You all know what skateboarding is…a popular action sport, recreational activity, and a mode of transportation that originated in the USA. But what you might not know about is longboarding; a fast-growing trend and sport that is very much similar to skateboarding but comes with an interesting twist!
In this post, we look at what longboarding is and the space it occupies in the world of contemporary sports.
What is Longboarding?
Longboarding is a form of skateboarding sport whereby athletes ride on a longboard to compete in a race. Originally from Hawaii, the longboard was invented by surfers who wanted to bring surfing to land when there were no waves to surf.
Compared to skateboards, the longboards bring better stability and durability because of their bigger wheel size, as well as lower wheel durometers. There are also many variations of longboards, based on the wheel size and how they turn.
There are various ways longboarding racing is conducted, but the most popular form is downhill racing. Here, the longboards used are uniquely designed to be longer, typically 35-44 inches long. The races are not for the faint-hearted; they can reach jaw-dropping speeds, with some participants recording speeds of up to 80mph.
Generally, the races feature a maximum of four athletes riding on the best downhill longboards in each round of the competition. These start uphill and the racers ride down a tarmac course as fast as possible as they try to steer and control the board. If a rider loses control and falls off the board, the rules allow them to get back on the longboard and continue with the race.
The majority of riders ride the longboard standing up, although some employ a seated technique with a flat back, which is almost similar to a luge.
Longboard Racing Competitions
The world sanctioning organization for skateboard sports, IGSA, holds a variety of downhill longboard racing competitions. One of the most popular events is the Bo Peep Crash and Burn, organized yearly in the UK. Another major competition involving the sport is the Almabtried downhill racing event conducted in Germany.
During these competitions, spectators get to witness the best longboard racers in action! Harmony’s Downhill is a well-known longboard racing course for any fan of the sport. This 1-mile stretch of slope features a winding road ridden with cracks and bumps that riders have to overcome as they compete to get to the base.
There is a fair share of risk that comes with longboard racing. During such competitions, it is common to see paramedics on the sidelines with ambulances always on hand. As expected, injuries are a common occurrence at such neck-break speeds but that does not in any way downplay the fun in this amazing sport!
If you are a fan of extreme sports, then downhill longboard racing is something you should definitely check out. The goal here is strictly speed and nothing else. With skaters zooming down the steep hills at speeds over 80mph, safe to say that this is not a sport for the Fearsome Felixes!
It is a hardcore sport that needs a huge commitment in overcoming one’s fear and throwing caution to the wind, almost literally! If you think you can roll with the big boys of longboard racing, then why not give the sport a try!