The world of longboarding is vast. There are many disciplines involved in it, and you can choose one that suits you best. Freeride longboarding is one of those disciplines.
Freeride longboarding is all about riding downhill at a low or medium speed. The freeriders longboarders focus on:
- Performing power slides
- Technical movements
Many beginners start by learning to freeride longboard because it helps them learn about riding on the flat ground fast. Besides that, it also helps to control the speed of the board. If you are also a beginner, here is everything you need to know about freeride longboarding.
Starting Freeride Longboarding As A Beginner
If you have started your longboarding journey as a means of transportation or are just a beginner, you will probably be familiar with steering and balancing. If you aim to increase your speed and ride steep hills, then you need to familiarize yourself with braking.
Foot braking will help you control your movement. However, what will take your skills even further is learning how to slide. That will help you manage your speed and create swift movements.
You also need to work on weight shifting for controlling speed. For this, you will have to work on your carving skills. Carving is about successive turns that are performed by shifting your body weight to your toes. To do this, you have to push hard into the board rail to execute deep turns.
When you take carving one step further, you can easily start sliding. As you are carving, you just have to lean deeper into the turn, and you will begin sliding in no time. The most basic carving movement is the S-shaped carve.
Once you are familiar with this carving movement, you can start working on others. For example, you can start by experimenting with stand up slides on a mild slope. That is because S-shaped carves would have helped you shift your weight from one rail to another.
What is longboard carving anyway?
Once you are familiar with this, it is time to learn stand up slides. You can begin by practicing heelside stand up slides. All you have to do is turn your board sideways across the slope when you are going at high speed. While doing this, you can push both legs out to drift the board properly.
Another important skill you need to have for freeride longboarding is riding opposite your natural stance, called the riding switch. If you are goofy, that means doing it with your left foot forward. However, if you are a regular footer, then that means riding with your right foot forward.
All these are basic moves you need to learn as soon as you begin your freeride longboarding journey. Once you have mastered these, you can move onto advanced technical movements. If you want to reach advanced slides, then being comfortable with your switch stance is the most important skill to practice.
Things To Look For In A Good Freeride Longboard
You can choose from many longboards for your freeride. That is because you can freeride on any longboard. Of course, the one you choose depends on your preferences and needs.
However, some longboards are suitable for beginner freeriders, and some are good for advanced freeriders. That is why it is important to understand the movements you want to perform and then get a longboard for it. There are a few things that make a longboard beginner-friendly.
Here are the different qualities you need to look for:
1. Deck Shape
Freeride boards are bi-directional (symmetrical). That is because it allows for riding and spinning. On the other hand, you will notice that downhill speed boards are directional, and you don’t need this.
Many freeride longboards will also include a kicktail to make the experience easier for you. The kicktail will allow you to perform technical movements from beginner to advanced swiftly. On average, freeride longboards have:
- A length of 38 inches to 42 inches
- A wheelbase of 24 to 29 inches
- A normal width that lies from 8.5 to 10 inches
The length, wheelbase, and width of the freeride longboard you choose depend on what movements you want to perform through the longboard. For example, many skilled freeriders prefer short decks. That is because it allows them to maneuver easily and be more agile.
So what is a kicktail longboard anyway?
However, if you are a beginner, you should get a freeride longboard that provides you stability. This also depends on your height and weight. So, once you figure out which will give you the most stability, you can invest in that freeride longboard.
2. Deck Profile
Another aspect to look for in the freeride longboard is the deck profile. A deck of a longboard should have a strong concave. That helps you lock your foot into the board and allows for more secure and safe foot placement.
As a beginner, you should opt for a radial concave, i.e., also known as a simple concave. However, if you are an advanced freerider, you should opt for a W concave, i.e., also known as an advanced concave. If you buy the W concave as a beginner, it will get in the way of your practice, and you will not be able to practice with ease.
The concave of a deck is the curve of the deck along its width. In simple terms, it is the curvature of the deck along its length, also known as the rocker. A freeride longboard deck with rocker has a lower midpoint than the truck mount points.
The more rocker your deck has, the easier it will be for you to slide and have stability. So, as a beginner, you should go for a longboard that has a simple concave.
3. Mount Type
Any type of mount will work for freeriding. You can choose from various longboards such as top mount, drop platform, drop-through, and many others. However, if you are a beginner, then drop decks will be an ideal choice for you.
That is because drop decks are closer to the ground, which allows them to give you the stability you need. On such a mount type, you can easily start sliding without any problems. It will make your experience much smoother.
If you are an intermediate freerider, then drop-through decks are an ideal choice for you. They are stable, low, thin, and much lighter than drop decks. All these qualities will allow you to push into slides much easier.
Before you opt for a drop-through deck, you need to keep in mind that they should have little to no flex. Low or no flex will allow you to be more stable even at high speed.
If you are an advanced freerider, you should opt for a top mount. They offer high control when turning and sliding and a better grip. They are only suitable for advanced freeriders because they are much higher off the ground, which means that they provide less stability, and it is challenging to learn to turn and slide on them.
Now that you know everything you need to know about choosing the right to freeride longboard, it is time to learn some essential skills. Power slides are one of the most crucial techniques to learn in freeride longboarding. Sliding is all about turning your longboard sideways across the slope.
