Longboarding: Hosting Events 101


A community is not without events, and events don’t host themselves! Events far and wide, no matter whether they’re free or paid, large or small, are really the driving forces behind the communities that they take place in. Without events, any community would eventually dissolve and it would go from being a gathering of people to becoming a spread out population of people that more or less doesn’t care about each other.


Events bring people together. It not only lets people come together and compete, build rivalries and friendships, but it’s also an amazing reminder to how friendly the atmosphere is and the level of welcoming and inclusiveness you can find in most skate communities around the globe. For instance, there are many incredibly advanced events in the scene, like Maryhill or Giants Head Freeride, which a large majority of people cannot skate because they are simply above their level. However, attendance from these skaters is huge because many people come to just hang out! And that’s why events are so important.


That being said, there are times when there may be a lack of events, or a lack of events that you personally don’t enjoy. I know that for a while in my scene, we didn’t have any parkade events, and that really turned me off. There were so many races at the same hills and paths all the time, but nobody seemed to want a parkade race. Or, in the winter, people may not be hosting events at all because of the weather, when people in reality are hungering for an event all the time. These are the cases when you as a skater and valuable part of your local community, must take it upon yourself to make these events happen. And this is written in the hope that it can help those people in the community step up and make events happen, because it’s incredibly easy when it comes down to it; however, it can be condensed down to several steps. I personally took these steps when I was hosting my first event, and it went splendidly.



Step One: Come up with a novel idea.


The first thing you have to do is come up with something that is relatively unique. By this, I don’t mean host an event that is radically different from every event that has ever happened in the world, I mean that you should come up with an idea that isn’t monotonous when put against most events that have happened in your scene in the last few months. For example, if there were 2 parkade races in the past 3 months, don’t host another parkade race; nobody will come, since people will get bored and tired of those races. Instead, if there were 2 parkade races, then host a path race, or even host something like a skate community barbeque! Whatever floats the boat or rolls your skateboard, just don’t make it boring.


There are exceptions to this rule though. If for some weird reason, there were several races of the same theme that happened in the past how many months and it’s all your community has to skate, then it is your job to make that event even better. Take a plain cake that everyone used to love and throw some sprinkles on top, make people love it even more. For example, I took a regular parkade event and added the novel idea of challenges, a system vastly different from the greyscale races that just went from top to bottom in race heats and made a simple podium. No, I made them do 13 different races (things such as, tying your hands behind your back, standing like a pencil, buttboarding, etc.).


This created an extremely fun and entertaining race, while building upon events that had already happened in the past. Step one finished. Not so hard, is it?


Step Two: Have a general idea of how the event will run.


Is it a race? If so, then how will you organize the racers? Will you have a registration? How many people per heat? If you have multiple races, will you have multiple podiums?


These are some of the questions that you must have answered going into an event. Even if a race does sound like the simplest thing to organize, it really isn’t. You can’t just put everyone on the starting line and make everyone go; that’s ridiculous and hilariously dangerous (although it’s called Chinese Downhill). You have to make competition trees and brackets, and to do this, you need to have a registration of all your racers! It’s not the simplest thing, and you should have a strong, concrete idea of how you will go about organizing your successful race.


You should also have a very good idea of how to amplify your unique ideas into your race. A straight race is never fun, you should always have plans to make your event fun and wonky compared to the stuff that people usually do in their free time. Events are where many people come together, take advantage of this and the large number of people to create fun, unique, challenging quirks that will spice up your event! For example, when I was organizing my parkade event, I made sure that we had a backup plan in case we had extra time left. I got together some loaves of bread, and started sending people down in heats where they had to eat as many pieces of bread as possible before reaching the bottom. It was a little quirky addition to an already great event, and it’s something that people will talk about for a long time to come; allowing you to have another repetition of your event in your future.


Step Three: Have a driving factor that will push people to come to your event.


In the case that you haven’t had the chance to build up a reputation for your event over several years, you’ll need some materialistic things to get people to come to the event. These materialistic things could be things like prizes, or free food, things like that. Once you have these measures in place, it shouldn’t be too hard getting people to come.


In terms of prizes, contact your local longboard store for sponsorship opportunities. If your local store is active in the community in supporting events and riders, it won’t be a far stretch to say that they will contribute prizes and items to your event. Some good prizes are wheels, t-shirts, stickers, and sometimes decks, even. I’ve seen big events give away whole setups.


Alternatively, you can pool prize money. So, you charge a few dollars per person as admission fee, and then while the event is running, you send someone to get a set of wheels and a few t-shirts. These are your prizes and it will work the exact same way. Sometimes when you do this though, you’ll end up with not enough money for first, second and third prizes. You might have to add some prizes from your own personal stash in these cases. Personally, I keep a big boxes of freebies that I get at events in order to give away as prizes at events.


Step Four: Market consistently.


As the date of your event approaches, you’ll need to consistently market your event so that more and more people RSVP. I find that making a facebook event page or something similar always helps, and usually telling friends to invite friends of friends is a good enough number to start you off to stardom.


After about two or three weeks of consistent marketing, you should hold your event so that the event date doesn’t go stale in people’s minds. You must keep it freshly hyped and excitable.


Step Five: Event day!


Event day is here, and you should be on your toes! Make sure everything happens smoothly; don’t forget anything at home, put it all into a bag and bring it to the venue, especially prizes and registration booklets! Be there, be on your best game, and make it happen. Your community will thank you.


Always wear a helmet. Ryan Lee from Magneto Longboards.

