The Different Types of Longboarding – Various Riding Styles Explained
Longboarding is fun and adventurous. Longboarding, just like every other sport, has its own styles and techniques. There are several different types of longboarding to get familiar with. Getting to know your body stance and how you ride the board will enable you to find the riding style that fits you the best. However, as always, trying all of them out is the best way to find the style you enjoy the most.
Longboarding is safe for anyone so long as you understand the basic principles of propelling and stopping the board. Most riding styles are intertwined and riding multiple styles when longboarding is common. Some prefer casual road riding and cruising, while others enjoy riskier, adrenaline-pumping styles like racing and sliding on mountains and hills.
Once you find your preferred style of longboarding you might want to look for a new longboard as well. Different kind of boards work best for different styles of riding.
Types of Longboarding And How To Do Them
This is the most dangerous and extreme styles in longboarding. The downhill riding style requires speeds of about 60mph down hills. Downhill is all about speed, drifting, hand sliding and flipping.
Slide gloves with plastic pucks are needed in this style to be able to safely slide your hands across the road surface while performing technical drifts and maneuvers.
Downhill is only ideal for expert longboarders, and it is dangerous to perform on the road. So, beginner longboarders should not try it until they become an expert. Also, when riding the downhill style, longboarders usually wear full-face helmets and full leather suits.
The longboards used for downhill riding are about 70-80 mm long and 50-70 mm wide and must have sharp lips to enable proper cornering and speed.
Freeriding incorporates the use of the power slide, creativity and various riding styles, including downhill. In freeride, longboarders use slide gloves with plastic pucks to slide your hands on the road surface for easy balance. However, in freeride, riders tend to perform more of these slides, spins, curbs, change slides, and drifts without the use of their hands.
This type of riding style is ideal for longboarding beginners as it will help them to learn to balance faster, control speed and get accustomed to the board. Also, in freeriding, some experts tend to have mastered the trick of throwing standing drifts at high speed.
Longboards of about 60-70 mm, having arrow contact patches of about 28-55mm with rounded lips are suitable for the freeride style.
In this style, riders tend to develop more creativity and do anything they can with the board. Freestyle is all about switching stances while on the board. Riders also perform the side-stepping tricks. Tricks like kickflips, tiger claws, ”shuv it’s”, cross steps are all part of freeriding. This riding style is ideal for all beginners.
Longboarding is a great for getting around quickly. It is an excellent way to tour areas and it is certifiably better than riding in cars or biking and potentially getting stuck in traffic. Transportation longboards are between 35-45 mm long and come with a kick tail for easy cornering and cracking.
Transportation style is simple and requires minimal maneuvers, and riders get to navigate in a comfortable and more natural way. As far as you can get to your destination on the board, you are good to go.
This kind of style is an alternative to biking or jogging. Cruising goes well with any type of board as long as it suits your preference. It is merely like riding around town and having fun. Some riders prefer longboards that are flexible that allow them to gain speed and carve.
Carving can be considered as a technique and not just a riding style. Carving can be used to slow down, turn, and pump. Also, this method is about making turns left to right, right to the left, and focusing on a particular direction.
It incorporates dancing and tricks and some other creative maneuvers that the riders are able to do. Riders get to use their body and feet to make creative moves while staying well balanced on the board.
This style is about speed. How far can you carve and at the same time weave in between cones when going downhill. In some cases, slalom also involve dodging obstacles while cruising.
How To Brake When Longboarding
There are several braking techniques to use in longboarding, and this gives total control of the ride. They include:
- Carving: this helps to control speed, and control acceleration without slowing the motion although, it will increase the distance a bit.
- Slide Braking: this is used when doing the freestyle and downhill riding styles. It is used to control speed, slow down before cornering, or halt. At times, riders may need to slide their hands on the riding surface to get balance, and this is one of the reasons slide gloves are in important to downhill riders.
- Foot Braking: this is one of the most important braking techniques that every longboarder must learn before mastering balancing on the board. This is done by taking the pushing foot off the board deck and dragging the sole of the shoe on the road to reduce speed. This is the safest braking technique, but it damages the shoe a little.
- Air Braking: this uses the wind to slow down when at high speed. This is down by stretching out both hands on both sides, and then, the speed is reduced a bit. Carves can be combined with this braking technique to reduce your speed more quickly.
- Sit Braking: in this kind of braking, the rider sits on the board and uses the foot stretched out to slow the speed until stopped. It is better to use this braking when you want to run to a stop.
In essence, in all these riding-styles mentioned above, speed plays a vital role. Each of these riding styles is fun and entertaining. Try each of them and see which one suits you best. It is not a must to be an expert before you can ride a longboard or do the tricks and maneuvers.
Longboarding riding styles such as downhill, carving, and freeriding can all be quite dangerous. It is important that you make sure to have all the essential protective gear. We recommend you at least get a helmet, knee pads and even sliding gloves.