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Longboard Dictionary: Words and Terminology

Longboard Words and Terminology

Longboarding has come a long way and there is a board for every style out there, whether you are sliding, going downhill or just cruising. If you are new to longboarding, you will find a lot of words you might not know at first, how a board is described or what it can do. It helps a great deal if you know what they are talking about and what it means.

To help you with this, you will find terms used in the longboard industry. There are probably way more words out there, but these you will find on a regular basis and it will be important to know when buying a longboard.

Table of Contents

  1. General Longboarding Terms and Techniques


  2. Longboard Riding Styles


  3. Longboard Deck Words And Terms

  4. Longboard Wheel Words and Terms

  5. Longboard Truck Words and Terms


  6. Longboard Bearing Words And Terms


  7. Longboard Bushing Words And Terms

  8. Longboard Hardware Words And Terms

  9. Longboard Safety And Gear

1 General Longboarding Terms and Techniques

Air Braking 
This technique uses wind resistance to slow down on a longboard when going high speed. The longboarder stands on his longboard and stretches his arms to the sides to slow down a small amount. This is usually combined with long carves or foot braking for additional speed reduction. This method is not used when you have to stop quickly or in an emergency.
Carving
Carving is the technique of turning back and forth down a hill of making large turns and span the width of the street or hill. It forms a large S shape. Carving controls speed and is used as a fun way to go down the hill. Carving is an effective way to control the board and it is important to know when a rider goes down the hill.
Dancing 
The rider uses his longboard deck as a dance platform. Dancing longboards are usually longer than regular longboards, longer than 48”, but riders also perform dances on a shortboard. Dancing is also called board walking. Board walking is a series of steps done on the board. The rider moves around on the board in style. Samples of dancing on a board are pirouettes, cross steps etc.
Drafting 
Drafting is the technique used mostly by speed riders/boarders. A motor vehicle is driving in front of them on the road when riders are going downhill to minimize wind resistance. This increases the overall speed.
Drifting
Drifting is the technique and movement to turn around corners in control when going downhill. Drifting reduces speed. The rider manipulates and balances the weight in order to achieve a balance between grip and slide throughout a corner. New riders might benefit to control their speed throughout the entire run when drifting.
Foot Braking
Foot Braking is the technique to slow down the rider by lifting the foot from the board and slowly placing it on the ground to slow down the ride before a corner, to reduce speed or to come to a complete stop. This is the first thing a rider needs to learn when longboarding in order to be safe on a longboard.
Goofy Stance
Goofy stance refers to a rider who puts his or her left foot in the back and leads with the right foot. Most people lead with their left foot in the front, which is called regular stance. Neither is wrong. It is just a preference as being left or right handed.
Hard Wheel Sliding
The rider uses harder wheels. Wheels with higher durometer typically above 90a. It is also called ‘technical’ sliding. The rider manipulates their body in order to perform aggressive but stylish slides. The harder wheels make slides easier to perform. Style and tricks are more important with this technique than speed.
Paddling
Paddling is kicking off the ground with your foot in order to gain more speed.
Pre-Drifting 
Pre-drifting allows the rider to maintain more control by reducing a significant amount of speed before a very sharp turn.
Pumping 
Pumping is the act of propelling the longboard without pushing. A process of swerving and using your legs and arms to move your body weight on very precise, balanced, and rhythmical weight shifts. Pumping is a great skill to have on long distance pushes.
Pushing Mongo 
Most riders using their back foot to push, while their front foot remains on the longboard, but if a rider is pushing mongo he or she does the opposite. Riders prefer to use their front foot for pushing.
Regular Stance 
Most riders has a natural dominant stance and most riders ride regular stance: They are more comfortable using their left foot in the front while longboarding.
Shut Down Slide
A technique of coming to a complete stop during your run. Which normally happens at the end of a ride or hill. In emergency situations, a shut down can be done while riding a high speeds. The rider should warn riders behind him/her before performing this method during high speeds as it is often dangerous for riders behind him/her.
Sliding
Most often sliding is used to slow down or stop on a longboard. A rider is going sideways with his/her longboard as oppose to pointing downhill. It is a more effective way than air braking and foot braking. It effectivitly controls the speed when needed. The rider manipulates his/her weight placement upon the board in order to allow the wheels to (predictably) lose traction. Knowing how to slide properly is good to know when you start to keep you safe.
Soft Wheel Sliding
Soft wheel sliding or a safe and controlled method while longboarding. It can be used as a method of slowing down the longboard or even stopping. Soft wheel sliding is beneficial to all forms of longboarding It is also referred to as “freeriding”. In soft wheel sliding, the rider manipulates the longboard to lose traction in order to perform stylish moves like a 180° or stand-up slide. Wheels are typically in the durometer range of 80a to 86a.
Stand-up Slides
Stand up slides are power slides preformed standing up without placing hands on the ground.

