Longboarding is banned in many public areas due to its association with the property damage and liabilities caused by street/trick skaters. Plus longboarding, being a mostly downhill activity hinged on momentum without the use of any brakes can create a pretty serious traffic hazard. Longboarding is extremely dangerous and should be done with caution by experienced skaters only.
The first step to long boarding is to decide what kind of riding style you have. Whether you like insane hills or carving the bowls at a local skate park, your riding style determines who you are as a long boarder.
There are many different components to a longboard, each with its own customizable parts and abilities. The wheels for example have options between soft and hard wheels. Softer wheels are better for sliding maneuvers, and harder wheels are better to maintain stability as well as balance.
The length of the board also plays a large part in determining the path you chose. Longer boards provide more balance as well as speed when going down a hill, shorter boards are better for “bowl skating” which is skating at a constant speed around a specially designed pool-shaped area in a motion called “carving”.
• Although you’ll want to take your longboard out whenever you can, try not to take it out in the rain. The board will absorb moisture and after a while it will start to feel damp, soggy and less responsive. The water will also rust the bearings inside the wheel.
• You’ll notice that a longboard will go a lot further and faster with less effort than a skateboard. To keep it this way make sure you clean out the bearings every month or so to remove any dirt and grit that may be slowing it down.
• Make sure to continually maintain and clean your board. This can range from taking the wheels off and cleaning the inside of them, also to take the trucks off and clean them. You should clean your wheels with WD-40 rather then water, because water will rust various parts of the wheel.
What kit to buy
The kit needed to start longboarding depends on how you intend to use your longboard. When people use them to race down steep hills they often wear protection similar to that of skateboarders, including a helmet, plus knee and elbow pads. Sometimes riders wear ‘slide gloves’ which allow them to use their hands to turn more sharply.
The great thing about longboarding is that if you intend to longboard purely as a mode of transport or for fun, the only piece of kit needed is the board itself. Most longboards measure between 20 and 90 inches, and come in lots of different shapes. Mid-length boards are the most versatile.
The best way to choose a longboard is to try a few out. Try standing on different longboards in the shop and see what feels the most comfortable. Remember that if you are used to skateboarding, a longboard will feel quite different when you first try it. If you want your board to be practical, choose a small to medium length board to make it easier to carry around.
Most longboards will come as a set up in the shop. This will include the deck, trucks, wheels and bearings. As you learn more about longboarding, you should0 customize your board to suit your needs. Wheels, trucks and bearings can all be bought separately to allow you to do this.
Types of longboards
Transportation: Boards used for transportation or commuting are the most common types of longboards. The boards are usually to 40-50 inches long and do not have a shorter nose. The boards are flexible to provide a more comfortable ride and are often shaped to resemble surfboards. Their trucks are set up loosely to allow for narrow turns. Longboarding for its own sake is often called cruising. It can be a convenient alternative to walking as you only need to push one time to move several feet.
Downhill: Downhill skateboards are used for riding down mountain roads as fast as possible. The boards are usually 95-110 cm (38 – 43 inches) long and very stiff. The trucks are attached to the ends of the board to maximize the wheelbase. In order to lower the center of gravity, downhill longboards sometimes feature a lowered platform, by mounting the deck below the baseplate of the axles, or by the shape of the deck itself. Downhill skateboarders sometimes use streamlined helmets to reduce aerodynamic drag. A longer wheelbase will increase stability, when a shorter one increase the turning potential of the board.
Slalom: Slalom skateboards are sometimes used for racing through courses set up with small cones as quickly as possible. The boards are usually 24-34 inches long, and often made of high tech materials such as carbon fiber. The shorter boards are used on tighter courses, and longer boards are used on steeper, faster courses . Many slalom skateboarders have several different boards set up for different types of courses. The trucks are attached to the very ends of the board and the boards often have narrow ends to allow a tighter turning radius. Slalom skateboards are used almost exclusively for competitive skateboarding. Slalom wheels differ from other longboarding wheels because they often have a much larger contact patch for better traction, which is a requirement in slalom situations. Slalom trucks are often much narrower than normal longboard trucks to allow a tighter turning radius, and may differ in design.
Dancing: Dancing is a technique that consists of moving ones feet, in front of, or behind, the other (cross-stepping) up and down the deck. Usually this technique is practiced by a longboarder with a longer deck (40+ inches). Different variations of dancing depend on the imagination of the rider. Twists, turns, hopping, jumping etc. can all be considered more technical variations of Dancing.