Magneto Bamboo Drop Through Longboard – A closer look


I had the opportunity to test out the new bamboo drop-through a couple of weeks ago, since I’m a rider and writer. I have a lot of thoughts on it, many positive and I am still wondering if there are any negatives to the Long board itself. It is one of the most comfortable cruisers I’ve ever ridden, and even though I am not a fan of drop-through boards, I thoroughly enjoyed the many rides that I have been on with this board. I am absolutely positive that many beginners and experts alike will enjoy the board for everything that it is: A cruising, carving beast of a machine.

It’s a minimalistic Bamboo Longboard.

I’m not a particularly fashionable or a trendy guy, so I don’t usually buy longboards because of their graphic and color, but I can relate with many when they complement this longboard. It’s natural-looking. It’s just a simple wood veneer on the top and bottom and in my simple eyes, it could go well with anything and make a very good first impression to wherever you decide to bring it.

It’s also nice because it was easy to buy. I didn’t really have to contemplate the graphic, unlike what I do with a few different longboards here and there. All you have to do is concentrate on the shape of the longboard and the concave, which are the two actual features of a board that matters. The designers of the longboard really tried hard to open the board up to the eyes of a beginner.

The concave is pretty minimalistic as well. This lets any cruiser avoid having bad foot pain on long pushes! It’s just a simple progressive concave and some camber, so really all it does is support the arch of your foot and make it easy to turn. Minimalistic concave such as this are found on many downhill boards as well, so if you ever decide to switch to a downhill board, the concave will be more or less familiar.

The grip tape is painless.

What I mean about this grip tape is that it’s very mild. It’s sandblasted into the wood, so you get that beautiful veneer on the top of the board showing through, so you can constantly be reminded that yes, you have a high-quality Magneto board under your feet. No joke. Just kidding, it’s just pretty.

The advantages of having really mild grip tape are many. For one, it won’t destroy your shoes. I can personally attest to having my shoes eaten up by coarse grip tape that comes with many downhill longboards, and I can also say that it’s a huge burden to my budget. 60 dollars every 3 months is extremely expensive. I can’t personally see my shoes being eaten up by the Magneto board since the grip is so mild. However, that isn’t to say that it is strong enough to hold my feet in place during some extremely powerful carving. I didn’t slip at all. Just keep your feet flat and you’ll be good.

I like this grip for dancing as well. Since it’s so mild, it is good for doing pirouettes and crossstepping everywhere since you can move your feet freely. You can slide your feet places with lots of control. Most dancer decks come without any griptape in the middle, but with your Magneto drop through, you won’t need to remove grip tape at all.

It’s also very easy to tweak! When your grip does get dull (it happens with every grip tape ever), all you need to do is sand it down, and place a sheet of grip tape over it. Super easy and convenient.

It has flex.

I’ll be honest, I don’t like rock-hard decks. Even my downhill setup is slightly, slightly flexible. It’s made of 8 plies as opposed to the normal 9 or 10, so it’s still very dampening and welcoming to stand on. Some boards are made of 10 plies and it’s like standing on a rock for 3 hours. The Magneto drop-through is made of 7 plies. 5 of maple, 2 fiberglass. This makes it extremely comfortable to stand on. As a test, I went on a ride on some of the roughest roads that I could find, and I was extremely delighted to find out that it was healthier on my feet than my regular downhill board is.

The thing is, I don’t even push a long distance and my feet usually hurt by the 500 meter mark. That’s on my downhill board. I pushed a kilometer and a half on the Magneto Drop-through and I didn’t feel any noticeable pain in my feet nor in my calves. That’s pretty surprising too; I have flat feet and longboarding itself is painful.

The moderate flex also makes the board a natural shock-absorber. If you look at the deck, you can see that the necks where the standing platform tapers off into the mounting holes is quite long. I believe it was designed this way in order to have a lot of torsional flex, which would absorb a substantial amount of the vibrations that would travel up through the trucks into the board. This is probably why I couldn’t really feel the bumps in the road. After the enough time, the dampening effect should increase even further.

If you ever wanted to start doing flip tricks to add to the “wow” factor of your dancing, this board may be the one. Because of the moderate flex, it makes landing flip tricks deceptively easy when you are learning the tricks because the flex makes the board feel like a pillow; it catches you and makes sure that you don’t just bounce off of the board as soon as you land. I’ve tried flip tricks with my board, and this has happened before. It isn’t pretty.

It’s compact.

The board, even though it is quite long, is very slim and compact in every other feature. It’s quite skinny for a cruising board, since cruising boards are usually a bit wider. This allows your toe to slightly hang off the board, resulting in an incredible increase in the control you have over your board. You can also get a lot of leverage in case you ever want to start doing slides and all of that.

The skinniness of the board was something that I particularily enjoyed when I was riding it along the riverwalk. Now, in my city, the riverwalk is usually very packed with people. People going left, people going behind you, cyclists, all of that. The compactness of the board improved my maneuverability between all of these people. I found myself effortlessly weaving in and out of the crowds of people, since where other boards would snag and smash into people’s shins and ankles, this board seemed to be immune to those kinds of accidents.

The trucks also seem to run a lot lower than most trucks on the market. This means that you can get even closer to the ground than a drop through usually amounts to. This means easy pushing and commuting. Trust me, reaching down from a topmount every single time to push hard isn’t the friendliest thing on your core and calves.

The board’s compactness also came to my aid whenever I was carrying it around. Since it is so thin and skinny, I could carry it around the halls of my school with very minimal drawbacks. I didn’t really bump into anyone, who I would have bumped into with my curvy downhill longboard.

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The Longboard wheels.

I saved the best for last. The wheels are a very soft, cruiser-type wheel which accelerated quickly and stopped quickly when I needed them to. I could push them and make them travel for a long time, and yet when I needed to stop quickly at an intersection, they slowed down to a stop almost instantly. This made for some extremely efficient commuting times. I could speed the block, and then slow down at the intersection, speed the block and just keep going. The versatility of the wheel in terms of speed made it extremely easy to make split-second decisions and still be safe.

