How to Longboard – A Beginner’s Guide [step-by-step & videos]

While most people have been on or around some kind of skateboard at least once in their lifetime, for far too many, that experience ends badly and results in them avoiding skating altogether. On that memorable day, many people decide whether skating is for them – or not. That day, for some, even impacts whether their children are allowed to take it up.

However, more often than not, we don’t find ourselves standing on that board for the right reasons, with the right people, or trying to do the right things – do we? After all, skateboards are all about freestyle tricks, and aren’t really the right instrument for individuals that are just looking to skate.

This is just one of the reasons that longboarding is becoming more popular than skateboarding with adults and is steadily growing in popularity around the world. Skateboarding has mainly focused on freestyle tricks, which require greater agility and can demand higher levels of fitness from the rider. This has a lot to do with its popularity amongst teens and 20-somethings.

Longboards inspire more confidence through their larger deck’s inherent stability and are more industry-focused on being a mode of transportation (as opposed to being considered a toy or sporting implement). 

This has especially been the case with electric longboards, or e-boards. The somewhat quiet 2020 acquisition of the Boosted Boards brand by urban e-commute company Lime illustrates the built-in value of a longboard as an instrument of travel and transit.

For many, longboarding is the epitome of smooth, with its graceful turning arcs and ability to weave effortlessly through pedestrian traffic. The truth is, longboarding comes in many forms (all of them are pretty smooth, though).

That gratefulness is a big part of what makes cruising the most popular style of longboarding, as well as it being the most universally available in terms of skill alone. 

Longboarding often provokes an image of the backpack-laden commuter weaving effortlessly through pedestrian traffic, weaving to the rhythm of a beat only they can hear. Others imagine an agile carver pumping and sliding their way through scenic rural foothills, or maybe an energetic longboard dancer showing of some slickness at the local boardwalk.

There are even longboard freestylers that can ollie, shovit, tiger claw and no comply their way around town as impressively as any skateboarder.

And look smoother doing it, more often than not.

Before you begin, invest in a good longboarding helmet to ensure a safer experience.

Learning to Longboard by Cruising

If you’re just getting started in learning how to longboard, look at cruising first to grow more familiar with your longboard and begin your development of fundamental techniques like pushing, turning, and braking (stopping). 

If you’re considering freestyling or dancing down the road, be sure to train up your ambidexterity as early as possible by riding both regular and goofy stances and pushing with both feet. Alternately, of course – not at the same time.

And while a quality deck & hardware setup is important and arguably essential for an enjoyable experience, safety gear is worth investing in too – especially when first learning how to longboard. Don’t skimp on safety, and be sure to protect as much of your body as you can, as best you can.

You’ve also probably heard the advice to hit the scene and find a few longboarder friends to help show you the ropes; unfortunately, sometimes this just simply isn’t an option. 

For any number of reasons, the advice of surrounding yourself with experienced longboarders may not be within reach right now, and that’s OK.

how to longboard

Learning How To Longboard Like It’s the 21st Century

The truth is, longboarding is one of those things that is fairly quick to learn but can take much longer to master. It doesn’t matter if you’re learning the clarinet, jujutsu, or longboarding – you’ll need a firm grasp of the fundamentals if you’re going to do anything else at all with it.

If you want to get a good grip on the basics but don’t have a longboarding peer group, videos are the best place to start.

Today’s internet offers an abundance of content – the bulk of it for free! 

Free doesn’t have to mean low-quality, as social media influencers prove on a consistent basis by constantly pushing their own bar higher and higher. Still, you have to keep that proverbial “grain of salt” handy every time you click play. 

This is exactly why we wanted this article especially to provide our readers with a curated reference that puts trustworthy content where it’s easy to bookmark and find again.

Of the current influencers and personalities that target longboarders with their content, Hans Wouters was found to provide consistently insightful commentary and his content regularly includes video footage shot from different angles that provide further clarity. 

