Cruising on a Longboard

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Cruising on a Longboard – some information you need to know

When most people think of longboarding, the first thing that comes to mind is cruising on a longboard. If you’re thinking about getting into longboarding, chances are you’ll start out by cruising around your town’s pleasant areas.

What does cruising on a longboard entail? Cruising is the term used to describe riding a longboard in a relaxed and fluid manner, slowly down a road or through city streets, roaming around for fun or to get from one place to another.

Cruising is a popular longboard sport that appeals to people of all ages and fitness levels 

Longboarding cruising can refer to any longboarding activity that isn’t downhill, speed, or freestyle / trick oriented. However, depending on how and where you plan to ride your longboard, learning how to cruise on a longboard entails different things for different people.

The following are four common cruising styles, listed in order of increasing skill and agility requirements:

  • Riding on the boardwalk
  • Cruising over long distances
  • Cruising in the city
  • Carving on the ground

Let’s take a look at each of these styles and the key skills you’ll need to master while longboarding.

By “boardwalk cruising,” I mean a relaxed style of cruising that takes place in a pleasant setting such as a park or a beach. This type of cruising is designed to allow you to unwind and enjoy the day while getting some light exercise, such as jogging or biking.

What kind of board are you using?

For relaxed and chilled boardwalk cruising, a pintail longboard is usually a good choice.

For added stability, go with a deck that is 40 inches or longer. A flat deck (no concave) with moderate flex is ideal for easy cruising because the flex provides a more comfortable ride and reduces joint stress. For a nice suspension feel, go for big soft wheels.

Although a larger longboard will typically be heavier, portability isn’t as important for this type of cruising.

  • Cruising on the boardwalk

You often use a laid-back position when cruising along the beach or on a park trail because your longboard is usually large and stable enough that you don’t have to worry about balance.

Many larger pintail longboards lean more than turn, allowing you to press on the rails without the board turning too much. You can relax and look around while riding on a board that isn’t too reactive or fast turning.

Techniques for cruising the boardwalk

Mellow pushing and foot braking, as well as leaning for wide turns, are the main techniques you’ll need to master for this type of cruising.

Pushing on a large pintail is easier than on a smaller board because you can lean forward to balance your weight on your front leg while kicking with your back foot.

Because you’re usually cruising at a low speed, braking by dragging the sole of your foot across the ground is a natural reaction.

You’ll need to lean quite a bit to initiate turns if your cruising pintail is a slow turner. That’s a good thing if you want to go for a leisurely ride.

To avoid back problems in the long run, keep your spine braced (no bending), your rib cage high (not tucked into your hips), and your shoulders externally rotated while cruising on your longboard. 

  • Cruising over long distances

Long-distance commuting is another popular reason for cruising on a longboard – “long distance” could mean across campus or all the way across town.

The commuting board and skills are geared toward gaining more speed and mileage with less effort in order to travel further faster.

What kind of board are you using?

For a commuting cruiser, you’d want a board with a long deck (say 42′′+), but one that’s as low to the ground as possible so you can push for longer periods of time with less effort.

The best option is a drop platform – or a double drop (drop deck + drop-through) – with sufficient stand-over length.

Because your center of gravity is so close to the ground, this type of cruising board is not only easy to push but also very stable.

A dropped platform has more lean and less turn than a traditional pintail, which is topmount and thus more turnable. Long-distance cruising necessitates stability, lean, and slow turning.

Wheels with a large diameter (70-75mm) for speed, a very soft (low durometer in relation to your weight) for absorbing shocks from bumps and holes, and squared edges for good grip are also recommended.

You’ll also want to invest in some high-quality bearings (such as Bone Reds) to get the most distance out of each push.

  • Cruising style for long distances

When cruising long distances on a longboard, it’s a good idea to get into a slightly tucked position after each push to reduce air resistance and get the most mileage out of each impulse. However, you want your position to be able to last for a long time without putting too much strain on it.

For better control and speed when riding on a long deck, you typically stand up front, closer to the nose, with the majority of your weight lying forward.

  • Cruising abilities over long distances

Power pushing is the most important skill to develop for long-distance cruising. To lower your center of gravity and keep your body stable as your rear foot kicks the ground, you must first master balancing on your front leg, with your front foot facing forward (or at a slight angle) and your front knee bent.

What kind of board are you using?

Carving can be done on any longboard, though some are specifically designed for the purpose. Carver boards aren’t a separate species; some city cruisers and shorter pintails are also suitable for carving.

Carving necessitates a board that can turn faster than a standard cruiser, but not as quickly as a quick city mini cruiser.

When carving, you want your turns to flow smoothly, like a pendulum, in response to the rotations of your body. You might prefer a smaller or midsize board with loose RKP trucks for deeper turns and a concave deck to keep your feet secure while swaying.

Because of its responsiveness, a topmount board is usually a good choice. In deep turns, you’ll need soft square wheels for grip. Your deck may be elevated with risers and/or have wheel wells to provide more space for the turned wheels to avoid wheel bite in such turns.

Riding style and abilities for carving

Turns that generate real speed necessitate a wave-like body motion that takes time to master. Carving entails full body rotation and weight shifting, which starts at the top of your head and flows down to your shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, and toes. During the turn, your body transfers energy to the board’s edge.

It’s also crucial to know when to lower your center of gravity (compress) and when to release during the turn (decompress).

Carving is a subtle skill that requires you to become one with your longboard, getting a deep understanding of how the board reacts to, and accelerates with, your body’s rotations and leans.

Final Thoughts

Longboarding can be anything from relaxing at the beach to pushing long distances and kicking and turning along city sidewalks. Choosing the right machine for the job, whatever your style, will make your life easier and more enjoyable.

If you already own a longboard, you can probably tweak it to some degree to fit your riding style by following the tips in this article. 

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