust its position backward or forward until it is right behind or next to your front foot. It is essential to lean towards the pockets between the nose and tail or on either side of these two parts.

2. Push-off: Begin by pushing off as if trying to evade an obstacle, but don’t roll too far. Instead, focus on moving your feet into their positions while rolling slowly at first and then gradually increasing your speed. The distance you push off will determine your speed and control during the leaning process.

3. Slow and steady: Take your time to practice this step, starting at a slow speed and gradually building up. This will help you feel more comfortable with the positions and ensure you develop proper technique and coordination.

Remember, practice is key when it comes to mastering leaning on a longboard. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these movements and gradually increase your speed and confidence as you progress.

4. Pumping While Leaning

Pumping while leaning is a fundamental technique in longboarding that allows you to generate momentum and maintain speed without relying solely on pushing. To effectively pump while leaning, follow these steps:

1. Positioning: Start by placing your back foot on the tail of the board and adjust its position until it is right behind or next to your front foot. Lean towards the pockets between the nose and tail or on either side of these two parts.

2. Push-off: Begin by pushing off as if evading an obstacle, but don’t roll too far. Focus on moving your feet into their positions while gradually increasing your speed. The distance you push off will determine your speed and control during the leaning process.

3. Lean and Bend: As you roll along, use the momentum to start leaning toward one of the pockets outside the ends of your board. Bend your knees slightly and keep them in line with both edges of the board. This will provide stability and control while shifting your weight.

4. Generate Speed: By leaning against one leg and extending it outwards, you tap into the momentum created from the initial push-off. This transfer of weight generates speed, allowing you to maintain momentum and ride more efficiently.

5. Practice and Coordination: Start at a slow speed and gradually build up, focusing on developing proper technique and coordination. It may take some time to get the timing and balance right, but with practice, you’ll become more proficient in pumping while leaning.

Remember, pumping while learning requires an understanding of your body’s positioning and timing. It’s all about using momentum and shifting your weight to maintain speed and efficiency while longboarding. Keep practicing and soon you’ll be pumping like a pro!

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5. Stop Pumping

To stop pumping on a longboard, you need to do the exact opposite of what you did when starting. Instead of leaning on one foot, you will lean on the other while bringing it toward your body. This movement is known as a “cutback.” There are two possible outcomes when performing a cutback: either your board will start turning in the direction of your back foot, or both feet might leave the ground.

The degree of tightness in your turn and how far away from the center of your board your leg was extended will determine the outcome. If executed correctly, both feet should land directly underneath your board after one revolution. It’s important to note that the distance between your feet before initiating the movement will determine the tightness or wideness of the turns.

6. Pump Curves

Pumping curves on a longboard involves utilizing your body’s momentum at the right time to navigate turns smoothly and efficiently. To initiate the pumping motion, start by leaning on the leg that is closest to the direction you want to turn. Simultaneously, extend your arms in the direction you are moving. The placement of your leg and the distance from your board will determine the sharpness or width of your turn.

For tighter turns, place your feet closer together, while wider turns require a wider stance. It is crucial to start the pumping motion quickly and at the right time, so practice until it becomes a natural movement. Remember to adjust your body positioning and utilize your upper body to steer and maintain balance throughout the turns.

7. Pump Long Distance

To pump long distances on a longboard, there are a few key techniques to keep in mind. First, find a comfortable stance with both feet placed shoulder-width apart. Experiment with the distance between your feet until it feels natural to you.

When starting to pump, lean your body in the direction you want the board to move. This will initiate the pumping motion. It’s important to start the motion quickly and at the right time. With practice, the pumping motion will become more fluid and natural.

To maintain your speed and balance during long-distance rides, utilize your upper body. Use your arms to steer and maintain balance throughout turns. Your body positioning is also crucial. Adjust your body positioning according to the direction and intensity of your turns.

Slow down your pace for longer distances while maintaining speed and balance. This will help you conserve energy and keep up the momentum. Remember that the effectiveness of this technique depends on your body weight and how quickly you adapt to each step.

