Getting started on longboarding will not be too much of a daunting prospect if one follows the right learning order. There are quite a lot of riders taking straight away to the hills without even understanding the basics completely.
That is why I hope that this list of tips for longboarding beginners can help you to a great start. Of course, it can also reduce a lot of suffering and pain that one may have to go through. Let us dive right in, now.
Remember to Pick the Right Kind of Board
This can be quite a broad topic to cover. After all, a “right” board can be different depending on the person. This is due to it being based on one’s riding goals, skills, age, size, etc. Thus, it is really important that you can actually pick out a board that is “right’ for yourself, personally.
Find the Right Stance for Yourself
Each of us has a unique natural stance for riding board sports. There are even cases where this stance can vary from a sport to another.
The moment one steps on his longboard, there are two possible scenarios that can happen. If one stands naturally with the left foot before the right foot, then they are what we call a “regular”. Otherwise, if the right foot is before the left foot, then they are “goofy”.
As you begin on your longboarding journey, this is the first thing that you need to figure out about yourself. The most classic way to do so is standing with the feet together on the ground. Then, have someone push your back from behind. You will see the one foot that you will put naturally forward in order to avoid stumbling.
So, why is the stance so important? If you are a regular, turning right will require you to press on the toes. Turning left need you to press on the heels. On the other hand, if you are a goofy, you will need to do the opposite in order to turn. This needs to be kept in mind while you try to learn the new techniques.
Figure Out Your Own Balance While in the Static Mode
For someone who is entirely new to longboarding, they need to get familiar with balancing on longboards before doing anything. One of the best ways to do so is putting the board on a thick carpet or even some grass. Doing so will keep the board from ever rolling as the friction will be quite strong.
Step on the static longboard, get into the most natural stance. The feet should be apart roughly the distance between your shoulders. Of course, it can also be a little wider. Dependent on the length of your board, the feet can be on top of, or close to the trucks’ bolts.
The back foot, which is left if goofy or otherwise right, should naturally be around perpendicular to the deck. Then, the front foot will be angled slightly with that deck, maybe around 45 degrees. You can bend the knees a little bit and then slightly lean forward so that you can feel stable.
The goal is to feel comfortable standing on the board without thinking about stepping down all the times.
Practice the Turning Stance
You should still practice in the grass or carpet. Doing so, the wheels of the board will not roll at all during the practice. However, the deck would still lean to either side while you practice shifting the weight of your body around.
You should practice rolling around with the ankles so that the deck leans to each edge. After all, that is exactly how you will turn when you truly ride. Then, lock ankles and your board will lean through shifting the body weight backward (heels) or forward (toes).
If you need to go even further in training static before actually going onto the street, consider getting balance boards. It is quite a fantastic tool for balance training worth every single penny. Of course, it is only for those who are actually serious about doing board sports.
Practice the Push and Brake Stances
There are quite a lot of key skills you must master for longboarding. One of those is to balance on just one leg while the other pushes/brakes.
As you stand on the longboard, rotate the front foot, making the toes pointing to the nose. You should also do this while placing the board on carpets or in grasses. While rotating your foot, turn the hip as well as shoulder facing forward.
Then, lift the back foot off your board, balancing yourself on the front leg. With the front foot turning forward, you will be able to stabilize quickly. After that, shift the weight to the front leg, bend its knee. Doing so will help the back foot lower toward the ground yet you will not have to move the hips.
Touch your back foot to the ground for only a few secs while squatting on the front leg. Next, bring the foot back towards the board at the initial position. Turn your front foot, hips, and shoulders back to initial positions.
At first, you may find the exercise hard to do as the deck leaning sideways continuously. Thus, it will be quite challenging to balance on just one foot.
Get Familiar with Rolling
Now, you have gotten all the basic knowledge down in the static mode, now is the time to start moving. Find some parking lot or driveway that has slight inclines, get on the board, and the gravity will roll it.
Next, try out the push stance. Rotate the shoulders and front foot forward, lower the back foot, do a little push to raise the board’s momentum. You would easily see that the little boost in speed can grant stability, making balancing much easier.
