Learning to ride a longboard is not difficult but requires a lot of hard work and effort on the rider’s part. The process is divided into different stages that involve identifying the riding position, choosing between a regular and goofy stance, practicing to balance on a static board, etc. The technique also focuses on selecting a suitable board.
How to Ride a Longboard
Mostly, drop through and double drop tools are recommended due to their low riding position and stable wheelbase. It is also crucial to grasp the carving, air braking, sliding, and other associated methods of controlling the board. Beginners are advised to learn foot brake, which is the most efficient method to stop the unit and you should also know how longboards are made. The article provides insights into riding a longboard and methods to respond to accidental falls while riding.
1. Selection and Identification
The first step while learning to ride a longboard is the selection of a suitable board for oneself alongside purchasing the gear equipment. Along with this, the process also involves the identification of your natural stance while skating. Thereby leading to efficient results without the fear of falling due to disbalance.
Choosing the Right Board and Gear Equipment
It is important to look for a user-friendly product, especially if you are a beginner & you can find some of the best longboards for beginners here. However, the product you choose might also be suitable for a person with intermediate skills. This is extremely useful when you are planning to use the tool for a long time. Therefore, it is recommended to look for a low riding unit that has a stable wheelbase.
A stable wheelbase helps in maintaining the balance while skating and prevents the rider from falling. In this regard, drop-through longboard and double-drop boards have received wide recognition and are admired by the majority of consumers. Furthermore, these models are ideal for beginners and experts alike.
Besides the main apparatus itself, additional accessories such as safety gear are also of utmost significance. Injuries associated with the wrist, knees, and elbows are common among novice skaters. Hence, it is advised to wear a helmet, elbow pads, and other required tools for preventing serious injuries while riding.
Identifying the Correct Stance
The next step involves the identification of one’s natural stance for riding the product. Most newcomers are not aware of their riding stance and might find it difficult to stand and balance themselves on the board. There are two different types of stances while skating.
The first one involves the regular stance (with the left foot as the front foot and the right foot as the rear one), and the second is the goofy stance (with the right foot as the forward one and vice versa). The regular stance is prevalent among riders. However, if you are not aware of your natural stance, you can identify it by standing with both feet together and asking someone to push you from behind.
The foot which you will move forward to adjust your balance is the one that you should keep at the front while standing on the skateboard. Similarly, the same stance can also be used for other boarding activities like snowboarding, surfing, etc. Along with this, discovering the natural stance is also a key step in learning to ride a longboard.
The Art of Balancing
Skating is all about balancing yourself while performing diverse tricks using your tool. However, before mastering the art of skating, it is essential to master the art of balance. Initially, it is suggested to practice balancing on a static board instead of a rolling one.
This will provide better control over the surrounding conditions and the unit itself. The perfect way is to place the board on a rough surface such as carpet or grass, where it will be difficult for wheels to slide down. Afterwards, try to step on the skateboard and adjust your riding stance. Remember to keep your feet apart to maintain stability.
You will observe that it is difficult to stand on equipment even when it is static. This is due to the leaning of the deck and wheels in the direction of your body. Thus, experts mostly recommend keeping your body close to the center of gravity and using arms to adjust yourself on the board. Negligence in doing so might result in a fall.
2. Basic Longboarding Skills
The second step is learning to ride a longboard with a focus on practicing the basic skills such as stepping on the board, grasping the technique to roll the board, practicing to push it, methods to stop, and focusing on the turns. All of these are discussed below in detail.
Stepping on the Board
After you have selected a suitable product for yourself and have identified your riding stance, then it is time to practice stepping on it. For this purpose, the novice riders should begin on a smooth surface with no obstacles like a sidewalk or parking. Place your one foot on the tool, followed by the other.
This is dependent on the natural stance of the individuals, and those with a regular stance mostly place the left foot, which acts as a front foot and then support their movement with the help of the rear foot. The rider can easily identify the comfortable stance once they start riding. Whichever foot you might use as the front one, make sure to place it at an angle of 45 degrees.
Afterward, use your rear foot to completely stand on the equipment while maintaining the balance of the body with the help of the front one. Both feet should be shoulder-width apart, and the rear one must be placed at an angle between 45 to 90 degrees. However, if you place your rear foot first instead of your front foot, simply reverse the above-mentioned steps, and you are done.