2 Longboard Riding Styles Words And Terms

Cruising
Cruising is a gentle way to move around on a longboard. It is usually done on a flat surface. No real speed is involved. Most new longboarders like to start with cruising. It is all about having fun. Longboarders love the feel of gliding down the boardwalk, path, mellow hill. It is also an alternative to jogging and biking as an exercise.
Downhill
Downhill longboarding is for the experienced riders. This is the most extreme and referred to simple downhill. Speeds can run up to 60 mph. Downhill longboarding is also called speedboarding. It requires skill and precision as high speeds are gained very quickly. Riders must know how to slide, drift, air brake and come to a quick stop in emergency situations. Conditions on the road can change very quickly when speedboarding and therefore requires special equipment. You have to have a downhill board and special safety gear.
Freeride
Freeriding is less organized then downhill longboarding and is a form of longboarding downhill with more tricks and techniques. Due to its variations of manuveurvers it freeriding has less speed than downhill racing. Skills you need to know for freeriding are foot braking, stand up slides and hands down slides. Symmetrical Drop-through and top-mount longboards are very common in freeride longboarding. They can be flexible or stiff depending on the riders preference and skill level.
Freestyle
Freestyle longboarding can also be referred as “Dancing”. It comes from the early days of skateboarding. This is the creative side of longboarding. You can do anything. It incorporates old school boardwalking or dance maneuvers and many technical skills, Freestyle can be enjoyed by riders from any skill level. Common skills are: sliding, riding regular and goofy, boardwalking, dancing.

