Why you should ride a longboard

A skateboard built for speed.

My first experience longboarding was a short lived one. Being hurled into a sprint is an experience every boarder can relate to. Whether you jump off or are thrown off you better start moving, if you’re lucky you might just be able to run it off, chances are you are heading to ground in spectacular style. My first ride ended a mere 30 seconds after it had started, this time I stayed standing many others I wouldn’t be so lucky.

A piece of wood mounted onto four wheels, sounds pretty simple but thats all you need. Many people give up on skateboarding early, either not subscribing to the ’skater’ image or an initial less than pleasant encounter with a skateboard. Longboards are different, they are all about cruising, this is music to many people ears – those who favour speed over tricks. This everyday thrill machine can turn a normal road into your own personal theme park.

Learning to longboard is straight forward, it’s about practise. It is going to take awhile to feel comfortable. Don’t stop. Learning to balance on a board is a highly transferable next up you’ll be using it to snowboard, surf or wakeboard. Some people have it naturally and yes that is annoying. If you’re not one of those ‘i can ride anything’ people, don’t be put off balance can be learnt. Balance is simple about getting your body used to what it feels like and allowing your auto correct system to learn the ropes.

When it comes to stopping on a longboard you really only have three options, jump off, get a foot down or slide out. While jumping off might seem like a safe option, anything faster than a jogging pace an you’ll likely be painting the tarmac with your knees. The footbrake should be your go to manoeuvre. Requiring some practise the footbrake is essentially a balancing act of leaving one foot on the board while you drag your other foot on the ground. The final option – sliding is a skill that might take a little longer to master but with practise you can slam your board into a power slide. Slides are the perfect combination of style and utility, they make you look boss but can also save you in a hairy situation.

Work your way up to high speed. Going to fast too quick on an unfamiliar board will lead to the dreaded speed wobble. Whats speed wobble? When you pick up more speed than you balance can handle, your legs begin to overcompensate from side to side putting you in an uncontrollable situation and often launching you onto the pavement shortly after. Speed wobble is a riders worst nightmare. You’ll know when it hits.

There is a moment when you’re going just too fast to put your foot down. You know you’re screwed at this point so you just have to hope you can ride it out. This is one of those moments in life when you really feel alive, weaving in and out of people, just about making it around a corner. Some things you have to experience first hand, going too fast on a longboard is most certainly one of them. Suddenly all of the falls were worth it.

When you start any board sport you are okaying the fact you are going to fall off. Just remember when you fall down no matter how shaky your legs are or how sweaty your palms are just go again. When you fall down it never hurts as much as you think it will.

Adrenaline has your back.

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