Practicing to Roll Down
After learning to step on the board, now is the time to practice rolling down. For this purpose, riders are advised to look for a small inclined yet smooth surface. Try to find a location without any obstacles or rocks in the surrounding. Additionally, make sure you have something to hold on to in the surroundings, as it will help maintain stability when you are rolling down the inclined surface.
After stepping on the board, try to move it while holding a wall. Once you have adjusted properly and have become comfortable with your stance, let go of the wall and try skating in a straight motion. Do not push the board to speed up; let the board lose its speed naturally, and step off when it stops.
Learning to Push
Learning to push is another integral component of mastering the art of skating. Similar to the above-mentioned steps, this technique also involves choosing a smooth surface and standing on the board in your natural stance. Once the balance is achieved, take your rear foot off the deck and place it on the ground.
This can be done by balancing your body on the front foot at an angle of 45 degrees and bending the rear foot properly. After you have achieved a stable stance, use your rear foot (which has already touched the ground) to push the board forward. Push the board twice and then balance your both feet on the board again when the desired momentum is acquired. Return both feet at 45 degrees and enjoy the ride.
How to Stop?
Learning the technique to stop the tool is another achievement for beginners. The most common way is to jump off the product while rolling at a slow speed and then run it out after it has lost its momentum. However, the method is only useful if the board is rolling at a slow speed. Therefore, another efficient way to do so is using the rear foot to slow down the board.
This can be performed by placing the back foot on the ground and pushing it back to stop the front foot and unit from moving ahead. Hence, leading to a reduction in high speed and allowing the rider to jump off the equipment without any injury or fall. Apart from this, users can also stop the skateboard by rolling on grass or rough surfaces to decrease the speed of the tool.
Practicing the Turns
Turning the longboard is a tricky task and requires great balance and stability. The step can be learned efficiently if the beginner has already practised balancing him/herself on the static board. Along with this, it is also recommended to try turning the wheels by pressing the rails with the help of heels and toes when balancing the equipment in a static position.
After you have repeated the above-mentioned tips several times and have acquired the desired skill, try practising it on a rolling board. Similar to previously discussed methods, place your tool on a smooth surface and push it forward. After stability is achieved, turn the wheels by putting pressure on the front edge of the deck with the help of toes.
This will move the board in the direction of your natural riding position. For example, to the right in case of regular stance and to the left in case of goofy stance. While pressing the deck, shift your body in the direction of the movement of the product. This will put additional pressure on the rail, making the wheels turn effortlessly. However, beware of putting too much pressure on the rail, which might result in an unwanted increase in the speed.
Likewise, to move the wheels in the opposite direction, shift the pressure from toes to heels. This should be done while maintaining the amount of pressure applied on heels, depending on the body weight of the rider. Hence, leading to the generation of remarkable and smooth turns without any disbalance.
3. Intermediate Longboarding Skills
After you have attained the basic skills, the next step involves polishing those skills and moving towards complex techniques of longboarding. These procedures include learning to control the speed, mastering the foot brake, and responding to accidental falls.
Increasing the Speed
The focus of this method is to enhance the stability on a longboard while moving at a faster speed, especially on inclined surfaces. For this purpose, it is advised to locate a flat inclined surface and practice riding and making small heelside and toe based turns. Learning turns on an inclined surface will help maintain the balance at a fast speed and polish your skills.
In addition to this, users should experiment with the technique and try to ride in both narrow and wide stance to identify the most suitable stance for him/herself. The trick of mastering small uncontrolled turns is putting additional pressure on the front foot. Along with this, the situation can also be controlled by making small voluntary turns.
The crux of enhanced speed lies in balancing the movement with the steering foot. Furthermore, the step also involves pushing through the natural foot. However, the method can also be reversed and is especially advantageous to long-distance skaters.
Mastering the Foot Brake
After you have properly learned to stop your skateboard according to various circumstances and have mastered the efficient way of stopping the tool. Your next task is to learn to foot brake. The foot brake is more complex and requires a thorough understanding of riding a longboard.
The beginning of foot braking is similar to kick pushing and involves stabilizing the board and body using the front foot while keeping the back foot on the ground. Once your foot touches the ground, try to rub it on the surface and lower the speed by creating friction between your shoe and the ground.
Keep rubbing until the board stops but remember to lower your body while doing so in order to maintain stability. On the flip side, the technique is only recommended for slow to moderate speed and can lead to serious consequences if used at a relatively higher speed.
