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longboard 101
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Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
longboard 101 on 07/03/2012 14:40:26 MDT Print View

every year since turning 30, i've vowed to uptake a new pursuit.
longboarding, so it is!
tried to sk8board back in the day, kid stuff!, but it's been eons.
i haven't any health insurance, but tons of patience and tenacity (does that count)?
and decent balance (i practically wore skates before shoes), so me thinks
this is reaching for apples, and not for the sky?
i've seen some on craigslist for ~50 beans, but what's considered decent quality?
i'm sure not all trucks are created equal, and ummm...can i skate in chacos?
need i purchase vans or the like?
bring it, anything and everything!
thanks kids.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
longboard 101 on 07/04/2012 12:39:41 MDT Print View

I have been skateboarding since 10 years old and I am 50 years old. I started on clay wheel and have been through every evolution of skateboards,
I have skated flat,downhill,slalom,Freestyle,street,backyard pools,parks,Even the 22 foot pipes they used to build San Onofre Nuclear power plant you name it I have skated it.

I excelled at raced slalom, freestyle,all around skateboarder as a sponsored amateur and turned pro to get out my Sponsor were Kryptonics wheels, Vans shoes, Cutter trucks and on and off the Tracker truck flow list.
I also owned my own board company called FU skatez of aka: Freestyle underground it was charity board company to sponsor freestyle skateboarders who lost their board sponsors,When the manufactures killed freestyle skateboarding and quit making freestyle boards.. I was also the Head judge and vice president of CASL.

Basically stay away from the cheap board packages from Craig's list and ebay the product is crappy product. You have to figure out how you want to skateboard is it for getting around town, exercise,downhill, pool and park riding,
So you need the right board and trucks and wheels for the form of skateboarding you want to do.

I like to build my own boards some mail order houses will build the boards like you want it.

Trucks by Tracker, Randal are good trucks the other truck companies are just copies of the geometry of these trucks and over priced and hyped to take advantage of the novice.Some are specialized high performance trucks for downhill or slalom for example Seismic trucks use springs and are real stable and wobble free I owned a pair they were fun. Seismic also makes 3DM wheels that are great but expensive.

Plus you can get them in the correct width so your wheels and truck assembly fit under your board so you don't get heel bite when pushing when the trucks are to wide. I use Tracker RTS and RTX slalom 106 mm wide trucks on all my long board to keep the truck and wheel assembly under the board and they turn fast. The widest I would go is 129/130mm trucks on long boards.

Wheels their's alot out their quite a few of them for long boarding and most are manufactured by Chris Chauput's company Abec 11 under different labels. Personally I like the Abec11 Grippins 75A wheels is a great all around wheel that does not chip.

My favorite board in my quiver is the LongBoard Larry walkabout LDP board. I also own quite a few specialized other board in my quiver for each discipline of skateboarding .

If you don't want to spend a lot of money Gravity make great boards,Wheels and owns Randal trucks I like 129 mm Randal trucks. The Burner or Blazer are great wheels in 74a. I like the 35" Burning spear board it's a around shape board, Made out of hard rock maple and jute fiber instead of fiber glass to give it some flex . I like the standard angle risers. Give them a call to get the narrower 129mm Randals trucks when you order.

Long Board Larry's hand makes their custom board in their shop in Oregon,They will help you build your board.

Specialized manufactures for example Never Summer who make their boards like snowboard with P Tex bottom, top and plastic side bumpers and have 3 year guarantee. I like the Norad board.

Back a couple of years ago I got hooked on LDP aka: Long Distance Pumping basically of flat ground pumping of the board wiggling like your going through straight slalom cones to generate propulsion with out pushing with your feet. You can cover mega miles and exercise and get around town fast.
You can learn a lot about LDP and long distance skateboarding from Paved wave.

Since you don't have insurance at the very least get some Rollerblade wrist guard that's what use because they are light weight and breath with a plastic hand skid. But I am not a fan of safety equipment and have paid the price once in while. Others wear knee pads and helmets and some also wear elbow pads.

Shoe wise buy Vans or other skateboard shoe on sale.
I have found great Deals at the Vans company stores on their clearance rack or also Ross dress for less. Basically you want a nice flat bottom soled shoe I prefer gum rubber , rubber sole is okay also.
I wish I was still on Vans shoe team I would get 2 pairs a month.

Silverfish is also a great source of all forms of skateboarding.

Hope this helps you out and have fun ,

Edited by socal-nomad on 07/04/2012 13:20:15 MDT.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Longboarding? Sounds fun! on 07/05/2012 08:34:41 MDT Print View

I think you can get very competent and useful longboard skateboards for about $150, new, but that below that point you will get a toy, much as a mountainbike purchased at Walmart or Dicks is a "toy version" of a mountainbike. Now, spending $150 for a new complete doesn't ensure you get a decent rig, it's just a threshold level.

