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How to Carve On Your Longboard

Carving on a longboard is one of the best feelings going.

If you’re a snowboarder or a surfer, a love of carving is probably the reason you’re looking at longboards in the first place!

Carving it up on a longboard skateboard is a very familiar feeling to carving the snow or a wave, and you’ll be immediately familiar with it if you’re from a boardsports background.

Carving a longboard is also a really good way to keep your speed in check. Just like on the snow, once you get carving dialled you can tackle suprisingly steep paved slopes with a little width. You can also carve at very high speeds to slow down a little bit before footbraking or sliding into a corner – it can go hand in hand with airbraking to scrub a bit of speed off.

The key to carving is sliding your wheels slightly in each turn, which slows you down a little and keeps things under control. With practice, you’ll find that you’ll be able to vary your carves to control how much speed you loose with each turn quite considerably.

In fact, learning to carve will eventually open the door to the world of standup sliding, so if that’s something you want to get into, start off by carving first.

All you need to carve is a bit of a hill with some width, and a longer, lower board that turns a lot.

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LONGBOARD CARVING SETUPS

Getting your setup right is important if you really want to feel like you are on the waves or in the mountains.

Basically you are shooting for a predictable, turny, relatively slidey setup.

You need a longer wheelbase on your board – we’d go at least 25″.

A longer wheelbase will mellow out your turns and stop things being too hurried. It’ll also lend a bit of stability – you are going down a hill with this, so things are going to get faster at some point.

You want your board to be relatively turny though, so pay attention to your trucks.

We’d recommend getting them as loose and turny as as you can without getting wheelbite. Board with a lot of wheel clearance will help with this, as you’ll be able to run bigger wheels, and looser trucks.

Speaking of wheels, something at least 70mm will help things feel a lot smoother. A regular soft longboard wheel will do.

The predictabilty of the slide is the most important thing, so look for a decent urethane in a well supported shape. The slidier your wheel, the easier you’ll be able to scrub your speed off, and the more control you’ll have.

Lower boards are good too, as they give you a lot more control over how much you slide. Lower boards tend to be more progressive and predictable when you start to push them sideways.

Bear in mind that ride height will affect wheel choice dramatically.

A lower board has a lot less grip, so if you are getting super low then you need a gippier wheel.

For example, the Lush Samba, which is really a dedicated carving setup, features some of the grippiest wheels out there – Cult Raptures. But even with these super-high grip downhill wheels on, it’s surprisingly easy to slide around and very predictable too.

The final thing to look for is flex.

A good carving setup will have a decent amount of flex and a strong energy return, which “pings” your body weight back out of turns.

The perfect flex doesn’t make carving any easier, but it really adds to the feeling… and that’s what this is all about!

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    Long, low, flexy, turny and progressive... The Samba is the ultimate carving board!

LOCATION

Next, you need a place to carve up!

Find a hill. A path in a park (like this one) or a very quiet road is ideal.

A smooth, predictable road surface will help, and will give you confidence as to how much grip you have.

A bit of width will make things easier too, and maybe some nice soft grass verges to run out into if things go a bit crazy.

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CARVE IT UP

You don’t have to start at the top of the hill. You are aiming to keep your speed under control, so take it steady to start with.

Just turn back and forth across the whole width of the road to start with, enjoying the turns and letting your board speak to you.

Stay relaxed and try to lean your whole body into each turn. No funky arm waving required – just leean and let your bodyweight do the work for you.

As you start to pick up a bit of speed, lean a little harder and you’ll feel the wheels start to scrub a little bit – just enough to keep you from accelerating any faster.

You’ll start to feel where the edge of the grip is on each turn, and how far you can push your wheels before you loose traction.

Carving takes a while to get the hang of, but once you’ve got it it you’ll be amazed how steep a hill you can get down!

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NEXT STEPS

After a while you might well feel the board starting to drift quite significantly, especially in the frontside turns. At this point it’s time to start looking at Frontside Powerslides or Frontside 180’s!

Carving at very high speeds is a good way to get a feel for standup slides at higher speeds too.

A good challenge is to find the steepest, narrowest hill you can, and see if you can get down it just by carving – no footbraking, no hands-down sliding. Get good at this and you’re well on the way to mastering the art of skating hills!

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