Longboarding: What about my feet?


One of the most overlooked parts of a longboard is surprisingly enough, not part of the physical longboard itself! It’s actually on your foot. Yes, that’s right, it’s the shoe. The shoe is probably the most important part of a good longboarder, since it is what lets you feel the ground and the board, and it’s also what lets you footbrake, grip the board, and kick posers in the face. (Jokes)


But to be real, yes, proper shoes will absolutely change the way that you longboard, and it will definitely change the way that you ride for the better.




There are so many brands of shoes out there, it’s incredible. There are low-tops, mid-tops, high-tops, slip-ons. You can get stuff made of durable materials, some are more breathable than others, and there are literally a million colors.


The shoes you should be using for skating though, are skate shoes. Skate shoes typically have flat bottoms, unlike a running shoe which is contoured on the bottom to better interact with the ground. However, longboarding should be done in an environment that is as close to barefoot as possible, as it gives the best board-feel and grip.


The reason why board feel is so important is because every longboard comes with a bunch of curves that are meant to lock your feet into the board so that you don’t slip off. In order to correctly lock yourself into these curves you must be able to wedge your feet into them, which isn’t possible with a shoe that has a thick sole like a running shoe. Plus, running shoes sit higher than skate shoes, which means you sit slightly higher above the ground. It may not seem like much but this difference actually makes you much more unstable at high speeds.


Another good reason is economics. Running shoes cost a lot of money, sometimes up to 200 dollars, even. Taking into consideration that the griptape under your feet is practically just adhesive sandpaper, your expensive running shoes will be ruined and gone within a few weeks, and especially so after a good fall. Running shoes are quite fragile, as they are meant for the ground and nothing else. Skate shoes, however, are meant to touch surfaces at all angles, so the top of your shoe won’t tear open even if you drag it along the ground somehow. There’s also the issue of footbraking. Footbraking will tear your running shoe bottoms to shreds, as they usually aren’t vulcanized rubber, unlike most skate shoes.


Here’s what I recommend for skate shoes.


You want mid-tops. This way, when you are pushing, the back of the shoe won’t chafe your ankle, which makes for a pretty comfortable ride. Chafed ankles sting a lot. Plus, you can lace them up higher than you can lace low-tops, and that really lets you move your feet as one with the shoe, not as two individual parts. Also, get shoes with pretty high sidewalls, as they will protect your feet most when you are in sliding stance. They’ll be most durable as well.



WEAR GOOD FEET SOCKS? –Ryan L. Longboarder.

Longboarding: What do I wear?


The things you wear while you board are some of the most important factors in how you enjoy longboarding. If you’re wearing bulky clothing like jackets and jeans, you’ll feel restricted and in the long run you’ll get much more tired in a smaller amount of time. This means less good pushing time and more huffing and puffing trying to catch up to your friends, which is never good! In this article, I’ll explore what kind of clothing I wear when I am boarding and tell you what’s so great about it.


So, to begin with, I usually wear sweatpants or shorts when I’m out pushing around. This is because sweats are usually pretty stretchy, and they won’t get in your way when you are moving your legs. Also, they are usually cooler than jeans or khakis, and they won’t make you all sweaty and disgusting in the middle of a downhill longboarding run. Although they are less durable, a patch of duct tape on the butt will do you good and save you from a pretty decent fall. Shorts are the same, except even better. Although they won’t save your skin, they will let you feel the wind in your shorts and it’s the best feeling ever. Also, theoretically it’s probably more aerodynamic. Also! Don’t throw away your wrecked pants. Just patch them up, nobody cares if your pants are ugly on the hill! Or you could just get crash pants.




In terms of shirts, wear a pullover sweater or a T-shirt, depending on the weather. Zip-ups are uncomfortable because the zipper makes the whole sweater so much less flexible, and that’s a pretty big problem when it comes to being flexible for slides and all of those shenanigans. I also find that shirts with round necks are incredibly uncomfortable for some reason when I’m longboarding.


Another pretty important thing is shoes.


Shoes are probably the one piece of clothing that really, really matters when it comes to longboarding, and the type of shoes that you wear will absolutely, definitely affect your performance when you’re going down a hill all the way to when you’re pushing around on the street or the riverwalk. Strangely enough though, this is something that a lot of people skip out on when they get into the sport. Truth is, you should be wearing a good quality pair of skate shoes and nothing else.


