Cruising: Under 1 Week
You can use both your skateboards and longboards for cruising. If you’re quite athletic and have good balance, this should take you less than a week to master. In fact, some people get this down in a couple of hours.
However, if you’re a young rider and have not developed very good balance yet, it may take you several days. It can be helpful to have a mentor, a parent around to help you in case you fall. It’s a good idea to practice with some kind of cushion around like a sofa. You can practice in your garage and place your old couch nearby to catch you in case you fall.
We also recommend wearing protective gears like a helmet or knee and elbow pads. This is important for beginners and especially very young ones.
Carving: Several days or weeks
Once you’ve developed better balance and coordination with your boards, it’s a good next step to learn how to carve. Basically, carving is just leaning your body left or right to make curvy moves like an S.
You can carve with your skateboards and longboards. There are special longboards that are designed specifically for carving. The thing about these boards is that they usually have cut-out or drop-through decks.
When you lean to a side, your deck will more likely touch the wheels underneath. If they do come into contact, you’ll experience a sudden stop that could be dangerous in certain cases. This is called a wheelbite. That’s why many manufacturers have cut out the area of the deck right above the wheels to get it out of the way.
Decks designed for carving are also very flexy or pumpy. This is the opposite of stiff and thick decks. Why do they have this characteristic? It’s made that way so you can use your feet to pump the board to speed up whenever you like. This is the easiest part, in our opinion. You’ll nail this motion pretty much right away.
Dancing: Right away!
You can dance on your board, woohoo! This is a viable option. The long longboard is perfect for the job.
This move is pretty easy, honestly. Because longboards have a lot more surface area to stand on, you’ll often get better balance compared to narrower boards. You can do boardwalk on it. Or you can moonwalk and pull off some Jagger moves on the board.
It’s a great feeling for beginners when you feel like you can control your board right away!
Downhill Racing: Weeks or months
In our opinion, the hardest part of downhill racing is not getting up to speed. It’s learning how to stop safely in different cases.
Be aware, though, that it’s much easier and safer to race downhill on longboards than on skateboards. Because longboards are designed for riding over long distances at extreme speeds. It feels much more stable going downhill on longboards. You won’t get any wobbly feel at all.
If you’re practicing this, you can expect to learn how to coast left and right at high speeds. Many riders also bend their knees quite a bit when going downhill. This is to reduce wind resistance, so you’ll go fast and have a stable ride.
You can also take deep turns downhill as well. This can be tricky for beginners. Generally speaking, you should slow down when taking turns, especially at high speeds. Also, make sure you have a great grip on your board. Otherwise, you may fall off to the side (due to some gravity pull) if you’re leaning too much over.
To stop the board, we generally lean forward putting our weight on the front foot. You can also drag your foot along the ground next to the board. Another way that may be easier for beginners is to lower your body a bit and glide your hand on the ground to slowly put the board to a stop.
Doing tricks: Months or years
Doing tricks is probably the hardest part of them all. Skateboards are more commonly used for doing tricks. You can, however, use freestyle longboards for some tricks as well.
The ollie (fly the board off the ground) is one of the most popular ones. It can take several weeks or months to perfect. What you do is dragging your front foot up to slide the board up from the ground. Looks simple, but is hard to do.
You can try ollie over small obstacles when you’re starting out like a garden hose or some ropes. Make sure not to use sharp objects as they might injure you and damage the board.
It’s also much easier for you to do tricks on your skateboards if you have suitable clothing. We’d definitely recommend wearing loose pants for boys and comfy jeans or tights for girls.
Also, don’t use canvas shoes. Practicing the tricks a hundred times will shred your canvas shoes without mercy. Instead, use suede shoes like those from Vans, Es, or Lakai. Those can withstand such abuse very well.
Other tricks like kickflip, nollie, drop in or grind can take you weeks or months. But once you’ve got it all together, you’ll surely pull off a great performance.
Just like anything else, practice makes perfect. There are certainly some good ideas to help make the learning experience much easier for beginners. For example, practice in an area where there are one or two soft objects to catch you in case you fall. Plus, wearing comfy pants, suede shoes, and helmets will certainly make learning easier and safer. Whatever board you choose, have fun!