5 Beginner Longboard Tips I Wish I Knew

By: Billy James | November 12, 2023 | Longboards

Okay, so ya just started longboarding and now you might be feeling a little overwhelmed.

Don’t worry, I gotchu.

The first thing I wish I knew was that…

5. No one cares

The first thing I wish I knew was that no one freakin’ cares.

Okay, that probably sounds a little harsh, but let me explain.

When I first got into longboarding, I vividly remember feeling like I would be judged. For my skills, for my setup, for who the flippin’ fudge knows what?!

My point is… I know a lot of you are feeling that too.

Trust me when I say this, everyone is living in their own world and if they are judging, it’s just a reflection of themselves. Look, I know it’s easier said than done, but if there’s one thing you take away from this video, it’s that longboarding is one of the most welcoming communities you’ll ever experience in your life.

If it’s really something hard to get past for you, then I’d recommend finding a longboard meetup in your area. Let me tell ya, the human connection is a powerful thing 

Skate Setup Handbook
Master your setup with our free (17-page) PDF. Filled with helpful insights about trucks, wheels, decks and more.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Concrete Waves. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

4. Bearings Myth

Now when it comes to gear, one of the most common beginner mistakes is what I like to call, the bearing’s myth.

What do I mean exactly?

Well when most beginners have a setup that feels slow, they automatically assume it’s their bearings, when in most cases, it’s their wheels.

Spending more on bearings does not necessarily equate to more speed.

Unless your bearings are rusted and extremely old, you’re not going to see a big increase in speed.

But you will if you get larger wheels from a reputable brand. Just be careful of wheelbite if you do get larger wheels.

Bonus Tip: A little bonus tip is to get built-in bearings, which have all of the parts built in so you don’t have to line up spacers or keep track of the washers.

But the main takeaway here is that bearings aren’t as important as most beginners think.

And since we’re talking about gear, another thing I wish I knew is the…

3. Durometer Myth

If you have no clue what I’m talking about, well the durometer measures the hardness of your wheels and bushings, with 75a being soft and 100a being hard.

While it’s a solid indicator, one thing that trips up a lot of beginners is that it doesn’t give you a full picture.

And the reason why is that urethane formulas will vary from brand to brand. So a 78a wheel from one brand could feel completely different from a 78a from another brand because they mixed and cured the chemicals in a different way.

So the takeaway here is that the same durometer from different brands can feel pretty different.

2. Gear Progression Phases

The fourth thing is that I wish I had a better understanding of the gear progression phases.

What am I talking about?

From the comments I’ve seen, it’s clear there are three main phases

Starting out, you’re in the Entry Phase, where a higher investment doesn’t seem logical, which is understandable because you’re testing the waters. You don’t know if you’ll stick with it long-term, (but you will, trust me).

Now, once you realize the power of a longboard, you enter the ‘What’s Next Phase.’ Here’s where I’d say it’s worth it to upgrade your wheels and bushings, which will show you the power of better equipment without spending a ton of money.

Then, once you get it, you hit the ‘Holy Shiz Phase.’ You understand the importance of higher quality gear and it becomes more than just a hobby; you realize it’s an investment into your overall physical and mental health.

1. There are no rules

You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it, you don’t have to stick to one style, and you don’t have to build your setup like everyone else.

Obviously, there are best practices to follow from a functionality standpoint, but there’s also a reason why I emphasize how a lot of this stuff is subjective and personal preference.

What jimmy jameson is riding in jersey is just as valid as what timmy tomlinson is riding in texas – it’s all skateboarding and it’s up to you how to interpret it.

If one day I want to ride a literal piece of freakin wood, then I’m gonna do it.

Billy James

I've been skating for over 20 years and it's had an incredibly positive impact on my mental health. My mission is to show the world the power of cruising and carving.

Check Next