The Benefits of Pumping a Longboard

Pumping a longboard offers a multitude of benefits that can enhance your riding experience. One of the key advantages is the ability to maintain motion for longer rides. Unlike traditional pushing or kicking off, pumping allows riders to generate forward momentum through their body movements. This efficient technique can keep you going for extended distances, making it perfect for long-distance rides or cruising around town.

Furthermore, pumping engages a wide range of muscles, providing a complete body workout. By using your upper body, core muscles, and leg muscles, you can improve your strength and endurance. The constant swaying and weight distribution required in pumping work out your core muscles, helping you build stability and balance. Additionally, the repetitive motions involved in pumping develop muscle memory, allowing for efficient rides and promoting muscle development.

Pumping also sets itself apart from other riding styles by providing a smooth and stable ride. The zigzag movement created by pumping allows you to maintain a steady speed and control your direction with ease. This style of riding is particularly enjoyable on flat surfaces, where you can hang loose and savor the freedom of movement. Plus, the circular motion involved in pumping adds another element of fun and excitement to your longboarding experience.

Setting Up Your Longboard for Pumping

Before you start pumping on your longboard, it’s essential to set up your board in a way that maximizes your pumping potential. The right setup can make a significant difference in your pumping experience, allowing you to generate more momentum and maintain control while carving and cruising. Here are some key factors to consider when setting up your longboard for pumping.

  • Truck Angle: Opt for a reverse kingpin truck setup with a relatively loose truck. This configuration allows for more fluid and efficient turns, making it easier to generate momentum through pumping. Adjusting the truck angle can also affect the responsiveness of your board and the range of motion while pumping.
  • Wheel Bite: To avoid wheel bite, which can interrupt your pumping flow, consider using riser pads and selecting the appropriate wheel size. Opt for wheels that have a smaller diameter or use riser pads to increase the distance between the board and the wheels, ensuring they don’t rub against the deck during sharp turns.
  • Deck and Foot Placement: Choose a longboard deck that suits your pumping style. Top-mount decks with a relatively wide platform are popular among pumpers as they provide ample room for foot placement and stability. Consider experimenting with different foot stances, such as a parallel stance or a slightly wider stance, to find what feels most comfortable and effective for your pumping technique.
  • Bushings: Adjusting the hardness of your bushings can greatly impact your pumping experience. Softer bushings allow for more responsive turns and deeper carves, making it easier to generate momentum. On the other hand, harder bushings offer more stability for higher speeds but may require more effort to initiate turns.
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Choosing the Right Deck Size and Shape for Pumping a Longboard

When it comes to pumping on a longboard, choosing the right deck size and shape plays a crucial role in enhancing your performance and overall riding experience. The size and shape of your longboard deck can significantly impact your ability to generate momentum and control your board while carving and cruising. Here’s a guide to help you choose the right deck size and shape for pumping.

  • Size: When it comes to deck size, a length between 36 to 40 inches is generally recommended for pumpers. This length provides enough surface area for foot placement and stability, allowing you to generate and maintain momentum effectively. The width of the deck should be around 8 inches, providing ample space for your feet without compromising maneuverability.
  • Shape: Opting for a top-mount deck with a short wheelbase is ideal for pumping. A top-mount deck ensures that your feet are closer to the ground, allowing for better control and stability. A shorter wheelbase, which is the distance between the mounting holes on the deck where the trucks are attached, helps facilitate more fluid and efficient turns, making it easier to generate momentum through pumping.
  • Flex: Another factor to consider is the flex of the deck. Flex refers to how much the board flexes or bends under your body weight. When it comes to pumping or carving, a deck with moderate flex is preferred. Moderate flex provides the right amount of responsiveness and energy return, allowing you to generate more momentum with each pump.

Selecting the Right Wheels and Bearings

When it comes to longboard pumping, selecting the right wheels and bearings is just as important as choosing the right deck size and shape. The wheels and bearings you choose can significantly impact your ability to generate momentum, maintain speed, and control your board while carving and cruising. Here’s a guide to help you select the right wheels and bearings for longboard pumping.

