Imagine yourself smoothly cruising around town, just like on a skateboard, while the streets guide you like the waves while surfing. That’s longboarding.
Simply put, longboarding is the perfect combination of skateboarding and surfing. Nowadays it’s become an immensely popular sport and hobby for many people all over the world. That’s mainly because it’s easier to pick up longboarding than other boarding sports.
But, how easy is it really to learn longboarding? Do you need previous experience in other boarding sports to pick up longboarding? What board type do you need if you’re a total newbie to longboarding?
In this article, I’ll talk about everything you need to know about longboarding and its difficulties. So, without wasting any more time, let’s dive into the learning curve and difficulties of longboarding.
Best Board Type
If you have previous experience in boarding sports, you probably won’t find it challenging to choose your first longboard. However, if you’re a total beginner, you may end up looking at all the longboards and thinking there’s less fish in the ocean than types of longboards.
To make things easier on yourself, don’t stress about the wheels, deck, shape, design, and length of your first longboard. With a bit of practice, you’ll gain the required skills for longboarding regardless of which longboard you choose.
My recommendation for everyone who’s starting with longboarding is to get a drop deck. Drop deck longboards are closer to the ground, so you’ll find it much easier to learn how to push. What’s more, this type of longboard has excellent traction and is somewhat easier to control than other types.
Zero Boarding Experience
Learning how to longboard is basically the same as picking up any other skill. Some people are natural talents, while others will need lots of practice.
Several factors determine how easy or difficult longboarding will be for you. Some of them are your level of fitness, previous experience in other sports, joint mobility, and balancing skills. If you’re into sports, you’ll probably get the hang of longboarding quickly. On the other hand, if this is your first sport, I recommend you take it easy and start step-by-step.
Here’re some of the basic terms and things you need to learn as a beginner.
Determining The Board Foot
When starting with longboarding, the first thing you need to ask yourself is ‘’ Am I goofy or regular?’’
While this may seem like an odd question to ask, these terms describe which foot you put forward on your longboard.
If you’re skating with your left foot forward, you’re a regular. Otherwise, you’re goofy. And no, this doesn’t mean you’re actually goofy. It’s just slang used amongst longboarders, so don’t worry.
When choosing the right front foot for longboarding, I personally feel like there’s no right choice here. The foot you naturally put forward when stepping the first time on your longboard will determine if you’re regular or goofy. You can also experiment and find what’s better for you.
When learning how to push on a longboard, I recommend starting on flat or slightly pitched terrain. First of all, place your board foot facing forward on the longboard. Once you feel comfortable and have found your center of gravity, you can start pushing with the other foot.
I recommend you start with light pushes to get a sense of what you’re doing. When you get the hang of it a bit, be brave and do some big pushes. The most important thing is to keep your center of gravity in one place. Wiggling around on your longboard won’t do the trick. However, you don’t want to be too stiff because it’ll get harder to keep your balance.
While pushing, I suggest you keep your feet facing forward because it’ll be much easier. Practice and find what works best for you.
To learn how to turn, it’s best to find a shallow hill for practicing. You don’t need to push on your first try. Just stand on the longboard by putting pressure on one side and point your shoulder in the direction you want to go.
Turning is more about tilting your body than turning your torso. By turning your torso too much, you’ll probably get out of balance.
When you start feeling comfortable while turning, you can combine it with pushing to achieve more speed.
Carving is what makes longboarding unique among other boarding sports. It’s basically moving around and controlling your speed by creating an S pattern. I recommend you try to carve after you’ve learned how to push and turn.
Find a wide street without much traffic or a parking lot to practice. What you want to do is shift your body weight from the heels to the top of your toes. Start by creating wide S shapes with your movement from edge to edge of the street.
When you master that, you can move on to higher speeds and narrower S shapes.
Stopping is really easy at lower speeds because you’ll instinctively know what to do – foot break. By dragging one of your feet on the ground, you’ll create friction and thereby slow down.
The only thing here you’ll need to devote your practice to is stopping at higher speeds. I’m sure that you’ll master it while practicing carving, pushing, and turning.
Will longboarding be a walk in the park for you if you have a boarding background?
The answer is – it depends. It’s not the same for skateboarders, snowboarders, and surfboarders. However, you’ll definitely be better off than a total beginner, regardless of which boarding background you have.
If you’re a skater, you’ll most likely have a harder time learning how to carve than a snowboarder. On the other hand, pushing and stopping won’t cause you much trouble.
No matter if you’re a snowboarder, skateboarder, or surfboarder, you’ll need some time to adjust to your longboard. Some things are almost the same, while others may seem strange to you.
However, I think you’ll get the hang of it quickly and without any difficulties. With some practice, you’ll be smoothly cruising around town and even learning some great new tricks, you can show off to your friends.