What’s Pumping On A Longboard And How To Get Better At It
When riding a longboard you the objective is to get it going and keep it going. There are two main ways to do this kicking or pushing and pumping.
Pushing is how most people start to learn how to ride, and you pretty much have to push to get a board started, but it isn’t the only method to keep a moving board moving.
Kicking is when you push off the ground with your foot to move the board. This article though is going to focus on pumping. Once you are done the reading, you will know what pumping is and how to get better at it.
What is Pumping On A Longboard?
Pumping on a longboard is using your bodies motion to help keep the board going.
This is done with a variety of technicians, but all focus on shifting your weight and using your bodies momentum to transition power to the board. You can also use your terrain to help with this instead of having it slow you down.
Why Learn to Pump?
There are a few reasons why learning to pump is useful.
The main reason is that once you are good at it, it takes less energy to do then the pushing method. This allows you for long distance riding.
The another reason why it is good to learn to pump is that it is a great workout for your whole body. This means you will be getting even more exercise by riding and also as your muscles get stronger it will be easier to pump.
The last reason is the main reason why people want to learn how and that is because it looks cool. Watching someone who is a skilled pumper makes it look easy, and it is crazy to watch someone be able to keep a board going for miles without having to kick.
The first thing before the different moves that we will talk about is the different stances.
When riding a board, especially for pumping purposes, there are three main stances used.
There is the surf stance, the parallel stance, running stance, and then also the less common backward stance.
The surf stance you stand sideways on the board and have one foot on the front half of the board and the other foot on the back half. Depending on what is comfortable for you, you can adjust what part of the board you stand on.
Some people stand more towards the front, while others stand on the back half and even some stand in the middle. This is probably the most common stance these days, and that is because it allows you to throw all your body weight on the board.
The parallel stance you put your feet right beside each other and mainly in the middle of the board.
Some riders have one foot slightly in front of the other, but not by much. This stance is also known as a skier stance because you look like you are on skis. This stance is still a good one but requires a lot more balance. The positive to this stance is it can leverage the power of the snaps on the board. That means if you have a board with more give to it, then you might want to try this stance to use the boars own power better.
The running stance you have your feet spread apart pointing forward while also facing forward. The lead foot can be whichever you are most comfortable.
This stance is fairly uncommon, but some people like it. The perk of this stance is that you can use your arms a lot more in your pumps. Also, instead of putting your weight on the front or back of the board, you focus on putting it on the sides of the board with this stance.
Lastly, we have the uncommon backward stance. This stance you stand back on the board or opposite the way you are moving.
The advantage of this stance is you use a whole different set of muscle than you normally would with your pumps. This is good if you are getting tired, but still, want to ride. You can spin around and keep going.
The problem is you can’t see where you are going, so you need to be familiar with the path or get good at turning your head around while still pumping.
Now we will cover a few different pumping forms. For pumping it is all about shifting the weight of your body on the board to maximize the energy in the board. This means doing different twist and shifts and things.
The first technician we will look at is called Hangin Loose. With this method, you swing your arms low and quietly. You then alternate weighting and unweighting the board in the turns. This is done by shifting your weight from the front to the back foot and how much you squat and lean, with the turn.
With this technique, your upper body is always ahead of your lower body. You make a small twist with your lower body, and it is like it is playing catch-up. The power for this pump comes from your abs and core making it, so it doesn’t take a whole lot of energy, and it is great for long distance riding.
The next form is shadow boxing. This form you keep your arms curled at your side like in a boxing stance. This pump you barely move your arms, and most power comes from the core and some with your ankles. This is a good method to use when starting out because it helps you feel how your core moves and helps you see what movements generate the most power.
The next one we will look at is called rocking the baby. You lock our arms together like you are holding a baby and then you just literally rock your arms back and forth and shift your weight thru your body.
This pump is easy, and it doesn’t take a lot of movement to keep you going, but it can be more tiring than some of the others. Tied to this pump is one called tossing the baby. This one you throw your arms high and to the side as you shift your weight side to side. Think about rollerblading only on the best longboards and that gives you a good idea how to do this pump.
Lastly, we have the chop. It is a lot like throwing the baby, but not as big of arm motions. The chop still gets a lot of power from the arms, but also uses the core. Now that you know some of the basic techniques we can move to board set up.
Board Set Up
Depending on your riding style you might want to adjust your board a certain way to certain pumps.
The key is to have wheels that are high rebound and the size that match your ride.
For shorter rides, you will want smaller wheels, and for longer rides, you will want bigger wheels.
You also want a board that is wide enough for your feet when your feet are sideways. Also, a board with a little spring to it will help with generating power, but you don’t want it to be overly flexible that your power goes away from the bend.
As for truck set up, that will depend on you. Some people like their trucks on the same tightness, while others like one looser than the other. Most pumpers tend to add wedging to their trucks, but the degrees vary. You just have to experiment to find the set up that fits your style the best.
The big tip to learning to pump is just to practice. You may look silly at first, but that is okay. The more you practice, the better you will be at knowing what body motions lead to what results. Also, what works for you may not work for someone else. Some different motions to try are a half circle motion with your hips and lower body, a bouncing motion, and then just a shifting of your weight from foot to foot motion. The only way to learn the motions is to do it.
It may take you a little bit to get good at pumping, but once you do it will be worth it. Just practice and experiment and you will eventually figure out what works for you. The whole point of pumping Is making it your own and being creative and unique. There is no one right way to pump on a longboard.