So you’ve decided that speed is your thing. You’ve spent time picking the perfect board with the coolest design out there. Putting your safety first, you’ve purchased a sufficient helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. You’re now ready to hit the slopes! At this point we are going to tell you that longboarding is not easy by any means. It’s going to take hours and hours of practice until you are able to ride at high speeds downhill, carve and cruise round bends with ease. But don’t worry we’re here to help, providing you with the first steps you need to take on how to ride a longboard for the first time.
Step One – Stance & Stability
Now balance is crucial! Without good balance you aren’t going to be able to travel very far. You’ll find more often than not you will unfortunately fall off. To combat this, you need to have a comfortable stance that will provide you with solid stability. To get this, you firstly need to decide how you are going to stand on your board. How do you decide this? Well this is all down to personal preference and trying out stances until you find the most comfortable.
So what are the stances? It is well known that the majority of people around the world are right footed i.e would kick a soccer ball with their right foot. In skating terms, this means skaters are going to generate more power when kicking off with their right foot. If they are kicking off with their right, then their left foot is the lead foot that stays constantly fixed to the board. When the left foot is the lead and the right is used for kicking off, this is known as skating regular. Alternatively if you are left footed and use this to generate power with your right as your lead – this is known as skating goofy. As mentioned previously, we can only advise that you try skating with both stances until you find the best which suits you.
Ultimately the decision is up to you! Ask yourself this – which foot generates more power for you when you ride? Which foot provides the most stability? The only way to find this is by giving it a go. Try skating regular and goofy and see which style best suits you.
Step Two – Call Your Friend
Once you have worked out what stance is the most comfortable for you, you now need to practice your stance while moving on your longboard. At this stage you need to not worry about kicking off to generate moment. You require all your focus to be on your balance. So this is where you need to call your friend over for help. Step on your board and get in your stance. Ensure that your lead foot-knee-nose are all aligned. Get your friend to push you and practice your stance while moving. Bend down and push up trying different heights positions on your board. See which positions generate more speeds and which slow you down the fastest. Once you have perfected this your ready to start generating momentum for yourself.
Step Three – Generating Momentum
The power you’re required to generate depends on your terrain. Uphill surfaces will require more power than downhill surfaces and vice versa. If you are reading this article you are probably new to the sport, so we would advise you begin to practice on flat terrain. Once you are in your stance – toe-knee-nose aligned – kick off with your remaining foot. Kick off four or five times then return to your basic stance with slightly bent knees keeping your body weight through your lead foot. When you begin to slow down, kick off three or four times again. Repeat this process as momentum is needed.
Step Four – How to Turn/Curve
You’ve now learnt how to gain speed on your board. You can travel efficiently in straight lines. You now need to learn how to turn. When it comes to turning, you simply have to lean the way you want to go. There are two types of turns on a longboard, a heel edge curve which means dipping your heels to turn left or right depending on your stance. Second, there’s a toe edge curve which involves dipping toes to turn left or right – again depending on your stance. Remember to keep stability by bending your knees. At this point we advise that the more speed you have, the easier it is to turn. We understand that as beginners, you may not be travelling at great speeds so turning may be trickier. Keep at it, and you’ll soon be curving round bends easily.
Step 5 – Stopping
When it comes to stopping, you’ll find that your board has no breaks! So what do you have to do to stop? Well technically there is no actual way to slow yourself down like you would on a bike or scooter. You have to use a certain technique to bring yourself to a stop. If you are generating momentum and need to stop, the answer would be to simply stop generating momentum. You will find you will eventually roll to a stop. However if you are travelling at speed and need to lose momentum sharpish, you have to use a technique that involves CAREFULLY jumping off the front of your board and running off the momentum. This way you jump off in the same way you’re travelling taking the momentum with you, and slowly bring yourself to a stop. Start by practicing this at very slow speeds and build this up.
Well there you have it, these are the first steps we advise you to take when you first get your board. Remember as we said earlier, longboarding isn’t easy to begin with but with hard work and persistence you will soon be gliding through the hills. Check out the rest of our site for more advice on how to become a better skater. What are you waiting for?
Need more beginner longboarding tips? Check out our latest article here.
Is skateboarding your thing instead? Find our how to ride a skateboard guide here.