If you’re a proficient skateboarder or an absolute beginner, the longboarding experience is perfect for those who want to try something a little different. Now that every teenager seems to have a skateboard, it might be time to branch out into other stylish and fun modes of transport. A longboard is like a large skateboard, made of thin, flexible wood, and is commonly used for downhill racing, slalom racing, sliding and cruising. The large wheels of a longboard mean that they are suitable for slightly less smooth types of terrain.
Longboards come in variety of shapes and sizes and can be purchased from specialist retailers like Skate Hut. There’s no harm in trying a couple out until you find the style that’s right for you. Boards with a pintail shape are supposed to give the rider the feeling of surfing, and often have a wider diameter. Cruisers are the most common type of longboards, and they have kicktails on the back just like skateboards. Look for flexible bushings that will allow you to turn more easily. If you want something you can do tricks on, try a hybrid longboard, as these take features from both longboards and skateboards and are generally shorter in length. Remember that you can add and fit components separately to your longboard as you get more confident in riding it and decide what you want from your board.
Start by standing on your longboard to get used to the feel of it. Only do this on a smooth tarmac or concrete surface. For beginners, keep your feet about a shoulder’s width apart, between the trucks. Point your front foot outwards at a forty five degree angle. Crouch down on your board and bounce a little, until you feel really comfortable with how it supports your weight and moves beneath you.
Use your back foot to push off and gain speed, and then put it back on the board. Don’t worry if you fall off the first few times, this is normal. You need to get a feel for where your centre of gravity is, and the lower you set this, the more comfortable the ride will be. Stopping is pretty simple. All you need to do is to drag your back foot along the floor until you stop, or if you feel like you’re going to fast, just jump off. Try to aim for grass to give yourself a soft landing!