Welcome to longboarding.
This is our first article in the series, our aim is to inspire more people to longboard. We welcome all feedback, anything to help us make these pages better and more relevant, so if there is something we can improved or added, get in contact.
We are assuming you have a longboard and you are ready to skate.
You don't have to be as young as Patrick below, longboarding is for all ages. As it is not based on tricks, you can enjoy the sport at any age and any gender.
Try to skate every day. Consistently doing a little bit every day is better than a huge skate one day a month.
Try to find a crew or friends to skate with because when you skate together you learn more and get good feedback. If you are a girl, try to find a girl's group. I have found girls tend to learn better together without boys skating and showing off around them.
- Teaching my son how to carve
So when you are starting out you want to learn pushing, carving and stopping.
With these three skills, you can go anywhere and skate anything.
As a longboarder, you want to be able to push from both legs. You will have one natural side: regular or goofy. Do not always push from the right leg or the left leg. Practice pushing with both legs.
Respect the history and style of skateboarding. Most skaters start pushing mongo. That is your foot on the back of the board and pushing with your front foot. It is said to be bad style, and other skaters will assume you know nothing about skating. You want to have your foot on the front of the board and push with your back foot. Better style and you will have more control. Plus foot braking is easier. If you do a lot of push longboarding, you should push evenly on front and back - half mongo and half normal. Prevents you getting lobster leg (one leg bigger than the other).
Being relaxed also helps you learn faster and get a bit of steez going.
Don't do the robot - stiffen up and look mechanical. You should be loose and legs bend and going with the flow. This allows you to ride out any bumps and obstacles. Makes it more fun. Helps you learn how to carve and flow. The board is your connection between body and surface. You want to be zen and be one one with your environment.
- Zen steez master Jackson Shapiera
Start today, get out there get pushing and carving.
Find a local bike path or quiet street, a boardwalk, footpath or a carpark. Don't start on a hill, you want to get use to rolling, so lets keep it on the flat. Everyone's first skate is a tentative straight line. Once you have the push, feet on the board and roll, you next want to lean into and back on the edges. This steers the board and the basis of a carve.
As you build your confidence, find objects and people to carve around. Test yourself and your longboards limit, how tight you can carve and still grip. Fast carve, slow carve. Can you pump the board to go faster?
A lot of longboarding is balance. As you get use to how the board rolls, you build your balance. This is a good time to practice the action that will become a foot brake. As you are pushing around, instead of pushing, just gently brush your foot on the ground. If your front foot is too close to the front of the board you can over balance, best to move your foot closer to the front of the board. This action of putting a foot down is how you footbrake.
Are you ready for some speed?
- Eventually you will want to go fast
Find a small hill with a run out. A bit of road that slopes down and then up - so you can learn what it feels like going fast down a hill but you have the safety of the up hill to slow you down.
Practice carving into the hill as you skate down it. It is important you don't panic when you start skating down hills. As the board gets faster, a slow dread comes over you that you are getting to a point where you can not stop without falling off. This is when you stiffen up and things so horribly wrong...speed wobbles. If you relax and carve and bend you knees (squat), you'll find you can ride out speed wobs.
While you are skating the hill, start to carve back into the hill. You'll find the wheels will grip and if you push the edge of your board with your back heel a small bit, the wheels will start to break free and you'll do your first skid (hopefully not in your pants). An easier way is to grab your board. Most skaters grab the middle of the deck between their legs. Longboarders call this stinkbug and it is bad style but many find it is easier while learning to slide.
- STINKBUG = longboarding bad style
However in the skateboarding world, grabbing your deck in the middle between your legs is deem good style (early grab, bob air, frontside grab/air, slob-air). Skateboarders find pushing mongo offensive. Longboarders find stinkbug offensive. But both are acceptable if there is no alternative or you only do it occasionally.
- Frontside air = skateboarding good style
Stopping is probably the most important thing if you want to stay safe.
Foot braking should be the first method of stopping you learn.
Basically putting your back foot slowly on the ground and using it as a brake. Important to keep your foot still and that it does not hit your back wheel. It is good to build up strength in your front foot so it is stable. Faster you are going the more strength you'll need. Comes with practice. Standard footbrake is a great skill to have while commuting and exploring new hills.
- Foot braking is so easy an Ape can do it!
To learn how to foot brake, while pushing, put your front foot towards the middle of the board and slowly balance and put your back foot on the ground. Helps to slowly push or brush the ground to start to get use to the feeling and the balance required. You'll get the general technique. Everyone foot brakes a little bit different. Try to find what is bmost confortable and safe for you.
When you are learning make sure your foot is on the board in the middle-to-front of the deck. It takes a while to get use to setting up for a footbrake but eventually with time it becomes a normal part of skating.
The second part of stopping is the shut down slide or pendulum/pendy slide or Coleman. It is also the foundation of learning to slide.
It is an important part of being safe if you want to go fast on your longboard. It is the first slide everyone should learn, though groms tend to want to do a heelside first.
You'll need slide gloves. Hard to do with new grippy wheels at low speed.
Youtube "how to" with those slide names and you will find a wealth of info on how to do it.
We will have a slide guide soon.
The pillars of learning to longboard. Push. Carve. Stop.
Learn all that, and you will be on your way to do any type of longboarding - push, freeride, slide, slalom or downhill.
Always wear a helmet. Skate within your limits. Know the rules and laws that govern longboarding in your area. Dont skate with car traffic. Never skitch. Beware of pedestrians, your skating effects their safety. Have fun.
You will fall but that is not failing, its learning. You will hurt yourself but it is a lot like climbing trees. You'll have some accidents getting to the top, once you get there, the view is awesome, and not that many people get there without persistence.
- You will fall, wear a helmet. Remember: You can not progress without falling.