Furthermore, slow-motion replays and edited loops are used to help illustrate specific mechanics and, along with Hans’ knowledgeable commentary, help identify tricky spots within the techniques. 

For these reasons and more, Hans Wouters stands out as one of the longboarders you really should be watching as a beginner. He is often mentioned by other pro-longboarders as being their own inspiration, even after they’ve all met and become friends. 

This says an awful lot, we think. Still, keep your grain of salt close by. If you’re not feeling his vibe, try someone else. Today there are “longboarding ambassadors” that identify with so many different subcultures and groups within the community that it has become easier than ever to find content that resonates.

No matter who’s content you watch, reducing everything down to bite-sized portions is incredibly helpful to beginning longboarders that might feel overwhelmed when first learning to skate. 

While much of Wouters’ content is admittedly aimed at a freestyle longboarding audience, the importance of building a solid foundation through cruising is emphasized throughout his work and highlights its importance. 

The Significance of Cruising

Cruising is to longboarding, is what learning to play the scales is to playing a musical instrument – it just happens to also be way more engaging and . 

Longboard cruising will train your muscle-memory to find your body’s stability and balance naturally; feeling how shifting your weight changes the trajectory of the board while moving forward is the first step towards truly being in control

Just about anyone can stand on a longboard at the top of a hill and push off, if they’re brave enough. 

It’s how things work out along the way and turn out at the bottom that really matters, though, right?.

To make sure you are learning how to longboard properly, take a look at this video content posted by the aforementioned Hans Wouters:

The basics of longboarding

[1] Learn How to Longboard: The Basics – Hans Wouters (14:29 Total Duration)

This video is an excellent tutorial for beginners. Throughout the presentation, Hans provides instruction on how to do what he is doing while providing his own insights along the way. 

He has edited the video to include split-screen moments that allow viewers to see the techniques in both regular and goofy footing.

The complete breakdown of the video, for your convenience:

1. Pushing the Longboard (2:45)

2. Regular vs Goofy Footing Splitscreen Begins (3:05)

3. Carving Explanation (4:45)

4. Take Your Time; Don’t Rush Into Tricks (5:35)

5. Cruising Is How You Learn To Longboard (~6:00) [conversation actually starts before #4]

6. Braking: Stopping Your Longboard (6:12)

Foot Braking (6:55)

– Hans’ Wipeout Story About the Importance of Finding Stability (7:25)

– Importance of Using Different Parts of the Shoe When Foot Braking (8:10)

Jump-Off (8:20)

– Using the Jump-Off as an Emergency Stop (8:32) *value in commuting/high-traffic situations

Importance of Jumping Forward, Sending the Longboard Backward (8:55)

7. Riding “Switch” (learning to push with both feet; a foundation for learning longboard tricks down the road) develops ambidexterity from the beginning. (9:15)

8. Going Fakie (10:25)

Ok, so this next video is another Hans Wouters pick – last one. Promise.

This next one has helped a lot of people, though. In it, Hans offers up a utility-belt of tips that give riders at all stages something to play with. Including absolute beginners. 

In the following video, Hans starts out explaining how strong the feelings of being judged can be for people new to longboarding, and that even he feels judged at times when he’s just out cruising. 

That’s usually when he pulls something out of the utility belt out there to clear things up. Or so we like to think, anyway.

Some of what he talks about here is common sense stuff, especially if you’ve been longboarding for a while. But for those absolute strangers to longboarding that nonetheless feel the call to ride, there is a wealth of knowledge here. 

How to not look like a beginner longboarder

[2] How to Not Look Like a Beginner Longboarder – Hans Wouters (11:42 Total Duration)

1. Pushing (0.48) – The importance of confidence and being comfortable

“The way you push will easily give you away as someone who skates or longboards…(or doesn’t)”

Creating reasons to ride set distances, like visiting friends or exploring the town, is good advice that can help quickly develop your pushing technique and riding stamina.

