FIf you’ve only recently started longboarding, you could probably use as much information as you can get. It’s not like people have actual teachers for this sport who can show them all the impressive tricks and stunts they can pull off. So, if you are learning, you’re on your own.
This article is about some fairly easy tricks you can do as a beginner. With a bit of practice, you should be able to master the art and wow the people around you. However, at first, you must learn what both freeride longboarding and slide longboarding are.
You may already know of them but to really learn how to do them, you need enough knowledge and some tips and tricks.
What is Freeride Longboarding?
Let’s deal with “freeride” first. If you didn’t know already, this is the kind of longboarding that takes you downhill. You’d think that cruising downwards will up your speed by a lot, so it may seem daunting to try this type of longboarding out. But surprisingly, you can actually exercise quite a lot of control!
You move at a low or medium speed, which is very safe even if it may look a bit dangerous. Tricks and stunts could be pretty scary to do at this moment, especially if you are new to this, but they will actually help you to stay in control of your speed and balance.
Freeriding is not tough at all if you are fairly accustomed to longboarding. Even as a beginner, if you are used to maintaining your balance and speed, you can actually get good at these tricks very easily.
As you know very well now, unlike most types of sport boards, longboards have no brakes. In order to stop or slow down, you will need to learn how to slide.
You can also try out other styles and tricks if you’re interested, like cruising, carving, etc. Each requires a different sort of practice, maneuvers, and balancing. If you’re only just learning, freeride longboarding can actually help you to learn way faster.
This is because you’re always going downhill, and at fairly medium speed too. Even if you know just how to carve, you can control your speed quite easily. In addition, if you’ve learned carving, you’re not too far from the other stuff. With a bit of practice, you can probably nail all the moves.
Tips for Freeride Longboarding
It’s not only just about tricks and stunts you do when you’re going downhill. Freeride longboarding needs a lot more than that. You need the right gear, you need someone to help, plus some little tips and tricks to push you along the way so that you can do everything perfectly.
Accordingly, if you are only beginning to learn how to freeride, you could make sure if the board you own is suitable for this kind of longboarding. While you can easily do this on most boards, you will probably still want something that has a drop deck. These tend to be lower and closer to the ground so the board itself offers more stability.
At the same time, some boards are directional while others are symmetrical. If you plan on going downhill and want to do some stunts along the way, you should go for a symmetrical longboard. These are easier to turn, so your slides can be performed much more easily.
However, you know by now that your board matters when determining how well you freeride. Similarly, your wheels matter too. Since you’ll be doing a lot of slides, try to get rounded wheels. If you want more control, you could also go for softer wheels.
Hard wheels are very durable and you will perform better slides on them, but as a beginner, you will be far safer on soft ones.
At the end of the day, your comfort matters the most, though,. Take your weight, style, roads, etc. into account when you buy the board. Try out a few different types, maybe from your friends, and see which make riding easier for you. Only then you will really know what to get.
What is Slide Longboarding?
Let’s talk about the different types of tricks you can pull to make freeriding that much easier. There is carving, which is of course fairly easy. There are many different types of slides as well, all of which we can discuss in details. But first, let’s learn what slide longboarding really is.
This is mainly a way to stop your longboard, or slow it down, which does not have any brakes. While sliding, you can try out many different stunts, which will look super cool. On the other hand, if you are on a longboard, for the purpose of travelling you should probably just stick to a simple slide for control.
Accordingly, to learn a simple slide, you could start with carving. Practicing carves will help you to master weight shifting techniques, which you will need later. This is basically just taking consecutive S-shaped curves by shifting your weight.
First, you move your body weight towards the toes and then shift to your ankles. This way, a turn forms, and you can push a little harder for deeper curves.
When you’ve mastered this simple weight-shifting technique, you can go ahead and try your luck with the easiest form of slide longboarding. This is the Stand-Up slide where you shift your own body back a little and push your legs out. Thus, the board itself shifts sideways, slides, eventually stopping you, or slowing you down.
When you think you have mastered this slide perfectly and can stop your longboard without any risks of falling over, you can try a few more styles. There are so many different types of slides you can do, which look very cool, and can be a bit tricky. If you are up for a good challenge, you will love to test these out.
More Slide Styles
Remember, when you are learning these slides, it would be best to do them freestyle. Don’t try to hold on to anything or look for any kind of support other than your longboard. If you do, you will find later that doing them without additional support is far too tough.