I concur with Terry Trimble's suggestion regarding "" where you will find a lot of gear reviews, product listings and forums where you can read/ask questions as a beginner. Of course, as with anything, there are "popular answers" that can trend over time.

In terms of basics, I suggest a 40" or so board with either 150 or 180mm trucks that are made by Randal, Paris, Caliber, Gunmetal, Navigator or that come OEM on a "complete" board from Riviera, Stella, or Deville -- each of which produce entry-level completes that have no "cheap crap" on them. You can also surf their sites to see what looks cool to you.

Whatever you do, get a longboard with "longboard trucks" on it, rather than just really wide "old school" trucks: you vastly increase the experience by starting it right. Later, you can build out boards with some wide Trackers, Bennetts or Indys (other trucks, in the old school style), but you should really start with some Randal-style, "reverse kingpin" trucks, which are what vaulted longboarding from a niche to the largest segment of actual skateboard sales in the industry: it's fun, anyone can do it, you don't have to wear skinny jeans and sulk to fit in and it's fun. :)

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Get a Lid on 07/05/2012 08:42:34 MDT Print View

A few more things:

1) Do get a helmet. In longboarding, it's the kooks that don't wear helmets, just like in mountainbiking. If you aren't skating fast enough to need a lid, get a lid and skate faster!!

I suggest you use an open-face bmx helmet, such as the Bell, Fox and Giro lids sold on clearance sites like, or a skate helmet such as a ProTec ACE (my personal choice), which you can get at sports stores and some skate shops. Fit and ventilation are handy on a longboard, and you want coverage down the back side of your head (most likely place for you to hit the asphalt is the back of your head, seriously).

2) Softer is faster and grippier, in terms of wheels. If you skate(d) parks and pools, you know that hard is faster on super-smooth concrete/plaster, but this doesn't carry over to textured concrete and asphalt. If you don't buy a complete, start with 78a on the wheels (same as those old red Kryptos grandpa Terry used to ride). (Okay, I did, too.)

3) Any shoe, other than flip flops, probably okay. However, one of the skills you need to master is the "footbrake" and good old-fashioned Vans Off the Wall are great for that. Chacos will be ruined quickly, although Keens last pretty long. I once footbraked from 35mph in Manhattan to avoid a truck and two taxis that mixed up, and managed to create smoke off the shoe, but I still use those Keens. Vans would have been better...

Edited by EBasil on 07/05/2012 08:45:34 MDT.

Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
free wheelin'! on 07/05/2012 12:20:30 MDT Print View

terry and erik! thanks! for layin' it on THICK! just as i asked.
your beta was super helpful, i'll definitely explore those suggested websites.
while i'd truly like to throw down for something decent (i'm a bona-fide 'you get what you pay for, do it right the first time' type), i'll be in grad skool effective this fall, i'm cutting corners (no pun intended) in every which way i can. i'm surrounded by dirt roads, though the main street to the library is paved and likely, l-boarding will be my means to and fro instead of a bike or walking (variety, variety, variety, however this too doesn't necessarily rule out possible endeavors of taking it seriously down the road (pardon another pun). (there is a tiny skate park in the neighboring town) it's basically something to tool 'round on. can i use a bike helmet? a hockey helmet? do you both board (is that exclusively a snowboarding term?) in winter too, or does road salt jam the trucks and such?
thanks again, kids.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
off piste on 07/05/2012 12:21:27 MDT Print View

[Terry, my PM's here still don't work-- I get the notice and text from BPL, but can't go to anyplace here on the site where the PM's are. Zap me an email addy to EBasil1 at Gee Mail ... I want to respond to you!

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
longboard 101 on 07/06/2012 11:01:53 MDT Print View

If the hockey helmet is the thinly padded one we use to use them back in the 70's before the Protec helmet came out did not work out to well. if it a newer hockey helmet with thick EPP foam it will take the impact.

Bicycle helmet wise it will take the initial impact at lower speeds but you don't want do downhill or go over 20 to 35 mph. Some of the long distance skateboards use them when they are on flat ground low speed for some type of protection because of the air vents to keep their heads cool. Bicycle helmets are made out of thick molded EPP foam.

I use to watch my brother do Vert rollerblade demos for team rollerblade he wore a skateboard type helmet. The demos also had distance racing and all the racer wore bicycle helmets to keep their heads cool they hit speeds of 35 mph in sprints. I have seen them all fall in sprints around corners or finish line and the helmet would take the impact and not twist off.

General rule of helmets.
Low Speeds/ Distance flat ground: Bicycle helmet will do fine. If your a advanced skateboarder no helmet you know you are risking personal injury can accept the consequences.

Vert/skateparks/contests/slalom racing: Skateboard Helmet

High Downhill Speeds: full face bmx or motocross type motorcycle helmet for face protection.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: longboard 101 on 07/08/2012 09:44:32 MDT Print View

Leslie, the board you will need and only need is a Sector 9