Slalom longboarding is a thrilling discipline within the longboarding community, known for its precise and agile maneuvering between obstacles. It’s a sport that emphasizes speed, control, and technical skill, making it particularly popular among young riders seeking an adrenaline rush and a way to showcase their abilities.

In this guide, we’ll explore the essentials of slalom longboarding, from the basic concept and history to the gear you need and the techniques to master. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get started or an experienced rider aiming to refine your setup, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and insights to excel in slalom longboarding.

Table of Contents

What is Slalom Longboarding?

Slalom longboarding is a specialized form of longboarding where riders navigate through a series of closely spaced obstacles, typically cones, in the fastest time possible. This style emphasizes quick, sharp turns, agility, and precision, requiring riders to have excellent control over their board.

Definition and Basic Concept

At its core, slalom longboarding involves weaving through a set course marked by cones, with the primary goal of completing the course quickly and cleanly. Riders must make rapid, tight turns while maintaining balance and speed, often on downhill slopes. The sport combines elements of speed and technical skill, making it both challenging and exhilarating.

Comparison to Other Longboarding Styles

Unlike downhill longboarding, which focuses on high-speed descents and smooth, sweeping turns, slalom longboarding requires more frequent and sharper turns. Freeride longboarding, known for its emphasis on slides and tricks, differs from slalom in its more relaxed approach to turns and maneuvers. Meanwhile, cruising, a more casual and relaxed style, lacks the competitive and technical aspects inherent in slalom longboarding.

History and Evolution

Origins of Slalom Longboarding

Slalom longboarding traces its roots back to the early days of skateboarding in the 1960s and 1970s, when riders began experimenting with navigating through obstacles in a manner similar to slalom skiing. Initially, these slalom races were informal, often taking place on local streets and hills, but they quickly grew in popularity due to the unique combination of speed, agility, and skill they required.

Key Milestones and Advancements in Technology

Several key milestones have shaped the evolution of slalom longboarding:

  • 1970s: The first organized slalom skateboard races were held, helping to formalize the sport. Early skateboards were adapted for slalom by narrowing the trucks and using softer wheels for better grip.

  • 1980s: Advances in wheel technology, such as the development of urethane wheels, significantly improved the performance of slalom longboards. This period also saw the introduction of precision trucks, which enhanced turning capabilities.

  • 1990s and 2000s: The rise of downhill longboarding influenced slalom designs, with riders adopting shorter, more responsive boards. Innovations like split-angle baseplates and tall bushings further improved stability and maneuverability.

  • 2010s: Major advancements in core design, urethane formulas, and lip profiles led to the creation of high-performance wheels like Venom Magnums, which provided better grip and smoother slides. These technological improvements allowed riders to experiment with shorter, narrower boards, pushing the boundaries of what was possible in slalom racing.

Influence of Other Sports

Slalom longboarding has been heavily influenced by other sports, particularly surfing and traditional skateboarding:

  • Surfing: Many of the techniques and maneuvers used in slalom longboarding, such as carving and quick directional changes, are borrowed from surfing. The fluidity and flow of surfing have inspired slalom riders to adopt similar styles in their turns and movements.

  • Traditional Skateboarding: The technical aspects of skateboarding, including the use of trucks and wheels designed for optimal performance, have directly influenced slalom longboarding. The introduction of double-kick skateboards in the 1990s, which allowed for more precise tricks and turns, also impacted the development of slalom longboarding gear and techniques.

Types of Slalom Longboarding

Slalom longboarding encompasses various styles, each with its own set of characteristics and techniques. The main types are tight slalom, giant slalom, and hybrid or special slalom. Understanding these distinctions can help riders choose the style that best suits their preferences and skills.

Tight Slalom


  • Course Design: Tight slalom courses feature closely spaced cones, typically placed 5 to 7 feet apart. This setup requires rapid, precise turns and quick adjustments.
  • Speed: Although speed is essential, the emphasis is on agility and control rather than outright velocity.
  • Equipment: Riders often use narrower boards and trucks to facilitate sharp turns, along with softer bushings for greater maneuverability.


  • Quick Directional Changes: Riders must be adept at making rapid, successive turns to navigate the tightly spaced cones.
  • Foot Placement: Proper foot placement and weight distribution are crucial for maintaining balance and control through the course.
  • Carving: Effective carving techniques, involving smooth, sweeping turns, are essential for maintaining momentum and avoiding cone penalties.

Giant Slalom


  • Course Design: Giant slalom courses have more widely spaced cones, often set 10 to 15 feet apart, allowing for higher speeds.
  • Speed: Speed plays a more significant role in giant slalom compared to tight slalom. Riders can reach higher velocities due to the increased distance between cones.
  • Equipment: Boards used for giant slalom are typically longer and more stable, with trucks set at wider angles for smoother, faster turns.


  • Maintaining Speed: Riders must focus on maintaining high speeds while making wider, sweeping turns.
  • Line Selection: Choosing the optimal line through the cones is critical for minimizing time and maximizing speed.
  • Aerodynamics: Riders often adopt more aerodynamic stances to reduce wind resistance and increase speed.

Hybrid or Special Slalom


  • Course Design: Hybrid slalom courses combine elements of both tight and giant slalom, featuring cones with varying spacing and layouts. This type can include unpredictable patterns and mixed challenges.
  • Flexibility: This style demands versatility, as riders need to adapt to different cone spacings and course configurations.
  • Equipment: Riders may use a combination of gear suited for both tight and giant slalom, balancing agility with stability.

