Although it has been portrayed by the media as one of the most dangerous activities available to children and teenagers, long boarding is slowly gaining popularity and recognition as a professional sport. Despite the fact that skateboarding and long boarding both require the person to stand on a piece of wood with trucks and wheels attached, long boarding belongs in a class of its own. What makes long boarding so unique is the degree of individualism anyone can apply to it with customizations, etc. The term, “long boarding” is a broad category, unlike any other sport, that is defined by one’s own style and skill level.
Long boarding is similar to driving in that there is the aspect of professionally racing and to ride for leisure. Analogous to racing in cars, downhill long boarders race on technical courses that force them to use drifts, instead of braking. These types of riders use gloves with large pucks to slide on the ground before executing a drift to more easily break the traction of their wheels to slide and slow down enough to safely make the turn. Free riding is the epitome of expressing one’s temperament in skating. It is used to describe any variation of slides or tricks that are considered impractical to use while racing.
Dancing is a form of free riding and a true art using footwork and spins to make the long boarder’s moves almost cascade into one another. Thousands of long boards exist and each are crafted specifically for maneuvers entailed by these forms of riding. The difference from any type of wooden board is the method used to make them. For example, boards that are very long and flexible best suit riders inclined to learn footwork and spins, otherwise known as dancing. Boards made for technical downhill racing are much stronger and stiff to support the weight and force applied when entering a turn.
Vacuum presses are also used for downhill boards to create concave in the wood, which cradles the rider’s feet to get more leverage on the board making it more stable when drifting. Numerous factors besides the board itself will also affect its behavior performance. Particular aspects of long boards amplify the efficacy of abilities depending on the riders’ own bearing. For instance, the trucks allow the skateboard to turn and by adjusting bolts or changing parts it can severely influence how it will turn. Trucks consist of two major components: the hanger and the base plate.
A small metal protrusion on the hanger is forced into a small rubber cup on the base plate called the pivot cup. The pivot cup constrains the hanger to prevent movement and is essential to make the trucks turn. An elongated bolt known as the kingpin connects the base plate and hanger. On the kingpin are rubbery cylindrical prisms designated as bushings. Generally, common trucks have two bushings each and can be exchanged for harder bushings or tightened to alter the trucks’ turning radius. In addition, the wheels also play a great role in long boards’ behavior.
Wheels come in different hardness levels, or durometers, sizes, and shapes. More sizable, softer wheels grip the road better and are more useful for maintaining traction, while smaller and harder wheels slide more easily. Ball bearings are used in wheels to make them spin. Bearings can be interchanged or more immediate acceleration or to handle the sideways force applied to wheels when drifting. This sport is the first of its kind; it is a hybrid combining all forms of skateboarding and racing into a single category. Its rare nature is one that makes everyone feel some appreciation.