The next generation of skateboarders are turning their heads surprisingly to the past, with their boards getting longer and moving faster through the oceans of concrete and riding their boards in the style of the surfers of old. Watching documentaries of the skating phenomenon that started up as surfer kids wanting to take their passion to the streets, you see the very surf stylish tricks they were pulling off in the late 60’s and early 70’s with their low turns and hand sweeps. It’s as if these kids were out riding the waves of the ocean in the concrete jungles of Los Angeles. Today Long boarding seems to be bringing this concept back with it’s giant boards and much larger wheels capable of higher speeds and surf board like turning maneuvers.
The boards themselves can range from 36 to 60 inches in length depending on what your aim is to accomplish with your board. The longer the board the smoother the ride and the faster you will travel. The shorter the board the more maneuverable it will be for performing tricks and high speed turns. If however your board is taller than you are then you will run into stability issues while riding and may be at risk of getting severely hurt. The wheels that are on the various style of long boards will directly cater to what that board is designed to accomplish. In conjunction with some very high tech trucks (the stability pieces that the wheels fit onto that are attached in various fashion to the board) a long board can be designed for slalom (skating in a zig zag formation) Freeride (doing maneuvers and tricks while riding across city landscape), Downhill (designed for being stable while riding at very high speeds downhill) Sliders (These are very wide long boards that have the normal skateboard wheels but have very wide trucks which cause a slide effect to occur when the long boarder turns sharply)
As the rider gains very high speeds it becomes necessary to slow down and this is where sliding comes in. Sliding occurs for long boarders as a braking mechanism because when traveling at higher speeds the option of simply jumping off doesn’t exist when the rider is travelling faster that they can run. At this point sliding is required to slow down which is to say the board is kicked out sideways either heel side or toe side and the board travels sideways in relation to the direction of travel. When done correctly this can slow the rider down dramatically.
When you watch long boarding it seems so effortless and free spirited. But when you actually do it and get up to speed you realize just how tense your nerves are when travelling so fast that you know if you were to fall at that moment you’d be in some very real trouble. To the professional long board riders however it truly does create a freedom during the ride that is like no other extreme sport.