Are you all padded up and ready to surf the pavement? Or, are you too excited yet feeling nervous at the same time? Seasoned longboarders know exactly how it feels when you’re too ready to hop on the board but aren’t sure yet how to properly stand on it.
You could never be too comfortable using the board unless you start with mastering your stance. But what is meant by stance? Will it affect your ability to perform tricks? When trying to learn your stance, one thing is for sure – you’ll get hurt. But you’ve heard what they say – “Once you go long (board), you’ll no longer think about going back!”
The History of Longboards
For decades, the evolution of long and short boards occurs in parallel as they create different stories in the hearts of board enthusiasts. Although many people prefer to use the longboard, its technical limitations caused it to remain behind the shadows of skateboards for years. Proof of this is the article published in 1978 in a Skateboard magazine titled, “Cult of the Longboard”.
When the 90s came, the longboard was rediscovered as innovative materials also emerged. It was during this time when precision tools and modern concepts resulted in the production of faster and more stable longboards. At present, all these developments have made Pete Connolly the fastest man on the longboard, riding at a speed of 146 km/hour.
What is a Longboard Stance?
Knowing how to stand on the longboard is the most basic part of learning any kind of board sports. This is called the “stance”, that is, how you should stand on the board. But how do you perform the right stance? Is it just about positioning your feet on the board?
It is How You Position Your Body
The term “stance” not only refers to the way you stand while on the board. It is also about how you position your body and your upper extremities when longboarding. Your stance will also vary depending on the type of ride that you are about to perform. The stance for carving is different from when you go for downhill riding.
It’s NOT Always about Being Left- or Right-handed
Does being left or right-handed affect your stance? Many people have a misconception that being right-handed would also mean the right foot becomes the dominant foot when longboarding. The same is also being said about left-handed individuals. However, this is not true all the time.
Other athletes can attest to this. There are individuals who are into archery who found themselves using a right-handed bow even when they’re left-handed. Moreover, some people also find it easier to carry a heavy object using their right hand even when they’re left-handed.
Your Brain and Body Dictate Your Stance
So, how do I determine which of my two feet is dominant? Keep in mind that it is your brain and body that dictate which stance you are most comfortable with. Other people cannot tell you that you are doing it wrong. Every person has his own way of determining which side “clicks”.
Instead of just focusing on which foot or hand is dominant, carefully notice how your ride feels. Note that you cannot force a stance; it has to be natural. It has to be something dictated by your brain in which your shoulder, hands and the rest of your body instinctively follows.
Regular or Goofy Stance: Which is Right for You?
Which foot should you use to push the board? Which foot stays in front of the board? The answer to these questions will help you figure out which stance will serve you well. Which stance is more comfortable for you, goofy or regular? The following tips will prove to be helpful in identifying your stance:
Figure Out Which Foot is Dominant
One way to figure out if you are goofy or regular footed is to ask someone to shove you from behind. Now, which foot did you use to balance your body when you were shoved? The first foot you stepped forward for balance will most likely be your dominant foot.
Another way to find out which foot is dominant is to kick a ball hard. Notice which foot kicks harder because this will serve as your dominant foot. Now that you know which foot has greater force, let’s move on to the next step.
Identify Your Front Foot
The foot with less force must serve as your front foot. Put this foot on the front side of the board. It must be positioned in a 45-degree angle. Then, the foot with the most force should be placed at the back part of the board, where you can see the rear screws. This foot must be positioned in a manner that’s perpendicular to the deck.
Feet Must Be Apart At A Distance
Observe the proper distance between your two feet. Ideally, they should be farther than shoulder-width apart. If your feet are positioned too close to each other, you’ll never be able to balance well. If they’re too far away from each other, you will have a hard time steering your body to your desired direction.
Learn to Balance
Balancing on the board can be nerve-racking especially if it’s your first time. Rest assured that the more you practice it, the more you become confident. Start with bending your knees a little each time you feel the need to balance yourself while on top of the board. Later, you will find out that your knees will just naturally bend to achieve balance.
Position your hips and shoulders.
Always remember that your hips and shoulders should be facing the same direction. They must be slightly facing the front, at a 90-degree angle with the board. Your hips and shoulders must be positioned in a way that will make it easy for you to push the board, cruise, carve or ride downhill.
The Different Types of Longboard Stance
What’s next after learning the regular or goofy stance? Practicing other types of stance. You must learn different types of stance because having these in your arsenal helps you grow as a longboard rider. Here are other types of stance to for you to learn:
The Foot Braking Stance
“Wait, should I brake using my front or back foot?” That depends on which is more comfortable for you. Balancing while doing the foot braking stance will require you to use your front leg. This is the same leg that you point to the nose of the board. Your body must also be completely facing forward. You can achieve this stance by performing a squat because the foot that will hit the ground must be off the board, while your other foot remains on the board. By squatting, you help ensure that both of your feet are parallel to each other. Note that the act of foot braking would mean you have to brush your other foot against the ground. If there’s a crack on the road, slightly lift your toes.
The Pushing Stance
To be able to achieve this stance, the foot that has the greater force will be the one that should do the pushing. The other foot, that is the less dominant, will do the steering and balancing. Can it be the other way around? Well, there are also longboard riders who would be doing the opposite. This means their less dominant foot does the pushing and their dominant foot does the steering and balancing. Do not be afraid to try these two ways of pushing and see which works for you better.
The Cruising Stance
Start with running at a moderate speed while both of your feet are positioned at a distance that’s wider than your shoulder. Observe equal distance between the front and back trucks. As for your knees, a little bend will do to be able to maintain your balance. Slightly rotate your body as you face forward. Avoid leaning your torso forward or backward. Your body has to be in a neutral position.
What if there’s a crack or bump on the road? Lean forward or bend your knees as soon as you notice it. By leaning or bending, you are able to ensure balance as you go through this road obstacle.
The Carving Stance
The carving stance could be a bit complicated for beginners but not impossible. When you’re carving, you revolve around in S turns in order to even out your increasing speed or simply to shed off speed. This requires a lot of constant shifting between your toes and your heels to balance the weight of your body on the board. You have to maintain your balance because you will be creating constant turns as your board continues to run on S patterns. Both of your feet must be positioned perpendicular across the longboard. Your knees must do the work of straightening and flexing in an alternate manner as you carve and turn repeatedly.
As a beginner who is still practicing the proper stance, you can greatly benefit from having someone to coach you. It is better to have someone else correcting your posture. This way, you can easily master your regular or goofy stance. Avoid being too aggressive about learning those complicated tricks right away. Take one step at a time. Otherwise, you’ll end up either getting fractured, eating dirt, or both.