3 Longboard Deck Words And Terms

Bi-directional
Bi-directional longboards are longboards you can go either way. The nose and tail looks the same and you don't have to turn the board around to go the opposite way. These boards are also called symmetrical longboards.
Board Length
The measurement from the nose to the tail of the longboard.
Camber
Camber is the upward bend in the deck. The deck of the longboard goes upwards between the two trucks. The riding platform is set higher than the truck mounts Camber allows to have a lot of flex and doesn’t touch the ground unexpectedly. The rider has more leverage for turns while riding the longboard. Camber ensures that the rider will sit at the same level with the trucks, rather than below them. Longboards with a camber tend to have more spring back and flex than a flat board.
Concave
The deck is slightly curled up on the 2 sides of the deck. A very subtle ‘u’ shape in the deck. A longboard with a concave helps hold your toe and heel in place, giving the rider more control of the longboard. Concave locks your feet into your longboard deck while carving in and out of turns. You can have a light or medium or deep concave on the board depending which style you choose.
Directional
Directional longboards are longboards you can go one way. You have to pick it up and turn it around if you want to go the opposite way. You have a front and back (nose and tail) that will look different in shape.
Double Drop
A double drop is a combination between a drop through and a drop down. The trucks are going through a hole in the deck (drop through) and it has the drop down feature. The deck is lower than the trucks. This is to to get your feet as close to the ground as possible ("double" drop). This is the most stable deck style. The production of this board is harder, which also makes it the more expensive. This shape is generally only found on dedicated downhill longboards.
Drop Down
A drop down deck sits significantly below the truck level and it has an effective foot platform. The actual deck height depends on the size of the wheels, but the main advantage of the drop platform is that it can be lowered to barely clear the surface. This creates more stability and causes less stress on the knees and lower back.
Drop-through
A drop through deck has holes in the deck on either side where the trucks are mounted through. This lowers the rider’s center of gravity and lends to increased stability. The drop through mounting decreases the stress on the hips and lower body while riding because it makes it easier to push and footbrake.
Fishtail
The form of the deck. The tail of this deck has a fishtail shape end. This type of deck is called a fishtail longboard
Flex
Flex is the bouncy feel you experience on your longboard when you ride it. Some longboards has a lot of flex, some do not have flex at all. This depends on your riding style. Downhill longboards do not have a lot of flex, they need to be on the stiff side, while cruiser boards might have this as it helps riding over rough terrain and you won’t feel the cracks and bumps as much. It will soften the ride. You have different grades of flex: light, medium and stiff. Flexible longboards are best suited for low speed riding.
Flush Mount
Flush mount is the style of truck mounting. It involves having the trucks sit in a recessed portion of the longboard deck. A flush mount system can be utilized on drop-through and top-mount longboards. A flush mount is the least of the the popular mounting systems mainly due to its complicated implementation and design structure.
Griptape
Griptape or grip tape is the sandpaper material on the top of your longboard. You can get it in different colors. Most boards come with standard black or clear griptape.
Kicktail
The kicktail is the back end of the longboard deck which bends upward. The kicktail helps you with tight maneuvers and preforming tricks such and when you are done riding it is easy to kick up your board and grab it.
Low Center of Gravity
A low center of gravity is especially important when riding a longboard at higher speeds. The low center of gravity is where the longboard is closest to the ground. The rider has more stability when closer to the ground.
Lowrider 
A lowrider longboard deck is a combination of a drop down and drop through in one, so you can get an even lower to the ground board. It has low profiles ideal for pushing and carving. Lowrider longboards also have trucks installed nearly at the tips to achieve better control and stability. It is a good beginners longboard.
Pintail
A pintail is the tear drop or leaf shape of the deck. It is one of the most classic and popular shape for a longboard. It allows deep carving and pintails are most often used for cruising and carving. A pintail is a great beginners longboard as it has a wide platform and the overall length.
Ply
A longboard deck is made up of plies. A ply is a thin layer of wood. A deck is usually made up of 7-9 plies glued together. When you look at the side of the board, you can see the plies.
Rocker
Having a rocker longboards means the deck bends downwards like a banana. It has a nice arc. The center of the boards is below the trucks. Because of this arc, the nose and tail are “wedged”, allowing more turning in the front and rear trucks. Longboards with a rocker are good for long distance pushing since the deck is lower to the ground. Rocker decks are also comfortable freeride decks since it decreases the stress on your knees and ankles.
Shortboard
Longboards can be short. These are called shortboards. The length of these boards are usually around 28”-32”. Shortboards are used to navigate around busy streets. It has Small hard wheels, which do not grip the ground too hard, maneuver easier and gives you a tighter turning radius.
Spray-On Grip
This is a clear grip tape that is quite aesthetically appealing. Many companies now apply spray grip to their longboards. Spray grip is often composed of recycled glass particles making it eco-friendly. Spray grip can be replaced with normal grip tape. Spray grip can be removed with sandpaper once the spray grip wears thin.
Symmetrical
Symmetrical longboards are boards that are the same on each side. It doesn't matter how you skate on these boards as both ends has the same shape. They are symmetrical on both sides. This is great for freestyle longboarding. You do not have to pick up your board and turn it around. Just turn yourself around if you want to go the opposite way.
Top Mount
Top mount longboards have their trucks mounted to the bottom of the board. This is the traditional way. Top-mounting creates more leverage against the trucks allowing more sensitivity to the road conditions.
“W” Concave
A ‘W’ concave is the deck shape in the middle. By a regular concave the deck curls up on the outside. A ‘W’ concave has an extra bump in the middle, takes the shape of a ‘W’ on the standing platform which creates a “dome”. This “dome” fits the arches of your feet giving you more control with your back foot.
Wheelbase
This is the distance between the trucks on a longboard. It is measured from the inner most mounting holes on a longboard deck.
Wheel Bite
If you have a wheel bite the longboard wheels are making contact with the longboard deck during a hard turn. Longboards are normally designed with wheel wells to prevent wheel bite. If wheel bite occurs, you can add higher riser pads to your longboard or select smaller wheels.
Wheel Wells
a recess in a longboard in which a wheel is located. These are the four recessed areas located in line with the wheels on your longboard deck. Wheel wells are created in your longboard deck to avoid any contact between the wheel and the deck when making sharp turns. Not all longboards have wheel wells, but it is common to see them on many since that they often utilize larger wheels.