First, get comfortable pushing while riding straight, and planting both feet to lean into your turning arc. Then, once you’re comfortable doing that in both directions and are familiar with your longboard’s turning radius, practice pushing while turning. 

Once you do this without realizing that you’re doing it, it’s pretty safe to say you’re pushing like a savvy longboarder.

Pushing While Turning – Insights:

Option A (2:28): Shift your planted foot to the inside edge of the board. Once you’re comfortable standing here, the shift will cause the board to turn itself while you push to maintain speed.

Option B (2:38): Instead of moving the entire foot over, the rider shifts their weight to the balls of the feet and swings the heel only to the inside edge of the longboard deck. Some longboarders prefer this, as it allows them to rock their weight and have more control over the turn without needing to move the feet.

Pushing – Pro Tips

Keep your pushing leg close to the board, where it feels natural. Overspreading your legs will feel awkward and unstable, not to mention slow you way down. (2:58)

Speaking of overextension, you’ll also want to avoid letting your legs stretch too far out. Keeping both legs slightly bent and pushing through the knees is not only more effective, but looks better to anyone watching. (3:08)

Swing it out – let your pushing leg follow-through the motion and “swing” up and out behind you with every push. Pay attention to keeping the knees bent so you don’t overextend. Swinging it out also applies to swinging the foot forward when digging for the next push. As the video demonstrates, you want avoid stopping the foot at the boundaries of the deck.(3:23)

DB Longboards has a good volume of beginner-focused content available; content that is packed with tips and experienced insights.

It may lack some of the advanced editing features that make Wouters’ work stand out, but those who take the time to listen will easily see that Spencer Smith knows his stuff. His concise explanations avoid too much slang or jargon, making them easy to understand.

While DB Longboards is a manufacturer located in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, the videos are purely informational and make no attempt to push a product or advertise the company (aside from their name being on the account instead of Spencer’s).

Spencer Smith pays extra attention to foot placement and takes a few moments to discuss the variations in how this relates to longboard control. He also discusses “pushing mongo”; an alternative method that we will let him explain. Our comments on the matter are included in the notes below. 

How to push and carve on a longboard

[3] Longboarding 101 – How to Push and Carve on a Longboard – DB Longboards (Total Duration 6:34)

1. Stance (0:22) – Leading with the dominant leg; 

2. Regular vs. Goofy (0:45) – Right-handed people will usually lead with the left leg, and left-handed people lead with their right. Dominant left leg planted on the board (usually above the front trucks) and pushing with the right foot is a regular stance; Dominant right leg planted on the board and pushing with the left foot is a goofy stance.

3. Foot Positioning (1:10) Front foot at ~45 and back foot close to perpendicular to the longboard deck.

4. Pushing to Build Speed (1:30) 

5. Tendency to Plant the Dominant Foot (1:45)

6. Pro-Tips:

Importance of Keeping the Eyes Up (2:00) Look where you want to go; If you look at the ground in front of the longboard, that is where you will end up

Avoid Pushing Close & Kicking the Wheel (2:15)

Pushing “Mongo” (2:45) –  (Pushing Mongo is planting the non-dominant foot at the back of the board. The purpose is to gain the ability to push with the dominant foot without compromising the regular stance for a goofy one. Most experienced longboarders strive to push ambidextrously, or with both feet, as well as riding comfortably in both regular and goofy footing. It comes with time, but the sooner you start using both feet for pushing the sooner it will feel comfortable. – ed.)

Building Confidence on One Foot (3:10) – Exercises to build stamina and confidence for turning while pushing.

7. Carving (3:28) 

– Importance of Using the Whole Body to Carve (3:48)

– Weaving with the Leading Shoulder (4:18)

– Shifting Body Weight Heelside-to-Toeside (4:55)

– Common Mistakes While Carving (5:22) – overcompensating weight shifts; not knowing the board’s limits well enough; improves as you learn your board’s boundaries

These days, Spencer Smith is still longboarding, but has become more involved with his career at Moment as a Mechanical Designer than his social media following. Still, there is a reason his instructional content is still top-ranked for helping people learn how to longboard.

