If you are new to the world of longboarding, you might not be familiar with all of the different riding styles. Today, what we want to take a look at is freeride longboarding. So, what is longboard freeriding? As you’re about to find out, it’s a very specific type of longboarding style that many people enjoy.
What is Longboard Freeriding?
Free ride longboarding is all about riding downhill at fairly moderate speeds. Although this does involve riding downhill, often very large and steep hills, it doesn’t involve a whole lot of speed.
Instead, the focus in free ride longboarding is all on using a variety of stylish and technique-based power slides.
This is very different from downhill racing, which involves traveling at maximum speeds. Free ride longboarding is all about performing a variety of technical maneuvers, slides, and spins, both to control speed and just because it looks good and is fun too.
This is also different from the carving style of longboarding which is generally about maintaining a high degree of momentum through a variety of turns.
Freestyle longboarding is all about doing technical stunts, and is very close to street skating. You then have cruising, which is more about pushing with your feet and riding at low speeds on city streets and flat roads.
How to Start Freeriding
The good news here is that if you have already been longboarding on roads, you should have the basics on lockdown, mainly steering and balancing. However, one of your goals might be to ride down large hills with a decent amount of speed, which means that you do first need to learn how to stop yourself.
Yes, foot braking does work, but when you’re riding down a hill, it’s not going to be enough. This means that you need to learn how to slide.
One of the things you might want to do is to practice carving. This involves performing a series of successive turns by shifting the weight of your body, first into your toes, then into your ankles, and then pushing hard into the rail to make hard turns.
Once you start carving properly, you’re very close to sliding, which is one of the main techniques used in free ride longboarding.
It’s all about leaning really deep into a turn while maintaining balance. Once you start mastering those S-shaped carving techniques, you can then slowly start experimenting with sliding while standing up on your board on a relatively gentle slope.
The first thing you want to try doing is heel side stand up sliding. This involves turning your board across the slope you are traveling down while traveling at a decent speed, and then pushing out both of your legs which will cause the board to drift.
Starting with the Right Longboard
If you are planning to do some free riding on your longboard, you first need to have the right type of longboard. Free riding longboards are generally designed to be ridden in both ways and to allow for easy spinning.
This differs from regular downhill longboards which are generally one directional. You might find some free ride longboards that are hybrid in nature and may also have kicktails designed to do tricks.
Something else to keep in mind is that most longboards designed for free riding are somewhere between 38 inches and 42 inches, with a wheelbase that is generally between 24 inches and 29 inches.
These decks also tend to be anywhere from 8.5 to 10 inches wide. For a great deal of stability, you do want a lot of width and length. However, as you become more experienced, you might want something shorter due to increased maneuverability and agility.
What is also worth noting is that generally any deck mount style will work for freeriding. They do often tend to be drop platform, drop through, or top mount.
That said, for beginners just starting in freeriding, drop decks are the best, because they’re the closest to the ground. Being close to the ground allows for a low center of balance and a lot of stability. This therefore makes it easy to start sliding with.
If you are an intermediate freerider, then a drop through deck might work just fine. They’re a bit higher up, as well as a bit lighter and easier to push into slides. They also remain relatively stable and low to the ground.
If you are an advanced rider, you might go for a top mount, as they have great control during slides and interns, as well as better grip. That said, they’re much higher off the ground, so they’re a bit less stable. This is not the kind of longboard that you would learn to free ride on.
Freeriding & Slides
Sliding or power slides are of course one of the main techniques used in free ride longboarding. This is how you control your speed. There are a few different types of slides that you will have to master if you want to become a pro freeride longboarder.
These include the stand up slide, the speed check, the 180 degree slide, the sit down check, and the Coleman slide. You then also have various forms of drifting, as well as the pendulum slide.
Freeride longboarding really isn’t the hardest thing in the world. That said, you do need to have the right techniques and the right deck to get started.