Longboarding is fun and what you do on your board is just limited by your own imagination (and some physics), but much is possible.
There are many ways to ride your longboard. Understanding what you want to do on your board will help to pick the board most appropriate one for that activity. Sometimes you might find out you really need 2 or more board to optimize your ride, but lets start figuring out your main style first.
Many riding styles morph into each other and most people enjoy and ride multiple styles.
Some of the separation is kind of artificial, however each style has some characteristics which set them aside from the others. You sometimes find slightly different names and groupings as the sport is still so much in flux, so we used what seems the most common used naming convention across the industry.
In general you see 4 main riding styles, which are:
Cruising is the activity most longboarders start out with. You go (carve) around town, the campus, sidewalk or wherever you have some flat hard surface to ride your board. Whether its getting from A to B, or B to C, or just boarding as an alternative mode of transportation its all cruising, and way fun! Activities like “dancing”, board-walking or a gentle and relaxed ride are part of the whole cruising experience.
Freestyle is more like skateboarding on a longer board. You get the stability of the longer board while still doing the tricks you see on skateboards. Lots of carving and lots of tricks and street skating or – if you are lucky – in the skate park.
Freeride longboarding has some focus on downhill and street boarding but more in a recreational fashion (compared to downhill) and speed is not the goal. Its all about technical maneuvers, like hands down sliding and flipping, and typical done by intermediate to advanced longboarders.
Downhill is all about speed. Faster is better and racing is the game. Tricks is not what downhill skaters are after but they want to go as fast from start to finish and as strait as possible.
When you look at these 4 styles you will see speed go from a very relaxed tempo (for cruising) to fast and neck-breaking (for downhill) with more active for people who ride freestyle and freeride. Of course people who are cruising can go very fast from time to time, and free-riders can go slow. It all depend how and what you compare. Longboarders can go pretty quick, especially if you compare it to the near turtle speed of pedestrians who just stroll along and seem to be standing still.
The experience level needed for any of these styles will in general increase from left to right (see table above). Very little experience is needed to start cruising around, where as technical maneuvers and riding fast down hill definitely requires some practice.
Each style of longboarding will be fun, so try and see what works best for you and what you really want to do.
Based on your style we can help to figure out which board will be best for you.
More about that next time.
“Tricks get applause, style gets respect” – Michael Breams (team skater for Gravity).
Go shred and have fun!
For the parts of the longboard see our prior post.