I did try out downhill on them, and they have a curious use that I haven’t had the chance to explore anywhere else. They are training wheels. By this I mean that the wheels accelerate quickly, and then plateau out into this really friendly kind of speed that doesn’t scare you. From this point, you slowly accelerate upwards into the speedier speeds, but it still does give you time to think whether you want to footbrake or not.

They do wear very evenly, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

And this is 5 things I loved about the Magneto Bamboo Drop-Through.



10 things Longboarders hate!

  1. Rough Roads

Oh man, these are the absolute worst. Sure, people say that having big, soft Longboard wheels will solve your problem of feeling the jitters in the road, but there are those roads that no matter what you do to try and prevent yourself from being thrown off your board, it happens anyway! There are these ugly, nasty roads out there with these big cracks in the ground and years of tar snakes that have absolutely just conspired against you to try and remove any kind of pleasure that you could possibly get from your short ride to the store 3 blocks from your house.

And the worst thing is, you know these aren’t going to be fixed any time soon, because you probably live in a residential neighbourhood and it seems that city governments just forget about residential roads about 4 months after they’re built.

It’s a pandemic. Bring up a petition with your neighbours to get your neighbourhood roads repaved! Fresh, grippy and smooth asphalt is the biggest turn-on for the esteemed downhill skateboarder.

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I have a story about this. Back in March, a group of friends and I decided to go skate and exploring. This means that you take a car, drive out to a neighbourhood that you’ve never been to before, and skate little hills and pathways that you may find.

We came up on this big, big hill. I mean like, a path down from the top that takes at least 70 seconds to get down. So we decide pretty unanimously to skate it, but it turns out that there’s a very bad patch of road at the bottom. We’re all running through this going 55 km/h, and we all get mad wobbles, because the badly cracked pavement was tossing our wheels from side to side. It wasn’t a fun time. Always scout out your lines before you skate them! You never know what kind of madness you will run into.

There’s another road that we do every week on our weekly night-ride circuit. There’s this giant pothole in the middle of the ground that every single time no matter how many times we remind each other, someone runs into and wipes out.

  1. People who don’t walk in a straight line. Only if I could by something from the Longboard store to fix this!

If you already longboard, you probably know how big of a pain it is to have people in front of you. But you can dodge them, since you’re skilled enough to after a week or two of straight riding. But you know what’s not easy to dodge? People who don’t walk in a straight line. These people absolutely push me to the end of the cliff. Why can’t you just walk in a straight line so I can pass you? Must you absolutely assert your dominance over the sidewalk so that no person, on wheels or not, can pass you and maybe get to where they want to go on time?

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I don’t know. It just doesn’t make sense to some people just refuse to stand and walk in a straight line. I don’t want to mention stereotypes but you can honestly confine them to a few different types of people, namely very old people.

  1. Longboard wheels that don’t roll fast enough.

See, we’re longboarders. We like going fast, or at least we like rolling for an extended period of time. So wheels that don’t roll fast enough are a nuisance to us since that slows us down and impedes our ability to get from point A to point B.

So, when we buy longboard wheels from the longboard store that don’t roll fast enough, we get angry. I remember a few months ago I splurged 60 dollars on a set of slide wheels, but when I tried to get to school with them, I found myself pushing 3 times as much. I wish I hadn’t. They’re horrible wheels too. I regret everything. I wish I was smarter.

But yeah, this why we run super big wheels, because aside from commuting, we also like to go fast, and big wheels let us do that. So that is why we don’t just longboard on regular skateboard wheels.

It’s a pretty bad feeling when you are trying to ride side by side with a friend, but you can’t keep up because you have bad wheels on. You just slowly fall behind in speed until they’re 50 meters ahead of you and you’re inching down the hill. It’s pretty frustrating. Make sure you have quality wheels on before you race with somebody!

  1. Rude Cyclists.

Cyclists are so gosh-darn entitled! They want the road to themselves and it doesn’t seem like they are ready to share it in any way. I’ve had many run-ins with cyclists before, and every single one of them has been them being ignorant and extremely rude to skaters.

On one occasion, a man in his late 40s came up to us and called us scum. Told us how expensive his bike was and how the carriage he was carrying had his dog inside. He proceeded to follow us for about a kilometer, shouting obscenities and trying to scare us. We caught up with some friends and he left.

It’s just that, we like the road. The road is where our sport happens and it doesn’t make us particularly happy when someone hogs it all to themselves. We’re all about right of way, sharing the road, and passing each other when it happens! But cyclists seem to think that the road was built for them.

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We love good cyclists though!

  1. Guardrails.

Okay. This is pretty specific to people who do downhill and freeride, but guardrails are the bane of strong, healthy, intact, non-paralyzed backbones.

Guardrails massively screw you up. You slip out in the middle of an extremely fast slide and you just casually glide into a guardrail, there, you get a broken something. You’re doing 180s and you somehow high side head first into a guardrail? That screws you up. In the head, and that’s not good.

I have a friend who just got out of the hospital because he hit a guardrail and started convulsing on the ground. He has major nerve damage, among other things. Lesson of the day, whenever someone says, hey, let’s go out to this new hill I’ve been checking out, ask if it has guardrails in any fast corners. You may risk becoming injured for the rest of your life.

There is this really nice hill in the middle of my city beside the longboard shop. It has paths going down it, and it could totally be a great freeride path, but nobody really uses it aside from the expert here and there because it has these super long guardrails going by it. It isn’t particularly the definition of a safe learning hill. The guardrails have dents in them from people’s helmets.

