So you think you can dance? But can you do it on a longboard? Longboard dancing is one of the best free feelings you can get on a board and is awesome because you can do it anywhere.
Dancing on a longboard takes a lot of time to learn and in all honesty may have stemmed from the days of Rodney Mullen on a standard short board. When he was a kid he would literally set a timer and make sure he practiced several hours every day. No matter how he felt he wouldn’t quit until the timer ran out.
Now we aren’t saying that this is what you need to do. But if you want to become an expert at something it’s been said that you need to put in 10,000 hours. Rodney definitely did, and his flat land abilities still put almost anyone in the sport to shame.
Why you should start longboard dancing
Most longboard dancing is smooth looking just by nature of a longboard. It can make you better at downhill and freeride because your balance will become much better. This makes riding switch, FS and BS 180’s and just about any motion you can think of smoother. It will also bring style to the way you skate once you get it dialed.
Add to that how much fun it is and you shouldn’t need more convincing, but here goes. It’s a great party trick. It will impress the ladies and translate smoothness to the dance floor. You’ll learn how to recover and crash better than before. The curves and shapes of your board will all start to make more sense. You’ll get the ladies after impressing them. If you are a lady, you’ll impress and get the men.
The list goes on and on but you get the point….
Here’s a quick video of overnight internet success Hyojoo Ko from South Korea showing you the way it’s done.
What gear will you need, do you have to own a dancing longboard?
This is where people always get caught up. Gear. Don’t let gear be a limiting factor in your life. It’s tough to believe but we did send people to the moon with far less computing power than an old school flip phone…. So I’m pretty sure you could dance on a lesser board or something that’s simply not built for dance.
Even though you can use any board on the market, there are dance specific boards if you plan to get serious.
So what makes a for a great dance longboard?
The best dancing longboards have features that make them perform. Typically they have a double kicktail so you can pop the board easily and perform manuals and nose manuals.
Dance boards are longer than a freeride, downhill, freestyle, or cruiser setup. This long platform gives you the ability to move around more and work with the contours more easily.
Softer flex makes for a better dancing board, not too soft, but soft enough that you can play with the flex as you move.
Finally, weight is an key factor. With bigger longboard decks, you see a lot more weight due to the extra deck material. Look for a setup that doesn’t weigh as mush so that it’s easier to maneuver.
You’ll also want to grab a helmet and some knee, wrist, and elbow pads if you’re new to the sport. It’s much cheaper than a visit to the hospital!
What longboard tricks should you learn first?
Learning the right basic moves first will set you up for the most advanced longboard tricks. Sometimes the best way to try these new tricks is stationary in the grass. This way you don't have to worry if you lose your balance.
The Cross Step
First up you’ll want to learn the crosstep. This is like the gateway trick that sets you up for so many others.
Performing the Cross Step:
- Start in a natural riding stance with your back foot on the bolts.
- Bring the front foot back and touching the back foot. Transfer weight to front foot.
- Move back foot forwards and cross over the front foot.
- Repeat with the back foot around the front foot.
- Drop back foot back to bolts and repeat.
- Up the style level by using the edges to slightly carve the board side to side as you go.
By learning this move you’ll have much more balance and control and will be able to jump into the next set of longboard tricks.
How to ghost ride
Next up is the Ghost ride. This longboard dance move sets you up for a lot of other tricks and board flips. Basically you step off the board with your back foot, drive the board forward with your front at the same time, take a step or more off the board as it rolls next to you, and bring your feet back onto the board. If you do this smoothly it will look seamless and not like you’re hopping off and on the board. Here’s a quick breakdown for the ghost ride.
- The idea is similar to a crosstep.
- Bring your back foot forward and around the front foot, then off the board all in one motion
- While you do this keep your front foot engaged and push forwards to keep the board at speed.
- This will lead to a small hop once your back foot hits the ground to bring both feet back up to the board.
- Rinse, lather, and repeat.
Manuals and nose manuals
Not only are manuals a ton of fun to learn, they are very impressive once you master them and can hold one for a long distance.
- Slide your back foot all the way to the back of the tail.
- Push more weight on your back foot than you do on the front.
- Remove weighting from the front and you’re board will start to lift.
- Adjust the weighting between front and back and shift your body forwards and backwards as needed to maintain balance.
- Finding that sweet spot takes time. Don’t expect to be dialed from the start.
- Nose manuals are the same, but flipped, keep your weight on the very front of the nose.
- If your board catches in a nose manual, theres a good chance you’ll fall forward. Take it slow at first!
The Peter Pan - taking crossteps to the next level
Peter pan moves are similar to a crosstep but will take more time to learn and add style to your dance.
- Turn your front foot so it’s facing straight forward and slide it back towards the middle of the board and onto the edge.
- Bring your back foot forward and cross over the front foot to the opposite edge. It will be parallel to your front foot and equally centered.
- As you hit the edge press down to carve to that side.
- Your legs will be crossed at this point.
- Bring your front foot behind the back foot and all the way around to the same side.
- Repeat with your back foot, then front foot, as many times as you’d like while carving throughout.
- When you’re ready to switch back to perfect stance, bring your front foot to position first, then drop your back.
The natural progression
From here you can take these skills and add in variations. When you ghost ride you can pop the board up using the kick tail, catch it in your hands, and do flip tricks before hopping back on. You can also use the kick tails for shuvits (board spins under your feet), spins (you and the board spin), and big spins (board and you both spin but at a different rate).
Don’t stress if you aren’t good right away. Just get out there, play around, and have fun. It’s an awesome way to spend some time on your board while learning new balance and skills when you don’t have hills to skate, or don’t want to skate hills!
We’d love to hear how your first session goes. Please feel free to comment below and let us know.