Skate shoes are defined as simple shoes with flat soles and flat bottoms. This allows you to feel the board when you are riding and also it doesn’t put your feet in any weird angles when you are standing on your board. Running shoes are usually slanted forward for running, but you’re riding a board, and your foot should be as flat as possible so that you don’t lose your balance. Also, skate shoes usually have more support for your feet in the right places when you are boarding, especially for pushing and lateral stresses on your feet.



Just a tip for shoes: get good laces. Good laces will save your life, because you don’t want to be re-tying your shoes every run, and shoes that get loose in the middle of pushing are the most annoying things ever.


Push harder! –Ryan L, Longboarder.



Longboarding: Gear Part III.


The past two parts of the gear posts were mostly about the things that you absolutely need for riding, things that would guarantee your safety when going fast or things that you need in order to progress farther in the sport. However, there are a few things that I personally carry around whenever I go events, that I find are extremely valuable both in terms of safety and convenience.

Also just a note; in my opinion, these are items that you should carry in your pack if you ever decide to go out riding with a bunch of people, they’ll love you for having these items. But you don’t really need it if you’re just going out to ride in the streets to work or whatever.

Duct Tape.

Duct tape! The stuff that fixes everything. Yes, indeed, this is the stuff that may save your skin, literally. Sometimes when you are longboarding, you fall. And when you fall, you may rip your clothing. When clothing gets ripped, you have to patch it up with some tape, or you risk falling on the same spot and absolutely ravaging your skin, and trust me, road rash hurts.

What I end up doing is actually making little patches of the stuff. I lay some tape down on a table and I weave a bunch of pieces of duct tape together and make a little trapezoid-shaped pad of duct tape that I stick on my butt when I go sliding. Saves my butt and my clothing. You’ll figure out where to put those pieces as you fall more.

Duct tape can also rain-proof your wheels by just sticking a piece to cover the bearing. It can also go on the sole of your shoe when you footbrake to save your sole! (Chuckle chuckle)


Shades aren’t just for looking cool! They help with your riding! Many times out of ten, you will run into situations where are riding in the light. With hills going in any which direction, the sun may flicker in and out of your eyes constantly, distracting you and potentially leading you into a tree on the side of the road. All morbid jokes aside, wearing sunglasses when it’s bright outside will make it much safer to ride. I recommend them strongly.


Riding for a long time will definitely tire you out pretty badly. Sometimes, I like to keep a few protein bars in my pack in case I ever get the rumbles while I’m rumbling.


Riding. Dries. You. Out.

More on this later, but when you’re going in the wind and breathing through your mouth, your body will be evaporated of all the moisture that it has. Always carry water or the dryness will totally distract you and potentially make you lethargic and unable to ride at your highest capacities. I really like those little running squirt bottles that I can drink from. Super convenient and lightweight. I appreciate those.

Go faster! -Ryan L. Longboarder.

Progression in Longboarding: The Barriers



There was a post about two weeks ago called Progression that I wrote to encourage some of you to try new things. I included some tips about new tricks, slides and some new gear that you can get to accompany your Longboard! However, one thing that I didn’t talk about was the psychology and the motivation behind the whole concept of progression in a sport. In this article, I will speak about the mental barriers and some other things that you have to get over in order to progress farther and faster.

The Speed Barrier.

I was a beginner for a very long time, and there was a reason for this. I couldn’t get over going fast! It was extremely hard to get used to anything over 20 km/h, because at 20 km/h, you’ve pretty much surpassed running speed, and it’s likely the fastest you’ve ever traveled without sitting down in a seat in the open air. You may have ridden a bike, but even so, the bike feels much safer since you’re strapped down with handlebars and brakes and a seat.

And I know. Longboarding is very different because you’re in the open air and all you have to control with is by using your feet and balance, a prospect that isn’t the easiest to come to terms with for anyone. However, getting over the speed barrier just takes confidence and time.

What I found broke my speed barrier the fastest was doing pack runs. Go down a mellow hill with a group of friends, and their excitement will push you to go faster and faster. I’m not embellishing this, but seriously, going fast is not that hard!

The Slide Barrier.

The Slide Barrier is similar to the Speed Barrier, except it’s for slides. The thought of sliding down a road sideways on a longboard that is seemingly supposed to go forward only is daunting. But don’t worry, people do it all the time and they love it. I love it.

The feeling is a little bit weird at first, I know. But once you really get that first slide down, there’s nothing stopping you from trying new slides. Once you get it, you won’t be scared anymore.

The Mental Barrier.

