Whenever people see a person riding a longboard, they quickly become interested in it. Whether they've seen someone riding a longboard in person, or in a video online, people can't help but watch with amazement. Not everyone makes the leap from watching to riding, for those that do, they enjoy it, especially downhill longboarding. For those that are willing to give downhill longboarding a try, the following tips will help them get started.
Anyone who does downhill longboarding should have the right safety gear. A helmet is necessary for downhill longboarding, regardless of how long a person has been riding. The helmet should be new and must be properly padded and have a tag that ensures that it's certified. Wrist guards and knee and elbow pads are also a must because riders, especially new ones, are likely to fall at some point. These items will prevent the rider from having broken bones and head injuries. A jacket, jeans, and a backpack can also offer some extra protection on areas of the body that the guards and pads won't cover.
Longboards have bushings, and most of the time, the bushings that come with a longboard aren't the greatest. Chances are the manufacturer of the longboard didn't have the same purpose as the rider when they installed the stock bushings. Most longboards have a similar design outside of a few special ones, and the bushings can have a different function. It may take some testing to find bushing that will suit a rider's particular style, but it will make riding much easier.
Bearing spacers are a cheap part of a longboard that is incredibly important, but often overlooked. They can be easily installed and make it possible for the rider to tighten axle nuts. This makes it easier to slide without choppiness and maintains the overall health of the bearings while making sure they stay inline. All longboards should have them, and if they aren't included in a purchased board, then they should be immediately purchased to have the best ride possible.
Once a rider has obtained all of the proper safety gear and adjusted the longboard to their preferences, they should give the longboard an inspection before riding. It only takes a short amount of time to make sure everything is properly tightened and lubed. It's better to take precaution than to ride and realize that the longboard has a problem when it's too late to do anything about it.
The best way to become good at downhill longboarding is to progress into it with time, rather than recklessly rushing down the first hill at high speeds. It takes time for a rider to gain control over their body and maintain perfect balance while staying calm. Jumping right into a hill at breakneck speeds without any kind of build up will only result in easy injuries, which can cut down on any practice time during healing. Riding on streets with a pair of slide gloves will help a rider learn how to control themselves and their speed.
Anyone can do downhill longboarding, but they have to be committed to learning how to do it and being prepared. The longboard, the gear, and the skills all play into a great riding experience, and having all three will make anyone a great rider.