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Longboarding

Longboarding is the act of riding a longboard, a longer version of a skateboard. Longboarding has recently become more popular than ever with the boom of skaters who want a different experience than an everyday skateboard.

Uses

Uses include transportation, slalom, freeride, downhill, cruising, and travel.

Transportation

Because of their ability to roll very far on a single push, along with their ability to last long periods of time, longboards are commonly used for transportation. When used for transportation, skaters usually will go for a longer board, which can range from 2 feet to 4+ feet in length. However, a shorter deck can be used if the rider must go over many cracks, curbs, and drops, for longer boards do not cope with these well. Trucks are usually loosened when the longboard is used for transportation, for this allows the trucks to make bigger and cleaner turns by leaning. However, longboarding and skateboarding has become illegal in many places, so transportation isn’t as easy in some areas.

Slalom

Slaloming has become very popular in the longboarding scene and is one of the most popular events in longboarding contests. Slaloming is the act of weaving in and out of obstacles, such as pylons or cones, with the objective of completing the course in the fastest time while navigating from one point to another. Riders will usually go for softer wheels for their ability to grip the ground and not lose traction when making very sharp turns between each obstacle. These riders use a technique called “pumping” to swerve their body in and out between each obstacle, taking their board with them.

Freeriding

Freeriding is probably the most common use of longboards because of its fun nature and openness to creativity and new tricks. The most popular type of “trick” in freeriding is sliding, where the rider forces his wheels (through a series of bodily movements) to go perpendicular to the ground, causing friction and the wheels to “slide” against the pavement. This allows for plenty of creativity because riders can slide at different angles, speeds, and variety and flair. Some freeriding decks have “kicktails” or fishtails, which allow for flip tricks, manuals, and even ollies. These decks are usually symmetrical and 2-3 feet long, with widths anywhere from 8 to 11 inches.

Downhill

Downhill is the act of riding a longboard down hills with the intention of going the fastest and obviously keeping the board in control without falling. Trucks are kept very stiff to avoid “speed-wobbles,” which is when the board starts turning back and forth and the riders’ bodies gets slung back and forth until they end up getting thrown sideways off the board. This can usually be prevented by bending of the knees to create a sturdier foundation. These boards can also be used for freeriding because of the similar shape and size. Downhill riders will sometimes wear leather suits, custom helmets, and sliding gloves for protection and aerodynamics.

Cruising

Cruising is the most casual style of riding, which is basically a more relaxed version of freeriding. Cruising can be a method of transportation, a fun passtime, or means of travel. It is basically a catchall for longboarding.

Travel

Longboards can be used for traveling longer distances than a transportational board will get you. Decks designed for this kind of travel are usually low to the ground and have ceramic bearings to make pushes last longer and go farther, reducing fatigue on the rider.

Techniques

There are many different things one must know before longboarding, even if an avid skateboarder.

Braking

Braking is rather difficult on a longboard because these boards are usually going at high speeds, where footbraking cannot help too much. At low speeds, riders can footbrake, or drag their foot on the ground, along with just jumping off the board and running off until able to stop. However, at faster speeds, neither of these are valid options. Sliding is a very popular method of braking at high speeds, which is the method of pushing the edge of the board out so it is traveling sideways rather than forwards, and the wheels are sliding against the ground. The resulting friction slows the board down dramatically, even at high speeds. However, the higher the board is from the ground the more difficult this is and the more speed is needed.

Sliding

Sliding, as mentioned earlier in the “braking” section, is the method of pushing the edge of the board out so it is traveling sideways rather than forwards, and the wheels are sliding against the ground. It has evolved into the main style of tricks, with a variety of types of slides including the Coleman, Stinkbug, Pendulum, and Standup. The standup slide is a bit like a powerslide on a skateboard. Wheels are a very important part of sliding, for the rider has to choose between hard or soft wheels. Hard wheels will make it easy for a rider to get into a slide, but will lead to a choppier slide that isn’t smooth. Soft wheels will make it harder for the rider to enter the slide, but will lead to a clean slide that can be carried out over a long distance. Slides can be done standing upright or using hands placed on the ground to allow the rider to execute slides in any number of positions and angles. When performing hands-down slides, protective slide gloves must be worn. These gloves are made by longboarding companies such as Sector 9, Vault, Landyachtz, Arbor and Loaded.

Carving

Carving is a more relaxed version of slalom, where the rider goes in and out of an area on the ground. It is used to control speed when going down a hill and is also a fun method of transportation. The rider makes a continuous “S” path by leaning left and right. By making many turns, the rider’s speed can be controlled and maintained.

Pumping

Pumping is a technique used to move back and forth, commonly used in slalom skating to go between obstacles.

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