Longboarding safety

Longboarding safety

Helmets and gear

I’ve always signed off at the end of my articles with the phrase, “WEAR A HELMET”. I mainly say this to encourage general safety. I wouldn’t want anyone crashing into the ground or into a tree and becoming paralized after reading my articles, would I? So, in this article, I will discuss different helmets and their uses. Also included are pads.


  • The Classic Half-Shell



(Pictured: Watermelon S1 Lifer)

This is a classic half-shell helmet. Helmets like these are widely available in pretty much every sports store ever, whether it be your local one or a big-name store at your mall. They’re usually available in a huge selection of colors and styles, but they all accomplish one thing: comfort and convenience. The thing about these half-shells are that they are very good for pretty much every low-speed application, whether it be freeride, or cruising. There are light-weight models which you can put on your head and forget about, but there are also very heavy-duty ones that you can take down a hill. They also boost your confidence as you don’t have to be very scared about falling, as you won’t get badly hurt.

For longboarding, make sure that the helmet you buy has a hard EPS foam, with skateboarding certifications such as CSPC or CE-1078.

(Pictured: Predator DH-6 Full-face)


  • The Full-face


(Insert picture of a full-face, Predator dh-6)

This is the downhill longboarding full-face helmet, engineered for aerodynamics and full head protection. The primary difference between a half-shell and a full-face is the protection it offers to the chin. Obviously, a half shell will not protect your jaw or your chin from any kind of impact from below, and especially if you are going downhill, an impact from below can really mess up your face. For those high speed applications, a full-face is good.

These full-face helmets can be quite expensive. In the case that you don’t particularly have the cash for a downhill helmet, a regular sub-$100 BMX helmet will do. They are a little heavier, but they’ll get the job done. Make sure the BMX helmet has CSPC and CE-1078 certifications for longboarding, as anything else has the chance of failing. As well, insurance companies will watch out for whether you had a good helmet on or not.

(Pictured: G-form safety pads)


  • The Safety Pads.


(Insert pic of safety pads, G-form)

These are longboarding safety pads. They’re great for saving the skin on your joints when you fall! I’ve always found these to be more of a confidence booster than safety, since they safe your pants and skin from getting shredded when you fall, but they have very real uses. Personally, I’ve always gone with my front leg with a knee pad, just one. This is because my front knee is the most likely to hit the ground when I fall, and that will save me most of the time. If you are skating for the first time, use full pads, and always wrist pads or slide gloves.

WEAR A HELMET. Ryan L. Longboarder. 

Longboards- Not giving up


Giving up – Learning to Longboard

In previous articles, I have many times said that media coverage contributes possibly the most out of any factor to the image of longboarding.

That being said, it’s worth noting that most official longboarding-oriented skating videos contain not much but the best of the best, going the fastest, doing the smoothest tricks and all of that. In this article, I’m going to speak a little bit about the fickle things in longboarding, such as practicing and getting good, really important parts to becoming a master at riding a longboard, whether your style is dancing, free ride, or just plain downhill. Heck, maybe even your weapon of choice is the cruiser board!

Like I said above, when people see videos of people longboarding before they start, they think, hey, this is going only going to take me a few hours, walking up and down a board doesn’t seem too hard, these people really make it look effortless. However, I must warn you, it isn’t. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pick up longboarding because it’s too hard for people, I’m saying that longboarding takes an immense amount of practice to pull off, but when you do pull it off, you will have to most satisfying feeling.

For example, I remember when I did my first coleman slide. A coleman slide is the most basic slide, one that is used to slow down swiftly at the end of a fast run, when foot braking is no longer an option. This slide, even though it is the most basic slide, took me around 2 weekends to pull off, watching countless videos in between and practicing my stance on a board in my living room. Even then, when I stepped out onto the pavement to get sliding, I found a lot of roadblocks and it took a lot of effort to really get my wheels to unhook that first time. Sure, I got frustrated and angry at myself, but I kept working at it and soon I had a whole quiver of slides to show off.

Now, as an experienced longboarder and having seen my own improvement, it makes me sad to see people picking up their first longboards and the shop, really nice ones too, and getting out on the boardwalk, trying their first steps and going home because they can’t pull it off in the first few minutes. It doesn’t make me angry or annoyed, it just makes me sad, because if that person could have just kept at it for a few more days, they would have an arsenal of dancing tricks up their sleeve that they could bust out at any given time. So what I’m saying is, when you pick up your first board, don’t be afraid to suck. Because we all suck in the beginning, and as time goes on, you suck less and less. Even more intriguing, people respect how much you suck, as long as you have a large desire to get better. People will step off their boards to help you get better. Never give up.

WEAR A HELMET. Ryan L, Longboarder.

