The Newbie’s Guide to Longboard Lingo

By: Pete Benda
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Longboarding, like most extreme sports, defines not only an activity but also a colorful culture and way of life. Out of this way of life and tight social circle has come some seriously distinct style and a slang vocabulary or lingo of its own. This longboard lingo can seem pretty wild and outlandish to those who haven’t spent hours talking shop with those of us who ride, but it can easily be learned and used in order to further explore the great temple of the longboard.

Slip ‘n’ Slide

Longboard lingo evolved somewhat from the vernacular of skateboarders from Southern California and around the world, but it also includes some of its own peculiar jargon that makes it unique in the wide world of sports. For example, breaking traction and performing a slide is commonly known as a “power slide” for skaters, but because of its many variations for longer boards, longboarders refer to it as a “stand-up slide” or just a “standy” for short. When equipped with “slide gloves,” the common longboard gloves that feature plastic or polyurethane “slide puck” disks on the palms, riders can also perform the famous “Coleman slide” or other more extreme forms of turning, braking, or gnarly maneuvers. The Coleman slide is named after Cliff Coleman, who was one of the sport’s first serious innovators. While not an easy feat, the Coleman slide is performed by placing the front, or “lead,” hand (and slide puck) on the cement and resting the knees together while practically sitting on the longboard. The rear hand is kept flag-like in the air, and the sliding takes place when the rider twists their shoulders and pushes the rear of the board, or “tail,” towards perpendicular with the front, or “nose.” All of these slides and other artistic maneuvers fall under the category of “free riding.” Simply, anything that makes the skater look like a surfer carving a wildly frothing wave can be considered free riding. After a rider gains enough experience to confidently conquer a hill, they can attempt to bomb it again and again while adding more artistry and grace.

Without the Hills

Another fountain of flamboyant longboard lingo springs from the tricks we can perform on flat ground. While unofficially, tricks such as the trenchfoot, double rainbow, hippy jump, and toe side no-tap 180 certainly exist, I’ll explain a few more common flat ground tricks that might be a pinch more common than a double backwards Peter Pan/ Perhaps the most common longboard trick is the “shove-it,” which for technical skaters signifies when you kick your board to spin 180 degrees while your body remains in the same position. Your tail becomes your nose, and your body doesn’t change its orientation. If your body also changes orientation with the board, this trick would be considered a classic “180.” Most skateboarding tricks, such as an “ollie” or “kick flip,” can also be performed on a longboard but can be difficult due to its size and weight. Even surfing terminology has made its way into longboard lingo: A “hang-ten” means literally to put both feet on the nose of the board with all ten little piggies wiggling off while the body assumes a position like Kate Winslet in the Titanic movie. Now that you’ve taken a look at the dictionary of longboard lingo, it’s time to ride. Keep in mind that most of us who work at skate shops can also explain any technical lingo involved in the actual longboards themselves. Have fun, always wear a helmet, and keep practicing those tricks until you can rock a line of giant step grab kicks followed by a kaleidoscope honey butter!
Pete has been living and breathing skate culture since he was a damn baby.…
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