Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A longboard is a longer version of the skateboard. Due to its longer and wider base, it is more stable and travels faster than ordinary skateboards. It is not commonly used to perform tricks, but it is rather more of a pure mode of transportation due to its greater stability, speed, and ease of use. Longboarders sometimes compete in downhill races. When it comes to cruising around roads and sidewalks, many people prefer longboards to normal skateboards.
What differentiates longboards from the normal skateboard most is the wide variety of shapes and sizes. There are no official length limits for longboards but boards shorter than 91 cm are seldom labelled as longboards. Boards longer than 150 cm are rare because the longer board requires more room to maneuvre. While the normal skateboards are used almost exclusively to perform tricks longboards are also used for transportation, slalom and downhill skateboarding. The boards used in these disciplines differ from each other greatly.
Boards used for transportation (also known as cruising) are the most common types of longboards. The boards are usually 100-130 cm long and usually do not have a long nose. The boards are flexy to provide a more comfortable ride and are often shaped to resemble surfboards. These boards are seldom used in aerial tricks but there are many longboarding tricks that, for example, involve walking around on the board in stylish manner.
Slalom skateboards are used for navigating through a track marked with small cones as quickly as possible. The boards are usually 63-89 cm long and are often made of high tech materials like carbon fiber. The shorter boards are used on tighter courses and longer boards are used on fast courses and giant slalom. Many slalom skateboarders have several different boards set up for different kind of courses. The trucks are attached to the very ends of the board and the boards often have narrow ends to allow a tighter turning radius. Slalom skateboards are used almost exclusively for competitive skateboarding.
Downhill skateboards are used for riding down hills as fast as possible. The boards are usually 110-130cm long and very stiff. The trucks are attached to the ends of the board to maximize the wheelbase. The baseplates of the trucks are often mounted through the deck to lower the board's center of gravity. Downhill skateboarders sometimes use streamlined helmets to reduce aerodynamic drag. Downhill skateboards are used almost exclusively for competitive skateboarding.
Trick boards are similar to the short skateboards in shape and construction but are longer and usually wider. The trick boards are seldom longer than 110 cm. Tricks that can be performed on these boards are the same tricks that can be performed on a short skateboard but the heavier weight and larger size of the board require more skill and strength from the skater.
The newest techniques of longboarding is sliding, it is used to slow yourself down. People who slide usually have much harder wheels equiped on their boards. To slide you must also have "sliding gloves" which can be regular household gardening gloves with cutting board (or any stiff plastic) attached to the palms and the fingers. To slide you must place your hands on the ground and pull an extremely sharp turn, making the board lose complete traction. Sliding is conveneant to stop quickly, or just to show off. Naming slides uses standard skate/snowboard positions (heelside/toeside) and then the type of slide. There are several types of slides, the standard "Slide" (the board "rotates" 180°), the pendulum (the board "rotates" 180°, then returns to the original position), there are many more complex slides such as Colemans, and 360's.
A drift is when the board loses traction around the turn, it is a controlled movement used to lose speed, or to impress. The same equipement is used as for slides. There is little variation, only hand positions.
- Northern California Downhill Skateboarding Association - A popular longboarding forum
- San Francisco Longboarding - Includes brief history of longboarding
- Yahoo! Longboarding directory
- Silverfish Longboarding forum
- Longboard DirectoryOnline database of Longboarding companies and websites, also a forum
-  - German Longboardmagazine online
- Naphte Canadian Longboard magazine
- Coastlongboarding - Western Canada/US longboarding event coordination site.
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