An Easy Guide to Boarding for Beginners
Where to go, and what to do to learn to board.
If you want to learn to longboard but have never tried, or if you want to teach some friends to board, here are several tips and rules to apply. First, you will need to find a place to longboard that will be fun, safe, and easy. You need the fun so that newbies will be inspired to get better faster; you need the safe so that newbies will not get plastered by traffic, and you need the easy so that newbies do not get bummed out on the boarding scene. The best places are empty parking lots or quiet neighborhoods with new asphalt. Parking garages have worked great for me in the past. Newbies can practice on the flat areas, and the veterans in your group can bomb from the top to the bottom. No gets bored, and everyone can be doing something. There is, however, a MAJOR downside to most parking garages. If the garage has a solid wall in the center, you will not be able to see if a car is coming. So if you choose a garage, play it safe.
Now here are the three rules of learning to board as a newbie.
1. This is the most important rule, learn to FOOT BRAKE. When you realize you are getting too much speed, it can go bad very quickly if you do not foot brake and slow down. There are several tutorials on YouTube that teach foot braking for different riding styles and foot positioning.
2. Learn to carve before doing any hills. No matter how good you think you are or how little a hill looks, don’t bomb hills until you can carve. Carving is making sharp weaving turns alternating to the left and right while going down a hill. This keeps you at an even pace and makes you more comfortable with your board.
3. Never do hills alone. If you are going to bomb a hill, bring a friend who is legally and physically capable of driving you to the hospital. In my years of boarding, there have been downhill accidents ranging from skinned elbows to shattered wrists, all the way up to a skull cracked wide open. Hill bombing is serious business, so take it seriously.
In the end, the best advice for beginners is this, take it slow. I spent a long time on my board learning to speed up, slow down, stop, and turn before tackling the big stuff, and I have had only four falls in seven years of longboarding. There are too many people who would love longboarding, but who took things too fast and got hurt. Just remember to have fun and keep it safe.