- 180 Slide
This is still one of the easiest ones. It’s very similar to the basic slide, except that it calls for a turn right after you perform the slide. So, this won’t necessarily stop you right away. It will slow you down, and the trick looks super cool. Once you have slowed down enough, you can simply balance yourself and stop your motion with your hands.
In order to perform this slide, you have to complete the simple slide first. You lean back, push your board out and slide, which already turn you 90 degrees. Once that is complete, you will have to shift a little again just to turn another 90 and slow down to a stop.
- Speed Check
You can also try the speed check slide longboarding, which will have you moving pretty close to the ground. Beware, if you don’t do this one right, you risk scraping your knees pretty bad or worse, you could fall face-down on to the ground. But if pull off right, this looks pretty smooth.
For this sort of slide, you need a bit of a push. You can use your hands or feet to push either backwards, or forward. Both will need different types of balance.
Therefore, it would be best just to try and find your comfort zone. You push with your hand, toes, or heel, drift for a few minutes, and then turn back into your original position. You will also have to know exactly when to stop and get off your longboard.
- Sitdown Check
This one, if you’ve seen it, you know it looks absolutely insane. Moreover, it is quite tricky requiring all the practice needed to stop yourself from falling over. However, pulling off a trick is tough and can be so rewarding!
Consequently, it requires you to lean super low, so you’re almost sitting on the longboard. This is a great slide to do when freeriding. While you’re going downhill, you lean back and push the board out a little bit to slide. Then stoop low enough so you’re sitting.
For the sitdown check, you cannot use your hands in any way. It’s all about footwork and balance.
This is very easy. You can actually try drifting right after you learn the normal slide, and then move on to trickier stuff. This is basically the regular stand up slide but with a twist. While drifting, you get to control your slide very quickly, which is what you need, especially if you are doing freeride longboarding.
To achieve drift, you simply switch between a normal stance and a slide stance. Accordingly, your speed lowers, and you can turn with more caution. Drifting is mainly used to turn corners where you have to check your speed and slow down a little. You can even do pre-drifting, which gives you just a light drift.
- Pendulum Slide
This slide is essential for everyone, no matter the style; and it’s not that hard to do! You won’t even need a special board or wheels to perform it. It’s great for a quick stop, which often board-riders require. Even if you stop very fast, the Coleman or Pendulum will always make you look cool.
To do this, bend your knees and put your hand down on to the ground. While looking right ahead the whole time, swing your board all the way until the road is at a 180 degree angle to you.
Thus, you ride backwards for a bit and then slide back the same way, so you are facing forward again. When you are skilled enough, you can even try this at corners and see how it goes!
Tips for Slide Longboarding
Stunts are great, but they can be dangerous too. If you mean to start learning, make sure you don’t take your board to the steepest hill you can find right away. Look for size and height you can deal with, and fairly empty roads to avoid unwanted accidents. Just to be careful, take a friend or fellow rider with you who can keep a lookout.
First of all, remember that for both freeriding and sliding, good, suitable boards are necessary. Try to find the perfect wheels too so you never have to sacrifice balance and stability; those are very important for any kind of slide being performed.
Likewise, many types of slides call for the use of hands as well. In addition, sometimes, you may have to bend really low to get a perfect trick. So, of course you run the risk of falling over or scraping your knees at the least and considering this, wearing safety gear while longboarding is very important.
Always wear a helmet and have it strapped on. Put on strong, durable gloves, slide pucks, knee pads and elbow pads so that every turn can be taken with the utmost safety. There are slides like the pendulum, where your hand will be on the road for a while. You must protect it from the rough surface.
Never wear anything other than sneakers in longboard. Those are the right kinds of sportswear, which will ensure safety and stability.
Furthermore, remember, the way you slide also depends greatly upon how you move your body, and your posture. Keep your shoulders, arms, and torso in check. If you are putting weight on one side and moving your arm the wrong way, you have bigger chances of mucking up the technique.
Therefore, you should really learn every little movement before you decide to try it yourself. If you think the instructions are just not doing it for you, which they probably won’t, you will be better off watching professionals try all the different moves.
Accordingly, having a visual guide to follow will help you to understand and learn much better. Otherwise, ask a friend or fellow rider to watch you, show you, and teach you the right way.
If you are really into longboarding, it won’t matter if you are new to it. With regular practice and a thirst for knowledge, you will be able to learn very soon. Most of these styles are very easy for anyone with a little experience, so you will be just fine.
Slide longboarding is kind of a part of freeride longboarding, but you will see that there are still some distinctive differences. You can try some styles of slide longboarding elsewhere, too.
Besides, one thing is for sure, if you have tried and mastered one, you will easily be able to do the others.