To do this, you have to push your body weight on one rail so the wheels can lose traction. That is because the wheels’ friction when they are drifting leads to a quick loss of speed. That’s why you need to push your body weight on one rail so that you can start drifting sideways and stop spinning.
If you are interested in freeride longboarding, then you will have to start your practice with slides. All freeriders practice slides to control their speed. However, many see sliding as the main aim as you can perform technical movements while sliding.
There are many types of slides you can do while freeride longboarding. However, these are the most basic ones that you should start with:
1. Stand Up Slide
This is one of the most common and basic types of slides. As a beginner, the stand-up slide is where you should begin your journey. This slide is done by standing and pushing out the longboard sideways. While doing this, you can extend your legs and shift your weight backward.
Before you begin with any other slide techniques, you must get the hang of this one. The stand-up slide will help you enhance your stability and control your board. Once you think you have gotten comfortable with this, you can move on to different sliding techniques.
2. Speed Check
As the name suggests, this type of slide helps you assess your speed. You can do this before performing a more technical movement so you can execute it swiftly. Speed check is the second most common freeride longboarding slide out there.
To perform this, you need to push the board into a slide. You can do this by pushing backward with your toeside, or you can do this by pushing forwards with your heelside. Once you are done drifting in this manner, you can push the board back to its normal position.
3. 180 Slide
The 180 slide is similar to a stand-up slide. However, the only difference is that you will take a 180-degree turn after doing the stand-up slide. Firstly, you have to push the longboard to 90 degrees so it can slide.
After that, you need to push it to another 90 degrees to get back into the slope. However, you have to switch your stance to make it a 180 slide. It is a quick and easy move you can do once you have practiced the stand-up slide enough times.
Many individuals love to drift on their freestyle longboards. It is one of the most popular things to do because it is easy and you don’t need to do much. You can also practice your drifting once you have gotten comfortable with the stand-up slide.
To drift, all you have to do is mix stand up sliding and normal riding. Doing so will help you achieve a controlled speed. For this, you need to keep shifting your weight from a slide stance to a normal stance and back and forth.
Many freeriders use drifting for controlled turns in corners. Doing so helps them control their movement and stance. There is also pre-drifting, which means performing a light drop before making a sharp turn with your freeride longboard.
5. Coleman Slide
Coleman slide involves a lot of leaning. In this type of freeride longboarding slide, you have to lean as much as you can so you can touch the road and place your hand as you are turning 90 degrees into the drift.
While doing the Coleman slide, you must wear a slide glove. This will protect you from any injury as your hand will be covered. Only move to this sliding technique once you are familiar and comfortable with all the other basic sliding techniques.
6. Sitdown Check
The sitdown check is also one of the most common types of slides. It is somewhat similar to the Coleman slide, but you don’t have to place your hand on the ground in this movement. To perform the sitdown check, you have to push the longboard into the slide.
Once you do this, you crouch so low that you are almost sitting on your longboard. For this, your hands will stay in the air as it doesn’t require you to touch the ground. If you have poor stability, then it is best not to practice this move often.
Only when you have proper balance and stability you should practice the sitdown check. When you can achieve proper balance and stability, this move will become super easy for you.
Last but not least, we have the pendulum slide. To perform this move, you will have to put your hand down and swing your board across your body. This has to be done past a 90-degree angle with the road up to 180 degrees.
For this, you have to roll the wheels in the reverse direction before you slide back into the forward-moving direction. Executing the pendulum may be a bit challenging for beginners. That is why you should not start with this as your first slide practice.
First, work on your other moves and get comfortable in the. Once that level of comfort has been achieved, you can then move on the pendulum slide.
What To Look For In Good Longboarding Trucks
Trucks are one of essential components of longboards. Before purchasing a freeride longboard, you need to assess the trucks. That is because they need to be as strong as possible.
Trucks on a longboard go through the most wear and tear. They withstand pressure whenever you are going at high speed and changing directions.
As a beginner, you should choose trucks of a regular width, i.e., 180mm. However, if you are an advanced rider, you should select trucks of a smaller width, i.e., 160mm. Smaller trucks will help you turn fast, but it can slow down your progress as a beginner.
Another aspect to keep in mind is the base angle of the truck. You need to select one depending on the freeriding skills you have. Trucks with a higher base angle offer lower stability but help you achieve better slides.
Trucks with a lower base angle help you achieve more stability, but sliding movements will be challenging. That is why you need first to assess your freeriding skills and then choose the base angle that will suit you best.
Last but not least, bushing seats in your freeriding longboarding trucks should not halt the bushings. You should choose one, depending on your weight. However, we recommend it to be medium-hard.
For example, if you weigh around 200 pounds, your bushing seats should be 90A. However, if you weigh about 150 pounds, it should be 87A. All these are important things to remember. Once you keep all this in mind, you will be able to purchase a freeride longboard that will be perfect for you.
Looking for something completely different? Try an electric skateboard.
That was your complete guide to freeride longboarding. It is a creative and skilled way of longboarding, and many people prefer this type of style over the rest. Once you choose the longboard that will be perfect for freeriding, you need to be consistent.
The longboarding journey is all about being patient and practicing your skills regularly. You have to give it time to move from beginner to advanced technical movements. That is why consistency is key.
Once you have achieved all the skills you need, freeride longboarding will become a much more fun and fulfilling experience. What are you waiting for then? Start freeriding now.