When you're starting out on your brand-new longboard, safety gear is a good idea. Once you're carving like a pro, you can reconsider the knee pads, like these skaters obviously have done.

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Longboarding Tips

No responsible discussion of longboarding would be complete without mentioning safety. Whenever you set out to ride a narrow plank of wood downhill at high speeds, you risk the chance of hurting yourself -- badly.

As with anything else, becoming an accomplished longboarder takes practice. To get the most out of your practices sessions, you have to be comfortable on the board. Part of being comfortable involves taking safety precautions. Maybe you'll be a little looser if you know that your noggin is safely encased in, say, a Triple 8 Brainsaver Helmet made from black rubber. There has to be a reason they named it that, right?

In addition, if you also wear knee and elbow pads, plus flat-soled closed-toe shoes, you'll be less susceptible to injuries and more comfortable on the board, which will allow you to make the most out of every session.

Having said that, you'll of course want to do everything possible to prevent wiping out on hard asphalt. If you're riding downhill, and your board begins to shake and wobble, you have a short amount of time to choose your next move. On a clear roadway, it's possible to maintain control by shifting your weight -- effectively turning -- to one side or the other. If executed properly, you'll overcome the board's vibration by making a smooth turn and slowing down your downhill dash, rather than allowing the board to vibrate out of control [source: Karg].

As every rider is different, you should consult an expert to determine the best board and board settings for your own purposes. If you live near a skate shop, stop in and talk to the longboard specialist if there is one. If that's not an option for you, hop online. Numerous online forums, such as Silverfish Longboarding, are available specifically for longboarders of all abilities to share ideas and learn from one another's bloody palms. busted elbows and bruises.

Read on for different ways you can adjust your longboard.