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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, you’re in luck because learning how to ride a longboard is easier than you might think. Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, this article will guide you through the steps to become a confident longboard rider.
Longboarding is not only a fun way to get around, but it also provides a great workout and a sense of freedom. The best part is that anyone can learn how to ride a longboard, regardless of age or fitness level. With a little practice and the right techniques, you’ll be cruising like a pro in no time.
In this article, we’ll cover everything from choosing the right longboard to mastering basic riding techniques. So grab your helmet, lace up your shoes, and get ready to embark on an exciting journey into the world of longboarding.
Before You Start Riding On A Longboard
Longboarding is a popular and exciting activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are a beginner or have some experience skateboarding or snowboarding, riding a longboard requires some basic knowledge and skills to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Before you hit the streets or hills on your longboard, there are a few important things to consider.
First and foremost, it’s essential to wear protective gear such as a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards to protect yourself from potential injuries. Additionally, understanding proper body positioning and weight distribution is crucial for maintaining balance and control while riding. It’s also important to choose the right type of longboard for your riding style and preferences, including the shape, size, and wheels.
Choose The Right Longboard To Start On
For beginners, it’s important to choose a longboard with a low-riding deck and a decent wheelbase. A low-riding deck provides stability and makes it easier to balance on the board. A longer wheelbase, which is the distance between the trucks, enhances stability and gives a smoother ride.
Two great options for beginners are drop-through longboards and double-drop longboards. Drop-through boards have the trucks mounted through the deck, which lowers the center of gravity and makes pushing and carving easier. Double drop boards combine a drop-through setup with a drop deck, further enhancing stability and making it easier to push and slide.
Popular examples of beginner-friendly longboards are the Arbor Dropcruiser and the Landyachtz Switchblade. These boards not only offer a smooth and stable riding experience for beginners, but they also have the potential to grow with you as you progress in your longboarding journey.
Get Some Safety Gear: Protect Yourself While Longboarding
The most common injuries among beginner longboarders typically occur in the wrists, elbows, and knees. That’s why it’s essential to gear up with knee and elbow pads, as well as wrist guards. These protective gears not only provide cushioning and support but also help prevent serious injuries.
Additionally, wearing a helmet is highly recommended. It protects your head, one of the most vulnerable parts of your body. A helmet can significantly reduce the impact of a fall or collision and potentially save you from a life-altering injury.
For quality protective gear options, consider checking out highly-rated products on Amazon such as Pro-Tec elbow/knee pads, 187 Killer wrist guards, and a certified Pro-Tec helmet. These brands have proven to deliver reliable and durable gear to keep you safe while enjoying your longboarding adventures.
Remember, investing in safety gear is a small but crucial step towards ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable longboarding experience. So, get your protective gear on and ride with confidence!
Find Your Natural Stance
Your natural stance refers to the position in which you feel most comfortable and balanced on the board. There are two main stances: regular and goofy.
To determine your natural stance, stand with your feet close together on a flat surface. Ask someone to give you a slight push from behind, causing you to lose balance. As you catch yourself, take note of the foot you instinctively put forward. This foot will be your front foot in your natural stance.
Most people have the same natural stance across various board sports, including longboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and more. Riding in your natural stance is crucial for maintaining stability and control while on the board.
Once you’ve discovered your natural stance, you can position your feet accordingly on the board. Your front foot will be placed near the front trucks, while your rear foot will be positioned near the rear trucks. This positioning optimizes balance and allows for proper weight distribution as you ride.
Practice Static Balancing
Before you start riding your longboard, it’s important to practice static balancing to get comfortable with the board. This can be done by placing your longboard on grass or a thick carpet to prevent the wheels from rolling. Step onto the board and find a stance that feels comfortable and balanced. Typically, this involves placing your feet about shoulder-width apart.
