What is longboarding?
Longboarding is in plain simple terms just a derivative of skateboarding. Or is it? Well I'm sure the purists will attack me for saying this but I need a starting point for this article right? At the end of this article you'll find some links to more sources on the history of this growing sport, but for now I will try my best to explain to you what exactly longboarding is.
I'm sure you are familiar with the ever popular skateboard. Skateboarding has become more and more technical over the years with skaters pushing each other to do ever more complicated tricks with their boards. Skateboarding becomes more and more complex as you become more advanced and start combining tricks to perform more technical maneuvers.
So where does longboarding fit in. Well, a longboard is simply put just a long skateboard. Your typical longboard will vary in length from between 90 and 150 cm (35.4-60 inches) or even longer. Why do we call it longboarding and not just skateboarding? Longboarding has now evolved so much that it has it's own different styles for which different shapes and sizes of boards are needed, hence it has it's own classification system. There are longboarders that are into downhill skateboarding, freeride, carving/cruising, sliding and even trick riding.
Each style requires a different style of board. Other than normal skateboards, you'll find mostly that longboards do not have a raised "nose" or "tail" on the board which is necessary in normal skateboarding for preforming the various technical tricks. You could say that longboards are geared more towards just cruising with your board instead of performing tricks. I would say the more popular disciplines of this sport is downhill skating and sliding. Downhill skateboarding involves the skaters wearing leather suits, very similar to those warn by bikers. They go down hills or mountain passes at very high speeds (speeds up to and over a 115km/h / 71mph). This has become quite a competitive sport. With events being held world wide. These skaters obviously wear all kinds of other protective gear like helmets, knee and elbow pads and also gloves. The gloves have a plastic puck on the palms and sometimes also the fingers. This assists the skater in actually putting his hand down on the riding surface in order to make sharp turns or to perform sliding maneuvers to break their speed.
When simply freeriding and sliding, skaters will most often only wear helmets and gloves. Sliding is a discipline in it's own where skaters perform all kinds of high speed sliding maneuvers with their boards which involves them putting their hands down on the riding surface.