This one is a little bit vague, but I find that people get pushed the most when they are skating with other people. However, how does someone progress quickly when they can’t get the confidence to go out and fool around with a group of skaters?

Yes, it’s true. It’s hard to put yourself out there and skate with a lot of other people that are better than you, and it isn’t a rare problem. I couldn’t bring myself to skate with a group of people until I could do a decent slide to slow down. I thought I would at least have to bring something to the table in order to be respected. However, that’s not the case at all. If you can stand on a board, you’re welcome at any event, even as just a spectator. You don’t have to prove anything.

WEAR A BANANA HAMMOCK. Ryan L. Longboarder.

Longboarding: Gear Part II.


So, the last safety-oriented article I wrote was about helmets and pads. I believe those are probably the most standard pieces of equipment you will need, aside from a few others that I will mention in this article. This article is less about safety as it is about gear that will help you progress as a longboarder, and maybe even build your identity and style as one.


Shoes are something that people really miss out on when they start longboarding. Even for me, it was actually just a set of running shoes that I actually stepped on a longboard with for the first time. And I thought that was okay, I thought that most people longboarded with running shoes, but that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, there’s a whole breed of shoes just for longboarders.

Quite fittingly, they’re called skate shoes. Skate shoes have flat bottoms, so that every curve of your board is translated exactly onto the bottom of your foot. This gives you a great boardfeel and the ability to really control your board’s curves. For example, if you had wheel flares, you would be able to hug those wheel flares with your feet since you can feel them exactly with your feet. Flat-bottomed shoes are also great for grip, since your whole foot is contacting all the grip tape at all times. Really locks you in.

Skate shoes come pretty cheap, anywhere from 30 dollars to 120 dollars, depending on the material, but honestly the 30 dollar pairs from a good, reputable company will supply you for a few months of good, fresh sole.


(Pictured, Vans)

Skate tool

A skate tool is a T-tool equipped with the main nut and screw sizes that you need to dial in your trucks and board when you need to. A driver for your kingpin, your axles and one for your hardware screws. This stool is extremely versatile because many times, I have wanted to tighten my trucks before a run and lacked a tool to do so. These are compact and easy to carry around, and only cost around 10 dollars.


Slide Gloves

Slide gloves are those little gloves with circular plastic things on them that you see speedboarders and freeriders wearing everywhere. Slide gloves are actually an incredibly central piece of gear that you will need if you intend to start learning to slide or do downhill. They might even come in handy for protection when cruising, I know a lot of folks who just wear them anytime they are on a board, myself included. Slide gloves are available from pretty much any longboard retailer, some are better than others, but generally I recommend the ones with leather construction. These won’t die when you are doing slides, and they are usually of higher puck quality as well.


 WEAR A HELMET! Ryan L. Longboarder


The Rider and the Longboarding Community.



In previous articles, I’ve been consistently mentioning the longboarding community as an entity that all longboarders try to adhere to while you know, skating and going to events and doing the things that longboarders do. However, there are many things that really set the longboarding community apart from many other communities, such as the skate community or the competitive spelling bee community. This is an article where I will talk about those differences with a few of my own experiences.

The longboarding community is inherently extremely friendly. Help is given whenever you ask for it, and people will actually come out of their houses a Monday morning if you ask them to teach you slides, and they really will try their hardest to help you understand. This kind of stems from how humble people are in the longboarding community, because everyone understands that they started out as a newbie as well.

For instance, I remember back when I was just starting out, I was having a really hard time initiating slides, so I went online to look for help. Upon finding the local longboarding group on Facebook, I asked for some help with getting my wheels to unhook, and it was astounding how much help was offered. I got people who were sponsored volunteering to come out and give me tips, invitations to slide jams and races, just so that people could help me skate better. Whenever I expressed my nervousness to them, I was always met with the exact same response of, “everyone starts somewhere.”

This was an incredibly new experience to me. Every other community that I have been a part of has always been a decently competitive one. I would ask for help, and people would usually brush me off out of fear that they would create more competition for themselves, and because they didn’t want to fall out of the loop because they were overtaken by someone else. But the community for boarding is helpful.

This type of thinking really defines the mentality of longboarders these days. People always look to improving everyone as much as they can so that they can have maximum fun at the end stage, so that more people would compete and more challenges were faced. We, as longboarders are obsessed with overcoming obstacles and creating more competition for ourselves is absolutely not something that we are afraid to do.

So here it is. The next time you need help, don’t just stew at home and get frustrated by yourself, ask someone to come be frustrated with you. They will come and they will help you. Plus, skating with other people is so much more fun!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

WEAR A HELMET. Ryan L. Longboarder.


