The other day, as I was riding around on my longboard, I got thinking about the reasons that got me started with this awesome sport.
My personal goals for longboarding were being able to surf the streets, learning new riding skills, getting an intense cardio and core workout, and meeting new people. Other good reasons for getting a longboard
In the rest of this article, I’ll expand on these reasons and share my experience, or, for those things that don’t apply to me, that of other riders. Hopefully, this post will help you get a clearer idea of what longboarding can do for you.
Reason #1: start a new hobby
You may be looking at longboarding as a new healthy hobby to do in your free time and on
The investment is very reasonable as a decent quality longboard will set you back $130 to $300 (I’m not including premium boards such as Loaded) depending on your riding goals and physical build. Add to that $50 to $100 for good safety gear – unless you’re aiming for more extreme riding styles, in which case you’ll need pricier protective gear (see this post).
Getting a longboard will allow you to acquire new physical skills and spend quality time with your friends or your family. A rider I know regularly goes longboarding with his spouse and kids, they always have an
On your own or with the family, riding along beaches, parks or bike tracks is very pleasant and relaxing. If you’re stressed from work or are looking for something to do in your free time, you should really consider getting a longboard, it’s an enjoyable and accessible sport – provided you’re reasonably fit (are you too old to longboard?)
Reason #2: get (or stay) in shape
The second most valid reason for getting a longboard is the workout longboarding offers. Whenever I start riding my longboard, my blood starts pumping and my body temperature shoots up within 5-10 minutes depending on my pace.
For me, longboarding replaces running – which I’m not fond of because of the high impact of my spine. Longboard riding is low-impact on your joints, except possibly on your knees when pushing – getting a low-riding board such as a drop-through or dropped platform reduces knee strain quite a bit.
Finding a new kind of cardio training was probably the main reasons I bought my first longboard. I was also looking to improve my joint mobility, particularly for my hips and lower spine. Every time I go cruising and pushing along the beach, I end up feeling a nice stretch in these joints.
What I didn’t expect so much is the strength workout I get from pushing and carving for long durations. The thighs, calves, ab and lumbar muscles are all put to hard work, yet in a gentle, non-aggressive way.
Obviously, freestyle riders get a much tougher workout, albeit a much higher impact one because of all the kick flipping, explosive movements, and hard landings. Not something I’m personally into.
Improving your balance is another great benefit you’ll get from getting a longboard. It’s amazing how much and how fast your balancing skills improve once you start riding on a regular basis, even at lower speeds.
Check out my post on longboarding as a workout for more.
Reason #3: get around easily
A third main reason for getting a longboard is easy, fast, fun, and eco-friendly transportation. I ride my longboard daily to go to the grocery store a couple of streets from my place – though I wouldn’t ride it to the supermarket as it’s much farther and carrying the stuff would be hard.
A lot of people get a longboard for commuting to work or school. City commuting on a longboard can be fun and efficient depending on where you live. For city commuting, you typically want a nimble cruiser type of board responsive and fast turning with a kicktail for riding on and off sidewalks, such as the popular Landyachtz Dinghy or the Arbor Pilsner.
If your goal is to ride to a faraway train or bus station for your daily work commute, you may need a larger, more stable and pushable (low riding) longboard to rider over longer distances faster. The tradeoff here is between speed and push comfort on the one hand and weight, size and portability on the other as you’ll need to lug your longboard on the train and around the office or campus building. Check out my in-depth post about choosing a longboard for commuting.
Whether you buy a longboard for urban transport or longer commutes, you’ll be saving on gas, keeping active and fit, and doing something for the environment by doing less driving. Just make sure you learn how to stop, respect road rules, and wear appropriate safety gear – see my post about longboard safety.
Reason #4: join a new social group
One of the reasons I got a longboard was to meet new people who are into sporty activities like me. Ever since I bought my first longboard, I discovered there are a lot more people around me who longboard than I would have imagined.