Follow along with a fellow beginner

[4] Beginner Girl Learning to Longboard – 1 Month Progression – Wendy Ho (Total Duration 11:34)


Ms. Ho does not wear a helmet or any other safety gear for the majority of this video. While we don’t seek to shame her for doing so (she is a beginner, after all), the fact jumped out at us, as it’s sure to jump out at others.

If anything, let it be an additional lesson: 

Please wear appropriate safety gear AT ALL TIMES – even if just standing on the longboard in your driveway. The concrete is no softer there than in the street. ***

As mentioned, this video isn’t from a longboarding influencer or pro. It’s actually a relatively new upload by an ordinary girl that unboxes and stands on her longboard for the very first time – with us watching.

Early in the video you’ll see her original goals change once she first comes face-to-face with longboarding’s learning curve for the first time (i.e., the ground). As she perseveres, you can see her confidence grow and her technique improve. 

This isn’t content full of fancy polish and editing effects. It’s not even a “How-To” video; not really. But it is a beneficial peek through the keyhole at someone who has never even stood on a longboard, and you get to watch them learning to believe in their own ability to learn how to longboard. 

There is a value in the lessons here that is difficult to put a number to.

“Tricks I Want to Learn” (0:20) Pivot, Shovit, Frontside Pivot, Ghostride

Day One (0:47) Unboxing and standing on the longboard for the first time; Describes the longboard as “the cheapest I could find on Amazon”; We do NOT recommend wearing sandals on Day 1 of your own experience; reframing of the goals (1:25)

Day Two (1:53) Attempting Cross-steps; mentions feeling stiff on the board and realizing the need to relax

Day Three (2:56) Commentary only – added 180 step, which Wendy felt went better than the cross-step

Day Four (3:27) Adding the ollie; improvement on the cross-step and 180 step

Day Five (4:00) Adding Peter Pans; Commentary describes feeling accomplished in progress so far, and is beginning to see the importance of individual style in learning to longboard

Day Nine (4:33) Finally wearing a helmet; Visible improvement in cross-step and walking the board while moving; commentary mentions ~one hour of practice a day thus far

Day Ten (5:49) Short clip – visible improvement

Day Eleven (5:53) Short Clip – looking more confident cruising

Day Fourteen (6:03) Commentary only about the cross-step “clicking”, and suddenly understanding how the shifts in body weight make the board react

Day Fifteen (6:41) Commentary about mastery taking 10K hours, but minimum performance taking about 20, and she fits the metric; “Don;t lose hope, even if you suck for a while. Stay at it and you will get proficient for a beginner within a few hours.”

Day Twenty (7:28) 180 Turns – Video Clip

Day Twenty-Three (7:53) Visible Progress with the Frontside 180; Attempting Shovit, other Freestyle Tricks; Clean Ghostride, still working on the Ghostride Kickflip

Day Twenty-Nine (8:54) Video Compilation of progress – you can see a notable improvement in both her confidence and her technique with minimal daily effort. She’s able to land a slow-mo Frontside Tigerclaw (9:38) which is amazing when you look back at her wobbly unboxing. 

So as you can see, Ms. Wendy Ho didn’t exactly reach her original goals of mastering the pivots and ghostriding…but she did learn a ton about how to longboard and land a few other tricks as well. 

Altogether, we can estimate she spent ~45 hours or so practicing. At an hour to an hour-and-a-half each day for 30 days, it’s a close estimate, if not a generous one.

Not exactly a grueling regimen, honestly, and still she made observable progress. More importantly, you can see in her body language the growth in her own confidence as a longboarder. 

Her early insistence on trying freestyle tricks coupled with the relatively short practice sessions worked against her, however.

Had she simply focused on cruising and confidently rolling forward on her longboard, she likely could have landed her tricks much more quickly in the last week. The video does show us that her work on the cross-step and the 180 cross step brought her the most benefit towards being able to cruise confidently, while the other, more difficult, tricks likely robbed her of precious training time.

