Background information longboarding

Longboarding

Longboarding has existed for almost half a century now and has developed a lot in the previous decenia, as wel as its disciplines and subdisciplines. Especially the last years longboarding has gained in popularity and nowadays almost anyone knows what it is. Less known are the different discplines of longboarding, such as: cruising, dance, downhill, freeride, slalom and park. The comparison with skateboarding is easily made and for a lot of people a longboard is nothing more then a big skateboard, but as soon you stand on one you’ll notice that it is different in every aspect. It is more stable, spacier and you can turn more easy. Turning is done by moving your body weight either right or left. Because of all the different disciplines longboarding knows there also exist a lot of different boards. They can even differ as much from 80cm to 150cm in lenght depending on which discipline you practice.

Sidewalk Surfin’

‘Longboarding’ is riding on the asphalt with a longboard skateboard. In search of an alternative on the waveless days American surfers discovered longboard skating in the fifties. By using rollerskate wheels underneath a longer board they found a way to take their surfing from the sea to the land.

Longboarding as a discipline on its own came into being after skateboarding. Usually a longboard is longer and more wide than a regular skateboard and it has softer bigger wheels. Different disciplines arised within longboarding as it developed itself.

Generally there’s a division made between four different disciplines:

Cruising

This is the way of longboarding you see most frequent and is actually for everyone. An allround longboard is used to cruise in the city, park or on the boulevard. In the city this so called cruiser style can easily function as a replacement of cycling. With the soft big wheels you stand more stable and you don’t feel all the inefficiences in the road. Cruisers vary between 100cm up until 200cm.

Dancing

Dancing is evolved from the old school style and usually contains a combination of steps on the board with more old school skateboard tricks. This descends straight from the old street surfing and is especially gaining popularity the last years. Most of the time a somewhat longer board is used for this discipline. In the Netherlands and the more flat areas of Belgium this discipline is especially popular.

Downhill

The most extreme discipline of longboarding is without a doubt downhill. Downhill or speedboards are used to get down a hill as fast as possible. At the higher speeds motorsuits and fullfaced helmets are worn. Speeds can go up to around 80km around an hour when racing. The world record is 130km/h. The challenge of the parcours in races depends on the inclination of the hill, the speed that can be met at the straight parts and the shape of the loops. Braking is done  by way of ‘air braking’ (catching wind by making yourself as big as possible), ‘footbraking’ (braking by putting a foot to the ground), ‘carving’ (making sharp S-carves) or ‘sliding’ (letting the board drift sideways). Special gloves with so-called ‘pucks’ are also used to keep your balance on the road with your hands. We highly recommend to wear helmet and protective gear and all our lessons contain them.

Slalom

Slalom is the most technical longboard-discipline. This is mostly due to the specific design of a slalom board. It is about slalom between obstacles as fast as possible. Usually a pumping technique is used for this discipline.

Park

Although not really obvious: with a longboard you can also find your way around in a skatepark. These boards are quite similar to the regular skateboards and mostly look like more oldschool style skateboards. They do use the same harder wheels to easier get over obstacles.