Carving is one of longboarding’s central skills that you should absolutely master before you try slides or going down steep hills at extreme speeds. Carving does a few things for you, of which a few are things like slowing you down, getting you set up for slides and saving you when you get the speed wobbles.
So, before learning how to carve, you should absolutely know how to stand on your board, and how to turn on it pretty proficiently. By proficiently, I mean that you should be able to safely and with control turn and surf all over a sidewalk pretty well. Go to the right edge of a sidewalk, and then surf over to the left edge. Over and over again. If you can do this, then you can learn carving.
Carving pretty much means turning and surfing hard enough that your wheels start to show resistance against the direction you are traveling. You should turn hard enough that your board pushes up against you and you feel the downwards force on your feet. If you don’t feel this, you aren’t turning quite hard enough. Lean more.
Another thing you will notice when you are carving successfully is that your wheels will start to make a nice, sticky sound. It’s hard to explain, but once you hear it, you will be able to know that it’s the sound of carving.
So, to recap, here are the steps:
- Straighten up your body and bend your knees.
- Lean hard to one side until you feel yourself getting pushed on your board.
- Just a tip, on flexier boards your board will flex downwards during this step.
- Push up on your board, straighten out and immediately dive into the other direction.
- You should be thinking about making a wave on the ground, left, right, left, right.
- And repeat.
Onto some uses of carving.
Carving is usually used when people want to shave off a little bit of speed. Let’s say, maybe 3-4 kph. Carving is also inherently more stable than going straight down a hill, because your feet are always leaning in one direction. If you carve successfully and sustainably, you won’t get any speed wobbles.
Speaking of speed wobbles, carving is one of the best ways to save yourself from speed wobbles when longboarding. If you stop panicking during speed wobbles and catch one of the wobbles, take that wobble and extrapolate it into a carve of the same direction. Make large carves until you are at a speed that you are comfortable with again.
Carves are also the way that people get into slides. A good slide always needs a very strong setup carve to throw the body and board sideways on the road. More on this later in another article!
But that in a nutshell is how you carve. Carving is ridiculously run on flexy boards, so if you plan to carve a lot, get a Magneto Bamboo Drop Through!
-CARVE HARD. Ryan L. Longboarder.