  1. Damaged Longboard Wheels.

There’s a pretty good definition of a healthy wheel and a wheel that won’t serve your needs for much longer. Good, healthy wheels are usually round, and all 4 wheels are usually the same size due to the rider rotating them every session of every few slides. Rotating runs off of a few different chains of logic. Firstly, not every wheel can wear the same way, realistically. At the best, wheels will wear so that the tread is still flat, but each wheel will still wear at a different pace. Usually, in order of most worn the least worn, the back heelside wheel, the front heelside wheel, the back toeside wheel, and then the front toeside wheel will wear. So what people have come up with is a rotation system based on the rotation of car wheels. Pretty much, the wheels rotate counter-clockwise at every major step in the wear cycle, for example after a few slides in a slide jam, after a long and fast downhill run, or just during routine maintenance. Personally, I number my wheels on the inside to keep track. I’ve kept wheels in good condition for months after they should have expired by other people’s standards.

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But really, unhealthy wheels are a drag. When you’re parkading or skating a long, flat path, you’ll feel those little bumps in those wheels. And in case of a flat spot, I’ve seen wheels that sound like a helicopter and make a very loud “BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR” sound. That isn’t pretty. In this case, you wear out those flat spots! Do some slides (a lot of slides) and really focus on keeping it at a 90-degree angle. It’s just not a pleasant feeling.

  1. Bad Longboarders who ride the best longboards

We’re all longboarders. But we all accept each other because we respect each other and make sure that we accept and care and teach each other all the time. This is what makes the community go around. However, there are some bad longboarders out there who don’t really focus a lot on those values that we all try to share. Even more often than not they have the best gear! See my rant about Jon – Poser’s riding the best longboard brands with no idea!

They’re are people who threaten others over races, spew obscenities, make a lot of noise and just do things that don’t really benefit the scene of longboarding very much. Sometimes, the things that they do affect us in a negative way and we don’t really appreciate that.

There are some longboard brands out there, one in particular (I’m not mentioning their name), that promotes a bad lifestyle. I’m talking drugs, hooliganism, breaking property, skating in places where you shouldn’t be skating and just generally fooling around in ways that severely depreciate the value of the community every day that they are out there. They skate the inside of museums, for goodness’ sake.

If you want to become part of the community, and blend in like everyone, either pro or not had to at one point in their careers, also adhere to the values that we represent. Or you will become like that company, ostracized from the rest of the community because nobody wants to be around bad influences.

  1. Walking up.

When you go down, it’s pretty imperative that you go back up. By this, I mean that once you ride down your favorite hill, you’re going to be climbing back up. This part of a ride isn’t really fun, but I’ll be honest with you, it’s the only exercise we really get in this sport. Come to think about it, the whole sport is literally just standing on a board for 30 seconds at a time. But it’s fun. What gives?

Climbing back up to the top is tedious, no matter if it’s a shallow hill, or a short, steep one. It still tires you out. After your first run, your legs and ankles get so tired from climbing up the hill that your performance actually starts to go down. One of the most notorious hikes is the Maryhill Loops Road. It’s a 3-minute long descent, and then you hike to the top over a course of about 40 minutes. 40 minutes of climbing up a 6% grade hill will probably kill you on the inside. My local hill (We call is Scarbs) is a mellow 8% hill, and by the time we’re done our first run and we’re done walking back up, our legs are so tired that everyone is visibly slower the next time down!

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We’ve made some solutions, the most obvious of which is just getting someone to bring their car and drive us up and down the run each time. What a lot of people do is, everyone pitches in maybe 3 dollars each for gas, and then we just go ride hard. Skitching is another solution, where the car’s windows are all rolled down, and we grab the car’s window frames and we get pulled up. Skitching is a shortened form of “Sketchy Hitch-hiking”. Pretty neat, and it’s a ton of fun as well.

  1. Unfriendly Police Officers.

We’re longboarders, but in a broad sense of the sport, we’re honestly just skateboarders on oversized skateboards. And yes, we’re quite different. We don’t really cause damage to stuff, we can’t really skate everywhere and anywhere, but not many people notice this fully. Many people still group us in with that mindset from the late 70s where “Skateboarders are bad! They make noise and they’re bad for the community!” was the general opinion and this led to a lot of places being closed to skateboarders.

These days, that kind of opinion still lingers around. It happens quite a bit that cyclists and roller bladers are totally welcome to hang out in a city plaza, but as soon as a longboarder comes by and plops down, we’re told, “Shoo! We don’t want your kind here!”

This stuff happens quite often, but honestly, we’ve mostly learned to accept it as it is. However, something that we really can’t get over is bad police officers who follow us on our runs and do things that make us crash, and then give us tickets for enjoying ourselves. Mind you, most of these tickets get waived as soon as we appeal them in court, but they’re given out to us in the first place anyway.

If you really think about it, skateboarding isn’t a crime. Roads are usually open to vehicular use, powered or unpowered, and there’s no reason why longboards can’t fit into that category. When we bring this up to police officers, they usually then give us tickets for disruptive behavior, which also doesn’t make sense.

10. Rusted Bearings.

Lastly, rusted bearings. Rusted bearings are the worst. They make ungodly sounds, make your wheels roll slower, smell like rotten steel, they’re the color of spaghetti sauce that has been left out for too long.

The worst is when you’re at the top of a hill before a run and you just randomly discover that your bearings are rusted. No more longboarding for you.

WEAR A HELMET. –Ryan L, Longboarder.

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Longboarding: Role Models and how to drive the community.


Longboarding: Role Models.

I didn’t get into longboarding by myself. Sure, I got that first little cruiser board by myself (It was the best impulse buy that I have ever acted on), but everything after that was chosen by other people. What I mean by this that I didn’t really motivate myself. I was motivated by many different people in the community, both big-time and small-time, and all that and their words are really what got me to where I am now. So I want to tribute them and talk about them a little bit.

