Longboarding is one of the most popular and versatile skateboarding disciplines. Explore its unique universe of expressions and slang words.
Longboarders are in a league of their own. They share a private culture and history, distinct board-building craftsmanship, and diversified riding styles.
Whether bombing steep hills, racing in slalom courses, or just cruising down the city streets, these sidewalk surfers have built their own vocabulary and language.
Discover longboard skateboarding's exclusive lingo and jargon.
To stand up and assume the open arms position to increase wind drag and reduce speed while skating.
To increase wind resistance by standing up and spreading your arms. It slows the rider down less than foot braking but is more stable.
When your buttocks contact the ground during a Coleman Slide, it can result in pain and/or damage to the pants.
When you fall off your board and hit the ground - see also road rash.
Baltic Birch is plywood made from solid birch hardwood, typically from Eastern Europe.
It is popular with furniture builders for its high strength, ease of manufacturing, and attractive faces. Deck builders like it for the same reason.
Baltic Birch plywood comes in various thicknesses, made from thin plies. 1/4" thick is usually five plies. 1/8" thick is usually three plies.
It is usually sold in 5-foot by 5-foot sheets at lumber yards dealing in finer hardwoods. Home improvement stores do not carry Baltic Birch.
A defect in manufacturing that is often used to describe a board. Example: "I got this sweet deal on a 'blem board.'"
A pass performed by taking a fast, aggressive inside-out line.
When cutting off the line of the rider being passed and ruining his exit speed, contact may be involved. A practice often considered "dirty" outside of Canadian racing.
A stand-up slide where the board is tipped up onto either the nose or tail and the corresponding wheels. Originated by Sergio Yuppie.
Conserving momentum and slowing down around a cone.
If you are bro-down, you are friends with a representative of a company, getting free gear, boards, sticker t-shirts, or at least a discount.
Often used by teammates, it is done by having the second person in a draft push the leader forward when he gets close there to boost his speed.
The trailing rider then performs this action as many more times as needed, boosting the pair's speed greatly.
A barrel or cone-shaped piece of rubber in the truck that is deformed in order to make a turn.
Camber (also Cambre)
When the board arches lengthwise. Camber is commonly used on slalom and carving boards for a more responsive flex.
It describes the arch midpoint on a skateboard deck between the nose and tail (the opposite of a rocker).
A variation is the "s-cambre," where the deck slopes downward past the rear truck (rocker) before arching upward about three quarters towards the nose of the deck.
See also contour and rocker.
The acronym for Central Coasts Mothers Favorites. A central coast crew of good stokers and hard riders famous for their outlaw sessions.
A slide where the board may reach, but does not pass, 90 degrees. It is usually used to shed speed. i.e., speed check.
Another term for the old-style luge or Buttboard.
See Coleman Slide.
A person with an ugly longboarding style.
Named for Cliff Coleman, the proponent of the slide bearing his name.
This sliding technique was developed by the legendary Cliff Coleman in the 1970s out of his determination to safely ride and bomb the hills in and around Berkeley, California.
Cliff is still sliding with style and teaching his techniques to the next generation of skaters around the world.
The curved rise from the middle of a board towards the outside edges perpendicular to the length of a deck.
In board construction, there's a detailed description that includes the measured rise from the lowest point in the middle of the board to the highest point at the widest portion of the board.
Concave may be constant, progressive, or varied over the length of the board.
A full description for construction will include the point(s) from the middle of the board where the rise starts, the arc(s) of the rise, the length and portion over which the described curve(s) runs, and the transition point(s) where concave meets other elements typically found at the kick(s) of the deck.
The state wheels reach when they have worn to the point that the diameter of the wheel is wider on one side than the other.
It often happens to wheels that are drifted and slid to excess.
Course marshalls who attend the cones.
In skateboard-building, the contour denotes variations in elevation of the skateboard platform.
Kick (nose and tail), concave, convex (and/or rolled edges), rocker and camber, and variations thereof refer to changes in the deck's surface elevation and, therefore, indicative of contour.
When the highest point of your board is in the center, and as the board goes towards the edges, it drops down.
A type of puck used on sliding gloves made from countertop. It is excellent for sliding.
Any number of riders greater than one who regularly ride together. Crews can grow quickly if the proper amount of stoke and pie is involved.
Crews generally participate in a similar discipline and sessions together on a regular basis. Members are kept in line by a shared love of riding and dislike for not riding.
Being schizophrenic does not entitle you to have a crew all by yourself.
Hitting a cone on purpose to gain a faster line.
Longboard dancing consists in doing maneuvers on a board standing up, usually with all four wheels on the ground. The most common dancing move is a cross-step.
When you knock out at least more than one person at the beginning of a race.
The technique used to gain speed. One gets behind the path taken by the other in front.
This causes the person in the back to gain speed due to the hole in the air that the first person makes.
A cornering method in which you slide through the corner to control your speed throughout the turn.
A type of board that is low to the ground but raises up at the spot where the trucks are to be mounted. Usually a very sharp rise.
