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I have only been longboarding for a short time, and started in the june 2012. The reason I was interested in longboarding is that I needed a hobby that I could do on my own at variable times each week. Things like football practice etc were no good for me, because y timetable is highly variable, so I might be able to make it one week, and then not be able to go for about a month! Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and bought a saltrock classic cruiser for 60 quid whilst on holiday near a beach, and just went up and down the promanade, and absoultely loved it. I should note that a 60 quid longboard is very cheap, and thus i guess is the quality. Most longboards will set you back £100-£300 or so (and this doesn't even include everything, sometimes that is just for the deck, etc).
Anyway, I am very bad at longboarding, a point proven about a month ago when I fell off it and broke my little finger, OUCH, so I haven't been out on it since (just waiting for my finger to fix first). I should point out this is an expensive sport to get into, if you are starting from scratch, I would say spend around £100 on a longboard (I kinda regret getting mines, the quality just is a bit naff for going down hills, its great on even ground though, its to do with the brushings being poor quality, and maybe the trucks too?). Also, you will want knee/elbow/wrist pads, I got mine for 12 quid from sports direct. Also (and this is what I am saving up for), I would get some slide gloves (to help protect those little fingers), which you can either make youself (although I don't have the courage yet for this), or you can buy from amazon for around 40 quid. So all in all, I would say not a cheap sport. But I guess once you get all the stuff, its pretty cheap to do, there is no additional costs, except perhaps the cost of replacing worn bits, and upgrading should you want (In the uk, upgrading is very expensive due to most parts coming from america. A decent set of wheels is gonna be around 40 quid!).
I should note there are different disiplines in longboarding:
Downhill: first one to the bottom is a rotten egg, players hit around 40-50 mph one a piece of wood!
Cruise/commute: Just using your board to get around the place (I like this one)
LDP: Long distance push/pump, kinda liek a longboard maraton, my maximum distance so far is 12 miles! Again I like this one.
Salom: Place out cones, and get between them in the fasted time without hitting any. There are variations of this depending on board size, design etc.
Freeride: Get down a hill whilst doing tricks (called slides, the aim here is not to go fast, unlike downhill)
Dancing: Basically just doing tricks at a street level.
Different longboards do better at different things. For example, a downhill longboard will be more secure, and will turn less, compared with say a dancing board. This is why there are so many shapes on longboard, and to go through it all will take forever, you just sort of have to find out youself depending on what you like.
2 problems with longboarding from my point of view are a: UK roads are very bumpy, unliek roads in the US, so you will need bigger wheels, and won't be able to do as much stuff compared to them. And b, the danger, I just wish it was a very safe sport, but sadly it isn't. I have learnt my lesson, and won't be pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, as well as wearing more protective gear.
Overall though, its a very fun sport, and I just hope one day I get good at it. I give it 4/5
Anyway, if you want more information, check out silverfishlongboarding, thats a forum for all longboarders.
You will find the first part, and a more general approach to longboarding under the Skateboarding>general category of this site... This one though is totally dedicated to longboarders. As we have said longboarding utilises bigger wheels than normal skateboarding. The wheels come in different sizes and degrees of softness. From the smallest ones (60mm) to the biggest (82mm), each wheel provides a diferent ride. Generally the bigger the wheel the more the speed and the acceleration of the board. As far as the softness and the hardness of the wheels is concerned that has to do with the grip on the road and with the type of surface that you are skating on. The wheels range from 74A (softest) to 102A (hardest) For example if you are skating on fairly rough but skatable streets you will need softer wheels as they tend to provide better grip on the road. (they are made of rubber of course) On the other hand if you are skating on ramps, where the surfaces are extremely smooth, it would be better to use harder wheels, since they would be far faster. Again the secret here is to find the combination of size and hardness the best suits your style of skating. I have been riding on two pairs of 65mm 76A wheels and I think that they are perfect for the streets and pedestrian roads of Canterbury, which consist of rough or semi rough tarmac or cement streets, with the occasional joy of a new laid smooth like hell part new black tarmac. There is a wide range of different wheels on the market, from different companies, all in different colours shapes and designs, look for the ones suited to you and do not forget that the softer the wheels the smoother the ride, but the softer wheels will also wear down faster than harder wheels. TIP. Once you notice that your back wheels are a bit more worn down than the front (which is normal) change them around!! So you will wear all the wheels down equally. Finalle we
must mention that with the right amount of risers you can use off-road wheels and enjoy cruising down some smooth hills with grass. Risers are the plastic square things that go in betwwen the truck and the board. They provide protection and mild cushioning. The bigger the riser pad the higher you are off the ground, and that allows for bigger wheels to be put on the trucks. Off-road wheels are quite big and wide and they come in different shapes and sizes. The biggest ones are considerably bigger than the wheels of a a baby's pram. Work hard and skate harder... Update: Here are some interesting websites that will give you a better picture plus more information about long boarding. First of all, from what I have heard, Sector9, is one of the best longboard manufactureres around, and they have made a very cool website at sector9.com There are photographs to see, a video to download, and of course all their board and history. The music on the site is also a nice touch. The only problem is, that the company is based in the US. For more information on sector 9 availability in the UK you may want to visit hunter-boardwear.co.uk Other companies include gravity, envyskateboards, purelongboards, afroman, landyachtz, and fluidskateboards (all with .com at the end can be found on the web) finally there is a longboarding magazine out there, that goes by the name of International Longboarder Magazine which I think is based in Canada and can be found on the web at longboardermag.com more soon...