Longboarders are a friendly and welcoming bunch. They don’t have as much of a tribal attitude as street skateboarders. They are more diverse in terms of age group, skating backgrounds (from total newbies to retired hardcore street skaters), gender (a lot more female riders than for skateboarders), style and skills etc.
If you mainly longboard for cruising and relaxing, you’ll probably find lots of cool people to hang out with, perhaps even to date if that’s your thing. If you’re a longboard commuter, you may hook up with friendly bikers and inline skaters as well on those bike tracks. Longboarding has brought me a new group of acquaintances and friends I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Reason #5: cross train for other sports
This one is more specific and may or may not apply to you. One important reason why I first got a longboard (and then new ones) was to help improve my surfing and stand-up paddleboarding skills when away from the beach. Longboarding can greatly help you become a better surfer or snowboarder as it makes you practice board stance and balance, carving techniques, and rail-to-rail transitions for gaining or controlling speed – these are core skills for all board sports.
If you’re (or want to get) into surfing, I strongly recommend getting a surf skateboard. These boards offer a fantastic surf best cross-training experience. If you’re a complete beginner, you might choose a more stable and stiffer surf skate, vs a looser and
Reason #6: get your adrenaline fix
Some people get a longboard mainly for the speed and adrenaline rush. Freeriding and downhill longboarding both involve going fast on steeper hills. Freeriding typically involves controlled speeds with a lot of technical sliding tricks, while downhill is primarily about finding the fastest lines down big mountain roads and slowing down as little as possible.
If speed is your thing, and you’re not into motor sports, then freeride or downhill longboarding will give you the best and rawest experience and thrills. You’ll need to choose the right board gear for speed – see this post for freeride and this one for downhill.
Reason #7: get into an athletic and/or artistic discipline
The last reason for getting a longboard is to get into freestyle and/or dancing. Longboard freestyle is the most athletic, creative, and probably the most athletic of all longboard styles. It involves constantly kicking and flipping your longboard and jumping on and off it.
Dancing is often seen as an artistic branch of freestyle, involving more gracefull cross-stepping and spinning maneuvers on the moving longboard. It’s a highly visual and elegant style that requires high balancing skills and outstanding coordination.
If you’re looking to get into a high-power, high-impact sport, get yourself a freestyle longboard (see this post for more about it). If you’re attracted to fluid and skillful figure skating and ballet, consider getting a dancing longboard – check out this post for guidance.
Why should you NOT get a longboard?
I’ll conclude this post with a couple of reasons you may not want to get a longboard! Longboarding may not be for you if:
- You have crippling joint problems that keep you from standing straight, walking, or running. I’ve been through a severe disc herniation which kept me from riding any kind of board for at least 6 months. Luckily I was able to recover from it, if you’re interested in the details, check out my 3-page website.
- You’re the daredevil type who always ends up breaking bones. If you have a lingering neck-breaking type of attitude, you may be better off staying away from longboarding as you’ll likely be drawn to the riskiest disciplines such as hardcore street freestyle or high-speed downhill racing. Know yourself!
- You live in an area that makes longboarding a hazardous sport: if you have nothing but dirt roads, major highways, or very steep hills around your place, better refrain from getting a longboard. Or, if you live in a third world city where people drive like madmen and bike tracks aren’t safe to ride on, forget about getting a longboard – trust me, I’ve been there!
Aside from the above points, I highly recommend getting a longboard for anyone fit enough to run or walk fast on a regular basis, whatever your age, size, and experience with board sports.
Whether you get a longboard for cruising, commuting, dancing or going fast, there will always be something for you in this great rewarding sport. It will bring you a healthy lifestyle, good workouts, a renewed social life, efficient transportation, and more if you’re up for it.
– Featured: “Davy Wavin’ Back” by Christian Rosillo; Rider: Ethan Cochard (Loaded Boards)
– “Kick Flip Squared” by Christian Rosillo; Rider: Jong Bin Jo (Loaded Boards)