Speedboard where truck baseplates are mounted through the deck to allow for more stability and a lower ride.
Usually cut out for large wheels as the low ride of the board can easily cause wheel bite.
The hardness of the wheel. Measured on the Shore A Scale for urethane wheels. The most common longboard wheels are 78a-92a.
Board building elements are specific features of a skateboard - or longboard - that together define the overall characteristics of a deck. Examples of elements are:
Kick tails - the length of the deck extending from the outside edge of a truck baseplate to the tip of the skateboard;
Concave - the downward curvature of the board deck perpendicular to the length of the board;
Rocker - the downward arc of the board over the length;
Camber - the upward arc of the board over the length;
Transition - the point at which elements meet, for instance, the point at the outside edges of the deck where the concave flattens out and moves to the kick tail;
The fastest line down a hill.
Jumping to an early start. The first time is usually followed by good-natured laughter. After that, it's a bit less funny.
Any slide where you board rotates completely around your body. Also known as pressure spins.
When half of your wheels are flat, making you sound like you are riding a skateboard with a two-stroke engine.
It tends to happen when doing long extended slides perpendicular to the fall line of the hill.
Placing a foot on the ground and dragging it to reduce speed.
What happens when you step on your wheel while pushing. See also, road rash.
A helmet that covers the face.
The adhesive used to bond the schedule of laminates during the manufacturing process.
Variations of PVA (polyvinyl acetate) and epoxy (two parts) are generally employed for assembling a skateboard deck.
The process of laminating and pressing materials together with glue/epoxy in order to form one solid board.
How steep a hill is.
Grey Hair Army
Any old person who yells at you for no good reason while you are skating.
A young rider or someone new to the sport.
A wind source that goes uphill and slows down the racer with wind drag.
Opposite of toe side. Any maneuvering of the board that locates the pivot point at the side of the deck where your heels usually are. Also known as frontside.
The thing you should use to keep you from dying when you slap your head on the road.
People die all the time from skate-related injuries, and they don't need to be going that fat. Buy a helmet, wear it and you will skate and live longer.
When your wheels unexpectedly grip the road at an odd angle, causing you to topple forward downhill.
Someone who owns a longboard but doesn't actually ride.
Hot Girl Curse
The tendency for a rider to bail in a most humiliating manner when in front of an attractive girl.
The center core of a wheel that seats the bearing.
The acronym for International Gravity Sports Association, the world's sanctioning body for gravity racing.
When you stand with both legs together in the center of your board and spread your arms out like Jesus Christ.
An old-school move where you crouch at the nose of your board and hug your knees
A kook is a rider who thinks they are better than they are. A rider who is a danger to themselves and others.
With your back hand down, you pop your pelvis into the air and force your board perpendicular to the road. See also flat spot.
A protective suit worn by riders to prevent abrasion injuries. Often made of cowhide, it usually contains some sort of internal armor for more safety.
Mostly inspired by motorcycle racing suits. Highly expensive and exclusive.
A long spear with wheels.
The sawing of images, both lifelike and abstract, with a hand saw or scroll saw, then gluing those pieces back into a field somewhat like a puzzle.
The infamous Ninja Bomb Squad is a skateboarding crew dedicated to teaching and advancing the warrior nature of skating.
Nose Manual Pendulum
A pendulum trick performed while doing a nose manual. Modded knee pads help greatly. It can be tweaked into a flat spin or one-footed nose manual pendy.
Cones set some distance to the left or right of the centerline of the course.
When you use a button-down shirt - like a flannel or dress shirt - to catch the wind, resulting in a drop in speed.
The use of geometric shapes like squares and triangles that are cut and then re-glued together to create a pattern.
Any slide that rotates a full 180 then rotates back.
Short for pendulum slide.
A poker run is a great way to unite skaters and benefit a good cause.
At the start of the poker run, all riders hop on their boards, give their donation, and receive their first playing card.
Once everyone has received their first card, they ride to the second stop, where they then receive their second playing card.
This pattern continues for the third and fourth stop allowing for an easy evening of cruising with fellow riders.
At the fifth stop, each rider is given their last card and the opportunity to trade up to three cards for three new ones, just as in a regular game of poker.
Once everyone has had the opportunity to trade out cards, the hands are compared.
We award schwag to the highest and lowest hand along with the fastest time and whatever else we deem appropriate.
After all the schwag is distributed, it's time to kick back, eat, and enjoy some live music together.
Using the body's strength to accelerate around a turn.
Push the Wood
The act of riding your longboard around an undefined area.
A collection of - usually three or more - longboard skateboards.
Railing a corner is when you sharply take a corner while maintaining complete traction.
What results when unprotected flesh meets the quickly passing surface of the street.
A person who is very stiff and/or doesn't flow with the board
The opposite of camber. When the board sags down in the middle, so it is slightly lower to the ground. It is usually only used on cruiser boards.