My biggest inspiration from the get-go was Zak Maytum. No, I haven’t met him, nor does he really know that I exist, but there are many things that he did that really pushed me to get better and get more and more involved in the community. First of all, he’s a great rider who makes awesome media for the community. He strives to show how good he is in a way that encourages others to follow closely suit. He posts raw runs of roads no one’s ever seen before, along with runs that people may never skate again. He employs some questionable tactics (footbraking at 60 miles an hour, what a legend), and that’s subsequently made those tactics and techniques pretty acceptable in the community.


As you can see, he’s extremely, extremely fast. I would say there was an average speed of around 50 miles an hour on that run. I find it pretty impressive how he does this in a plaid shirt and jeans. A fall would’ve meant some pretty serious injuries.

However, his riding isn’t the only thing that really got me going in the community. It’s what he does and contributes to the sport that really inspires me as both a rider, a writer, and a summer employee at my local shop.

Zak is the big boss-man of Venom Bushings, a pretty powerful company that really has a part in determining the feeling of a lot of longboard setups. However, it’s the fact that Zak sponsors events and riders that really makes a lot of the community roll around. With his help, many events are able to gather a large riderbase, which results in those events succeeding in terms of profit and sustainability, which is awesome.

It’s a rider like this that I try to base myself around. I ride hard, but I also dedicate a lot of my time to making sure that my local community runs just as well as I would like myself to run. In my spare time, I invite new riders to my house to come look through my box of parts to see if they have anything that they want. I help them dial their setups in, from cruiser setups to downhill or freeride setups so that they can enter the community and feel right at home, just like my local community did for me when I first started out.

It’s important to be like this. In such a tight-knit community like the longboarding community, it’s important that you as an individual rider help the community in a big of a way as you can. It’s pretty understandable that no, not all of us can start companies like Zak did and sponsor events, but we can totally improve the riders around us by being informed and helping each other create the perfect setup or offer advice about how to take the next hill or maybe teach a slide.

I remember back when I first started, I met my good friend John. John is one of our scene’s top riders, he takes the steepest hills, takes the sharpest corners and he does the longest slides. I’d say that he’s probably the next to be sponsored by a large company.

John was the guy that encouraged me to fully enter the community. I’d been wanting to for a while, but I was never sure, expecting to fall behind because everyone had already been skating for a while. John came along and told me I was wrong. He came halfway across the city to come skate with me, a grom who back then had a cruiser board with some wonky gear. But he didn’t comment on that. He taught me form, he gave me some tips about how to set up my gear, told me to get more comfortable with my board. He told me I was tense and that I should relax more, that things are actually a lot easier than they seem. And he was right. He kept inviting me to events and introducing me to friends that I now skate with almost twice a week. He didn’t just kind of leave me on the side of the circle, he brought me right into the bustling center of it.

I remember how at my first night ride, he took me and just announced to everybody that there was a new rider. He didn’t call me a beginner, he called me a “rider”. One of them. That made me feel extremely encapsulated in the community that would pretty soon become one of the central pivots of both my physical and social lives.

If you’re experienced and have been longboarding for a while, be like John. Be the start of a new community, be the person who will bring people in and make them feel welcome. You may be one person in a sea of many, but you can be the one person who does the work of 10. It’s people like this that make the community go around.

If you’re a beginner, be assured that there are many Johns around. As long as you look and ask for help, a John will come by and show you the ropes. It’s an extremely friendly community to get into as long as you look!

And as always, wear a helmet. Ryan L, Longboarder.


Electric Longboard | Electric Skateboard


So, I come from a background of pushing on a Longboard… But lets discuss the new innovation of the electric skateboard

I never put any motors on my longboards, I prefer the style of longboarding of where yes, you have to push the ground from underneath you.

But that isn’t to say that electric longboards are really, really stupid fun.

I have gotten tired of pushing before. Sometimes it really gets to be a drag when you have to push for 18 miles. Your legs hurt, you’re winded, but of course you just can’t stop because one, you have a destination and two, all you want is the wind in your face. Wouldn’t it be just awesome if you could say, push a button and travel 18 miles without touching the ground once? I’ve thought about this before, and that’s how I stumbled upon electric longboarding.

It’s where you take a powerful, compact electric motor and attach it and the batteries to the bottom of the board. It ends up being an extremely fast way to get around with minimal effort, and I would be lying if I said it was bad. It’s great. You can go up hills, down hills, carve endlessly, and I have had friends who told me that they have drifted them before. You initiate a slide and just keep pressing the button that makes you go.

So, some practical reasons as to why electric longboarding can be extremely useful. It doesn’t make you sweat. I’ve found over the years that I haven’t been able to skate over to a job interview or to a formal thing because of the fact that yes, pushing a longboard for a few miles does make you sweat. And it isn’t just armpit smell, it’s whole-body sweating athlete smell. And that isn’t great for impressing people. Because all you have to really do is just press a button and cruise for a few minutes, it’s awesome for commuting, especially in the hot hot summer.

Just continuing on from this, you can longboard wearing anything on an electric longboard. Since the platform is usually pretty flat, you can carry anything, even wear a full suit without worrying about ripping your groin fabric (this has happened to me before, I would not recommend skating in expensive pants.).

Also, some people just don’t have the balance and energy to push around a longboard. Then electric longboarding is great, since all you have to do is stand. We’ve been standing our whole lives. Imagine standing and longboarding at the same time! It’s a revolution!

In terms of being environmentally friendly as well, electric longboards are extremely crucial in the development of healthy, powered vehicles and modes of transportations. A few years ago, there was the phase of small powered vehicles that was the gasoline-powered piston bike. It’s extremely gas-guzzling and loud, it smells like gasoline, and definitely not the most stylish thing ever. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal on most boardwalks as well. An electric longboard on the otherhand has no emissions and all it requires is some charging at home and work.