Even when the wheels aren’t moving, you may find it challenging to stay on the board because the deck will lean from side to side as you move. This can cause the wheels to turn, even without rolling. To improve your balance, keep your knees bent to lower your center of gravity. Use your arms to help maintain balance as you practice moving your arms and legs while remaining stationary on the longboard.
By practicing static balancing, you’ll develop a better sense of control and stability, which will translate to a smoother ride when you start moving. This is an important foundation for mastering longboarding and will help you feel more comfortable and confident on your board.
basic longboard riding skills
Once you’ve found your natural stance and practiced static balancing, it’s time to start learning how to ride a longboard. Basic longboard riding skills involve pushing off, controlling speed, steering, stopping, and turning.
Here’s what you need to know:
Learn To Step On Your Longboard
To learn how to step onto your longboard, find a smooth surface like a quiet sidewalk or a parking lot with good pavement. Start by placing one foot on the deck, then the other. Most people start with their front foot first, according to their natural stance, while the rear foot remains on the ground. However, some prefer to put their back foot on the board first. Experiment to see which approach works best for you.
Assuming you start with your front foot, place it close to the front trucks, not fully perpendicular to the deck, but at a roughly 45-degree angle. Then, lift your rear foot off the ground while balancing on the front foot, and position it about shoulder-width behind your front foot at a 45 to 90-degree angle with the deck. If you start with the rear foot, simply invert the instructions.
Remember, finding the foot placement that feels most comfortable for you is essential. This will help you maintain balance and control while riding your longboard. Once you’ve mastered stepping on the board, you’re ready to start rolling and enjoy the thrill of longboarding.
Learn To Roll Down A Soft Incline
To learn to roll down a soft incline on your longboard, you will need a mild and short incline with smooth pavement. Find something to hold onto before you start rolling, such as a wall, a rail, or even a person for stability.
Once you have stepped onto your longboard, holding onto the wall or rail, you are ready to start rolling. When you feel comfortable, let go of the wall and begin to roll slowly. Focus on maintaining your balance as the wheels start to move.
Avoid pushing with the balls or heels of your feet against the sides of the deck initially to avoid turning. Instead, aim to go straight and get comfortable with the motion of rolling.
As you approach the end of the incline, allow your longboard to naturally lose its momentum. Step off the board once you have reached the end.
Learn To Roll Down A Soft Incline
To learn to roll down a soft incline on your longboard, follow these steps:
- Find a gentle incline with smooth pavement that is short in distance. It’s helpful to have something to hold onto before you start rolling, such as a wall, rail, or even a person.
- Start by stepping onto your longboard as explained in the previous steps. Ensure that your feet are positioned correctly and your upper body is centered over the board.
- Hold onto the wall or rail next to you to maintain balance and control. Take a moment to get comfortable and make sure you are ready to start rolling.
- When you’re ready, slowly let go of the wall or rail, allowing your longboard to start rolling. Focus on maintaining your balance as the wheels begin to move.
- As you roll down the incline, try not to push too hard with the balls or heels of your feet onto the sides of the deck. This will help you maintain a straight path and avoid turning initially.
- Instead, focus on feeling the natural momentum of your longboard and getting comfortable with the motion. Relax and allow the board to do the work.
- As you near the end of the incline, let the longboard lose its momentum naturally. This will allow you to come to a gradual stop. Be prepared to step off the board once it slows down.
By following these steps and practicing on a soft incline, you can learn to roll smoothly and confidently on your longboard, setting the foundation for further skill development and riding on different terrains. Remember to always prioritize safety and wear the necessary protective gear.
Learn To Push On Your Longboard
To learn how to ride a longboard, first, find a flat area with a smooth surface to practice. Stand on your longboard with your front foot on the deck and take your rear foot off, lowering it to the ground by bending your front knee and lowering your hips. Make sure you balance on your front foot. Turn your front foot to point forward on the deck while lowering your rear foot to the ground.
