Most people want a longboard to cruise around the city or fly down steep hills at high speed.
But there are more than a couple of ways to enjoy your longboard. I think everyone interested in performing tricks will be pleased.
When you look at longboards backflips and big airs don’t spring to mind, but let’s have a deeper look at what’s possible.
Can You Do Tricks On A Longboard?
Yes, you can perform quite a few tricks on a great longboard. You’ll probably be able to do hundreds more than you think, but they will be a lot more basic than those you can perform on a skateboard. You can perform traditional tricks that are sometimes easier on a longer board.
Best Longboard Shape For Tricks
If you’ve spent time looking at any longboards you’ll know they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The tails almost never look the same. Trucks are mounted to the boards in multiple ways. Some are much wider than others and certain boards are closer to the ground.
In other words, there are plenty to choose from. But from a trick perspective I think it’s easier to look at them in one of two ways. We’re going to cover the basic shape of each one along with their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to performing tricks:
- Directional longboards
- Symmetrical longboards
Directional longboards – Directional boards are designed to go in one direction. You can tell straight away because the nose and tail are obviously different from each other. Carvers, cruisers, and downhill boards are directional in most cases because it’s an effective shape.
If the longboard has a decent kicktail you’ll be able to perform tricks that require air plus hundreds that don’t. This kind of board is easy to practise on if you’ve got skateboarding experience. Even though you can still ride switch you won’t have a wonderful amount of control.
Symmetrical longboards – Symmetrical boards are the same shape on both ends, which will come in handy depending on which tricks you’re attempting. Although they don’t look like the kind of boards you’ll be able to do jump tricks on it’s possible when the longboard has a kicktail.
In fact, you’ll have a kicktail on each end opening up even more possibilities for you. They are more common when it comes to freestyle and freeriding, although a good longboard will be able to do anything. The biggest advantage is the fact it doesn’t matter which way you land.
A Quick Note About Longboard Shapes And Styles
Here are a few things you might come across when you’re looking into longboards:
- Carvers with a concave curve on the nose to keep your feet on the board.
- Big wheels to make it easier to roll over cracks and bumps without stopping.
- Mini cruisers designed to be carried around everywhere no matter where you go.
- Cut-out shaped decks to give your wheels more clearance when you’re turning.
- Drop down lower decks to provide you with extra stability at higher speeds.
You could find a board that relates to only one of these features. Some boards will come with a lot more than one of them. Plus there are others we’ve not even mentioned. I guess I’m trying to say longboards weren’t primarily designed to perform hundreds of traditional skateboard tricks.
If skateboard tricks is your main goal stick to skateboarding. But some are actually easier on a much longer board and symmetrical ones help too. Once you choose a board with a kicktail (or two) you’ll be able to achieve height. Even without kicktails there are hundreds of tricks out there to try.
Longboard Riding Styles Aren’t Really Tricks
When riders talk about longboard tricks they’re usually talking about fancy jumps, spins, and wheelies. If you actually mean proper longboard styles it’s completely different. Are you primarily interested in any of these moves:
- Carving from side to side around any obstacles in your way.
- Sliding at high speed and leaving long urethane lines on the road.
- Dancing by spinning around, crossing your feet, and walking the board.
If so, you can definitely choose longboards that are more suited towards these types of styles, plus you’ll be able to do plenty of tricks on them when you want to try something new.
Traditional Board Tricks You Can Do On Longboards
Great skateboarders will probably be able to do hundreds of cool tricks on a longboard within days. The kind mere mortals can only dream about. But if you’re interested in messing around with these we’ll look at a few of the basic longboard tricks you’ll be able to master with enough practice:
Manual – A manual is basically a wheelie on the back wheels of your board you can hold for as long as possible.
Pivot – When you pivot you’ll turn the board + body 180 degrees and ride away with your opposite foot forward.
Ollie – The ollie is how a rider gets their board in the air. It involves popping with the back foot and sliding the front foot up the board.
Shove-it – A shove-it is almost the same as a pivot except the board will turn 180 degrees and your body will remain in the same position.
Boneless – Bend down and grab hold of your board. Now use one foot to jump into the air while keeping the other one on the board.
I really don’t want to teach anyone to suck eggs, but you get the point right? You will be able to perform all the basic skateboarding tricks even on the best longboards for heavy riders along with most of the hard ones. It will just take you a long time to reach a high level if you’re a complete beginner.
The Best Longboard Size For Tricks
Skateboards reign supreme when it’s purely based on tricks, which might lead you to believe shorter longboards or penny boards are better. Nothing could be further from the truth so get that out of your head right now. Tricks are always going to come in second place when you’re longboarding.
If you choose a short longboard it’s going to have a huge impact when you’re going downhill. It will limit the speed you can build up and you’ll be less stable too. Carving on a short longboard is going to lead to serious injuries and commuting on one will waste much more energy.
The best longboards for beginners are around 40+ inches long. You can begin to focus your attention towards shorter longboards if you want to own more than one. You might decide to build up a collection if you really want to focus on different styles too.
Best Decks For Longboard Tricks
If you want to perform tricks on longboards you should pay close attention to the deck. It should be good enough to handle your weight without breaking, so if you’re heavier you might need the best longboard for big guys. Width and flex plays an important role too.
I’m sure you’ll be able to work out why extra width is so powerful. If you have more room to move around you’ll be less likely to fall off. It’s much easier to land tricks. Plus extra flex is almost like a mini trampoline so unless you’re a pure downhill rider make sure your longboard deck has some bend.
Can You Do Tricks On A Longboard?
So we’ve established it’s possible to perform cool tricks on a longboard. It’s similar to a skateboard except some of the more extreme ones will be out of reach. On the plus side, it’s sometimes easier to pull them off on a longer board. The amount of styles you’ll be able to master reigns supreme.
Don’t bother buying a skateboard until you’ve had a good chance to play around with longboards first. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of tricks you’ll be able to do with a little effort.