  • Wheel Size: For pumping, it is recommended to use larger wheels, preferably larger than 70mm. Larger wheels offer better momentum and speed, allowing you to generate more energy with each pump. They also provide more stability, which is crucial for maintaining a smooth ride. Additionally, larger wheels roll over cracks and bump more easily, ensuring a less bumpy and more efficient ride.
  • Wheel Shape: When it comes to wheel shape, square-lipped wheels are preferred for longboard pumping. Square-lipped wheels have a sharp and distinct edge that provides better traction and holds the road more effectively when carving. This traction is essential for maintaining top speed while executing sharp turns and pumping motions.
  • Bearings: High-quality bearings are crucial for smooth and efficient rides. Look for bearings that offer a high ABEC rating, indicating their precision and smoothness. Ceramic bearings are also a popular choice among experienced riders for their durability and performance. Remember to regularly clean and lubricate your bearings for optimal performance.

Adjusting the Trucks to Get the Best Performance Out of Your Board

When it comes to longboard pumping, one of the most important factors for optimal performance is adjusting the trucks properly. Trucks are the metal T-shaped components that attach the wheels to the longboard deck. They play a crucial role in maneuverability, stability, and turning ability.

Trucks come in various angles, and selecting the right angle is crucial for longboard pumping. The angle refers to the degree to which the hanger (the T-shaped part that holds the wheels) is attached to the baseplate (the part that attaches to the deck). Generally, trucks with a lower angle, such as 45 degrees, offer more stability and are suitable for high-speed downhill riding. On the other hand, trucks with a higher angle, around 50 to 60 degrees, are more maneuverable and allow for sharper turns, making them ideal for pumping.

For longboard pumping, it is recommended to use thin trucks, also known as TKP (Traditional Kingpin) trucks. These trucks have a narrower profile and a more responsive turning ability, which greatly enhances the pumping motion. TKP trucks are commonly used by experienced riders who prefer a more aggressive pumping style.

Rear Truck Angle for Maximum Response and Stability

To achieve maximum response and stability in longboard pumping, it is crucial to adjust the rear truck angle properly. The rear truck plays a significant role in generating power and maintaining stability during pumping motions.

For optimal performance, a low-angle rear truck setup is recommended. The low angle refers to the smaller degree to which the rear truck’s hanger is attached to the baseplate. This setup provides stability and prevents wheel wobbles, allowing riders to maintain control while generating power through pumping.

In contrast, the front truck can have a higher angle for increased turnability. The high-angle front truck setup provides sharper turns and maneuverability, which complements the stability provided by the low-angle rear truck setup. This configuration provides the rider with a powerful and responsive pumping experience.

To further optimize truck angles for pumping, riders can also make use of wedging or dewedging techniques. Wedging refers to placing riser pads or wedges underneath the baseplate to increase the truck’s angle, while dewedging involves using thinner riser pads or wedges to decrease the angle. By experimenting with different degrees of wedging or dewedging, riders can fine-tune their setup according to their riding style and preferences, maximizing their pumping performance.

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Front Truck Angle for Maximum Control and Comfort

When it comes to pumping on a longboard, the front truck angle plays a crucial role in achieving maximum control and comfort. This angle refers to the degree at which the front truck’s hanger is attached to the baseplate. Understanding its importance and how it affects your riding experience is key to optimizing your pumping performance.

One of the primary benefits of having a higher front truck angle is enhanced turnability. A higher angle allows for sharper turns and quicker maneuverability, enabling riders to navigate tight corners and carve with precision. This allows you to maintain a smooth and agile ride while pumping.

Additionally, the front truck angle also affects stability. A lower front truck angle, closer in degree to the rear truck angle, can provide greater stability during pumping motions. This stability gives riders more confidence to generate power through pumping, knowing that their board will remain steady and balanced.

Mastering Basic Techniques with Your Longboard Pumping Setup

Pumping is an essential skill for longboarders, and mastering basic techniques is the key to becoming a proficient pumper. To begin, make sure your board setup is appropriate for pumping. Start by adjusting your trucks and wheels to suit your riding style. 