Bamboo: Different shapes of bamboo longboards include pintails and flatnose riders. Pintails generally have looser trucks and a wider diameter which gives more or a ‘surfing’ feel when riding. Most Bamboos have a ‘camber’ which is where the board is bent up slightly in the middle. Longboards that have cambers are bouncier and allow the board to turn harder which is good for sliding, whereas flat boards will lower the center of gravity and allow it to turn easier.
Cruisers: Cruising is often used to show off skill and control over the longboard. Cruising is a relaxed style, usually performed at slow speeds and involving tricks imported from classic surfboarding such as hanging ten, cross-stepping, and drop-knee-turns. Cruising longboards are typically much longer then the usual longboard, 60 to 80 inches or more, and often closely resemble the surfboards that they borrow their style from.
Sliders: Used primarily for sliding at accelerated speeds and on turns. Sliding Gloves aren’t necessary, but they help to maintain speed by using your hands and not just your board. Most people rake by sliding backwards at high speeds.
Drop Through Deck: Reliable, great for speed, good for sliding, and useful for almost all aspects of longboarding. The trucks of this board aren’t bolted to the wood like a normal board, they are above the wood(as seen below)The versatility however comes at a price. Literally they range from $300-$500.
Trick boards: Trick boards are similar to the short skateboards in shape and construction but are longer and usually wider. The trick boards are seldom longer than 42 inches. Tricks that can be performed on these boards are the same tricks that can be performed on a short skateboard but the heavier weight and larger size of the board require more skill and strength from the skater. Mostly used for carving bowls, and doing normal skateboard tricks.
Long boarder Profiles Extended
Origins- started skating around first in middle school, but started long boarding in high school when a boyfriend let me ride his board.
Favorite Skate spot- “The surprise hill” and there’s long hill in my neighborhood of Gold Canyon, and the Wells Fargo parking garage.
Who I skate with- Jakob Villareal(12), Travis Dolye(12), but mostly by myself.
What kind of board do you have- Sector 9 cruiser. Made in the late 80s, early 90s so it doesn’t have cut outs above the wheels. It has a tail and is a lot lighter than most new boards.
Style – Dancer.
Origins – looked cool so i got into it, Lords of Dogtown was also very influential.
Favorite Skate spot- Around my neighborhood, close to Northwoods.
Who I skate with- Travis Doyle, Gary Bimble(10), and Olivia Bent.
Type of board- its a custom shaped board I bought off of Craig’s List for $80.
Adam “The Hammer” Oursland(10)
“Why are you interviewing me? I don’t ride a long-board i ride a hammer.”
Origins- “Rode out of the mouth of Mike like a child from his mother.” Adam Laughing as i ask him.
“Style?… I just ride on magic.”
Favorite Skate spot- LBJ Trail & MacArthur High School.
Who you skate with- Shawn Oursland.
Shawn “The Grinder” Oursland(12)
Style- Buttery Smooth.
Favorite Skate spot- Anywhere thats paved.
Who you skate with- Adam Oursland.
Michael “Rasta” Castillo(11)
Origin- Cause it looked really fun and intense.
Style – Down hill, Sliding and beasting roads.
Favorite Skate Spots- Tall Parking garages.
Who you skate with- David Gonzales, Josh Aguirre, and Justin Myers.
What kind of board- Arbor board!
Stories and Quotes
“Oooo hmm fun fact, I’m a Spartan on wheels”
– Michael Castllio
“I love my drop-deck, its still in great condition after all the skating I have been through and it’s just an amazing ride.”
“One day, before I caught the bus to school, I was coming down the hill and after I stopped I fell and slid. The fall seemed pretty minor but I got on the bus, sat down to do my makeup and this guy asked me what happened to my leg. I looked down at my right leg. “Its bleeding!”, he exclaimed. I looked down at my left leg and saw the most fantastic wound i’d gotten so far! It was the perfect giant cut that was just GUSHING blood. I didn’t even feel the cut. Someone actually had to tell me that my knee was bleeding everywhere.”
– Olivia Bent
“Once I saw a kid skate into a cat, the cat walked off fine but i can’t say the same for the kid.”
– Shawn Orsland
“I skate to disco, it’s friggin awesome”