Are you among those thrill seekers who go for snowboarding and skiing during winter? But what do you do after the thaw? For sure there are other sports that you can enjoy such as golf, soccer or baseball. However, when the winter is over many snowboarders and skiers prefer to go longboarding. This comes as no surprise knowing that snowboarding, skateboarding and longboarding share the same DNA.
This is the kind of DNA that is also present in your blood. So, off you go always looking for that perfect place to go longboarding. Now, you thirst for speed. Without it, you’ll never be able to satisfy your desire for that so-called adrenaline rush. But how do you make your board capable of accelerating?
The History of Longboarding
Speed longboarding can be traced back to the 1975 – 1978 era. It was in 1978 when John Hutson recorded a 54-mph speed for a longboarding event. This was considered the fastest, knowing the kind of technology that longboards had at that time. Moreover, the early versions of longboards were created with the aim of experiencing that same “high” they get when skateboarding, snowboarding or skiing.
The riding positions, as well as the thrill, are identical with other board sports. Speed is also checked exactly through that similar sideways motion. But longboarding today has grown to be such a very diverse sport. If you’re a beginner looking to ride with speed, the following information should be kept in mind.
How Fast Can You Go on A Longboard?
Have you experienced that nerve racking wobbles as you ride your way down a hill? You know that you could be thrown out of the board anytime when speed wobbles occur. It’s such a scary experience. Not unless you’re Peter Connolly and Emily Pross who have what it takes to confidently go downhill at a speed of not less than 135 or 146 km/h.
Which is faster, skateboards or longboards? Longboards can go faster than skateboards due to the size of their wheelbase. Longboard also has bigger and softer wheels thereby allowing it to cruise at a speed of 6 mph. When downhill riding, longboards can take riders to a speed of 50-65 miles per hour.
The Fastest Man and Woman on Longboards
Pete Connolly holds the Guinness World Record for being the fastest man on a longboard, riding at a speed of 91.17 miles per hour. This record was achieved last September 2017 in Quebec, Canada. On the other hand, Emily Pross is the first woman in the world to go over 80 mph on a longboard.
But, how come their longboards were able to go that fast? Well, it all boils down to the capability of your board and your ability as a rider.
How to Make the Longboard Go Faster
There are many factors that affect the speed of the longboard. Your ability to pump and push the board also affects your speed. The kind of pavement or slope where you ride will also have an impact on your speed. But the most significant factors are your riding style and the quality of your longboard.
How do you improve your riding style? How do you boost the speed of the longboard? Read further to find out.
Upgrade your bearings.
There are several factors to consider when buying a new pair of bearings. These include surface finish, load capacity, tolerance and speed. Its plastic cage, curvature and rubber seals should also be carefully chosen.
Opt for bigger wheels.
Bigger wheels allow your board to cover more distance, even when running at the same speed with a board that has smaller wheels. In other words, bigger wheels keep you running faster using the same amount of energy.
What’s the ideal wheel durometer when riding on smooth tarmac? If you’re looking to ride on smooth surfaces, choose wheels that have the hardness of at least 82A durometer. If you’re longboarding on bumpy surfaces, then select wheels that have the softness of 75A to 78A durometer. Softer wheels help guarantee better grip on bumpy surfaces.
Loosen your axle nuts.
Axle nuts that are too tight will prevent your wheels from spinning smoothly. In turn, your longboard will not be able to spin faster than you expected it to be. Therefore, try loosening the nuts a little so that your wheels can spin faster again. Is it dangerous to loosen the axle nuts? Be careful about not loosening it too much. Otherwise, these will come off the axle and throw you off the board.
Longboard Riding Tips to Help You Increase Speed
Know how to “tuck”.
Experienced longboarders bend over as they ride on the board. This act of bending over is also called the “tuck”. This is done in order to decrease the surface area in which the wind passes through. Doing the tuck will allow you to cut through the air efficiently.
But how do you bend over without losing your balance? Put your entire front foot on the deck, near the front truck. Your rear foot must be standing while tiptoeing at the same time. Your hands must be behind your back as you keep your knees bent.
Your chest must be as close to your knees as much as possible. See to it that there should be no air pockets open. Doing the tuck properly will help ensure that you greatly reduce your body’s air resistance. This technique can help you to speed up for up to 50 mph.
Is there another way to ride aerodynamically? Beginners who find it hard to tuck while going downhill may choose to just bend their hips, as if they crouch down. This posture will also make you go faster because you will be lowering your center of gravity. Furthermore, crouching down will help you gain stability as you aim for faster speed.
Avoid twitching sideways.
When you keep twitching from side to side, your board will not be able to run in a straight direction. This increases your travel distance while also slowing you down. So, as much as possible maintain a straight direction when riding your longboard at faster speed.
Don’t go pushing mongo.
Pushing for several times will help you speed up. Do this many times before coasting. Then, tilt the deck using your front foot. Is it okay to push with my front foot? Note that pushing must be done by your back foot. Don’t go pushing mongo, i.e., pushing with your front foot. Your front foot toes must be pointing towards the direction where you will be traveling.
Tame speed wobbles.
Speed wobbles will prove to be a huge impediment to going faster. But is it possible to tame speed wobbles? Yes, it is. One way to tame speed wobbles is to tighten your trucks. You may also reduce the truck angles in order to postpone wobbles. Note that it only postpones, but does not totally eliminate the tendency of the board to wobble.
But why am I experiencing speed wobbles? Wobbles occur when you lean too far back. This puts too much weight on the rear truck while running at fast speed. It also reduces your control on the front truck. To fix this, practice leaning forward so that your center of gravity is also lowered. Push your weight nearer to the front truck so you can significantly reduce the possibility of wobbling.
Learn to stop at high speed.
Not knowing how to stop when running at fast speed can greatly affect your ability to go faster. You tend to become hesitant in accelerating when you know that you find it difficult to suddenly stop. This poses a great hindrance to speeding up.
Therefore, you should practice the skill of stopping even when running at super-fast speed. Foot braking, carving and sliding are some of the ways to stop or slow down your board. It would be wise if you practice all these techniques. Just don’t forget to observe safety when you do.
When you have become adept at braking or stopping, then the sky’s the limit in terms of increasing speed.
Wear the right gear.
Wearing the right gear that ensures protection all throughout your longboarding journey is one huge confident booster. When you know that you are less likely to get injured you can confidently speed up. Make sure you wear an aero helmet, along with your knees and elbow pads.
Full-face helmets that have fairings are designed to have aerodynamic advantage. Consider buying one of these if you’re serious about speed longboarding. You may also invest in a good pair of gloves to ensure that your hands are also protected especially if you’re doing the Coleman slide when stopping.
Mastering several techniques for stopping, along with improving your riding style can greatly contribute towards the ability to speed up on a longboard. But, all of these would be deemed useless if your longboard is not up to the task. So, also consider upgrading your board. Then, go ahead and be the next Pete Connolly!