How To Longboard – The Beginner’s Longboarding Guide

Elizabeth Drew March 17, 2013 2 Comments
If you are looking to learn how to longboard, our beginners guide will get you going. It’s time to get rolling on concrete and cruising down some hills!

What Is Longboarding?

Before we get into how to longboard, we should probably make sure you know what one looks like!  A longboard is a type of skateboard commonly used for cruising, downhill racing, slalom racing, sliding, and/or transport. A longboard is typically made of thin flexible wood with big wheels making them easy to maneuver at speed.  Invented back in the 1950’s, longboards are now increasing in popularity especially with girls – the Longboard Girls Crew recently hit over 170,000 fans on just their main facebook page, with regional crews forming all the time.

How To Longboard - Alicia Fillback

What Longboard Equipment Do I Need?

To learn how to longboard you will need some basic kit, however what you need will depend on what kind of longboarding you want to do.

  • FUN TRANSPORT – If you only want to cruise from A to B then the only thing you will need is a board.  There are lots of different shapes to choose from and plenty of price options to suit your budget. Most longboard’s are between 90cm and 150cm, with mid-length boards being the most versatile, and perfect for getting around town on.
  • DOWNHILL – If you plan on shredding some steep streets at speed you will need to get yourself a helmet, knee and elbow pads and a suitable board (shorter boards are better for downhill racing). Riders also sometimes wear ‘slide gloves’ which mean you can use your hands to turn more sharply.

Which Longboard Should I Buy?

Longboard’s come in loads of different shapes, sizes, colour’s and flex.  The best way to find the right board for you is to test a few out and see what you feel most comfortable on.  To make things nice and easy, most longboard’s can be bought ready set up with deck, trucks, wheels and bearings. When you have learnt more about longboarding and what you want your board to do, you can customise your board by buying and fitting these components separately.

  • PINTAILS – Boards with a pintail shape will generally have looser trucks and a wider diameter. This gives more of a ‘surfing’ feel when riding. The pintail shape prevents the wheel from coming into contact with the board (called “wheelbite”) while still providing lots of space for your feet.
  • DROP-THROUGH – Drop-Through boards have a cutout in the deck which allows the baseplates of the trucks to be mounted through the deck. The lowered platform allows for greater stability at high speeds.
  • HYBRID – Hybrid boards are generally shorter (so can perform tricks like a regular skateboard) and include wheel cutouts to provide room for the wheels to turn at sharper angles while avoiding wheelbite.
  • CRUISER – This is the most common shape of longboard deck,  similar to normal skateboards with a kick-tail on the back. The trucks will generally be higher and wheels larger and softer than on a standard skateboard  The bushings are also much more flexible, which gives the rider the ability to turn and maneuver more efficiently.
  • CAMBER – If the board is slightly bent up in the middle it means it has ‘camber’. A Longboard with camber will be bouncier and able to turn harder.

This video gives you a basic introduction to what Longboarding is and how to choose the right board for you.

Longboard questions this video answers -

  • What is the difference between longboarding & skateboarding?
  • Where did longboarding come from?
  • I want to buy a Longboard … but don’t know which one would be right for me!

Panic no more! This video has the answers to all three of your questions!!

Watch An Introduction to Longboarding + How to choose the right Longboard!


Are You Regular Or Goofy?

If you already have a clear idea of which foot you put forward on your board please feel free to skip ahead. However, for those of you figuring out your longboarding stance we have a couple of cheeky ways to help you find out. For those of you who already shred on a snowboard, skateboard, wakeboard or surfing then just use the same stance.

There are two riding stances – Regular (left foot forward) and Goofy (right foot forward). You need to have a basic idea of your stance preference before you can learn how to longboard. For test number one just go for a walk up some stairs – whichever foot you used to step up onto the first step is likely to be your front foot.  Test two requires you to have something kickable. Place the ball (or whatever you are using) on the ground and kick it. The foot you used to kick it is supposed to be your front foot.

For the third test you need to find a friend to give you a good shove from behind while you are standing up with your feet together. Done it? Which foot did you automatically use to steady yourself?  Well that foot is very likely your front foot! Of course if you feel more comfortable swapping once you have messed around on your board, there are no rules to say you can’t change!

How To Longboard - Maga McWhinnie - Thane Destroyer

Stand On Your Longboard

When you first learn how to longboard, find yourself a large flat area with smooth tarmac or concrete – parking lots are usually perfect for this, but please mind out of the way of traffic.  Before you start moving just stand on your longboard, getting used to how it feels and flexes. Move your feet around a bit, crouch and stand up all without moving the board, until you feel comfortable.

Foot Placement: Where you place your feet on a longboard really depends on what you are doing.  A basic stance for rolling around is to put your feet between the trucks about shoulder width apart. Your front foot should be pointed out forward at about a 45 degree angle, and your back foot points only slightly.  Once you have ridden for a while you may find a stance that works better for you – feel free to let us know what works for you in the comments below.

In the future when you are ready to bomb down some hills, its worth spreading your feet a little wider for extra stability.  To get more speed just point your a little more downhill.  Remember to put a good amount of weight on your front foot when speeding down hills as it will help you remain in control. Please make sure you are comfortable stopping before you start being a speed demon!

Watch …

This video is for all beginners ready to learn how to Longboard for the first time – all the basics are covered in this one video from finding out if you ride regular or goofy, to the basic carving technique.

Ride Your Longboard

Now it’s time to move.  With your longboard not moving, put your front foot in position on the board. Next, use your back foot to gently push off and get your longboard rolling. Push a few times to get a bit more speed, and then put your back foot onto the board – whoop! Your riding!  You can also push with your front foot (called pushing Mongo) although most people don’t.

Carry on pushing the board around a little more, and get a feel for where your center of gravity is. The lower your center of gravity, the more comfortable it will be to ride.

How to Get On Your Longboard

This video shows you a multitude of different ways to get on your longboard starting with the most basic mount to something a little more styled out.

Watch LongboardUK Trick Tips: Getting On The Board

How To Stop

There are a few different ways to stop on a longboard.  At this point you shouldn’t be going too fast ;) so the easiest way will be footbraking otherwise known as dragging the foot you use to push along the floor until stop. It really helps to wear shoes while doing this!

We will go over the other stopping choices on How To Longboard – The Next Steps (coming soon). If you end up going too fast, just jump off. Try aiming your board at something soft like grass and just hop off it! It might be worth practicing jumping off your board, and working out how fast you can handle running off your board.  Don’t go faster than that until you have a little more skill.

How To Longboard – The Next Steps

If your now ready to learn a few tricks or just want some tips to get the most out f your new board make sure you check out our How To… Skate section.

> VIDEO: How To 180 Heelside No Comply

> VISIT: Longboard Girls Google+ Community


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Elizabeth Drew is the creative force behind ARKIN, and editor of Elizabeth is a keen snowboarder and loves nothing more than exploring the world. She also contributes to a number of other blogs and publications across a range of subjects. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.

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