This is going out on a stretch a bit, but I would also say that electric longboarding is quite alright for how efficiently cities run. Since electric longboards are so fast many times, they are well-equipped to use the road bike lanes that many cities have in downtown. This removes clutter from the sidewalks and I would argue that it ends in a less-cluttered, faster-moving city grid. Speaking of grid, it removes cars from the road as well! People used to take their cars even out to the post-office, but nowadays people are starting to realize that with all the clutter of gridlock and traffic jams in the morning, in many cases it is actually much faster to bike or longboard to your destination. I personally longboard to school every morning because it’s much faster than taking the bus that is packed with more than 30 kids at a time, anyway. It’s a pretty sustainable, healthy mode of transportation, which I am proud to say I indulge in every single morning.

Another pretty large opinion I have is the riders. Yes, we at my city’s local longboarding scene have seen electric longboarders in our midst at times, and we don’t mind them at all! They just want to cruise and get around to where we get around, watch us skate and have some pretty down-to-earth conversations with us.

There was this thing one time that an electric longboarder decided to pull us up some hills after our runs and it was one of the friendliest gestures we’ve ever seen from another skater; and that’s exactly what electric longboarders are, just skaters with really cool longboards!

electric skateboard

So, in the end, electric longboarding can be super cool, as long as you are. Pick up an electric longboard today at Magneto and start riding around!

The Magneto Electric Skateboard has a strong motor 1200W in fact that will carry you up hills and all the way to work. Because of the quick charging, it’ll be more than convenient to charge up while you are at places, and as always longboards are great to carry around and bring into buildings, so the electric longboard makes, in my opinion, one of the most versatile land vehicles ever. Powered land vehicles.

I’ll leave you with a video made by the Magneto team 

SKATE OR PIE? Ryan L, Longboarder.


Longboarding: The First Hill

I remember my first hill incredibly clearly. I’m not saying the hill that I first rode with that group of longboarders that really made me fall in love with downhill, I’m talking the first really steep and fast hill that I skated. This hill was exhilarating and scary, it was an incline that you could see from the top to the bottom, and I’m going to outline my experiences on this hill (I’ve skated it too many times), and give some constructive advice that will help your downhill longboard game in your first baby steps.

I would define a fast, downhill hill as one where you can reach at least 50 kilometers per hour if you are going down in a full, compact tuck without slowing down. Yeah, it sounds scary but it’s the nature of downhill. You are trying every time to beat your previous speed record on the same hill. It’s the largest motivation for downhill for many people. It is for me. I use GPS applications to track my speed down that hill and every time I skate that hill, I try to raise the average speed by at least 3 kilometers per hour, which gets harder and harder each time, pretty logically.

The first time I went down this hill, I footbraked constantly. This is something that you should do if you aren’t a super experienced skater. When you are going down the hill you should make sure that you know where it slows down, where it is bumpy, where it gets fast and if there are any parts of it that you can’t go down without doing a few slides. Usually, harder runs have corners that you need to predrift, but for most easy to moderate runs, you can grip the whole run.

The second time I went down the hill is when I encountered some problems that I assume a lot of people encounter the first time they go fast down a hill is speed wobbles. Wobbles are a pretty widely known phenomenon where your vehicle turns left and right back and forth rapidly in increasing magnitude until you are thrown off. This is a pretty common for all fast sports, like motorcycle drag racing and even racing cars. In these motorized situations, the solution is usually to go faster by accelerating, but since we are a gravity sport, we don’t have that option. Our only option is to manipulate the way the longboard behaves under our feet.

The universal solution to speed wobbles is to put all the weight on the front of the board, as close to the front truck as possible. So, one of the best ways to do this is to get into a nice, efficient tuck. A tuck is that position that I talk about a lot, where your knee is touching your other calf and your chest is on your front knee. This is extremely aerodynamic. But it is also great for keeping your weight out front, because all you have to do is simply lean forward.

The harder you lean forward, the more stable you will be.

There is a scientific explanation for this. Wobble comes from the back trucks. This is because essentially, if there is more weight in the back, the back trucks are given free roam to twitch as much as they want within the scope of the front truck, meaning that the back will not wobble back and forth, because the front truck is not there to keep it in check. However, when you keep your weight in the front of the board, the back truck is only trailing. It is not doing any steering, it isn’t supporting you at all, it’s just trailing behind the front truck, and much like a trailer behind a truck does.

Other ways that you can reduce wobbles is carving.

I’ve spoken about this in the past. Carving is a very versatile tool that can easily be used to ride out of wobbles. Much like surfing a bad wave, you can catch wobbles at either the right or the left by simply just leaning into it when it happens. At first, leaning into a wobble will be one of the harder things you do. Wobbles are completely unintuitive. They cause panic, they’re very hard to control, but once you have bailed from and experienced many wobbles, you will begin to anticipate them more than be scared of them, much like I have! You can feel wobbles emanating from the back truck most of the time, and an uneasy feeling comes with it. This is when you know you should carve to get rid of a little bit of your speed.

Another thing about going down hills is the fear aspect of it. The first time you go down your hill, you don’t know your limits. My best advice that I have for a starting downhiller is to start near the bottom and work your way up. Footbrake consistently and make sure that you are always at a speed that you are comfortable. Another thing about mentality is that if you aren’t comfortable, it’s pretty easy to make a mistake and crash. I’ve had instances where I was really nervous going down hills and I would overestimate corners, slide when I didn’t have to, miss the corner and run into the grass and crash. Most of my road rash on my body is actually from being nervous.

