The sport of pushing: Longboard

SportofPushingAs my friends and I left Marina Barrage after the National Day celebrations, we were glad to save ourselves from the crowded bus ride from Marina Barrage to the nearest train station. We had with us our mode of transport.

Mine, made from 7-ply Canadian Maple wood and spanning 37-inches long with 150mm trucks attached to four wheels, is my beloved longboard.

Albeit having to avoid threatening gravel on the pavements then kicking our boards to pick up speed again, the sport of longboarding has had me appreciating any modes of transport more than ever. Besides, it is great for cruising and suits well for girls like me who aren’t into doing tricks.

The appearance of the sport is similar to skateboarding, but the difference lies in the variety of shapes of the wooden decks as well as the type of trucks, which allows the user to swerve left and right. The longboard is unlike a skateboard where the user has to step on the kicktail and manoeuvre the board left or right. As you might guess, the variety of motion on a longboard is akin to surfing on a surfboard.

If you are an adrenaline junkie thinking of taking up a new sport, you should really take longboarding into consideration. Intermediate and professional longboarders take on more dangerous riding on downhill slopes, requiring good skills and balance in order to win the race while remaining safe.

Or, if you feel like taking on a sport that gives you some transportation benefits, you can get a longboard that lets you cruise around the Singapore streets. The more adventurous and creative longboarders do something called dancing, or cross stepping on their boards.

Getting your first longboard

Research! Research! Research! The Internet is your best friend in getting all the information you need, as well as different perspectives from different parts of the world.

Of course, not all the brands of longboards are available in Singapore, so the foremost course of action is to find shops in Singapore that sells longboards. Otherwise, you can always save up some money to order your board of choice off the Internet. But keep in mind that should the shipment reach you in a less than ideal state, you’d have to bear the cost of shipping back to the suppliers to get an exchange or repair.

Of the known shops locally, LongboardLove is located at Telok Blangah Road; Interstate Boardship and Spitfire Skate are located at Peninsula Plaza; Miz29 at Queensway Shopping Centre; and Billabong shops all over the island stock them as well.
If you are not fully into taking up longboarding as a long-term hobby, or simply have a really tight budget, second-hand boards are also available in a variety of avenues, like Facebook pages and forums.

Longboard Disciplines

Decide what you want to do with your longboard. The sport can be a hefty investment, as first-hand longboards cost at least $300 and can go up to $1000, depending on the set-up. Knowing what you want to know with your board will help get you an appropriate one, which you will not regret spending that few hundreds of dollars on.

Be it for cruising, free-riding, going downhill, dancing, carving or sliding, the shape of the board, the way the trucks are mounted, the type of wheels and the type of bushings used can all be put together fit your various needs.

Safety first

However, it is recommended that you spend some money on safety gear like knee and elbow pads, and a helmet too. This is especially so for girls who do not want to leave ugly scars on their knees and arms.

The thing to note is that longboards can easily pick up speed even on a slight downhill slope. The longer the distance, the more speed you pick up, and so does the impact your body has to endure should you lose balance and crash onto the ground.

Always try on the safety gear before buying. You will have to make sure the safety gear does not restrict your mobility; some paddings may not be able to provide the flexibility needed while skating, and to endure a fall of course.

It is easy to literally ‘fly off’ your longboard when you bail, which happens when you crash into a fellow longboarder, attempt to skate across a gap too wide for your wheels to handle, or when you get speed wobbles when going too fast. Your longboard simply trips over something, throwing you either forward or sideways.  

Thus, the one basic, yet so important thing to do is to footbrake when you know that you may be encountering a crash. Footbraking is merely using your kicking leg to have some contact with the ground to slow you down. Always start off practicing your footbrake down a slight hill. Never over-estimate what you might be able to handle, especially without any safety gear on.

Now that you have the basic knowledge about longboarding, it is time to make some friends who are into longboarding and guide you into the sport. Never learn a mistake through the tough way, always wear your helmet, and have great fun!

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