Long boarding 101
As the weather warms, we’re all looking for excuses to be outside, one great one is long boarding. Now, I’m going to be honest with you: I didn’t learn how to long board until last summer and it was not an easy thing to do, but if an uncoordinated nerd like me can learn, I have faith that you can too!
Learning to long board feels a lot like learning how to fall on your face. Don’t worry though, if you fall on a long board people will assume you are cool simply because you have a long board. A very basic formula you can always go by is: long board = cool, even if that means you wipe out on one. With that being said here are a couple tips on how to fall on your face with style.
Learn to push the board
Many people who start learning to long board are terrified to start pushing the board. This is most likely because of Newton’s first law, “an object in motion stays in motion.” This means that if you wipe out while moving it will probably hurt pretty bad, but the one formula Newton never discovered was that long board = cool, so that clearly trumps Newton’s law.
While learning to push the board, many people will start by standing on the board and quickly fall on their face. For beginners it is much harder to simply stand on the board than it is to push the board. This may sound backwards since growing up you need to learn how to stand before you can walk, but think about it like a bike. You can’t sit on the bike with your feet up if it is not moving; it requires motion to stay balanced. Long boarding is very similar. After you are comfortable with learning how to push then see if you can stand on it. This will greatly reduce the amount of times you fall on your face.
Find your footing
In long boarding one foot will always be positioned on the long board and that foot should point in the direction that the long board is headed. The other foot will be your push foot and will be used to push the board to get it going and once it is in motion the push foot will gently sit behind your lead foot.
Find out if you like pushing with your left foot or your right foot. You may ask “well how am I supposed to know?” There are many tips online telling you things like “Have your friend push you and the foot you catch yourself with is the foot that should be in the front.” But this trick may make you fall on your face which is what we are trying to reduce.
Another tip suggests you “walk up a set of stairs and use the foot you start with as your lead foot.” However when I tested this trick it didn’t work for me. Feel free to try these tips if you want, but just know that I used the opposite foot that was suggested, which means you may as well. Realize that the best way to learn is through experience. Try a couple times with pushing with your left foot, and then a couple times pushing with your right foot. If neither one feels more comfortable than the other just choose one of them to practice with. It will become comfortable in no time.
Know basic board physics
A majority of falling on my face was because I didn’t know basic board physics. I wasn’t aware that riding into grass with your long board doesn’t work like a bike. A bike you slowly bumble your way through the grass, a long board will force you into an immediate halt, and launch you off your long board (Apparently this is common knowledge for many people, but it wasn’t for me.)
Don’t turn too sharp. When you get comfortable on your board you will want to start to learn how to turn. Just know that if you turn too hard your board will fly out from underneath you. Starting up you probably will not turn so hard that you lose your footing, but its something you will want to keep in mind for the future.
Don’t jump on your board. Don’t get me wrong, when you are comfortable with your board you can jump on it all that you want, but do not jump on a board if you are new to long boarding. It will launch from underneath you and it will hurt pretty badly.
Falling on your face doesn’t sound like fun, but after hard work and determination it will all be worth it. Just keep practicing and when you get to riding you will realize how great of a feeling it is. Just remember that even experts fall on their face so don’t expect to be an exception. Have fun as you learn to fall on your face with style.
By Joel Bradley