My way to combat nervousness is walking down the hill and scouting it out before I go down it. This way, I know which sections will be hard and which sections will be a challenge for me. It’s a good way to prepare mentally.

ROAD RASH. Ryan L. Longboarder.


3 ways you can benefit from Longboarding

  • Fitness and stronger core

    Thats right, Longboarding is actually good for you.
    The pushing motion develops a stronger core and leg muscles, whilst it’s also a great type of cardio.

  • Making friends

    Longboarding can be a lone sport but in most cases it’s a community sport, where people bond get to know each other and of course help each other out and improve together.

  • Fun and gets you where you need to go

    Longboarding is FUN, FAST and gets you where you need to go quick, so it’s practical too.

Longboarding: Advanced Turning and Lean.

I just posted about carving the other day, so I thought I would post about some other turning techniques and tips and tricks. So, as it turns out, you can’t turn the full range of motion that your trucks will permit using just your legs. There are a bunch of other things that you can do on a longboard in order to turn deeper and harder on your longboard, and those are the things I will speak about.

Sitting down.

Most of the turns you would have done up until this point would have involved just using your upper body to lean to the side and in turn press your board down with your feet. At least, that’s the deepest you’ve done. Most other times you would have used just your feet and ankles to apply that pressure.

Thing is, when you get to faster and more sketchy turns, using just your feet will definitely not be enough. When you try just turning with your feet you will find yourself wobbling and twitching out of control, and you probably won’t make the turn tight enough anyway and in the end just coming up on a curb and bailing or something painful.

There is a solution for these, but it is one-sided. Meaning, you can only do it heelside. So, right if you are goofy, and left if you are regular footed. This is probably the fastest deep turn you can do. It doesn’t involve slide gloves on the ground, and the depth of the turn isn’t enough to really shave off any speed, unlike carving or anything.

In order to do this technique, you should have a good understanding of how hard you feel g-force on your particular setup. This is because for the most part, you will be hanging slightly off the center of your board, so you need that force to push you onto the board.

First thing you do is lean into a heelside turn. As you turn harder and harder, you bend your legs and get into a “sitting” position, with your legs at an almost 90 degree angle, and arms anywhere to help you balance. You should shift much of your weight to your front foot in order to prevent wobbles. As you come back up, naturally just stand back up.

Grabbing rail.

Many longboarders see grabbing rail as one of the fundamental skills of the sport. Grabbing rail is when you grab well, the edge of a board. It seems pretty simple if you haven’t done it before, but there is a single best way to do it, and this way is actually better than any other way by a huge lot.

We’ll start with heelside turning. The wrong way to do it is called stinkbugging. This is when you grab the edge of the board between your legs, as in the following picture (http://i.imgur.com/5IpayY8.jpg?fb)

This is highly dangerous because it makes your whole body get into a pre-rotation, meaning that instead of facing slightly forward into the direction of travel as it usually should be, it is instead rotated downwards and to the side. This contorts your lean much onto both of your feet instead of just onto your front foot, and you will find yourself either sliding out or having a very, very wobbly corner.

Instead, grab over your back leg. As you bend down to turn, take your arm and wrap it around the side of your body and then grab rail. This makes sure that your body isn’t in a weird contorted formal, instead it makes your whole body lean forward, loaded most of your weight onto your front. This makes sure that you won’t have any wobbly, twitchy turns.

This is even more advanced, but grabbing rail and doing a heelside turn is a setup for a slide that I will explain in a different article, but if you carve hard enough and push out with your back, you will initiate a heelside squattie, or a heelside sitdown slide. More on that later.

There is also a toeside rail. This is the simpler one. First, you have to know tuck stance. Tuck stance is a racing stance that kind of looks like what you would do if you were kneeling before a king, except that your back knee is off of the ground. This is extremely aerodynamic, but it is also the starting point of many railgrabs and slide stances.

From a tuck, you reach down and grab the rail opposite of the side you are turning to, and pull. Keep your other hand above the ground with a slide glove on, but don’t touch down. This is a very, very tight turn. It will propel you to the side much faster and harder than you are probably used to, so use caution when pulling. Pull a little bit and then gradually pull more. In time, you will be turning as tight as making hairpin garage turns with almost no effort.

Puck down!

There are certain times when not putting your slide puck down is slightly dangerous, and also there are times when it is necessary to almost be off the board in order to turn hard enough to clear a corner. In instances like this, you put a slide glove down.

So, it’s the same concept as what I explained above, but it’s just capitalizing on harder pulling on the rails by pretty much hanging off the board. You just reach down, touch the ground and then pull hard.

For toeside, be sure that your knees do not touch the ground! It’s a painful experience having your skin torn off by asphalt. And for heelsides, be careful that you don’t carve hard enough to initiate a shutdown slide, because that will totally take you by surprise and end up with you faceplanting into the ground. That isn’t fun.

-CARVE HARDER! Ryan L. Longboarder.

Longboarding: How to Carve to your Wits’ End!

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:

  1. Straighten up your body and bend your knees.
  2. Lean hard to one side until you feel yourself getting pushed on your board.
    1. Just a tip, on flexier boards your board will flex downwards during this step.
  3. Push up on your board, straighten out and immediately dive into the other direction.
    1. You should be thinking about making a wave on the ground, left, right, left, right.
  4. 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.

Controversial Longboarding: The Definition of a Poser.


Okay. So, I haven’t really had any extremely thoughtful thoughts for the past few weeks, but something happened yesterday to trigger some of the gears in my head. Something that slightly annoyed, maybe even angered me a tiny bit as a skater with real and very genuine morals and motivation to progress in the most legitimate ways possible, as that is fighting half the battle and that half the battle is the most enjoyable, in my opinion. But I saw something two days ago that I don’t think should have made me feel disrespected, but it did, and I will explain that to you.

