The common understanding when it comes to longboarding is that it’s just a longer skateboard, with bigger wheels. What most people don’t know is that most, but not all, longboarders ride downhill, and that there are a few sub-groups of longboarders, all dependent on the rider’s board usage, preference, and skill level.
Generally, there are 3 main types of longboarders: the cruisers; the free-riders; and the downhill racers. Let’s get into more detail about these types of longboarders and their styles and methods.
Cruisers, as you may already get from their name, love to just cruise around. Sometimes for commuting, and mostly for the joy of riding. The commuters of this group, as it may already be obvious enough, use their boards to commute from point A to point B, and this has never been more exhilaratingly fun than with a longboard. Cruising on the sidewalk, on the street, they enjoy every moment of pushing around, carving up and down, using obstacles like ledges and ramps, plus it’s a great way to break a sweat. This group also prefers to ride on flat land, rather than going downhill, or if they do go downhill, it would be with a slope that is not too steep.
This group of riders focus more on downhill longboarding based maneuvers like carving, dancing, and sliding, all of which require the downhill acceleration and speed to execute. Dancing is a carving based maneuver, which in itself is graceful and full of steeze and style. Most of these riders chase the thrill of losing the traction of their wheels and initiating a sideways slide, much like drifting a car. Sliding, as dangerous as it sounds, is just as exciting to the rider, either with a hand on the ground to maintain their balance (a.k.a. puck down sliding), or the harder version of sliding, stand up sliding, which requires more skill and balance of weight distribution.
The downhill racers:
This is a more serious group of riders that are focused on one thing, downhill speed racing. They hone their skills in balance as they reach speeds of up to 80-100 kph downhill. Their maneuvers are similar to the sliding of free-riders, and are only used when slowing down for turns. They’ve perfected the method slowing down just enough to catch the apex of a turn, also known as pre-drifting. Efficiency and precision are the number one qualities of these riders. This is also where longboarding has found its place in the IGSA (International Gravity Sports Association) as a legitimate sport with international professional downhill skateboarding competitions with world rankings and titles.