In this article, we will talk about the basic understanding of longboards and some safety tips when riding a longboard.
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Since longboarders and longboards are so diverse, it’s really hard to choose the one that fits you and your riding style. That’s why in this article, we will introduce to you a detailed understanding of the longboard world for example, how each part of the board is made and used.
Similar to a typical skateboard, a complete long board is also assembled from all the same types of components. The difference is, in a longboard, some particular features are enlarged or modified to cater to the longboarder’s riding styles, such as vibration dampening, carveability, and stability.
We will introduce to you all the major parts that every longboard is made up with.
Longboards, similar to skateboards, are made from birch, maple, or other sturdy woods. Typically, a long board consists of 7 – 10 layers of wood. The piles are laminated together and eventually become a deck.
There is a concave indentation along the deck to provide control and foot comfort. There are two types of decks which are:
- Camber: The middle of the deck pops up
- Rocker: The middle of the deck sags
Today, manufacturers produce many different types of cambers and rockers to cater to each riding style.
Sometimes, manufacturers use additional materials to enhance particular characteristics of the longboard and the ride.
- With materials like carbon fibre, foam core, and fibre glass, manufacturers can improve the stiffness and strength while decreasing the weight of the longboard at the same time.
- Koa, bamboo or any other exotic woods make the longboard more aesthetically beautiful and durable.
- Some decks have the truck baseplate mounted on the top to lower the ride height and board’s centre of gravity to increase stability. Some have cut-outs to accommodate the lower ride height.
Longboard decks come in many sizes and shapes; some are shorter than an average skate deck.
Trucks / bushings
Similar to typical skate trucks, longboard trucks are made of from the same components while having some certain distinguish features.
There is a reversed or inverted kingpin which usually has a little bit of adjustment to give the board more turning ability and higher clearance. However, many longboards setups use standard kingpin trucks.
Typically, longboard trucks are wider than skateboard trucks offering more stability for cornering and higher speeds.
To cater to the rider’s needs, the bushings can be customized by durometer and shape.
- Harder bushings: More stable for heavier riders or faster riding.
- Softer bushings: Offer more liveliness for lighter rider or mellow riding.
Riding a longboard can never be safe as long as you’re not able to stop it efficiently. There are several braking techniques to help you enjoy your ride while staying in control and being safe.
Whether you’re riding a skateboard or a longboard, this is still the most important braking technique you need to learn. Once you’ve mastered it, you should be able to use foot braking confidently at every speed you ride at.
To perform it, push your foot off the longboard and decrease the speed by dragging your shoe’s sole along the road. Dragging your shoes like that surely will result in damage; however, it’s still the most effective and safest technique to control your speed and can be applied most of the time.
This is a fundamental braking technique in skateboarding and longboarding. Riders use it to add some enjoyment to the ride or get style points. The idea of this technique is to continuously turn from side to side smoothly.
This carving technique can also be used to control speed. To slow down your speed (but not very much), riders will make deep and wide cares to extend the amount of distance you’re riding.
The idea of this braking technique is used to slow down when you’re riding at high speeds due to wind resistance. So, stand upright stretching your arm out to the sides. Air brakes can only slow down a bit, therefore it’s usually combined with long carves.
Freeride, downhill skateboarder and longboarders use this braking technique to come to a complete stop, slow down your speed fast before corners or maintain a consistent speed. The rider pitches the board sideways by making a controlled and rapid turn.
Usually, the rider steadies himself by placing his hand on the ground. In this case, he will use a slide glove which is an essential accessory for most downhill riders. You should master the shutdown slide or pendulum as it’s the most important slide braking technique.
To slow down from running speed with this technique, you bail off the board and take quick steps. This can only be effective if you can run fast and can lead to painful consequences you should consider it as a last resort.
The rider slows the board to a stop by using his outstretched feet while sitting down on his board. You can slow down from high speeds very fast with this technique but it’s hard to transform from the sitting position into other position and vice versa, that’s why it’s only used to make a complete stop at the end of the run.