Yesterday, I saw what I could only call a poser of the utmost caliber. Now, I don’t usually call people posers. Someone who isn’t good at skating isn’t necessarily a poser.

My definition of a poser is a skater who doesn’t skate.

I saw a guy in front of my school. Let’s call him John. I saw John in front of the doors to my school, I guess waiting for someone. He was just sitting there. Sitting beside him though, was this beautiful, brand new Longboard setup with new parts, new wheels. It was an expensive longboard, bordering the $200 line in terms of the price for just the deck, with everything else being expensive cast parts from one of the legendary western companies.

So I approach him. I myself have a pretty expensive setup that I love and appreciate, so I just plopped down right beside him and started a conversation. Hey, nice board dude, you skate? Yeah, I skate. How good are you? I think I’m pretty decent, I’ve done a lot of races but I don’t skate much anymore because no one is really good enough to be competition. I asked him if he’d like to skate a hill on Saturday with a bunch of people, to which he said sure.

He was pretty darn confident. This type of arrogance isn’t particularily uncommon in the community. The difference is that real, legitimate skaters are able to back it up with performance.

So I invited the guy to a skate session on Saturday by message, which he saw but never replied to. I messaged him a few times leading up to the session, but he always saw the messages but never replied, which struck me as odd because he was so eager to go a few days ago. At this point, a few things started to really bug me and strike me as a little bit weird.

His setup a few days ago was pretty mint. If he was indeed a skater, he wouldn’t have had a mint downhill longboard setup. He was also getting out there and just putting it out there that he doesn’t skate anymore, which isn’t usually something that someone says when they are decent at skating. All this and so many more things. However, but even at this point, I didn’t really label him as a poser. He was probably just busy that weekend and he probably has a bad habit of not responding to messages online. That’s fine.

Eventually, he did relent after a week and came skating with us, and this is when the story really does get quite hilarious.

Usually, my crew and I skate some garages, some pretty mellow hills and one steep hill at the end that isn’t all that steep. It’s only around a 3% grade, but it is extremely long so you can get up to some decently fast speeds, maybe up to 40 or 50 kph, but this speed is still nothing to anyone who has raced before. Racers get up to 70, maybe even 80 kph on a consistent and regular schedule, so I didn’t think that it would be a problem for John, who had supposedly been longboarding for years before I had been.

John showed up to our meeting spot with an absolute lack of gear. He had a helmet and his board, but he didn’t have gloves. He should have known that we were going to use gloves in our session, I did tell him that we would be doing some easy sliding. But he didn’t have gloves. His excuse? He had ripped them a few weeks back doing some very gnarly standup slides. Which I took as a reason, but it was still getting very fishy.

We’ve had people come along without gloves before, so we just went. We design our program so that beginners can always come by and have a session, maybe their first session, so we always go to the parkade first, because it’s easy, smooth and indoors. It’s extremely fun because even if you fall, it’s all smooth ground so you never get scratched up.

John didn’t do quite well here. Instead of being at the front where he should have been with his expensive wheels and deck, he was at the back regularily footbraking and slowing himself down. He seemed quite scared to push at the start, only just having a rolling start, which is a behavior we usually see with beginners who aren’t used to the speed yet. We usually coax them down the slope and make sure they’re okay, maybe ask them to go down sitting on their boards to see that it isn’t quite that fast.

But John was obviously scared of the slope. It’s like he had never gone down a decent slope before. He was footbraking, getting wobbly, running off his board sometimes, but he always covered it up with no, he just wasn’t used to his new setup. Which again, doesn’t make sense because it was tuned to be a downhill board and everyone else loved his setup. It was bouncy, responsive and stable.

Most of the crew by here were already pretty sure he wasn’t actually a racer, and he was only skating with people for the first time. But it goes on.

John did well on the very mellow slope that is the second part of our run. He footbraked, but he for the most part made it down the hill without bailing. He stepped off the board and stuttered here and there, but he did make it down. Last, though, again.

And then in the last part of the run, he just blatantly refused to go down. Oh, I don’t have my gloves, I haven’t skated a slide hill in so long, I had a drink yesterday so I’m still hungover. I totally understood now. John was a poser.

John didn’t learn. He didn’t ever tell any of us that he was a beginner, instead he made fun of our setups and told us that we would do better if we tweaked our setups this way and that way, playing around with our setups and riding them back and forth the sidewalk. We all trusted him to be okay at skating, even though some of the logic that he spurted wasn’t exactly the most accurate or practical when it came to the knowledge that we already had.

The moral of this story I guess, is to tell you that it is totally okay to be scared and admit that you are scared. Being a beginner isn’t a bad thing at all! In fact, it is so much worse to be a cocky poser than to be a beginner longboarder. Like I said in other articles, the community is extremely friendly towards people who have a strong desire to become better. People who are willing to learn and try to contribute to the community, because all of us were once in that position as well. There was a time when every experienced racer was a beginner and without knowledge of one or two slides.

Being a poser really annoys a lot of longboarders because of a few things. Posers usually disrespect a lot of people. They make fun of other people’s boards and setups because they have a need to make up for their own misinformation with the descent of other people. Their boards and setups were put together by people at a Longboard store, but it wasn’t catered to them personally, because they would never really have been able to ride and experiment with the setup. A setup should evolve with the rider, not the rider just stepping onto a perfect setup.

So this experience quite rattled be, because I’ve never actually seen a poser before. This was a pretty long rant, but I hope that it encourages some readers to seek out and reach out for help when they are starting out, there is no need for you to become a John. Be a skater. Build yourself, it’s the easiest way to fit in.

-SKATE HARDER! Ryan L. Longboarder.