If you just got yourself a longboard skateboard and are wondering how to longboard downhill, read on to learn how to do this with skill and safety. A longboard resembles a surfboard in more than just its longer and wider appearance; it is less maneuverable than a regular skateboard and built for speed and carving turns. As such, it takes some time to learn, so make sure you get comfortable before you start going too fast.
To longboard downhill, you will need:
- A longboard-style skateboard
- Protective gear (helmet, gloves, pads)
- A hill
- Make sure you have the right board. Speedboards are best, as they are of firmer construction and designed to go, well, fast. They are also suitable for everyday boarding and general messing around. Imagine a surfboard with wheels on concrete, and you have a pretty good idea of what riding these is like.
- Don’t skimp on the protection. You will be going very fast downhill. If you do not protect your knees and elbows with pads and wear a helmet, you are asking for serious injuries. Get gloves specifically designed for longboarding; they are reinforced to help protect your palms and wrists. Expect to fall; everyone does.
- Launch. Get your board positioned at the top of your hill, hopefully one with little or no traffic or other potential hazards. Mount the board and kick off like a normal skateboard, using the back foot. Don’t go too fast downhill until you get in the correct stance in the next step.
- Assume the stance. Put one foot in front of the other, about two feet apart on the longboard. Both feet should be pointing forward if you want to do it like the pros. Squat down, resting your chest on your front thigh, keeping your eyes forward, and putting both hands behind your back. You are now an aerodynamic missile on wheels. Try not to crash.
- Slide to a stop. Just like snowboarding, the most effective way to stop your longboard when going downhill is to turn your board sharply to a 90 degree position and slide to a stop. If you don’t have enough room to turn the board that much, you can use one foot to slow you down, but it is not as effective and your soles will soon wear out.
Remember, get the right protective gear and practice on flat ground before tackling a fast hill. Longboarding downhill is becoming more popular as a competitive sport, complete with a set of rules to help keep riders unharmed, which should be adopted as best practices by the casual longboarder as well. Whether you intend to compete or just have a little fun, keep safety in mind.