How Do You Ride a Longboard?

By Kim Nunley

Longboards are longer than the traditional skateboard and feature larger wheels, which allow them to travel faster. While skateboards are commonly used for tricks, longboards are designed for cruising, racing downhill or traveling longer distances. Always wear a helmet and consider also wearing kneepads, elbow pads and wrist guards to protect your skin and bones in case you fall.

Standing on a Longboard

Begin by figuring out whether you naturally prefer a regular or "goofy" stance. The regular stance is when you stand on the board with your left foot forward, while standing with your right foot forward is referred to as using a goofy stance. Your dominant foot, which will be used for pushing, should be placed in the back. Imagine kicking a soccer ball. If you prefer to kick with your right foot, you’ll want to ride with a regular stance. If you want to kick with your left, go with a goofy stance. Your feet should be shoulder or hip width apart, pointed to the side of the board, and your knees should be slightly bent for a lower center of gravity.

Pushing and Cruising

To pick up speed and keep the longboard going, push off the ground with your back foot. Lift your back foot off the board and set it on the ground next to the board with your toes pointed forward, in the direction your board is traveling. Push off the ground with your foot and then return it to the board. If you’re trying to pick up high speed, kick off the ground multiple times. After you return your foot to the board and it’s traveling, keep your knees bent and your eyes ahead to watch for any upcoming obstacles. Kick again to pick up speed as necessary.

Carving on a Longboard

Carving allows you to turn on your longboard without taking your feet off the board. It can be used for speed control, as carving will gradually slow you down. To carve, or turn, to the left, a regular-stance rider gradually shifts his body weight to his heels. To carve right, the regular-stance rider shifts his weight to his toes. A goofy-foot rider does the opposite to carve left and right. When you want to use carving to control your speed, such as when you’re riding down a hill, repeatedly carve to the left and right to create a wavy path.

How to Stop

There are a few ways you can stop on your longboard, and beginners can do so by either foot-braking or jumping off the board. The foot-braking technique is for when you’re traveling slowly. You can set your back foot flat on the ground beside the board and drag it along the asphalt or cement. When you’re traveling at high speed and need to stop, you can jump or step off your board while it’s traveling. When you jump or step off, you need to hit the ground running at a speed similar to that at which your board is traveling.

When planning to ride your longboard down a hill, first check out the terrain and find out where the run ends. That way, if you do pick up too much speed, you know whether you're too close to the end to ride it out, or if you have some distance until the road flattens and you can make an effort to stop. Also, familiarize yourself with places along the route offering a soft landing, like grass or sandy soil.

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