SURF STYLE SKATING EQUIPMENT
Pads and helmets
Winter clothing for skating
The skateboard you use must be long and heavy in order to simulate the feel of a longboard turn. A shortboard just won't do it. It comes around at an eyeblink. I would suggest starting with a 48" wooden board. It can have some flex, but leave the kicked tail and any other modern features and purchase a flat, surfboard shaped board that is nice and wide. The trucks should be very wide with wheels of at least 66mm in diameter. The risers will need to be high, thus the deck will be a ways off the ground. I would look for wheel wells on the underside of the board rather than cutaway sections on the deck. You are concerned with sweeping turns and walking up and down the board above all else.
I started my cross training and return to surf style on a Gravity Hardwood Classic 48" and recommend it as an excellent board for surf style. As I started to master the turns I found that it didn't have enough weight or swing to it. Also I wanted to be able to take four complete steps from middle to nose. For these reasons I went to a 54" Gravity Classic, width 10". It has a little flex when you want to pump it, but is basically solid when you walk on it.
Well you longboard surf and have just gone out and bought what the guy at the skate shop assured you was a longboard. With extreme excitment you have pushed off and found that there is no where to walk and the things to narrow to do anything on. Sorry but you should have read this first :-)
Longboards now come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are just plain crap while others are made for a specific purpose. Not may are made to simulate Longboard surfing at all. So what should you look for ?
Here is a checklist to help you decide if a board is suitable to simulate your longboard surfing on :
Length - Here it should be at least 47/48" plus. Ideally it should be 53"plus. I rekon the ideal is at least 58". Still Stoked Surf trainer is 72" !
It should be flat with very little flex for your weight.
It should be wide ... no use having a skinny deck you can't move around on. If you have big feet go for around 11" if not then 9 1/2" should just do.
It shouldn't taper off to a pintail at the front. You need a rounded nose which is almost the widest point of the board. The tail can taper off slightly on longer (53"+) boards as you will not need it much, I still prefer a rounded tail but not as fat as te nose. But with smaller boards you need a square or rounded tail not a pintail.
You don't need a kicktail or upturned nose on a board over 52". On 48"-52" a kick is Ok, I prefer a flat nose or one with a slight upturn. On some boards you get a slight rocker all the way through which is nice on smaller boards.
Wheel cutouts are OK but I avoid them. Slight ones help to stop wheel rub but if you use new style trucks yo don't need them and they can be a pain if you are turning with your feet just in the wrong position as they will catch your shoes. An example of this is the 48" gravity boards which are a pain to nose ride because of the deep wheel cut outs. (Their Classics get over this though).
While I think it is an individual choice here are some decks (and links to the sites if they have them) I think are good for longboard surf simulation.
- STILL STOKED - English boards that are made for longboard surfers
- Black 29 - their 60" Royale model
- Tahoe - their 62" model
- Gravity - Their 52" Classic
- Fluid skates - larger ones
- Kapu skates - the noserider and bigger model
- Topps - if you can get them
- Real Wood - pity they are only 48"
- Vision - Their 50" longboard
- Powell - their 50" Pele model
- Envy 57" - never tried one but they seem good
This is NOT to say that other boards are crap, the above I have got and people like Sector 9 just haven't got their big board act together (just step on a luke Nosewalker).
I made a couple of modifications to accomodate my surf style. I stuck an adhesive foam kicktail underneath the tail. Most skaters put these things on the deck at the tail so their foot wont slip off when wheelie-ing or ollying. My purpose for putting it underneath is so I can fully weight the tail. I drag the tail all the time and don't want to scrape the wood away. I use the skid to turn quick and also as a brake! It slows the board just like a rollerblade heel brake.
I placed some non skid traction paper at the tail and nose, and several patches on the sides up the middle where I put my feet. With the back foot placed on the patch on the tail, the patch pattern represents a diagonal placement of the front foot in narrow tail stance, normal stance, wide stance, and extra wide stance. It can also be looked at as a placement of a narrow stance and three cross steps after, stepped right next to each other. Taping your board this way can make it possible to feel where you are on the board, so you don't have to look down at your feet.
The skateboard came with two strips down the length on either side of the stringer.
The board has a lot of traction paper on it but enough of the wood shows to make it look nice. A little duct tape under the nose is all I need to minimize nose wear from nose wheelies and nose kick turns.
I like to wear low top sneakers with a sturdy sole to skateboard. The shoe should not be wide like a running shoe. You will trip on wide shoes when walking on a skateboard, where space is much less generous than on a longsurfboard. Tennis or basketball shoes work well. Skateboard shoes are designed with tough soles, just watch out for too much extra rubber on the sides of the toe.
Pads and helmets
Much of these turning and walking tricks are done at medium speed and are not as dangerous as slalom longskating. Nevertheless, wearing padding for these sessions is a good idea. Wrist guards can save your whole body in a fall. I like to wear at least one wrist guard on my right hand as a minimum.
For protection I like the light guards made by Da Kine. They don't bend your hands unnaturally. I think it's totally crippling to have my hands bent back when I'm trying to use them to lead powerful turns. Plus it looks like crap to see a skater or surfer with his hands bent back. Not as bad as hands that flop, so at least any cheap wrist guards will cure that bad habit. The Da Kines have neoprene gloves and are very comfortable. The skid part, unfortunately, doesn't wear very well.
For laybacks and hand drags I use the heavy duty wrist guards for in line skating made by Roller Blade. You can drag your hand and slide and they wont wear out too fast. They bend your hands like crazy, but for laybacks it's appropriate.
I usually do surf style on a gentle hill, but like to go fast now and then. When skateboarding long steep hills it's essential to wear a helmet and elbow and/or knee pads, even leather jacket and pants.
Winter clothing for skating
I skate in winter, in temperatures down to the teens. I wear two layers of poly propylene shirts, one layer of poly pro long johns, and regular slacks. For below thirty, an extra sweater or jacket usually is enough for a top layer. Glove liners go through my wrist guards pretty well, but if it's really cold, I wear large gloves over the guards, which starts to get pretty uncomfortable. A good hat with a face mask helps a lot.
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