4 Longboard Wheel Words And Terms

Center-set
The wheel has a center and when the core is center-set, it means that the core is been placed in the center: same distance from either edge of the wheel from left to right. The benefit of a center-set wheel is that it can be flipped left-to-right to prevent uneven wear. This is helpful because it extends the life of the wheel.
Contact Patch
The area of the wheel that comes into contact with the ground. Some wheels has more contact patch then others. Larger contact patches result in wheels with more grip, mostly found on cruiser longboards. Smaller contact patches result in wheels that are easier to slide.
Core
The center of the wheel. Depending on the company and design of the wheel, cores come in different shapes and sizes. Larger cores tend to result in faster wheels. Smaller cores result in slower wheels that have more grip. Cores also hold the bearings inside the wheel.
Durometer
The hardness of a longboard wheel measured on a standard A scale. The lower the rating, the softer the longboard wheel and the harder the rating the harder the wheel. Durometer and feel vary for different riders and setups. Soft wheels for lighter riders may feel right, but to heavier riders they may feel sluggish.
Off-set
An off set or offset core in the longboard wheel is one that is in between a center set and side set core. This results in a wheel with a happy medium between grip and slide. Many wheels feature an off-set core because it allows the wheel to perform well in nearly any condition.
Round-lipped
Round lip wheels tend to allow smoother slide initiation. When you look at a longboard wheel you will see the edge of the wheel rounded. This refers to the lip of the wheel that connects to the contact patch and the side of the wheel. These lips are ideally found on wheels meant for free riding.
Side-set
This refers to the core of a longboard wheel being located directly on the edge of the wheel. A side set wheel will have very little grip. These wheels are designed for freeriding or drifting.
Square-lipped
Square lipped wheels are the longboard wheels that have more contact with the ground. They also called Sharp lips and they provide more grip. These lips are ideally found on racing wheels and slalom wheels.
Urethane
The material used to make a longboard wheel and bushings. It feels like rubber. Different companies use different formulas and, therefore, different urethane wheels will have different feels. When ridden, some are fast and have more grip, while others with the same hardness may be fast and easier to slide.

5 Longboard Truck Words And Terms

Axle Nuts
An axle nut is typically a 5/16” nut with a nylon ring on the inner diameter of the outer side. This nut holds the wheel onto the axle and the nylon ring prevents the nut from backing off.
Baseplate
The base portion of the truck that is connected to the longboard deck. Depending on the angle associated with the baseplate, the rider can adjust his/her board to have a more or less aggressive turning radius.
Hanger
The portion of trucks that holds the axle. Hangers come in different widths, commonly referred to as if they were the name of the truck Randal 180mm, Paris 150mm etc. The number tells you the length.
Kingpin
The kingpin is the main bolt that holds the truck together. It can be loosened or tightened against the bushings in order to give the trucks more or less turn. Typically, a kingpin is a Grade 8 1/2” threaded bolt with a 9/16” head.
Lock Nut
Lock Nuts are nuts with a nylon ring on the inside in order to prevent it from backing off of the axle, king pin or hardware.
Pivot Cup
These are little cups that you see in the baseplate of the truck.  The cup-like part where the truck hanger makes contact with the baseplate. It should be snug to minimize movement or “play” in hanger. Replace the Pivot cup when needed.
Speed Rings
Small metal rings placed onto the axle between the axle nut and bearing as well as between the inner bearing and the hanger.

6 Longboard Bearing Words And Terms

Abec Rating
You will see Abec ratings grades from 1,3,5,7, and 9. The higher the Abec rating, the more precise the bearing was created. Since Abec ratings are not regulated, it don’t matter much which number you get. Many people think, the higher the rating the better the bearing, but this is not always true. You may find that non-Abec rated bearings tend to be more enjoyable than the rated ones. In a sport where the bearing is being put through a lot of vertical and horizontal stress, the precision of the ball bearings is less important than their overall strength.
Bearings
Bearings are the tiny steel balls that allow your wheels to spin on the axle. They are usually made out of steel and sometimes ceramic. Steel bearings are the most popular. Bearings come in a standard size to fit within longboard and skateboard wheels.
Crown
The piece inside the bearing that holds the bearing balls in line.
Bearing Spacers
Small metal cylinders that go in between the two bearings between your longboard wheel. When you have Bbearing spacers, the axle nut can be tightened all the way down, without compromising the spin of the wheel. This results in a wheel that works as an entire system.
Race
The tracks that the bearing balls rest on. Bearings have an outer and an inner race.
Shields
The rubber, or metal, piece that sit on the outside of the bearing. Shields prevent dirt from getting inside of the bearing. Rubber shields can be removed in order to clean the bearing, while metal shields can easily bend and should not be removed for cleaning.