Gear and Rider: Real Talk.



When you start longboarding, you’re most likely going to buy a longboard without having done too much research. Which is okay, your first longboard shouldn’t be an academic choice, but a choice of aesthetics and a matter of choosing something that will absolutely make you fall in love with the sport itself. In fact, for the first few weeks to a month or so of your learning curve, you won’t be able to tell the difference between good gear and mediocre gear in the first place. But here is a discussion on the mentality behind loading up on good gear and its part in the longboard life.

So, as it turns out and should be quite obvious, gear is a huge part of the longboard scene and it’s not as if you can get all your walmart longboards and gear under one roof! It’s far better the get quality Almost everyone has a different setup, different decks, different wheels and different trucks. You could almost say that more than your face, your setup and board gives you as a person more of a name in the community. More than being, “Ryan, that guy who does good slides”, you would be “Hey, the guy with the bamboo deck and red helmet that does massive slides”. So yes, it is true that good gear and flashy gear will most likely increase the amount of attention you get in the community.


It is important that you understand that a bad, cocky rider on a pristine setup is worse than a good, hard-working rider on a bad setup. Moreover, there’s the whole reputation side of it.

I remember about a month ago, I was at my local hill. While skating, we spot a guy who we’ve never seen before, he’s maybe 13 years old with this absolutely beautiful setup. Precision trucks, 300 dollar board, rain-grooved wheels, a setup better than most of ours there. So we think, hey, this guy might be from another city, here to skate for the first time, let’s watch him, curious as to how well that setup would perform.

The result? He didn’t. He ended up falling at the first turn, as he went full speed down the hill, thinking his gear would support him. Truth was, his parents were there, and he was a guy from a super-rich household, and his parents gave him a dream setup that they got off of a website. Just got the most expensive parts they could find.

In contrast, a few years back I saw a pro at a race do a course on an extremely flexy dancer deck, and while hilarious, it was quite eye-opening to see that you really don’t need an extremely good setup to get good at longboarding. Sure, it helps, but you don’t need much.

So the lesson is: stop ogling at beautiful parts and go skate!

WEAR A HELMET. Ryan L. Longboarder.


Progression in Longboarding: The Next Step

Progression: Things to do.

So, you’ve learned to cruise. You can turn well, you can carve hard and you can outskate that one poser group of pintailers that sits outside your coffee shop mid-week in the summer. You can get out the door, hop on your board and be at your destination quickly and efficiently, and pushing feels as natural as walking or running.

You are also running out of things to do. So what now? Well, at this point in your longboarding career, there are many things you can do. This is when you can start splitting off into the more extreme disciplines of longboarding, and in this article, I will explore those.

  1. Street Slashing

The name is a little bit weird, but street slashing is probably the easiest style of riding to get into that is more advanced than just plain old cruising. Street slashing has a lot to do with small tricks, and incorporating these into a fluid line through downtown. For example; you may get out of work, drop down your longboard, and push hard. With this speed, you drop down from a curb onto the road and do a small 180 slide (where you pivot your board quickly), and then ride up a curb. Then you pull off a grab trick by hopping on your board from the top of some stairs. All in one smooth movement.

Street slashing is great because if you get good enough, you can totally pull off a line just going to work, since it doesn’t particularly need fancy equipment. All you need is practice and some good old patience. Here’s a video.

  1. Freeride

Freeride is what you call sliding. Freeride requires a bit of practice and fancy equipment like slide pucks, but with practice, you can build up a quiver of around 3 slides pretty easily. Plus, you can learn how to stop without using your feet! You can slide to a stop. This is probably the first thing that most professional longboarders get into, and it’s extremely flashy and impressive. Once you learn to freeride, you can meld into any longboarding community quite easily, and it is extremely easy to progress once you have one or two basic slides.


Also, freeride-specific skating events are called “slide jams”.

  1. Downhill

Ah, yes. The ultimate form of longboarding that requires freeride skills, slashing skills and just general skating mastery. This is where people reach speeds of 80 km/h, doing long slides and drifts around corners. However, downhill starts off being something that many people fall in love with. In a previous article, I said that I fell in love with longboarding through a shallow downhill run. Many races are shallow downhill runs, and so you don’t need to be extremely fast and fluent in order to enjoy downhill.

Magneto longboards come with grippy, giant wheels with scrubbable urethane, so your complete Magneto longboard is able to perform all three of these styles out of the box.


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.