Styles of Longboarding
Freeride / Carve
Freeride is the fastest growing discipline within longboarding. This is probably down to how ridiculously fun it is. Freeride is really just about finding yourself down a hill in anyway possible whilst mixing sliding, dancing and downhill to create the most energetic and adrenaline fuelled longboarding experience you will ever have.
Can be very chilled and cruisy when you're cruising around town or boarding to work. But, we cannot forget the best part or cruising, people dodging. In this you really aim to skate around the pedestrians and dodge them and is actually surprisingly fun.
Cruiser boards are generally the cheapest of boards and most have the classic pintail shape. For commuting you will probably want a soft wheel around 56-70mm. Any larger than that and the wheel requires too much energy to push on flat and will carry too much momentum when your trying to avoid running over the old lady who just ran in front of you.
You can probably already guess what's going on here. Riders skate down a set course and the first to make it to the finish wins. Sounds pretty simple but just making it to the bottom without wiping out can be a challenge in it's self. Race boards usually have long wheel bases and are around 9-11" wide with steep concave. This means you'll be locked into the board and be able to really push into the corners. The wheels used are generally very large, being around 80-90mm, larger wheels are used because they can reach higher speeds than smaller wheels.
Slalom is a high adrenaline, high speed discipline which involves skating down a hill with cones set out at regular intervals and the skaters ride around each cone. Slalom can be a competitive sport and requires a certain type of board. Slalom boards usually have short wheel bases and thin hangers to give the board an aggressive and very tight turning circle. Slalom wheels are soft, high traction wheels with large contact patches and square edges. All of these characteristics and up to a very grippy wheel that is going to hold to the tarmac no matter what.
Pool and SlidePool riding involves riding inside of a bowl on a skateboard. You can perform tricks or just pump around the bowl.
Technical sliding has been evolving since the 70's when Cliff Coleman wanted to find away to skate down the monster hills in his home town without wiping out or getting run over by cars. Tech sliding involves riding down a hill at speed and performing a number of different slides. Slide gloves are worn to perform some of the slides and also as protection. Pool and tech slide boards are actually very similar and skaters may not even change set-up between skating a hill and a pool. The wheels are usually very hard and are around 56-65mm in size. There is another type of sliding that is rather new to the world of skating. The sliding elements of freestyle longboarding is really just technical sliding but performed on a larger board with bigger and softer wheels at greater speeds. For information on typical set ups, read the section on freeride skating.