An Introduction to Longboarding

At the age of 30, when I tell people that I skateboard, I am usually met with expressions of disbelief or telling looks of "and who's the kid?". But take it from me, it is a sport that definitely shouldn't just be left to kids......once you've tried it you'll be hooked.

But when I say skateboarding what I actually mean is longboarding, a subtle but fundamental difference in many ways. The ethos and style of longboarding is much more relaxed where cruising and carving are king and it should not be confused with the "Slipknot kids" trying to ride the rails outside the shopping centre....... although theoretically you can do this on some shorter longboards.

What's the Difference?
The most obvious differences are the boards themselves. As the name suggests, longboards are a longer, sleeker design, often taking vintage surfboards or old 70’s skateboards as their design cues. They start at around about 34 inches, which is slightly longer than your average Slipknot skateboard, and go up to (and in some cases over) 54 inches.......that’s getting towards 5 feet long.

With the extra length, the other main components have to be up-sized to provide stable, well handling board.

  • The "trucks" (essentially the platform attached to the deck providing the axle for the wheels) generally become wider and so more progressive when turning and more stable at speed.
  • The wheels are taller and wider, and the compound they are made from tends to be much softer than regular skateboard wheels. This is known as the “duro” (durability) factor. This is measured in numbers - the lower the number, the softer the wheel but less long-lasting it is.

There is a huge choice of components allowing for a variety of set-ups, from quick turning slalom boards to wider turning carving boards or those for just pure cruising/posing. But in general, a longer board with wider trucks and larger, softer wheels makes for a much more relaxed ride, smoothing out the cracks and bumps in the pavement.

Where to go?
The fact that you can pick up your board, stroll outside and start rolling down the street means there is a feeling of instant gratification for little outlay. And you don’t even need a steep hill......as my battered knees and elbow will vouch, a slight and steady gradient is all you need to build up momentum .......anything too steep and you pick up serious speed and need to bail out in the least damaging direction!

And for some humourous video click here

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