Once your rear foot touches the pavement, push towards the back to get your wheels rolling. Give the board a couple of kicks while keeping your balance on the front foot. As you gain some speed, bring your rear foot back onto the deck and return both feet to a 45-degree angle. Congratulations, you are now riding your longboard at push speed!
Learn A Simple Way To Stop
When learning how to ride a longboard, it’s important to have a way to stop safely and efficiently. As a beginner, there are a couple of simple methods you can use to stop your longboard.
One easy way to stop is by jumping off your longboard and running it out. This method is suitable for slower speeds, as you can only run as fast as you can. However, it is not recommended for higher speeds.
A more efficient method is to step off your longboard with your rear foot onto the ground in front of the board. As you step off, your front foot will naturally push the board backward, causing it to slow down or stop. This method is more effective than simply jumping off to the side, which could keep the board rolling.
Learn To Do Simple Turns
Learning how to do simple turns on a longboard skateboard is an essential skill to master. Once you have practiced balancing on a stationary longboard, you can now learn to turn while rolling. Start by finding a smooth flat surface where you have plenty of space to maneuver.
Give your longboard a slight kick push to get it rolling. As you start moving, press down with your toes on the front edge of the deck. This will make your wheels turn in the direction of your toes (toeside turn). If you ride with your left foot forward (regular stance), this will steer your board to the right. If you ride with your right foot forward (goofy stance), it will steer your board to the left.
While pressing down with your toes, shift your body slightly toward the direction of the turn. This will help you put more weight onto the rail and achieve a smoother turn. Be mindful not to shift too hard, as this may cause your longboard to turn too fast. Practice finding the right amount of pressure to apply to your toes.
Learning Intermediate Riding Skills
Learning intermediate riding skills on a longboard can take your riding to the next level, allowing you to navigate more challenging terrains and perform impressive tricks. Before diving into these skills, it is important to have a solid foundation in the basics of longboarding, such as body positioning and foot placement. With that in mind, let’s explore some essential intermediate riding skills that will enhance your longboarding journey.
Practice Going Faster On Your Longboard
Start by getting comfortable riding down the small hill and making small turns, both toeside, and heelside, as you go down. This will help you gain control and maneuverability while picking up speed.
To further improve your skills, practice riding with wider and narrower stances, and shift your body weight between your feet to find what works best for you. This will enhance your stability and control while riding at higher speeds.
If you experience speed wobbles, which are small uncontrolled turns, try putting more weight on your front foot and making more voluntary small turns. This will help you regain control and stabilize your ride.
On flat ground, continue practicing pushing with your natural foot and balancing on your steering foot for longer periods. This will give you more power and stability during each push. Additionally, if you feel confident, try pushing with your alternate foot, which is a more advanced technique that can be extremely useful for distance skating.
Learn to foot brake on your longboard
To foot brake on your longboard, begin by practicing your balance and technique. Just like kick pushing, you need to feel comfortable balancing on your front leg (or back leg if you push Mongo) while lowering your opposite foot to the ground. This creates friction and slows you down.
As your braking foot gets closer to the ground, brush the sole of your shoe against the ground to create more friction and brake effectively. The key is to get low on your longboard and keep your knees close together for stability while your foot touches the ground.
It’s important to note that foot braking is most effective at moderate speeds and can be dangerous at high speeds. If you find yourself riding really fast, learning to slide is generally a better approach for stopping.
Learn To Control Your Speed Through Carving
To control your speed while longboarding, one important technique to learn is carving. Carving involves making successive tight turns from one edge of the road to the other, allowing you to control your speed while riding down steeper hills.
To practice carving, find a slightly steeper slope with enough width for a 180º turn. Make sure the area is clear of traffic. Start heading slightly downhill on your longboard. Before you pick up too much speed, turn slightly uphill so that you are riding perpendicular to the slope, rather than into it.