Longboard cruising ethics and manners

The Ethics and Manners of Cruising on a Longboard 

Okay. So you just bought your first Longboard, and you can’t do much more than cruise. You might think, hey, I’ll just push all over the road and have fun! And you are correct. However, you must do this politely in order not to make anyone angry. Because I’m telling you, people get angry at skateboarders incredibly intensely and it isn’t something you will enjoy seeing.

So here, I present to you, 4 things you can do to preserve your dignity on a longboard. (And not get killed)

One. Know when to go fast.

Yes, yes, I know, going fast is incredible and it’s honestly the only thing that rustles your jimmies when you get better. I know that feeling. However, the feeling of running into people’s shins and squashing into their backpacks isn’t a great one either. Plus, they’ll probably start spitting in your face as soon as they get up. You don’t want this. Instead, go fast when there aren’t many people, or when everyone is staggered at different distances. As long as you know that you can weave around them, don’t worry about slowing down too much.

Two. Make hand signals.

The thing about longboarding is that people don’t know to just stay put. They always try to get out of your way, which is quite ironically incredibly annoying and dangerous when it comes to it. One of my greatest pieces of advice to offer is to point in the direction that you will be going in the next 10 seconds. When you do this, people will either move in that direction or they will assume you are going in that direction and just stay in the same place. Make your decision here and move in whatever direction you think is right.

Three. Don’t hog the road.

Many times, you will be on that path or road with a lot of other longboarders. Namely, freestylers and freeriders. These riders demand a lot of space to do what they do. They’re flying and sliding all over the place, and really, you don’t want to be in their way when they get into it. My advice is to always stay on one side of the road. Don’t unpredictably carve all over the road, that may get you hit in the shin or have your board smashed against another. That isn’t good.

Four. Enjoy the sights!

Pushing down a random road is no fun. Cruising is best when you go see things. Skate from store to store, restaurant to restaurant. Hold a burrito in one hand, hold your phone in the other. This is why you chose a longboard over a bike! Have a conversation with a friend while cruising. These are all great things to do when boarding. My personal favorite is urban exploring. Go follow weird roads and bike paths as far as you can take them, and you will eventually come to a place nobody really goes. Spread a cloth, have a picnic.

-Ryan L, Longboarder.

Improving the perception of Longboarding

Improving/Morphing the image of longboarding.

In my experience in the community, I’ve quite often noted the light that longboarding is portrayed in as a sport and activity by the general population.

To start off, it’s worth noting that downhill longboarding isn’t nearly as official as many people would like it to be. It isn’t recognized as an X-Games sport, nor is it all that recognized as a mainstream sport that is able to be competed in a civil manner. Longboarding is seen more as a hobby or pastime to most people who are largely uneducated about the sport, which is unfortunate. After some intense thought, I have come to build an explanation as to why this is the case.

Much of this situation stems from the way that longboarding is portrayed in the media.

We can compare the media coverage of longboarding to the coverage of skateboarding events. There are indeed skateboarding events on television, where skateboarders do tricks and competitions in closed environments, where there doesn’t seem to be any perceivable dangers to threaten the safety of the skateboarders themselves. Because of this, most people who watch these events on television or on the internet don’t think too far into the safety aspect of skateboarding.

However, the coverage of longboarding is actually much more direly ignorant. Usually, longboarding ends up on local news as a dangerous extreme sport that reckless kids do and get hit in the process.

None of the safe aspects of the sport are broadcast at all, it’s usually videos of uneducated long boarders racing down busy highways and public roadways without spotters and proper safety equipment, which is understandably met which much anger and hate from populations around the area.

There is also a plethora of longboarding crash videos which show people being bodied by cars and curbs, which doesn’t help the situation at all.

What they don’t realize is that longboarding is actually as educated as skateboarders and other extreme sports, such as BMX biking and downhill cycling. Spotters are used by smart people wanting to ride smart, safety gear is worn, and the skaters themselves don’t push themselves beyond their abilities.

Races are always held on closed roads, EMS and medical staff may be on scene as well. The point is, longboarders take many safety precautions as well, but the media turns a blind eye to these precautions.

There are great ways to prevent your local longboarding community from being shown in a bad light.

One community at a time, it is absolutely necessary that we improve in image and reputation if longboarding is to become recognized as a viable sport for anyone.

Wear a helmet, wear protection. The less people get hurt, the more people will appreciate the way we go about bombing hills and cruising fast. Don’t show people getting hurt. If you get a video of a friend crashing, don’t show it. But most importantly, make sure you enjoy the sport. Saying good things about longboarding out of your heart will make people want to try it out. We want new friends! We want new ride buddies! Don’t be afraid to teach them how to longboard.

Ps Peace and love Magneto – the best longboard brands ever!

WEAR A HELMET. Ryan L, Longboarder.

A quick guide for the beginner longboarder.


Things you need to know before you longboard:

Looking for a detailed guide on how to start longboarding? Look no further.

The first thing you’ll need is a board.

Your first board should be something easy to ride, and relatively inexpensive, such as a Magneto Long board.

