Carving is an essential technique any longboarder must get the hang of to unlock their full riding potential. Take these five steps to building a solid foundation for mastering the technique.
Carving on a longboard is a great way to enjoy riding. Not only does it help by practicing turning, it can also aid in the ability to shed some speed when riding down a hill! Carving is a basic technique but it is crucial you pick it up and become comfortable with it to improve as a longboarder.
This guide will walk you through the steps to get started and understand how you can get out there and start carving on your board today!
It’s best to start this guide after you have the basic knowledge of how to ride a board going straight. Check out our other guides if you need to!
You can carve on any longboard or skateboard, but using a longboard is an ideal setup for carving because of the range of motion of the trucks and the grip of the typically larger wheels.
Make sure your board is in working condition by checking that;
Toeside: Where your toes will be located on your board
Heelside: Where your heels will be located on your board
When you ride your board it’s essential to have an active stance if you plan to carve. Having an active stance means bending both of your knees.
Bending both of your knees allows you to flexibly feel the longboard and adjust your position and shift your weight more accurately when you begin to carve.
If you do not do this, carving will not feel very natural and it may actually be more difficult to learn.
Before you can start carving, it’s good to know how to simply turn your longboard to either side. Remember to keep an active stance while you practice this!
Your board steers by leaning and shifting your weight - the harder you lean, the harder the longboard will turn. Practice turning left or right and get comfortable with just focusing on turning in one direction.
You may notice that turning one way might be easier than the other, this is normal for beginners. It’s good to get comfortable turning both ways before you really get started with putting them together.
Carving is just turning left and right in a fluid fashion with some pressure behind your feet. Start off slowly on a flat surface - not a hill - and simply turn your longboard left to right or right to left.
To initiate a turn you will be applying pressure to your toeside for one turn and heelside for the next or vice versa. Preference is big here, if you prefer to initiate on your heelside or toeside first, this is up to you.
It’s quite normal to be more comfortable turning one way over the other, but in order to really carve you’ll need to get a hang of both.
Carving can take some time to learn, but it’s one of the best ways to feel the longboard and the road.
Skateboarding got its start from surfing the pavement and surfers wanted to create what they felt on a wave to something on the ground. Find a big open road, parking lot, or other smooth flat surface and skate!
Take small and gradual steps to challenge yourself only when you feel ready to advance but don't be scared to push your boundaries to improve.
Safety equipment like knee pads, elbow pads, gloves, wrist guards, and most importantly - a helmet - are always a good idea. Not only will it keep you safe, it'll also make you more confident in your ability to progress faster.
Remember to keep an active stance and don’t be afraid to use your arms out by your sides to help with balance. As you get more comfortable, you can start to use your arms less.
Carve harder and deeper with more power behind your feet once you feel comfortable. Beware the board can lose traction if you carve too hard or if the road is wet.
Check your surroundings: If you decide to navigate a hill, it’s best to start towards the bottom and work your way up. Carving can only cut down so much speed so don’t go down a hill you can’t stop on.
Keep a positive attitude! Skateboarding is all about fun. If you aren’t getting the hang of carving, go back to riding in a straight line or focus on turning in one direction. Some learn faster than others, but mastering carving is possible for everyone in due time.
The tightness of your trucks has a direct impact on your carving ability.
If they're too tight, carving will take too much power to the point where it is counterproductive for a beginner.
If they're too loose, they'll be unforgiving for a beginner to ride and you'll struggle with stability.
The solution is simple. Ride your trucks at medium tightness to begin with. This gives you the best foundation for learning how to carve. You can explore different truck setups to see what you like best as you get comfortable.
Ryan Smith has skated since he was 13, with a decade of downhill experience and several years into electric. He is a professional electric skateboard and downhill longboard racer with several podium placements in both disciplines. Ryan has a degree in business management as well as previous work experience at board shops, one of which he has served as a service technician on electric skateboards.