As you reach the edge of the road, perform a hard turn and ride across in the opposite direction. This slaloming movement from one edge to the other is called carving. Each time you make a turn, lean hard into your rail to make your longboard turn close to 180º.
To master carving, you must learn to shift your body weight and rotate your body on the longboard. Keep your eyes and front shoulder always looking towards your target direction. This technique allows you to smoothly navigate steeper hills.
Learn To Fall Off Your Longboard
As a beginner longboarder, it’s important to learn how to fall off your longboard safely. Falling is inevitable, but knowing how to fall correctly can help prevent serious injuries.
One common mistake when falling is using your hands to catch yourself, which can result in broken wrists or arms. To fall safely, tuck your arms across your upper body and land on your forearm, then roll sideways on your shoulder. This helps distribute the impact and protect vulnerable areas.
It’s recommended to practice falling on a soft surface like a mattress before attempting it on a harder surface like grass. This allows you to get comfortable with the technique and minimize the risk of injury.
Another technique to fall safely is to drop to your knees and slide on your kneepads. This requires having strong kneepads that provide sufficient protection. By sliding on your kneepads, you can reduce the impact on your lower body and avoid potential injuries.
Turning With A Kicktail
Turning with a kicktail on a board like the Fireball Mini Cruiser can be a useful skill for both tricks and maneuverability. To perform a kick turn, start by placing your back foot on the kicktail. Shift some of your weight onto the kicktail so that the front wheels lift up slightly.
At the same time, use your shoulder to point in the direction you want to turn. This combination of weight shift and shoulder movement will initiate the turn. By applying pressure on the kicktail and turning your shoulder, you can control the direction and angle of the turn.
Practice this technique to become more comfortable and fluid in your turns with a kicktail-equipped board. It’s a great way to add some flair and versatility to your riding style.
A Note On Falling
When it comes to longboarding, falling is inevitable. It is crucial to get comfortable with the idea of falling and to learn how to fall safely. Protecting yourself with the right gear is essential. Wearing protective gear such as a helmet, slide gloves, wrist guards, and knee pads can significantly reduce the risk of injuries.
Now that you have a better understanding of the basics of longboarding, it’s time to get out there and practice. The best way to improve your longboarding skills is to start slow and take it step by step. Start with easy paths and gentle slopes before attempting steeper hills or more advanced tricks.
- Start with the right gear: Invest in the necessary protective gear, such as a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. This will ensure your safety while riding.
- Get the appropriate longboard: Consider the type of riding you want to do. For commuting purposes, choose a pintail board with larger, softer wheels for a smooth and comfortable ride. For downhill riding, go for a sturdy freeride board with larger wheels and harder wheels.
- Learn the proper stance: Determine your natural stance by placing your feet shoulder-width apart and having someone gently push you forward. The foot you step forward with is your leading foot. If it’s your left foot, you have a regular stance. If it’s your right foot, you have a goofy stance. Find a comfortable position and practice maintaining your balance.
- Master foot placement: Position your rear foot at a slight angle towards the tail of the board, while your front foot should be angled slightly towards the nose. This will allow for better control and stability.
- Focus on body positioning: Keep your upper body relaxed, with your chest facing forward. Transfer your weight onto the balls of your feet and maintain a slight bend in your knees. This will help you maintain control and absorb any bumps or obstacles on the road.
- Practice foot braking: Foot braking is an essential skill for slowing down or coming to a stop. To foot brake, lower your rear foot towards the pavement and apply pressure to the ground, gradually increasing the pressure until you slow down or stop.
By following these steps, you can confidently embark on your longboarding journey and further develop your skills based on your preferred riding style. Remember to always prioritize safety and continue to push your boundaries while progressing as a longboarder.
Learning how to ride a longboard is not only a fun and thrilling experience, but it also offers a great way to stay active and explore your surroundings.
Remember to start slow, practice regularly, and always prioritize safety. So grab your longboard, hit the pavement, and enjoy the ride of a lifetime!
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