Having a cheap, but sturdily build board will ensure that you are not afraid to thrash it and wreck it, however have a relatively easy time learning how to ride it.

Having a relatively large standing platform will help as well, anything from 38-40 inches long will give you enough room to stumble and explore.
For your first board, aim to buy a pre-built complete, as you can hop on and start riding right away!
Learn to push.
It may look easy, but learning to push well can be a chore. However, this is a fundamental skill that you must absolutely learn. Without pushing, you will not get anywhere, and without getting anywhere, standing on a longboard will be, well, literally standing on a longboard. You don’t want that. You want to be gliding over sidewalks at speeds exceeding a jogger! Some tips:

Bend your knees! Bending your knees will help you reach the ground and get a stronger push. Practice riding with one foot on the board! This will help you balance as you push.
Push from the front of your board, all the way to the back of your board. Having a strong, full stride will have you going much further than you would if you hadn’t had a strong, full stride.

Learn to bail.

Falling off your board is something you’ll be doing all the time as a longboarder, beginner or not. So, it’s a good idea to learn how to bail. Now, everyone bails differently. Some people aim for grass, some people deck themselves out with full pads, but I always find that rolling is the best way to bail. (Only at low speeds, of course.) This means that when you fall, you roll as soon as you reach the ground. This makes sure that you don’t get any road rash, and that all your skin stays intact throughout the bail, which is always a nice thing. And as always, wear a helmet!
Learn to stop.

Footbraking seems simple; you put your foot down on the ground and drag, right? But it isn’t as simple as you might think. It takes practice.

First, start by practicing riding your board with your front foot on your board and nothing else. The foot should be facing forwards. Just balance on your board, up to a decent rolling speed. Think about how ast you’ll probably be going when you’re cruising.

Second, bend the knee of the leg that is on the board. Remember to keep your foot facing forward and your other foot next to this foot, hanging in the air. Bend it so that your upper body is moving straight up and down, and not forwards or backwards. Think that you are doing squats.
Third, place the heel of the foot that is off of the board on the ground, and let it drag. Don’t apply any pressure, but make sure to keep your foot up and parallel to the ground.
Fourth, start applying a bit of pressure to stop better. Now you can stop!

Learn to turn.

This is the last and most complicated step, as learning to turn impulsively and getting familiar enough with the board to think of it as an extension of your own body is quite hard. For this, you will just need tons of practice and experience. Remember, G-force and leaning are your best friends!

Go and get a board! You’ll have fun. Always wear a helmet!


The best day out on a Longboard ever!


The best day Longboarding!

This is a story of the day, or rather, the best night I’ve had to date.

This is in the very, very beginning of my career as a longboarder. Before you know, all the gnarly high speed runs and the standup slides, even before I did my first coleman slide to slow down! Actually, if I do remember correctly, this is even before I learned to sufficiently footbrake.

Anyways, so this was about one and a half months into my longboarding career, I haven’t fully embraced efficient, full pushing yet, and I was still doubting myself on my capabilities. However, one day, my friend messaged me on Facebook, insisting that I go with him to a mellow downhill run to the local burger joint. I was hungry and always willing to challenge myself, I accepted. After this, I tuned up my bearings, cleaned my trucks, and even though I had some pretty bad bushings back then, I cleaned those too. And so I went and met them at the station. It wasn’t just him; it was a whole group of people! There were downhillers, there were freeriders, some groms with no experience on cruisers, and I believe there was also a rollerblader there. (No idea how he got in!) And so we went. The downhillers went in the front, absolutely ravaging the slope, miles ahead of us, and then the freerides went, and then we went. Surprisingly enough, I stayed with the freeriders, it must have been the fresh bearings! This was an almost 15 minute long run. It wasn’t fast, and it wasn’t threatening at all, in fact I had enough composure at that speed to have conversations with people. Tuck and move up, get a chat with this guy, maybe fall back a bit and talk to this girl. It was an eye-opening experience, really.

Like I said, this run was about 15 minutes long. So 15 minutes later, we all landed at an A&W (A Canadian burger chain, delicious), and we all ordered our own meals. We all put the tables together into this huge mile-long thing and sat around it, getting rowdy at 10:30 at night at this burger chain. It’s dark outside, but nobody seems to be tired at all! We’re talking about gear, girls, boys, dreams, university, it just went on and on and on in this seemingly neverending energy-filled conversation between 10 people all brought together by longboarding. Everyone was incredibly friendly, and I’m just sitting there thinking, “Wow, I need more of this.”.

At that point, my head just went from aiming for a casual, cruising kind of longboarding career into pursuing what all these people had; something to improve on daily and show off at meetups. I started giving to the community, donating gear, donating money to hold competitions. And that’s how I am here now. That fateful night 2 months after I picked up my first board at the shop, when my friend invited me, an unknowing grom, to a skaters’ hangout. You can do it too. Pick up your first board, have fun.

-Ryan L. Longboarder.