Still, the girl had fun. She got out there everyday and worked on it. Sure, her goals changed and she fell a couple of times, but it’s pretty obvious she considers the experience to have been worth it.

At the end of the day, that’s really what it’s all about anyway.

Ideal Terrain for Specific Styles of Longboarding

Getting caught up in the different styles of longboarding might be their greatest setback, in the grand scheme of things. Most of the pros are consistent in saying that cruising is the best place to start.

One of the biggest reasons for this is that you can cruise on a longboard anywhere there is pavement – and a few places there aren’t. There are factors involved, of course – different decks and hardware setups work better with some styles than they do with others.

Skill plays a huge role too, of course. We might want to look like Lofti Lamaali or Hyojoo Ko as we enchant the other boardwalk patrons – but want and do can be quite far apart, at times.

Different brands can specialize in different styles of boards- for a thorough breakdown, check out our best longboard brands guide.

To get a better idea of what kind of terrain are best for the different styles of longboarding, we’ve included a short list that describes the typical scenarios:

Carving – Carving can be done on any terrain, and is the cornerstone technique of learning to turn and control the board. Pushing a carve to its limit results in a slide, which is considered advanced carving or freeriding.

Commuting – Longboard commuting works best on flat paved surfaces already suitable for walking or biking; Urban downtown, academic campuses, beachside strips, and boardwalks are all popular locations for longboard commuters due to their long, flat, paved surfaces.Electric longboarding, or e-longboarding, is growing in popularity with longboard commuters as the technology and prices continue to improve.

Cruising – Is the foundation of all longboarding styles, and any terrain can be suitable for it. Longboard cruising, simply put, is just riding your longboard. Learning to lean your weight, shift your feet, and carve back and forth to maintain speed without pushing will come with time, and make your experience that much more enjoyable.

Dancing – When done well, longboard dancing can literally take your breath away. Any flat paved surface with open space, such as urban areas, beaches, boardwalks, etc. can be suitable for dancing (though you may want to avoid pedestrians until you’ve achieved a certain level of mastery). Longboard dancing is easier when done on decks manufactured for that specific purpose.

Downhill – As the name implies, with downhill longboarding slopes are kind of necessary. Steeper grades require greater skill, experience, and equipment. Downhill racing is the style of thrill-seekers and can see riders easily reaching speeds well over 55MPH. This style will require the most expensive equipment to engage in properly; requiring substantial investment in both longboard setup and safety equipment. Still, it is the top of the mountain to many longboard enthusiasts, and remains a wildly popular sport.

Freeriding –  Freeride longboarding is where cruising, carving, and freestyling all overlap; flat to gently sloped terrain is best-suited for freeriding, but urban features such as steps, benches, curbs, etc. can be incorporated into the session

Freestyling – as in skateboarding, urban architecture and skate parks are best; paved surfaces, concrete steps, solid handrails, etc.

Slalom – Slalom is more of a competitive event than an actual riding style; it can be performed on downhill or flat terrain, with each requiring its own skillset. Slalom racing emphasizes pumping, carving, and sometimes, freeriding at speed.

longboard beginner guide

The Who’s Who of Longboarding on Youtube

We mentioned the abundance of content that has become available in regards to longboarding, via the internet.

We also mentioned that it was vitally important to get your information from the right places. As a beginner longboarder that is just starting to learn how to make your board do what you want, you want to listen to people that know what they are talking about. 

Throughout the list below, you will find links to various manufacturers, publications, athletes, and other entities that have a vested interest in the longboarding community. 

