Longboarding is for everyone!

By Ryan Allison


Longboards are a longer and more stable skateboard than your traditional trick oriented skateboard. They have softer wheels, which allow a rider to roll right over rocks and twigs. Longboards are a great way to get around college campuses or even your neighborhood. These boards carry their speed well, are fun and an easy way to get out and get moving. Longboards have a great range of use–from the neighborhood cruiser, to the fast downhill carver.


Skateboarding can be difficult and intimidating; but longboarding is much easier and more rider-friendly. This is due to the larger size of the board and wheels, which adds a great deal of stability compared to the traditional skateboard. This stability takes a lot of the hard falls out of the learning process.


What do you need to get started?

Well like all sports, there is probably no end to what you could choose to invest in regarding gear; but to get started, you really only need a longboard and a helmet. Always wear a helmet. There is other protective gear like wrist guards, knee and elbow pads and even tailbone pads. Although these options are out there, one can easily and safely learn how to longboard with only a helmet and a good attitude.  It also helps to have a pair of shoes with a flat bottom which will give the rider more control and stability. Once you get the hang of it, you can ride in just about any type of shoe.


Finding the Right Longboard

There are a wide variety of shapes and sizes of longboards a person can choose from. As with regular skateboarding, there isn’t really one right way to longboard. You may be a rider who cruises to and from work or class. Maybe you like to bomb hills or skate bowls. However you want to ride, there is a board for you.  The longer a board is the more stable it tends to be. This length can affect the turning ability or agility of the board, so a person who wants to ride in a skate bowl would want a shorter board than someone who wants to ride down hills, since a shorter board is better for tight turns but less stable for high speeds.


 Great Positioning    

Now we need to know which foot to place in the front and which goes in the back. If you have already   ridden sideways while wakeboarding or snowboarding, then just go with the same stance that you used in those sports. If this is your first time riding sideways, we need determine which foot is your comfortable foot with which to lead.  Riding with your left foot forward is called “regular stance,” and riding with your   right foot forward is called “goofy.” Again, there is no right or wrong stance– there is only what is comfortable to you. There are many ways to determine which foot you are most comfortable having forward. Here are a few that we find work well.


Finding your Lead Foot

One way to find out is to imagine you are just in your socks and you are going to run and slide on a wood floor. Which foot would you lead with? That’s your stance.  A different way to determine your stance would be to either imagine or actually kick a ball, and the foot you kick with is typically your rear foot in your stance. For instance, I kick with my right foot and ride sideways with my left foot forward, which is regular stance. Lastly, you can have a friend help you by standing with both feet together, and have your friend give you a push backwards. Whichever foot you put back behind to brace yourself is typically your rear foot.


Time to Ride

Now that you know which foot is your lead foot, you can begin to familiarize yourself with standing on and pushing the longboard. Your rear foot is your push foot. To start out, it is good to place your lead foot right behind the front trucks (the things that hold the wheels) at around a 45-degree angle (whatever is comfortable to you). Next, with your rear foot, you can give a push. Then place that push foot right in front of the rear truck. Now you’re longboarding! As you get more comfortable with your balance and control on the board you will be able to move your front foot with your toes facing the nose of the board while you push then when you pull your rear foot on. You will adjust your front foot back to that 45-degree position mentioned earlier.


Once you are able to push around, you can start learning to turn or carve on your board. Carving is done by leaning your weight onto your heels or your toes.  The direction you lean is the direction you will carve. You can adjust the trucks of your board to make turning easier at low speeds or tighten them for more stability at high speeds.  Find a nice open space with no traffic to practice carving and go down small declines.  You can stop by turning away from a decline or by slowing yourself down by dragging one foot on the ground.


However you choose to longboard, always wear a helmet, and remember to have fun! Longboarding is great because there is no wrong way to do it. Just go put down some carves and enjoy being outdoors!


Regional Amateur Skateboarding Tour (The RAT) Heading to Round Rock Skate Park

DALLAS, TX. (May 26, 2009) – The Regional Amateur Skateboard Tour (The RAT) presented by Scion will take place on Saturday, June 6th at the Round Rock Skate Park in Round Rock, TX. just North of Austin. The RAT is a partnership between Houston based Sun & Ski Sports and Geiger Media. It will feature events in the four biggest markets in Texas – Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston.

“It’s been several years since the state of Texas has had an organized series like this and it’s time.” said promoter Bill Geiger. “The sport is blowing up across the country and Texas is definitely a hot spot. We had great participation at our first event in Dallas May 17th and I expect the series to grow as we continue on through Texas!”

The goal for this series is to give Texas skaters an opportunity to come hang out with their friends, have some fun and compete for some great cash and prizes. Three of the four competitions will take place on a custom mini-ramp created by pro vert skater Mike Crum and the crew at Push Productions. It was already constructed on-site at Sun and Ski Sports retail locations in Dallas (Grapevine Mills Mall) and will travel to San Antonio (San Pedro Ave.) and Houston (Katy Mills Mall). The Austin event will take place at the Round Rock Skate Park just North of the city. It will feature a Bowl competition as well as a street “Best Trick” competition. Over $2500 in cash and/or prizes will be awarded to top three finishers in each category.

