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How To: Styles of Riding

There are different disciplines in the skateboarding community, find the right one for you or your kids!
There are 4 main styles of riding: Park, Cruising, Freeride, and Downhill.

Park Skateboarding

One of the steepest learning curves, skateboarding, is the first thing that comes to mind for most people when the topic of boards come up. It's the more technical side of skateboarding, with respect gained through complexity and difficulty of tricks. The boards are smaller, more nimble, and lighter for flips and tricks. They have larger kicktails in comparison to the rest of the board to give the user more leverage for popping the board up for ollies and kickflips. The trucks are a vertical/standard kingpin trucks, leading to a tighter turn, more protection of the kingpin, and a stronger design to resist bending under the massive forces exerted on the trucks when landing tricks. The wheels are also on the smaller and harder side, coming in at around 50mm and in the high A, even up to B durometer range. The small size isn't a problem in skateparks because the parks are made to be as smooth as possible with very few cracks or bumps.

Dimensions

24”-35” long       7.5”-8.5” wide

Trucks

TKP (Traditional King Pin) Trucks

Wheels  

Average: 49mm-59mm diameter

                90a-80b

Preferred Grip tape

Fine


A typical skateboard looks like this:

Skateboard Park Deck
This skateboard is set up with the:
Churchill Combie Killer 32" Deck
Caliber Standard 8.5" Trucks
Remember PeeWees (don't get these to skate skate-parks, get a hard wheel)

Cruising/Commuting with a Longboard

Cruising is the most basic and easiest to learn out of the various disciplines. It is mostly used to get from Point A to Point B, while enjoying the travel time. Almost all of the employees here at Motion Boardshop ride longboards to work, which usually entails going a couple miles or more to the shop or a bus stop. A fit boarder can go about 3 miles in 20 minutes. It is a bit more of a one-sided workout compared to biking, and a bit slower, but arguably more entertaining. For cruising or commuting, all the rider has to know is how to push, foot-break, and turn. Both are easily learnable in less than a day, even if you still haven't stepped on a longboard. All you have to remember is to keep your knees bent and weight on your front foot. This style is embodied by big wheels (65mm and bigger), reverse kingpin trucks, and a board that's low to to the ground (drop-through, dropped, etc). The lower you are to the ground, the less one-legged squats you'll be doing when you push, which will become painfully apparent if you're going any farther than a mile. Big wheels will also help roll over sidewalk cracks and little rocks in the road without the danger of suddenly stopping your board and making you face-plant.

Dimensions

29”-60” long        8.5”-10” wide

Trucks

RKP (Reverse King Pin) trucks, >150mm hangers, high degree baseplate 

Wheels

Average:  60mm-80mm diameter

                76a-86a

Preferred Grip tape

Fine/Slightly Coarse


A typical cruising board looks like this:

Drop Through DB Longboard Cruising Setup
This board is set up with:
DB Urban Native 40" Deck
Atlas 48° 10mm RKP Trucks
Cloudride Cruiser Wheels (most like Freerides)

 

Freeriding Longboard

Freeriding is quickly becoming the most popular longboard discipline of the ones described here. It's all about sliding to lose speed on any hill, mostly to stay in control and gain steeze points. Freeriding typically comes after learning to be comfortable on a longboard, usually learned after cruising around for a while. Sliding is hard to get into, and REQUIRES a HELMET and slide gloves. Knee pads are also a massive confidence booster for sure!  Currently trending, boards themselves are usually higher off the ground to give the rider more control over the trucks and increase the responsiveness of the turn. That being said, lower boards make the initiation into slides easier and can also be found as a riders personal preference. The wheels for freeriding most commonly have rounded lips, come stone-ground (pre-broken in), and have a variety of durometers to suit different weights and speeds (76a-90a). The most suitable trucks are a high-degree cast truck (45 - 50 deg) which will give the board maneuverability and stability. Nonetheless, if you really freeride fast, or if you just want more stability to feel more comfortable, lower trucks will work as well. 

Dimensions

29”-60” long        8.5”-10” wide

Trucks

RKP (Reverse King Pin) trucks, >150mm hangers  

Wheels

Average:  57mm-80mm diameter

                 76a-90a

Preferred Grip tape

Slightly Coarse or Coarse

A typical freeriding board looks like this:

Arbor Longboard Freeride Setup

This board is set up with:
Arbor Backlash 37" Deck
Caliber II 10" RKP Trucks
Arbor Sucrose Vice Wheels

 

Downhill Longboard

Downhill longboarding is the most extreme of these 'sports,' with riders reaching speeds of 60-70 mph on windy mountain roads. Definitely the most dangerous, we suggest having a full face helmet, gloves, and full body leathers for any high speed riding. There isn't a defined style of board for downhill because it is a very personal preference driven side of skateboarding. On one hand, lower boards like drop decks are nice because of the added stability. The lower your center of gravity, the more stable you'll be. Contrarily, the lower you are deck wise, the more grip you are giving up. So, if you're doing more technical downhill, a topmount is more ideal. If you're just straight bombing at high speeds, a drop deck makes more sense. Trucks used are lower degree (35-45 deg) which are noticeably more stable at extreme speeds. Precision trucks are primarily used here as well, providing more strength, grip and confidence in their straightness/precision. Wheels are wider than freeride wheels, and offer sharp lips instead of round ones. This is to give more traction when taking corners, as well as kill more speed when sliding out of necessity. Along with that, they're usually bigger (70mm or more) for roll speed and a lower durometer (76a-83a) so the wheel deforms to the road to grip. 

Dimensions

33”-42” long        9”-10” wide

Trucks

RKP (Reverse King Pin) trucks, >130mm hangers, lower degree baseplate (35-45)  

Wheels

Average:  65mm-97mm diameter

                 76a-83a

Preferred Grip tape

Slightly Coarse or Coarse

A typical downhill board looks like this:

Downhill Longboard Omen Kush Setup
This board is set up with:
Omen Kush 38" Deck
Caliber II 10" RKP Trucks
Orangatang 4President 80a Wheels

 

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