Monday, September 17, 2012

Longboarding Basics

My Physics Proffessor and I
I've had the chance to go longboarding with  some friends of mine recently. Most of them have either no experience or very little experiene longboarding. Each time I've assured them that I'll help them figure it out. That has been harder than I thought it would be.

Now is is no fault of my friends, the problem lies with the teacher. I've been longboarding for eight years now, and thats only part of my board sports. Snowboarding, skateboarding, wakeboarding, I even tried mountainboarding for a few months. I have found that, like my Physics 105 professor who is thinking far above the beginner student mind, the material has become second nature to me, a part of me. I have a hard time believing someone cannot simply stand on a longboard without falling down.

A moving sidewalk. Which does not usually change
speed or pitch to the left and right.
"Pretend like you're just standing on the ground," I told my friend about the longboard, "except the ground is moving and tilting. Like a dynamic moving sidewalk." "Mason," He replied, "that doesn't make any sense." and to my surprise it hit me that something that made so much sense to me, was in reality, complete gibberish.

Therefore, I have decided to begin posts about Longboarding helps. Things I wished I had known back when I was kicking my wheels as I pushed, losing my balance all the time, or wondering, as I was shooting down a hill which was far beyond my skill level, where on earth the brakes are. Well, lets start at the beginning .

What is a longboard?
A longboard is basically a glorified piece of wood (the deck) attached to two metal pivots (the trucks) which are attached to wheels. Between the wheels and the trucks are what we call the bearings, these are little metal rings within which are small metal spheres. This is what allows the wheels to spin. There are many different kinds of boards created for many situations, but I'll cover that later. 

This is your basic Sector 9 cruising longboard. About 46" long. Kicktail, camber, etc.

How to ride a longboard?
In an earlier post I explained how to find out your "footedness". Once you have determined this you are ready to ride.  I would begin on a small hill. Walk to a safe distance and step onto the board. Ride down and practice turning. This is done by learning on way or the other, toeside and heelside. Once you feel comfortable with this you can now begin pushing.
Longboarders on a slow hill in
Provo Canyon

Take your front foot and either leave it sideways or turn your toes to face the front of the board, whichever is most comfortable. Now, take your back foot and push off the ground with it(this can be done in reverse with the back food on the board and the front foot kicking. It is known as "mongo"). Remember that your weight should resting on the foot that stays on the board. Try not to shift your weight too much towards your kicking foot. This may cause the board to get ahead of you which will cause you to fall backwards. 

Really the most important thing is to stay loose, bend your knees. Don't think about it too much. Viktor Frankl calls this hyper-reflection which means, thinking too much about it distracts you from letting it happen. Just have fun. Don't worry what everyone else thinks. Don't bother yourself if anyone is better than you, they had to start from zero once too and they have the scars to prove it. Also, if you fall down, get back up and try again(unless it is physically impossible for you to get up. In which case I would have you or your friends call 911 and once you are healed I would get back on the horse and try again as a wiser, smarter rider), MOST IMPORTANT, wear a helmet, please.

Well, have fun. At a later date I'll post about different types of boards, how to stop, how to change your bearings and other neccesary information. Until then, have fun riding. 


Diana Ward said...

I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you
few interesting things or tips. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.

Petter said...

Yeah I don't have experience like you. I have some friends with no experience too. But we love longboard and never give up to conquer it.

Quest Longboards said...

I have some experience now, but when I was new longboard rider then I have no experience like you. Now I have a Krown Longboards.