I guess drifting around a curve or performing a simple speed check during a downhill ride is on the to-do list of any riders when it comes to longboarding. No doubt, sliding is like a must if you want to learn more advanced techniques.
But it might be difficult for both beginners and intermediate riders since you need to force the longboard wheels to lose traction whilst keeping a good balance. Hence, this article is all about teaching how to slide on a longboard easily and quickly. Read on!
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How to Slide on a Longboard: Which is the must-have gear for you?
As an experienced rider, I’m now in no need of much preparation. However, it’s a whole different story on you – beginners. To ensure the best safety, check out these must-have kinds of gear:
- Sliding gloves
- Knee pads
How to Choose a Good Sliding Longboard to Support You the Best
In case you haven’t had a longboard yet, the thing you need to focus on when choosing one is how easy it is to help you slide.
A good longboard should allow you to secure your position and jam your feet into the ends. Its deck must come in a suitable length for your shoe size and stay lower to the ground for extra stability. Besides, I highly recommend choosing drop-through trucks and high-quality, smooth wheels.
If you already have a longboard and don’t prefer to go for a new one. wheels are what you need to consider as a replacement.
The best wheel size for sliding should be within 60-65mm with 80-100A in durometer. Take note that good sliding wheels are pretty quick to wear down. It’s a tradeoff thing!
From that point, my experience is to equip yourself two sets of wheels – one for regular skating and one for sliding only.
How to Choose a Good Helmet for Safety
When it comes to choosing a good longboard helmet, there are 4 major things to consider:
Unlike the motorcycling helmet, the longboard helmet comes in only two types: the half face and the full face, featuring specific strength and weakness.
|Type||Strength||Weakness||Who Should Buy It?|
-Give more freedom and flexibility
-Cheaper (within $30 – $60)
|-Lack of protection, especially your chin and face||-Cruising & Carving|
-Riding on a flat surface
|Full-face Helmet||-Bring optimal protection to your head||-More expensive (within $100-$400)|
-Not as breathable
After picking the most suitable helmet type, it’s time to concern its protection level.
Obviously, when it comes to equipping a helmet for longboarding, we all want to choose the one that can withstand different impacts, leaving no damage or injuries to our head, don’t we?
Here are some reliable certifications that you can rely on to examine how protective a helmet is:
- ASTM: American Society for Testing and Materials
- CPSC: Consumer Product Safety Commission (measure for impact resistance)
Particularly, if it’s a longboard helmet for downhill riding, you also should consider this certification as well: The International Downhill Federation.
Next is sizing!
Aside from choosing a longboard helmet that offers you the best safety, it should be comfortable as well. A too loose or too tight helmet is not good at all.
Too tight – of course, you will surely get a headache just after 20-30 minutes riding. Too loose? It turns out to be useless in a crash.
So, how to measure your head? The simplest way is to choose the right hat size and then, apply it to the helmet. Or, if you have a tape measure, wrap it fully around your head, place it above your ears and eyebrows.
In terms of the price, as mentioned above, the price is different from type to type. Ask yourself which element should be taken in priority: A cheaper helmet or Your safety?
Aside from having fun, can’t deny there have been a lot of crashes happened, which results in many consequences. For examples, a facial reconstruction surgery, a doctor for a concussion, or dentist bills for broken teeth.
So, consider it!
Sliding Gloves & Knee Pads: Should I Pick Them?
Take a look at this video and you will quickly understand:
See? These specialized gloves are designed to give an extra contact point on the ground to help you keep balance or control your motion while sliding.
A pair of sliding gloves costs around $20-$30. If you find such this extra cost is too expensive, the good news is it’s not a must to buy them. You can utterly DIY a pair with a glove, a Velcro, and a cutting board:
The same with knee pads, it’s better to own some to protect your precious knees. But if a pair of knee pads is too pricey for you, start learning to make them yourself isn’t a bad idea.
In general, I hope that you won’t let the price make it more difficult for you to learn to slide on a longboard.
To cut a long story short and make it an easy-to-follow instruction, I’ll jot down the whole progress in a step by step.
Pick your stance
There are two stances: Goofy and Regular.
The regular is placing your left foot towards and the opposite of that is goofy. You can do tricks on either of stance. The difference is just the way they ride. Determine if you’re a goofy or regular foot and find the right type of stance.
Whichever you go to, remember to keep your feet shoulder width apart when standing on your longboard.
As a goofy stance, your back foot should be pointed at 11 AM and the front one should be pointed at 1. The opposite of that is for the regular.
Tips: Place your foot heels hang over the longboard edge a little bit to help you with a harder carve on the heel side.
How to Slide on a Longboard
Warm up by practicing some long heel side carves on that hill.
Pick your stance on a flat road. When beginning a move on your longboard, just drop down into a crouch by bending your knees, keeping the side of your back foot and dropping your butt.
A very common mistake happened to almost beginners is at this step. They tend to lean back because of fear. But that even make their back grip up and end up with them getting spat off.
Remember, always ensure to keep the side of your back foot flat on your longboard and placed over the top of the back trucks’ rear where the screws are mounted. It’s technically called “the box” – the most stable position to slide a board.
Put your front hand on the street to get the feeling, don’t try to engage the slide. Just put some weight on and ship the board around. Same thing with another side.
Now, when to start a slide?
This is important as you need to catch the right time and right angle. It’s best to engage a slide when your board is on pre-carving. This is because of the weight put on your wheels to easily lose traction.
When you’re pre-carving, keep weight in the front foot and kick the back one out.
Don’t do stink bug grab because it’s going to throw the weight off in a certain way and you have a higher chance of flat spotting. That ends up with the wheels go ninety to get wheelbite seriously. It’s not good to carry out, especially for beginners.
Now, place some weight on the hand you jam on the street whilst swinging the another across your body to begin a slide.
Cliff Coleman, who invented and named this slide, taught his students to imagine that there was a parrot on their front shoulder. Remember that the further it’s swung, the rounder your longboard will come. This leads to the more ease you will get to bring it back.
Besides, don’t just stare where your longboard is pointed to. Instead, focus on where you’re going.
To know whether you are doing this step right or not, pay attention to your upper body and shoulder. If they can be twisted around facing backward or sideways, you are in the right way.
Now, try looking over the back shoulder down the street and hold the slide out to slow down quicker. Then, keep holding the board sideways and styling it out. Go the way around until you’re backward.
To bring your longboard back and facing down the street again, you need to undo the twist put in your body on step 2. Draw the free arm back down beside you. As long as you do this, your longboard and legs will follow naturally.
Now, do it into a corner.
After sliding on a slope smoothly, try bombing down a steeper hill with corners. All you need to do is sticking it sideways to manage speed rather than using footbrake. Then, keep sliding straightly into a corner “pre-drift.”
To add more braking power and control to set up for a corner in both directions, try practicing the toeside. Some other variations to have the fun of this are trying not to put your hand on the road or just slide with one-footed, like this:
Now, it’s your turn!
As practicing how to slide on a longboard requires much space to perform a wide carve as well as get up a moderate speed, here are some ideal places for you:
- A hill leading into a parking lot
- A large flat area
- A semi-steep hill
This is time-taking and difficult to learn but don’t be discouraged since after sliding smoothly, a whole new world with many possibilities will be opened up for you. So, be strong!