In addition to Scion and Sun & Ski Sports, Stop #2 of The RAT series is sponsored by Monster Energy Drink, FUEL TV, Time Warner Cable, Kicker Audio, Skullcandy, Guapo Skateboards, Hype Skateboards, Element Skateboards, Triple 8 and local alternative rocker – 101X-FM. All of the events in the series will be professionally produced and backed with a substantial media platform including local radio and print, grass roots campaigns, web and internet marketing. For more information including schedules, locations, registration, etc., go to www.SkateTheRat.com

RAT Skateboard Tour – Dallas Stop Re-Cap

DALLAS, TEXAS – May 19, 2009 – Some of the best young skateboarders in North Texas gathered outside Sun and Ski Sports at Grapevine Mills last Sunday to compete in the first stop of the newly created RAT Skateboard Tour presented by Texas Scion of Grapevine.

Originally scheduled for Saturday, May 16th, the contest was pushed to Sunday due to some crazy weather conditions that hit hard around 3:00am on Saturday morning and never let up…but as they say in Texas, if you don’t like the weather…wait five minutes and it will change. It took a little more then five minutes, but by Sunday morning, the sun was shining , the skies were blue and it was GAME-ON! The skaters where chomping at the bit to ride, the crowd gathered around the mini-ramp, the Monster Energy Drinks were flowing and the music was pumping out from under the Skullcandy tent with DJ Joey B.

The event featured a mini-ramp competition as well as a street “Best Trick” format on a select obstacle (which will change at each stop of the tour). The action kicked off a little after 11:30am with Heat #1 of qualifying on the mini-ramp. Designed and built by Oliver Bradley along with Mike Crum and the crew at Push Productions, the ramp was impressive. Measuring 30’x30′ with five and half foot walls and a seven foot extension, it was anything but “mini”. This was the first time that the ramp had been fully assembled since it was constructed at the end of April and it was worth the wait.

By all accounts, the first stop of the RAT skateboard series was a huge success. It turned out to be a great family affair with killer weather, great crowds and some insane amateur skating! Congratulations to all of the competitors for putting on a great show and to our overall winners – Ke’Chaud Johnson, Edward Montes and Josh Hurley on the mini-ramp and Ke’Chaud, Mark Roberts and Rowdy Altum in Street “Best Trick”. The crowd also got to see pro rider and local legend, Jon Comer skate the new ramp set-up. The overall vibe was good!

Special thanks to all of our sponsors and partners who made it happen including our presenting sponsor – Texas Scion of Grapevine, our retail partner Sun and Ski Sports, Monster Energy Drink, FUEL TV and their local affiliate – Time Warner Cable, Kicker Audio, Skullcandy. Element and PUSH Distributions brands – GUAPO, Hype, and City Stars.

For a complete overview of how the day unfolded as well as round-by-round results and plenty of great photo’s, go to www.SkateTheRAT.com.

Next up the RAT heads to Austin, Texas on June 6th for stop number two. This time we are taking the action to the Round Rock Skate Park which is a great new facility just North of town. Check it out at www.roundrocktexas.gov/skatepark. Online registration is open at www.skatetherat.com and judging from the feedback we received last weekend…the field is sure to fill up quickly.

Stay tuned to FUEL TV for upcoming coverage of the RAT’s first stop on the Weekly Update Show!

The Pros Showed Up Big at “Rock the Cradle for Johnny Romano”

We were a proud sponsor this weekend at “Rock the Cradle for Johnny Romano”.  Pros such as Rune Glifberg, Dave Duncan, and Lance Childers showed up big at Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark this weekend.  We hope everyone had a good time, and that the event offered the Romano family both financial and moral support.

We snapped some great photos of the event, which you can find in our Flickr account.  We also set up a Flickr Group, which pools together all the photos from the event.  If you took pictures, feel free to upload them here so you can share with your friends who couldn’t make it out.  All of our photos are protected by the Creative Commons license, which allows you to use them in any way as long as you attribute them back to Sun & Ski Sports.

We also created a sweet music video in honor of the event.  You can find that here.

Many thanks to all who showed, volunteered, or skated at Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark this weekend.

Professional Skateboarder Bucky Lasek is Coming to Sun and Ski Sports

Ten time X Games medalist and professional skateboarder Bucky Lasek will be at our Sun and Ski Memorial City Mall store on Friday evening from 7:30-8:30 pm to sign autographs and will be skating on Saturday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark in Houston (103 Sabine Street, Houston, Texas) from 8am to 10am. Come by and don’t forget to bring your board!

In the meantime, watch this killer video of Bucky catching some sick air: