Are you ready to take your longboard commuting to longer distances? Are you prepared to skate tens or even hundreds of miles with your longboard? Long-distance longboarding is not easy as it looks. You should not only be technically skilled to do it but also physically fit to ride longer distances.
It takes a lot of practice, preparation, and the right equipment to travel long distances with your longboard. If you wish to do this, here’s everything you need to know before you start your long-distance longboarding expedition.
What Is Long Distance Longboarding?
Long-distance longboarding is a riding style that is adventurous and enjoyable. It is commuting or traveling over longer distances that require discipline, technical skills, and body conditioning.
Some long-distance longboarders take this discipline to an extreme sport by covering hundreds or even thousands of miles with their longboards to travel to different cities, states, and other countries. It is far from the usual commuting or cruising on longboards because of the physical challenges and skills it requires.
What You Need To Know Before You Try Long Distance Longboarding
Before you get too excited and start eyeing a new longboard, here are some of the things you need to know to see if this is something for you to try.
Skating alone or cruising short distances can be exhausting already, especially if the road is a bit rough or bumpy. Now, imagine doing this over longer distances. If you are the type of person who tires easily or does not have the stamina to do physically-challenging activities, you may have to think twice before trying this sport.
However, you can always do some training or exercises to improve your physical stamina and prepare your body to do this longboard discipline. You may also start taking vitamins and other food supplements. However, if you have any serious health condition, be sure to check with your physician first.
It Involves More Challenges, Skills, and Moves
The skills, techniques, and moves involved in long-distance longboarding are far from the normal cruising you’re used to. It involves more pumping and pushing, and both are taken to another level.
If you are serious about learning long-distance longboarding, then you might as well get the right longboarding gear. Of course, you can still use any longboard for practicing but there is a proper setup that will make it easier for you to perform the different techniques involved in this discipline.
The right deck, wheels, and trucks all play an important role in making your long-distance longboarding experience fun and less tiring.
Expect To Ride For Hours
Now, you need to know that there’s a lot of preparation involved in this sport. You need to set aside a lot of time if you are planning to ride from one state to another. It’s not just a one-hour ride, some ride for five hours or more. Some even ride for more than half a day.
Workout and Transportation In One
The nice thing about this is you hit two birds with one stone. You get to wherever you need to be plus you get to work out at the same time. It’s a good strength training and cardio workout for you.
Accessible To Newbies
Almost anyone can learn push racing with ease. The learning period for this is short that even newbies can acquire the necessary skills easily.
Techniques in Long Distance Longboarding
Are you still interested to try this after learning what it takes to be in this sport? Since you’re still reading up to this point, that means it’s a yes. So, here are the techniques you need to master in order to have an enjoyable ride.
Kick pushing is a technique commonly used for cruising and other longboarding disciplines. However, kick pushing in long-distance longboarding has taken this technique a notch higher.
What makes this extra challenging is that you need to attain a steady and constant pace while maintaining continuous pushing with the least effort. As mentioned earlier, you will be skating for hours, which can be very exhausting. Finding the right frequency and power with your pushing can make you less exhausted.
To achieve it, here are the common elements you need to consider.
- The amount of weight you need to put on your front leg while kick pushing. The weight you place on your front leg can affect the smoothness, stability, and efficacy of your ride.
- The length of time that your foot should be in contact with the ground.
- Your board height may affect how much you should lean forward and bend your knee while pushing.
- How soon you should push the floor using your foot.
- The length of time you can stand on a single leg in between pushes while your rear leg up in the air.
Since you’ll be riding for many hours, you should learn the different kinds of pushing patterns. So you can alternate them to avoid overtiring yourself.
- Normal Pushing
This is riding with your normal stance and using your back foot to push.
- Mongo Pushing
It’s almost the same as normal pushing, however, you use your front foot to push while keeping your back foot at the back of the deck.
- Switch Pushing
Instead of riding in your natural stance, you should be in your opposite stance. Your usual back foot should be placed in front, while your normal front foot at the back pushing.
It got its name from combining skating and jogging because it is skating while alternately using each foot to cover distances, which seems like the same thing as jogging. Many long-distance longboarders train and practice skogging because of its benefits.
One of which is by letting each side of your hip, leg, and midsection rest momentarily. Allowing you to ride longer. It also prevents your legs from building a big calf on just one leg.
Long Distance Pumping
Pumping is setting your body in motion on your longboard by transferring your weight to your front and back as you turn without touching your foot on the floor. It is like forming an S-shape while carving.
Many longboarders practice this technique to gain and maintain speed as they ride long distances. Pumping has long been practiced not only in longboarding but also in surfing and snowboarding. However, pumping in longer distances is somehow new in the skating world.
To be successful in pumping, you should master your stance and body motion. It starts by performing an S motion from your chest to your core and down to your lower body until the motion reaches the board, trucks, and your wheels. It’s like your lower body keeps chasing your upper body.
The motion of your body will result in shifting your weight from one side to the other. This will make your board slightly maneuver from the right and left that will help you increase speed and at the same time energy.
How to Choose a Long Distance Board
So, how can you tell if your longboard is long-distance ready? When riding long distances, you should know by now that it will entail performing both the pumping and pushing techniques. So, you might as well find a board that is suitable for both techniques.
When choosing a deck, it’s best to find something that will allow you to perform less effort in pushing. Usually, a lower deck is preferred because it has a lower center of gravity, which means you do not have to flex your knee too much.
Lower decks provide more stability and smoother ride that are important when riding long distances. Double drop longboards are considered the lowest boards.
When it comes to your deck’s curvature, best to choose little or if you can no concave at all. A steep concave will hurt your feet too much during long-distance rides. Avoid picking a very stiff deck as it can make your long-distance riding uncomfortable.
Since you’ll be riding for hours, and you’ll be riding in different terrains and environments, you can never always know whether it will rain or the road will be dry or wet. So, choose a water-resistant deck.
Tight trucks and standard to narrower trucks are preferred for long-distance riding. This will provide you with more control and stability, especially during downhill rides. If you want to tighten your trucks, avoid using kingpin screw, instead use big barrel bushings.
Another advantage of tight trucks is that it minimizes the chance of rail bite and wheelbite.
Experienced long-distance pumpers prefer standard kingpin trucks that are turny and have quality bushings. They also know how to tweak truck angles for easier and more effective pumping.
Wheel size and durometer play an important role when choosing the right wheels for your longboard. Your wheel’s durometer should be between 78a to 85a.
Bigger wheels are preferred for long-distance riding. Bigger than regular longboard wheels. Wheels ranging from 75-85mm are the ideal sizes. The bigger the wheels the more they provide roll speed and momentum.
Any decent bearings should do. No need to buy expensive ones. However, you need to maintain your bearings well by cleaning and lubing them regularly.
So, ideally, you need your board to be low, has little to no concave, some flex, bigger wheels and wheel clearance, strong and water-resistant deck. This kind of board will provide more stability, comfort, and less fatigue.
How to Prepare For Your Long Distance Longboarding Journey
There’s a lot of preparation needed for you to have a successful and enjoyable long-distance longboarding experience. Practicing daily will help you prepare for this. If you are a newbie, try covering shorter distances first on flat grounds, then gradually increase the distance.
Learn the Techniques
Master the different techniques and pushing patterns. This will help you ride comfortably even on longer distances. Learning skogging will do you a lot of good.
Pick the Right Board
Your feet will surely hurt the first few miles and one way to avoid and minimize the pain is by finding the right deck. Like a board will little concave. This will help your feet move around the deck comfortably. Aside from the right deck, you should also build up your foot muscles.
Protect Your Feet
Be sure to use comfortable shoes and wear at least two socks for more comfort. Expect to develop blisters on your feet. When this happens, be sure to cover and protect them by using any plasters or special tape.
Wear shoes that are water-resistant and have strong foot support. The lighter your shoes are, the better.
Prepare Your Itinerary
Before leaving, check the places where you’ll be skating. Find bike lanes, sidewalks, traffic, and road condition. Choose roads with two lanes only, avoid riding on roads with more than two lanes.
Practice Safe Riding
Wear safety gear like a helmet and ideally, bright-colored clothing. This will help drivers see you better. Practice proper road riding protocols, by keeping your lane during traffic.
What to Bring
Are you ready to pack your things for your first ever long-distance ride? But what should be inside your backpack? Here are the essential things you only need to bring:
- Extra set of pants and/or shorts
- Water bottle
- Extra pair of socks
- Skate Tool
- Spare set of bearings, bushings, bolts, and nuts
- Extra light shirt
- Bandage or plasters for your blisters
- Rain jacket/shell
If you think you’ll be riding for long hours, you might need to bring a hammock or small tent. Remember to keep it light. It would be hard to balance and ride long distances with a heavy backpack.
So, what can you say about long-distance longboarding? Do you still think this activity is for you? In general, anyone who has the discipline and motivation can succeed in this sport. It has a lot of health benefits in terms of working out your whole body and building muscle strength. It’s a good way to find new friends and travel across from cities to countries. Long-distance longboarding will also improve and develop your riding skills.