Controlling the Speed / Carving Technique
Carving is an essential longboard skill that is extremely useful if you are a beginner and not very good at controlling the speed of your longboard. The technique is user-friendly and can be learned without much difficulty. Therefore, it is highly recommended for novice riders. For performing the skill, locate a steep slope with a large width.
The slop should be wide enough for you to turn your longboard at an angle of 180 degrees without colliding with any obstacle. Once you have identified the location, the next step involves riding down the slope. However, before speeding up the product, turn uphill, i.e., perpendicular to the slope, for efficient performance.
Lastly, when you have reached the edge of the road, make a turn and follow the steps in the opposite direction. The main focus of carving is to practice forth and back movement on the road to control the speed. The technique is greatly dependent on weight shifting and body rotation.
Moreover, the rider must learn to multitask in order to acquire the skill as all the movement shall be performed while looking in the direction of the target. Therefore, it is advised to begin with smaller hills and then shift towards the steeper ones. This will not only prevent consumers from hurting themselves but also allow them to control their body movement and speed of the unit.
Apart from carving, other tricks to control the speed of the equipment involve air braking, sliding, running out the board, and foot braking. Among these, running out the board is highly recommended for those with no previous background in longboarding.
Response to Falling
Last but not least, response to falling is a crucial step while riding a longboard. Most riders, when they fall off the skateboard, use their hands to gain support from the ground and prevent falling completely. Unfortunately, this method of preventing the fall is wrong and might result in severe injuries like a broken arm or wrist.
Thus, awareness regarding the careful response and first aid shall be raised among riders of various skill levels to avoid serious consequences. Experts advise tucking the arms around the upper body. This should be followed by the landing on the forearms while turning/rolling sideways. The sideways rolling shall be dependent on the shoulder instead of the wrist for better support.
Injuries and accidental falls are unavoidable if you often take part in boarding activities or are focusing on the tricks to ride a longboard. Therefore, it is recommended to practice the technique to cope with a fall on a mattress or soft surface. This is to avoid any major damage to your body in case of an actual accident. Do you think longboarding is hard? Well, try our guide and it’ll be made easy for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a longboard easier to ride?
Riding a longboard is easier than a skateboard. The reason for this is the wide deck and soft wheels of longboards in comparison to skateboards. These wheels provide the required balance and are easier to control. Contrary to this, the hard and small wheels of a skateboard are difficult to control and turn and might be problematic for beginners.
How do you stop yourself on a longboard?
There are many ways to stop a rolling longboard. They include jumping off a slow-rolling longboard and then running it out. Another technique to do so is to create friction between the ground and your shoe to stop the board. However, these are only recommended if you are riding at slow to moderate speed.
For fast speed, it is advised to use your rear foot to slow down the board and let it lose its momentum on its own, and then get down the board. This will prevent you from falling and hurting yourself and will also help to lower the speed of the product.
How do you control the speed on a longboard?
For beginners, there are many methods to control the speed of the longboard. They include; running out the board, carving, foot braking, aid braking, sliding. However, the most suitable for newcomers is running out the board or sliding. Subsequently, after the rider has polished his/her basic skills, he/she can move towards carving. Carving requires self-control with the ability to multi-task. Those good at multitasking can easily grasp the crux of the carving technique.
Why do ankles hurt after longboarding?
It is common to hurt ankles, knees, and feet during longboarding as the skill requires putting a large amount of pressure on these body parts to achieve remarkable performance. The pain is usually accompanied by stiffness and swelling and might lead to a sprain after longer time intervals. Therefore, it is important to look after the injuries to prevent greater damage.
Where do I put my feet on a longboard?
For a comfortable position, it is recommended to stand according to your natural stance and keep your feet shoulder-width apart from each other. In addition to this, the feet should be placed at an equal distance from your front and back trucks. Mostly, the feet are placed in the middle of the deck, but if the wheelbase is small, it is advised to keep feet closer to trucks.
Injuries are unavoidable while learning to ride a longboard. However, knowing the correct response to fall and learning to control the speed of the product by methods like carving and sliding can help to a great extent in preventing severe injuries, especially for new riders. Along with this, proper knowledge about your natural stance and tricks to push and stop the tool can help build-up the basic skills.
These basic skills, later on, act as the foundation for most skilled riders to learn complex longboarding tricks. They include ollie, longboard dancing, and other incredible skateboarding tricks. Therefore, the consumer must look for suitable equipment, safety gear along with building a proper foundation in the desired field for efficient performance.