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Chris

Learning to Longboard

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So I recently bought a 42" longboard. For those that don't know a longboard is essentially a longer version of a skateboard with various deck styles and larger wheels. The board itself is said to ride very similar to a surfboard/snowboard. It's not a board that is suited for tricks, not that people can't do tricks on them (and not that I would) and it is generally more suited to carving, cruising, sliding, and "bombing" hills.

 

 

^Experienced

^Experienced

^#$%&ing crazy!

 

 

Now I don't skate, not in the slightest, so I thought why not keep an archive of learning how to longboard eh? Might be interesting since I can see how far I've come since I started and you guys can have a laugh counting how many times I fall.

 

I'll update the topic as often as I can when I get any free chances to go out and practice. I might even include some pics when I get my camera working.

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Cool :) I'll keep an eye on this.

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Baby Steps

 

I was told to use my strong leg as my back leg, since I kick better with my right let that means I'll most likely ride Regular as opposed to goofy. I had a sheet of grip tape I had bought in anticipation of the board's arrival, but was too excited to put it on before I wanted to try it. I rode to the now empty (and flat) commuter parking lot on campus to try it out.

 

I can vividly remember the sensation I had when I first stood on it. I figured it looked pretty clear I wasn't very confident with it, but the weird thing was the shakiness in my legs. Naturally I clung to the nearest object and after a few seconds I just sort of pushed off from it slowly.

 

I ended up going way too slow and just sort of walked off of it.

 

 

I got back on it and this time just stood there for a bit without holding on to anything, when I gained a bit of confidence I rocked my legs back and forth. Shoulder width apart I could control everything pretty well, so I pushed off harder. This time I had enough speed to not feel like I needed to walk off of the board. I tried shifting my weight back and forth to see how manageable it turned, surprisingly the motion felt very natural and since I opted for a board with cutouts I wouldn't have to worry about wheel bite.

 

After a few more pushes off of my truck I felt it was time to start going at my own power. Kicking was very very frustrating. I could only get off one or two steps before I felt like either the board was going to run away from me or I was going to go over the top of it. A few times I kicked in the path of the wheels which would stop the board and send me stumbling over it. After 15-20 minutes I was pretty happy with myself, and relished in the fact that it was a bit easier to control than I had expected. Every now and then I'd sort of bail off of it and the board would take off by itself.

 

It wasn't easy to catch it once it got going. I have 83mm Flywheels on it (one of the biggest and fastest wheels you can get) and it would leave me in the dust if I stepped off of it wrong with it going.

 

Next time: I try the "little" hill next to my apartment. How do I stop this thing?

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How do I stop this thing!?

 

Over the next couple of practice sessions I could get in I felt a little more comfortable each time, but pushing/kicking still eluded me. This is because for the most part you have to balance on one foot while kicking off. Likewise this proves an issue in one of the more common methods of stopping (footbraking) as you have to have one foot on the board while sliding to a stop with the other foot on the ground/pavement.

 

For the most part I imagine when you get that feeling where you need to stop and get off of it and you realize you have no idea of how to go about it most people tend to want to bail. This is very bad because longboards tend to go quite a good deal faster than skateboards.

 

So after trying on flatland for what seemed like several sessions I decided to try the little hill beside my apartment. Let me tell you, with 83mm wheels no hill is little. On one side of me was a 15 foot drop off and on the other was an embankment and a line of trees. I headed down the hill with only a single kick off but I figure I hit around 25 miles per hour before I rolled off the board onto the embankment. At that speed if you aren't comfortable with the board yet it's quite a harrowing experience.

 

So my brother, his fiance, and Reeker came up for a visit. Reeker has skateboarded before but never longboarded, he jumps on it and heads down the hill on his first go, long story short he hit 30+ and tucked and rolled off of it after about 100 yards while the board took off and kept going before plunging down the 15 foot drop on the left side of the road. It landed quite near a parked vehicle. My brother on the other hand went down it the same way but with his feet facing forward on the board. He had never rode a board before but ended up going up the driveway of one of my neighbors several hundred feet down the hill at quite a decent speed.

 

 

Later that same weekend Reeker and I went to a more tame hill on Campus and practiced sliding for the first time. Long story short the gloves we were using split apart under the stress. Sliding is a pretty good method of stopping/slowing down, generally getting low on the board helps anyway if you start getting speed wobbles.

 

I've fallen about 5 times, a couple of them were pretty nasty, one in particular left my shoelace in several pieces after a particularly long slide along the pavement. I'm getting quite a bit more comfortable on the board.

 

Next time: I focus on learning to pump and kicking off. I must look pretty weird moving like that.

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How the fuck can you get on top of that shit and not fall? I mean, seriously. Whenever I get on top of a skateboard and try to move, it moves alright; I don't. I fall.

 

I hate skating and rollerblading. I love biking though.

 

Good luck with this logbook of mishaps.

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Blurg... I don't trust anything with wheels.

 

Or maybe it's that I don't trust myself on anything with wheels. I feel so terribly out of control.

 

Cars are alright, because I like all my levers and buttons and pedals. But then we get into the road rage issues. Dropping c-bombs like you would not believe.

 

But anyways, good on you for trying it out. And good luck, too.

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