For the uneven grounds, remember not to use too much force on the front foot. In addition, try not to shift the weight back. Doing so will let the front wheels to roll easier over pebbles or cracks. There is also the benefit of less fatigue accompanying unloading the front foot.
Once you have familiarized with pushing, then you can start kicking the ground harder to gain even more momentum. Still, you need to remember not to go any faster than your running speed.
Learn the Brake
Being a newbie at longboarding, learning to effectively brake is truly an elementary prerequisite before actually playing with the board. Of all the technique, the foot brake is obviously the first one that you should need to learn.
The steps are actually similar to what you use for pushing. However, after dropping the back foot, you will instead brush with the ground through the foot’s sole. Doing this will create friction, which will slow and then stop the board.
One thing to keep in mind is to make sure to touch the ground with the foot completely flat. In addition, you should also slightly lift the toes. Doing so can keep them from bumping into any crack while you scrub the ground to break.
Foot braking works wonders when you are going slow. However, it will get increasingly harder with higher speed. A great way to get more familiar with it is to stand on one foot and squat while rolling.
Start the Ride on Some Mild Hill
After getting good at foot braking on flat ground, you are now ready to challenge some small lope. You should look for one that ends in uphill or flat. Of course, it should not cross any kind of street.
At this kind of stage, there is still a need for protection. At least, you should use a helmet that is snug enough for your head, strapping under the chin. Then, get some slide gloves as well as knee pads if possible, they will work wonders. In addition, there is also the need for elbow pads.
Make absolutely sure you are wearing sport shoes that have strong soles when trying foot braking out. Of course, skating shoes will be much better than running shoes.
Do not try a hill out until you are certain that you can actually handle it. First, pick the most slight possible hill and, after you have rode down, keep on pushing back up. You should make absolutely sure that you may run off the board at any given time.
In the case of the hill that you can access to being too steep, start somewhere in its bottom. Then, walk up one step at a time until you start feeling confident. Remember, there is nothing as bad as losing control while challenging a big slope. After all, you will certainly crash due to not being ready.
Practice to Turn
It is now time to actually practice turning while the longboard is rolling. To start things off, you need to practice on some flat ground, afterward, you can try some small slope.
Before challenging the hills, make sure your trucks are tight so that the board will be less turning.
Just like what you did earlier on the grass, you start through rolling the ankles, weighing down on the edges. Doing so will make your board turn left and right.
After getting comfortable enough, try to lock the ankles and use the whole body by leaning onto the rails. The board will be following the upper body. Turn the hips, shoulders, and head toward where you are turning and balance with the arms.
Slowing Down Through Carving
Carving means to perform successive turns with the longboard with a pattern shapes like an S. While riding down slopes, one moderate the speed through carving as sharp as they can. Doing so will efficiently slow one down.
To do so, lean hard with each turn so that the wheels scrub the road, speed will be dumped off.
While carving, bend the knees to lower the center of gravity. Try to push the knees forward, as in weight on the toes, to do toeside carves. You can pull the butt backwards, focusing weight on the heels, to do heelside carve.
I do know that it sounds quite weird and scary. However, falling will happen sooner or later. You should never be terrified by it, though. The one most important thing is remembering to never fall on stiff arms/hands so that arm/wrist breaking can be avoided.
While falling, instead of the natural inclination of pushing out the hands, one needs to do the opposite. To be more specific, one needs to tuck the arms across their torso, make the landing on forearms. Then, roll sideways through the shoulders.
It does take quite a bit of practice to get used to the technique. You should try it out on piles of pillows or an exercise mat on your floor.
While skating, if you get the “I’m going to fall” feeling, try getting low on the board. Try to only fall forward if possible. However, if you do have to fall on the back, remember to lock the elbow while hitting the ground.
I do know that this is advanced. You can easily add it, but it is not at all easy to complete. However, for me personally, the true longboarding only starts after one learns to slide. It’s not only because it is cool sliding, but mainly due to sliding being the best way for slowing down.
There are so many methods to sliding, each will be more manageable for someone while hard for others. If you are not too fast, standing up sliding is much easier to learn with some practicing. However, remember that hand-down sliding will almost always be a much safer bet at high speed.
If you had just started, I do hope that you can find these tips for longboard beginners useful. I have tried to reflect the most vital steps I myself went through while I was starting.