7 Longboard Bushing Words And Terms

Barrel
Barrel is the shape of a bushing. It has the same width at top and bottom. These are the most common choice for all styles of riding. It has a great mass and surface area than the cone bushing. This provides stability and an appropriate level of response with high speed. Harder barrels are used in freeriding and downhill longboard setups because they provide the rider with a nice return to center after coming out of turns and slides, and lots of stability. Softer barrels are better for carving and cruising because they allow the rider to maneuver easily while still also allowing for stability.
Bushings
Bushings are the colorful round rubber-like, usually made out of urethane parts in the center of your truck. There are usually 2 bushings per truck. They offer great benefits in terms of comfort and control. It will give you the proper amount of rebound and stiffness which is important for turning and stability.
Cone
The cone is part of the bushing. This shape is designed for riders looking for quick turning and pumping. Cones allow the rider to initiate deep carves quickly, because there is less urethane to resist against the truck. This is more for the experiences rider as they are not as stable as barrel shape bushings.
Eliminator
Eliminator shape bushings can be thought of as barrels with a little extra meat in the mid section. There were originally called “stimulators”. First, eliminators will lean and perform like a barrel, but they become more restrictive as the rider leans further. When the rider leans to a certain point, the truck will stop turning because of the extra meat in the mid section. These bushings are typically seen in downhill longboard.
Rebound
This refers to the quick ‘return to center’ of the longboard truck after a turn or hard carve. Quality bushings have higher rebound and tend to be more stable and responsive in feel.

8 Longboard Hardware Words And Terms

Angled risers
Angled Rrisers can help make a longboard turn more aggressively as well as create a little more leverage for turns then regular risers.
Cup Washers
The cup washer restricts the bushing in order to keep the truck stable. Cup washers restrict the bushing to a limited area to move around, therefore the rebound from the bushing is higher when compared to a flat washer.
Flat Washers
The flat washers are used to protect the bushing from the kingpin nut. This type of washer does not restrict the bushing very much. Flat washers allow a truck to turn a lot more because the bushing is allowed to “spill” over the edges.
Flathead Bolts
Flathead bolts are mostly used on longboard decks. It sits flush with the surface of the longboard when mounted. Flathead bolts are typically seen on longboard setups that require the rider to move his or her feet over the bolts often.
Panhead Bolts
These type of bolts are used on drop through longboards and bamboo longboards or fiberglass longboards. Material that shouldn’t be drilled in to. These bolts sit slightly above of the surface of the longboard when assembled and are usually used on boards where the rider’s feet don’t pass over the mounting holes.
Risers
Typically made of hard plastic, risers sit between the trucks and the longboard deck. Risers pads are designed to increase the height of your board in order to avoid wheel bite and stess cracks.
Shock Pads
Shock pads are not to be confused with risers. Shock pads shock pads are designed to absorb shock to make for a smoother ride.  It helps to remove some stress off the mounting holes and bolts and protect the deck from weight and stress of the trucks. They are made of a soft rubber that absorbs some shock that the deck encounters when being ridden. Shock pads come different thicknesses and some are even designed for drop-through decks.

9 Longboard Safety And Gear

Elbow Pads
These pads protect the elbows from damage when a rider falls upon them.
Full-Cut Helmet
The full cut helmet, or also called the full shell helmet is becoming increasingly popular among long boarders. They were normally used by wake boards and kayak lovers. A full-cut helmet is designed to cover the top and back of your head, along with your ears.
Full Face Helmet
A helmet that covers your entire head and jawline, which are typically worn by downhill racers and professional racers. These helmets provide chin protection along with full head protection and occasionally are equipped with clear face shields.
Half Shell Helmet
A typical ‘skateboarding’ helmet that covers the top and back of your head. Usually rounder than a bike helmet.
Knee Pads
These pads protect the knees from damage when a rider falls upon them.
Knee Gasket
An extra pad worn under knee pads which will give the knees more cushion when a rider falls on them.
Racing Leathers
Also called ‘leather racing suits’ or ‘leathers’ these full body leather suits are worn by downhill racers. This suit is made out of durable leather that will save a rider’s skin when racing at a high speed and have a chance to fall. Leathers are only intended for serious racers since they tend to be rather expensive.
Slide Gloves
Slide gloves are important to wear if riders are planning to learn how to slide or participate in downhill racing. These gloves have a plastic puck mounted to the palm. The pucks are typically made of a special material designed to be durable and provide smooth slides along pavement.

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