Rolling Down the Windows
What one often does before a bail. A good sign that a rider is out of control.
Utilizing shaped plywood fences coupled with several bushings to join edges that are not straight.
If ya ain't doin', ya ain't racing.
A shortboard that has been modified to accommodate a set of longboard trucks and wheels on the nose and tail.
Any period of time spent riding a particular terrain or area. It can be scheduled or random. A session tends to be more than one rider.
However, the intensity of the session is left up to the individual rider.
When your deck attacks your shins with intent to inflict bodily harm, usually a tactic of retribution for not paying attention to edge pressure.
The act of hitching a ride on the rear bumper of a car. The skitched vehicle can either be aware of its load or unaware.
When the skitcher is discovered by a previously unaware driver, the driver's reaction is sometimes negative.
The art of enjoying a "danciful" jog or a run while sidewalk-surfing a skateboard, both short and preferably long distances on mostly flat terrain surfaces.
The main objective: a roll-your-own exercise, tight rope ride on wheels while one totally transitions/transfers their weight from one side to the other while leg/knee/ankle/foot pushing the skateboard forward in either a straight or curved direction.
Skateboarding plus jogging equal skogging. The definitive name had to be unique and perhaps fishbone-in-the-ear sounding.
Very easy to find in all search engines.
Slang for a slalom setup.
When your deck breaks traction and rotates so that it is perpendicular to the fall line of the hill. In trick sliding rotations, manuals and other modifications are made to utilize this aberrant force.
To cut into a person's line when they are about to take a run.
This is generally done in a humorous way, but in the wrong place at the wrong time, it can result in a board to the head.
Another kind of body suit worn by riders. These suits sacrifice most of the protective qualities of leathers in favor of superior aerodynamics.
Made of spandex, very thin leather or, ideally, a wind impermeable material called isofilm.
These suits fit extremely tightly and conform over the body so as to not have any bits sticking out into the air stream.
When you are going down a hill, and your board starts to swerve back and forth uncontrollably.
Usually followed by a statement unfit for repeating. It can be avoided by carving out of them, tightening your trucks, or learning to soften up your legs and knees.
The way you ride your deck. It is often a matter of preference.
Regular-footer with the left foot forward, goofy with the right foot forward, and mongo by pushing or braking with the front foot.
It can also refer to how you ride your deck - surf-style, drop-knee, and a variety of other ways.
When referring to a slide deck, it is often used to imply a shoulder-width space on the deck.
A string of close-set cones (reminiscent of TS), typically as a break-up for a hybrid course.
The act of grabbing the board between one's legs during a heel side corner, with the rear leg standing straight up.
The name of the term comes from its look. In such a pose, the offending rider looks to be defecating on the ground, or like the attack pose of the insect it takes its name from.
Any trick where only the tip of the tail of your board is in contact with the ground. It usually needs a grab to lift the wheels out of play.
A wind source that goes downhill, speeding up the racer.
A tool used to trace the outside edge or shape of a skateboard. It is most often made of a flat material upon which a deck design's curvature is cut into.
A common usage is to have a template of only one side of the deck. By flipping the template over, an outline can be obtained with both sides the exact mirror of the other.
The PDR Special
A one-footed slide variant where you go for a Coleman 360 but, instead of completing it, you would crank your back foot up.
When you bail and one side of your rear has less traction than the other.
A device attached to the front of the deck to limit the lateral movement of the front foot on the deck.
When you slide going in the direction your toes are pointing.
When your trucks are mounted so the baseplates are underneath the board.
The act of riding a longboard on a busy street, usually in an urban setting.
Care must be taken to (somewhat) obey road laws and generally ride in a way that does not obstruct traffic.
Being quick to go at green lights is a must. It might include skitching.
The positioning of the body, in order to lessen the frontal area of the rider that is exposed to the wind.
The rider usually tucks their rear leg's knee behind the forward leg creating somewhat of a "narrow pedestal."
The rider's upper body is usually lowered down to the board in some fashion.
The rider's hands are either tucked behind the rider's buttocks, out to the side, resting on the hip to cut through the air, or in front of the rider's helmet in a prayer-like position to cut through the air.
The acronym for ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene. It is used in slide glove pucks.
Also known as vacuum bagging. A vacuum bag is a bag made of strong and resilient material, open at one end, and used to bond or laminate materials.
The item to be laminated is placed inside the bag, the open end is sealed, and the air is drawn out with a vacuum pump.
As a result, uniform pressure approaching one atmosphere is applied to the surfaces of the object inside the bag, holding parts together while the adhesive cures.
The entire bag may be placed in a temperature-controlled environment and gently heated to accelerate curing.
What happens when the wheel meets the deck. It is often the result of wheels being too large or trucks too loose.
It usually results in a Superman-style flight threw the air. See also road rash.
A bail where your legs shoot up into the air, and you slap the ground, full body.
Have we missed a longboarding term? Send us a suggestion and exact description to editor [at] surfertoday.com.
Words by Silverfish Longboarding