Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Learning to Longboard-Tips and Tricks

 Many people who attempt to learn the art of long boarding often overlook some important aspects to the activity, and as a result end up quitting out of fear, frustration, or other emotional obstacles, or sometimes injuries. I want to lay out a few tips for anyone that is considering taking up long boarding, hopefully this will help some of you get the hang of things quicker and with less pain involved.

1. Wear a damn helmet.

Stop worrying about douches making fun of you, they are a waste of space anyway. You need to protect your brain, especially in the beginning because you will fall at one point or another. Wearing pants is also a good idea.

 2. Don't buy anything until you have had enough experience to feel comfortable on a long board.
             (except maybe a helmet)
So many people rush out to zumiez or the closest skate shop and drop hundreds of dollars to get their "dream board" without the slightest idea of how to ride it. Don't be that guy. Borrow one from a friend and ride it as much as possible until they start to get annoyed. Hopefully by this time you will be decent enough to cruise around without holding your arms out for balance at 5 mph. Also, if you come to the realization that you hate boarding or are too scared to learn the basics, then you won't be wasting cash. After you can do some small slopes and are completly comfortable cruising around, then you can consider purchasing a board of your own.

3. Learn to foot brake asap.

Because the design of long boards lacks an automatic braking system it is up to the rider to manually stop their shit. If you intend to ride one of these without any ability to stop besides jumping off, you are defiantly going to hurt yourself and probably someone else rather quickly. So please learn to foot brake, it's not that complicated. Start on a slope with just enough decline to keep you cruising. Then, bend your knees slightly and remove your back foot from the board and gently place it on the pavement. You should feel friction between your foot and the pavement as your foot slides. Slowly increase the pressure of your foot on the pavement until you stop. The key is placing that back foot against the pavement slow and gradually, if you do it too quickly shit is gonna get bad fast. As you progress in long boarding you will learn how to slide and other cool techniques to stop, but for now focus on being a pro foot-braker.

4. Start small and relax.

Once you have foot-braking down, start to hit some small hills and work your way up to bigger ones. One of the most important parts of going down hills is staying lose and relaxed. Think of your board as an angry dog, if you tense up and get scared the dog will smell your fear and fuck you up, but if you remain calm there is a much better chance of avoiding any conflict. When going down a hill, if you tense up and get stiff your board is going to wobble, and this is a bad bad thing. So remember to breathe, relax the legs, carve, and finally just say fuck... and do it.

I hope this helps some of you who are thinking about taking up long boarding, or are new to the business. Good luck and try not to eat shit!