How to Ride a Longboard?
If you’ve never tried skateboarding before, learning how to ride a longboard might seem scary at first. Longboards are great for people who are just starting out because they have a big deck and a low center of gravity. If you want to try longboarding, here are some tips for getting started safely and with confidence, so you can focus on having fun.
- Make sure you have the right longboarding gear.
If you haven’t bought a longboard yet, drop-through and double-drop models are usually the easiest ones for beginners to use.
Safety gear is vital for beginner longboarders. As you learn, you’re more likely to make mistakes, so it’s important to wear protective gear like knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and helmets. A little planning can keep you from getting hurt and help you learn with confidence.
- Get used to standing up on your longboard
Skaters who have never done it before should first figure out which foot goes forward naturally: the left or the right. Put your longboard on a flat, even surface to figure out what stance works best for you. Try standing with your left foot in front, then try it with your right foot in front.
Does one stance feel more natural? If you like to walk with your left foot in front, you are called a regular footer. A skateboarder who uses their right foot as their front foot is called “goofy.”
If you’re still not sure which foot is your front foot, try this: stand flat on the ground and have someone push you from behind. How did you catch yourself? With which foot? For longboarding, that foot should be your front foot.
- Find your balance
You can practice staying balanced on your longboard now that you know where your front foot and back foot are.
Place your longboard on a flat, textured surface, like carpet or grass, that will stop it from rolling. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart between the longboard trucks, with your front foot at a 45-degree angle and your back foot perpendicular to the skateboard.
Bend your knees to lower your center of gravity and practice moving your weight in all directions. As the skateboard deck tilts, try to adjust to it by moving your arms or shifting your weight from your front foot to your back foot.
- Try getting on and off of your board
When you’re on pavement, like in a parking lot, it will be harder to get on your board. Try putting your front foot on it first. Now try putting your back foot on the step first. Which made more sense?
When you feel comfortable getting on your skateboard, you can try rolling.
- Make a slope
Find a flat surface that slopes slightly and has a lot of flat space at the end. A handrail is helpful, but a friend can also help you stay steady as you learn. Step onto your longboard and settle in while holding onto the handrail or a friend. When you’re ready, let go, and your longboard will start to roll downhill.
Try to keep your weight low and evenly distributed across your feet as you roll so that you move in a straight line. Step off your longboard at the bottom of the hill. You’ve gone down a hill on skates! As you get more comfortable, try it without holding on and put your hands out to the sides for balance.
- Get used to taking off
On a flat surface, point your front foot in the same direction as your longboard, shift your weight to your front foot, and put your back foot on the ground. A couple of times, lightly push off with your back foot to get used to the move. As you start to roll, put your back foot back on the deck and move your front foot so that it is at a 45-degree angle.
- Get used to turning
Once you’re moving, you can turn your skateboard by slightly leaning to one side or the other. Make sure your knees are bent to keep your center of gravity low and give you more control.
- Try to stop
You can stop your longboard in a few different ways. Stepping off the board while it’s moving is one way to do it. This only works if you’re not going too fast. Another way is to keep your balance on your front foot and bring your back foot down to the ground. This is called “foot-braking.” Instead of pushing off, let your back foot drag so the friction slows you down.
Keep in mind that it takes time to get good at longboarding. Practice each step until you feel like you’re ready to move on. Soon, you’ll be able to go fast downhill and know how to do a few simple tricks.