Proper Foot Placement for Pumping on a Longboard

When it comes to pumping on a longboard, having the right foot placement is crucial for achieving optimal performance and control. By positioning your feet correctly, you can effectively generate and maintain momentum through pumping.

To start, place your front foot on the tail of the board, closer to the front. This placement allows you to leverage the rear truck and generate power through your rear foot. By pushing down on the tail with your front foot while simultaneously shifting your weight forward, you can initiate the pumping motion.

Additionally, maintaining a balanced stance is essential. Begin with a shoulder-width placement of the feet and bend your knees slightly. This keeps your center of gravity low and promotes stability while pumping. The bent knees also allow for better control and absorption of bumps or obstacles, ensuring a smoother ride.

Types of Longboards for Pumping

When it comes to pumping on a longboard, having the right type of board is essential. Different longboards are designed for specific riding styles and purposes, so choosing the right one can greatly enhance your pumping experience. Here are some popular types of longboards that are suitable for pumping:

  1. Cruising Longboards: These longboards are perfect for smooth, relaxed rides and are ideal for beginners. They typically have a medium flex and larger wheels, which provide a comfortable and stable ride for pumping.
  2. Bamboo Longboards: Known for their lightweight and flexibility, bamboo longboards are great for responsive pumping. The natural flex of bamboo allows for efficient energy transfer during pumping motions, resulting in greater speed and momentum.
  3. Fishtail Longboards: Fishtail-shaped longboards are designed for sharp turns and quick direction changes. They have a wider platform and a distinctive tail shape, making them perfect for pumping and carving.
  4. Downhill Longboards: While primarily known for their speed, downhill longboards can also be great for pumping. With their lower ride height, they offer better stability and control, allowing for efficient pumping on flat surfaces or gentle slopes.
  5. Carving Longboards: These longboards have a more pronounced concave shape and are specifically designed for fluid and dynamic riding. Carving longboards are excellent for pumping as they allow for precise weight shifting and easy initiation of pumping motions.

When choosing a longboard for pumping, consider factors such as deck length, flex, and wheel size. Experiment with different types of longboards to find the one that suits your riding style and preferences.

FAQs

What is pumping on a longboard?

Pumping is a skateboarding technique that involves using your body to generate momentum and speed on a longboard. By shifting your body weight and using a combination of arm motions and leg muscles, you can create a pumping motion that propels you forward without having to push off the ground.

Is longboarding tiring?

Yes, longboarding can be tiring, especially for beginners. It is a full-body workout that engages a wide range of muscles, including your core, legs, and hips. As you gain more experience and strength, you will find that longboarding becomes less tiring and more enjoyable.

Why is longboarding better than skateboarding?

Longboarding is better suited for long-distance rides because of its larger and smoother wheels. Skateboards, on the other hand, have smaller and harder wheels that are better for short-distance rides and tricks. This is why many people prefer longboarding for its ease of use and smooth ride.

What is the speed of a longboard on flat ground?

On flat ground, a longboard can reach a minimum speed of around 6 mph. However, when going downhill, the speed can increase significantly, ranging from 50 to 65 mph. It is important to always ride within your comfort zone and obey traffic laws and regulations to ensure your safety.

Conclusion:

Learning how to pump on a longboard can take your riding to new levels of fun and excitement. It’s not just about getting from point A to point B; it’s about harnessing the flow of the pavement and feeling the freedom of the open road.

So grab your board, find a smooth stretch of pavement, and let the pumping begin. Get ready to experience the thrill of gliding effortlessly and carving up the streets like never before. Happy pumping!

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Joseph E. Bogle

This is Joseph E. Bogle, the founder and lead writer of SkateToScoot.com, an enthusiast of skating for over a decade. I'm an aggressive skater and certified skating coach, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and passion for skating with others through his blog. With my unique combination of personal experience and professional expertise, SkateToScoot.com is a valuable resource for skaters of all levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.