Beginners Guides

Beginner longboard mistakes (& what to do instead)

Today’s article is on beginner longboard mistakes. This isn’t an article to vilify or make you feel bad for doing certain things, but simply to point them out and help get you on the right path instead. Check it out.

Beginner longboard mistakes

Bombing a hill before knowing how to stop

The craziest thing some beginners do, is bombing a hill before knowing how to stop on their longboard or control their speed. This is obviously very dangerous. If you can’t control your speed, how you come to a stop is not up to you. You’re at the mercy of the road and the consequences are quite severe.

But yeah it’s pretty crazy, I’d like to know what it is that goes through beginners’ heads, within hours of picking up their first boards, they choose to send it down big hills …  I think some people imagine that they can run out the speed but they don’t realize how fast longboards accelerate down hills. These things gain a lot of speed VERY quickly.

And people do get hurt quite badly. If you’re lucky, you might walk away with only road rash or a bruised elbow, or a busted knee. Others aren’t so lucky. Some people hit their heads and gotten serious brain injuries, in the worst cases some people have died. It’s not a joke.

What you should do instead

You should learn to footbrake. Foot braking gives you a way of controlling your speed. It’s an essential skill. However, it doesn’t mean you’re safe when skating down hills, and not a guarantee you’ll make it down. Sometimes, boards can go too fast to footbrake.

If you want to bomb hills, look into downhill skateboarding. Look up their techniques, look at how they slow down, invest in their gear and start learning. It’s the safest and sustainable way of bombing hills. 

Not learning to footbrake

The next cardinal sin is not learning to foot brake. If you don’t know how to put brake you’re essentially holding yourself back as a rider.

As I said earlier foot braking is an essential skill to longboarding. It allows you to control your speed and bring yourself to a stop in a controlled way. Footbraking is extremely useful.

It allows you to skate in a variety of environments safely. For example, you can skate busy streets, busy sidewalks, foot braking when necessary to control your speed so you can weave in and out of objects, between people, and make it through crowds.

Learning foot braking will really open up new environments for you to ride in and use your board.

beginner longboard mistakes - not footbraking

What you should do instead

Learn to footbrake!

Standing too far back on your board

Some beginners sit too far back on the board. This results in them putting too much weight on the back truck, and this naturally means a lot more input into the back truck when they’re leaning and turning.

Too much input into the back truck makes the board turn funny. It makes it turn like a shopping cart and generally makes your board ride in an unstable way and it makes it twitch through the turns. At higher speeds it could lead to speed wobbles. I’m sure if this guy in the video below stood further forward he’d have made it further down the hill.

What you should do instead

You shouldn’t stand closer to the front of the board. If possible have your front foot over the front truck. Depending on the size of your board, you might have your foot on the middle of the board or over the back truck. Avoid putting your back foot behind the back truck, but it’s ok if it can’t be helped – some boards are too short and they ride this way (think mini cruisers).

Riding your board this way will give you the best balancing, the best ability, and the board should be smoother through the turns and be a bit more stable as it picks up speed.

Overly tightening the bushings 

Some beginners overly tighten the bushings on their trucks so that they can get a more stable ride. This isn’t a good solution and limits the performance of a truck.  

Because the bushings are so tight you don’t get the full lean of the truck and it doesn’t not lean, turn, and ride in a smooth way.

over tightening truck- beginner longboard mistakes

Solution

The solution is buying aftermarket bushings that are appropriate for your weight. they will allow you to have a ride that is stable but that still leans and turns in a controllable way.

Buying expensive bearings as a first upgrade

Bearings have the least effect on performance and are a waste of money in most cases.

Buying more expensive bearings or bearings made with fancy materials, doesn’t mean your longboard is gonna accelerate quicker, roll further, or roll faster altogether. 

Whilst some bearings might “feel” a bit different (in how they roll), when it comes to performance they all perform about the same. Having skated loads of different bearings from different brands, at all sorts of speeds, I can confidently say that the only time you’ll see a performance difference is between a new/well-maintained bearing vs a poorly-maintained/old bearing.

fireball dragon bearings

So yeah don’t spend $50 on Swiss bearings or on ceramic bearings. Your money is better placed elsewhere. Most $15 bearings should get the job done.

And no ceramic bearings aren’t worth it either. Plus they aren’t really waterproof as well. The inner and outer races are made from Steel so they still do have a chance to rust – just like other bearings.

Where you’ll really see a performance difference (in speed and acceleration) is when you buy high-quality wheels.

What to buy instead

If you want to improve the speed and acceleration of your longboard, you should buy high-quality wheels. If you bought a complete from a high-quality brand, you likely already have good wheels but you can still buy better ones.

Low-quality wheels are made from low-quality urethane that doesn’t accelerate very fast and that doesn’t hold its speed. High-quality urethane is made from urethane that is very dense, this record accelerates quickly holds its speed, and is able to roll further and roll for longer.

Some other factors apply (different wheel features, learn more here), but let’s talk about urethane quality for now only.

A good example of a high-quality wheel is the Seismic 73mm Speed Vents. These wheels are made from Seismics Defcon urethane. Defcon urethane is fast, it was used to set the world speed longboarding record of over 90mph.

The 73mm speed vents are guaranteed to roll faster than 95% of other longboard wheels out there. A true upgrade for your cruiser.

seismic speed vents

Going faster than you can stop

For reasons similar to the first point on my list, if you go faster than you can stop, you’ll likely get hurt as the only thing that can slow you down is the road …

Solution

Don’t go faster than you can stop …

What do you think? Did you learn something new?

This list is not exhaustive and is just a few things that beginners do. If you enjoyed this list let me know if you’d like another. I’d be more than happy to make more. And if you’ve found this one useful leave a comment or share it with a friend.

Big thanks to all my patrons for the support – Jed, Mowgii, Jan, Jay, Bryan, Owen, Samil, Daniel, Alex, Kasajja, Leah, Helge, DeLacoste, Anthony, Ismail, and Justin. I couldn’t write articles like this without you guys’ support

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