Longboarding Companies and Magazines: Youtube Channels

DB Longboards (manufacturer & seller; 35.7K subscribers) –

Loaded Boards (Loaded Ambassadors; 81.9K subscribers) –

Landyachtz (manufacturer & seller; 199K subscribers) –

Rayne Longboards (manufacturer & seller; 68.6K subscribers) –

Paris Truck Co. (hardware manufacturer; 19.2K subscribers) –

Skate[Slate] (longboarding exclusive content; 22.8K subscribers) –

Just a Few of Longboarding Who’s Who

*In no particular order:

Lotfi Lamaali (longboarding influencer – dancing, freeriding; 34.6K subscribers) –

Lofti Lamaali is a European brand ambassador and professional longboard. His longboard dance videos have mesmerized millions (or at least hundreds of thousands, several times a piece). 

Having transcended social media stardom in the pursuit of creativity, he has most recently been involved in producing short skate movies. They feature Lamaali’s signature exotic soundtracks and hypnotic longboard dancing routines. Check out some of his work – VIBING & LOST

You can find out more about him on his personal website or of course, his Instagram.

Nick Jones (longboarding influencer – freeriding, freestyle; 7.64K subscribers) –

Nick Jones is a longboarder that exudes confidence while riding, his personal blend of freestyling and cruising coming together in a flavor of freeriding that has become incredibly polished over the years. He’s active in the longboarding community on many levels, and is even known to pop in to the longboarding reddit from time to time.

Jones’ command of the deck with his feet makes what he’s doing look more than possible; he makes it look easy. Nick Jones is one of those longboarders we think of when the word smooth comes to mind. Keep up with his going on via his Instagram account.

Natalie Pluto (Natalie Paige) (longboarding influencer – freestyling; 43.8K subscribers) –

Natalie Pluto has risen to Social Media Stardom by branding herself as the quintessential American longboarder girl. She is a pro-freestyler and has relocated from the DC, Maryland, Virginia area to the heart of American longboarding out in sunny Los Angeles. Her Instagram page is filled with shots that go beyond the technical side of longboarding and give people a look into the lifestyle that goes along with it.

Hyojoo Ko (longboarding influencer – dancing, freeriding; 297K subscribers) –

Hyojoo Ko’s story is truly inspirational to anyone with a passionate interest in learning to longboard. While working as a South Korean UI designer for an app development company, she took up longboarding to unwind from the corporate lifestyle. 

Starting with cruising and later attempting to learn tricks she saw others doing, within a year she was landing advanced tricks consistently.

After first starting in 2014, within three years she had become a social media sensation for her longboard dancing and was being invited all over the world to skate and interview.

Today she maintains her social media presence online and posts regularly on her Instagram page.

Hans Wouters (longboarding influencer – freestyling, freeriding; 186K subscribers) –

Hans Wouters provides very thorough commentary and includes video footage shot from several different angles. In addition, slow-motion replays and edited loops are used to help illustrate specific mechanics and, along with Hans’ knowledgeable commentary, help analyze the more complex techniques. 

Reducing everything down to bite-sized nuggets is incredibly helpful to beginning longboarders that might feel overwhelmed when first learning to skate. While much of his content is aimed at a freestyle longboarding audience, he stresses the importance of building a solid foundation through cruising. 

This is great advice regardless of the style you might be interested in. 

Cruising will train your muscle-memory to find your stability and balance organically; feeling how your weight shifts the trajectory of the board while moving is the first step towards truly being in control

To keep up with Hans, you can subscribe to his Youtube Channel or his Instagram. You can see him offer a more personal look into his skating spots in this lockdown longboarding video.

Well everyone, that wraps up our “How-To Longboard” guide – we hope you found it informative and helpful in your journey towards becoming a longboarder. 

Even if you’re not a beginner, there is plenty of good information here that is worth revisiting so make sure you bookmark or save the page. 

And if you are a beginner, just remember this and you’ll be fine:

1. ALWAYS wear your helmet – wear more gear if you’ve got it.

2. While it’s ok to try new things, don’t forget to just cruise too.

3. Be safe and have fun!

Welcome to this amazing community of bright, happy, and brilliant people that are in love with sharing the love. Thanks for reading – we’ll see you again soon.

Longboarding Guide