Competitive Nature:

  • Adaptability: Success in hybrid slalom requires the ability to quickly adapt to changing course conditions and cone layouts.
  • Skill Diversity: Riders must possess a broad skill set, combining the precision of tight slalom with the speed of giant slalom.
  • Strategy: Effective hybrid slalom racing involves strategic planning and quick decision-making to navigate the varied course elements efficiently.

Essential Gear for Slalom Longboarding


The deck is a crucial component of a slalom longboard, influencing performance, control, and comfort. When selecting a deck for slalom longboarding, several factors come into play, including length and width, concave and flex, and materials used.

Ideal Length and Width

  • Length: Slalom longboard decks typically range from 27 to 33 inches. Shorter decks (around 27-30 inches) are preferred for tight slalom due to their agility and responsiveness. Longer decks (up to 33 inches) offer more stability, making them suitable for giant slalom.
  • Width: The width of slalom decks usually falls between 7.5 and 9 inches. Narrower decks enhance maneuverability, while slightly wider decks provide better foot stability and control, especially during high-speed turns.

Importance of Concave and Flex

  • Concave:
    • Medium to Deep Concave: Provides better foot grip and control, essential for making precise turns. A well-defined concave helps riders lock their feet into position, enhancing stability during aggressive maneuvers.
    • Customized Concave: Some riders prefer customizing the concave, sanding specific areas to fit their riding style, particularly under the front heel and back toe.
  • Flex:
    • Stiff Flex: Slalom decks typically have a stiff flex to ensure precise and responsive turning. A stiff deck improves power transfer from the rider to the board, making it easier to navigate through cones with accuracy.
    • Torsional Stiffness: This is especially important in slalom longboarding. A torsionally stiff deck prevents unwanted twists during turns, ensuring the board responds predictably to the rider’s movements.


  • Maple:
    • Traditional Choice: Maple is a commonly used material due to its durability and strength. It provides a solid feel and can withstand significant wear and tear.
    • Cost-Effective: Maple decks are generally more affordable, making them accessible for beginners and those on a budget.
  • Carbon Fiber:
    • Lightweight and Strong: Carbon fiber is favored for its lightweight properties and superior strength. This material enhances performance by reducing the overall weight of the board while maintaining rigidity.
    • High Performance: Carbon fiber decks offer exceptional torsional stiffness, crucial for precise turns in slalom longboarding. They are often used by advanced riders looking for the best performance.
    • Cost Consideration: Carbon fiber decks are more expensive due to the advanced materials and manufacturing processes involved.
  • Hybrid Constructions:
    • Maple and Carbon Combinations: Some decks feature a hybrid construction, combining maple layers with carbon fiber reinforcements. This blend offers a balance of durability, performance, and cost-effectiveness.
    • Innovative Designs: Manufacturers continue to experiment with various material combinations, including fiberglass, bamboo, and foam cores, to enhance the performance characteristics of slalom decks.


Trucks are a vital component of a slalom longboard, significantly impacting its performance and handling. The key features to consider when selecting trucks for slalom longboarding include the angle, width, and geometry, along with the importance of split-angle baseplates.

Key Features


  • Front Truck Angle: Typically set around 50-55 degrees. A higher angle on the front truck allows for sharper and more responsive turns, which is crucial for navigating tight slalom courses.
  • Rear Truck Angle: Usually set between 18-30 degrees. A lower angle on the rear truck provides stability and prevents oversteering, which is essential for maintaining control at high speeds in giant slalom.


  • Narrower Trucks: Often preferred for slalom longboarding as they offer better maneuverability and quicker turning capabilities. Typical widths range from 120mm to 150mm.
  • Front vs. Rear Width: It’s common to have the front truck narrower than the rear truck. This setup enhances turning precision and stability, with front trucks often being about 10mm narrower than the rear.


  • Traditional Kingpin (TKP) vs. Reverse Kingpin (RKP): TKP trucks are less common in slalom longboarding but can be used for tight courses due to their responsive nature. RKP trucks are more popular as they provide better stability and control, especially at higher speeds.
  • Hanger Design: The shape and design of the hanger influence how the truck turns. Slalom trucks often have a specific geometry that allows for more precise and stable turns.

Importance of Split-Angle Baseplates

Split-Angle Baseplates:

  • Concept: Split-angle baseplates involve using different angles for the front and rear trucks to balance responsiveness and stability. This setup is a hallmark of slalom longboarding.
  • Enhanced Stability: The lower angle on the rear truck increases stability by reducing the turning radius of the rear end, which helps prevent wobbles and maintains control during fast runs.
  • Increased Responsiveness: The higher angle on the front truck allows for quick and sharp turns, essential for navigating the tightly spaced cones in slalom courses.
  • Customization: Riders can fine-tune their setups by experimenting with different baseplate angles to find the optimal balance for their riding style and the specific demands of tight or giant slalom courses.

Examples of Popular Split-Angle Truck Setups:

  • Rogue Trucks: Known for their precision and adjustability, often featuring around 50-55 degrees in the front and 20-25 degrees in the rear.
  • Bear Trucks: The Bear Smokies are popular in slalom longboarding, with configurations that allow for similar split-angle setups.
  • Don’t Trip Trucks: These trucks offer customizable angles and hanger widths, making them a favorite among slalom riders for dialing in their preferred setup.


Choosing the right wheels for slalom longboarding is crucial for optimizing performance, grip, and control. Key considerations include the diameter, durometer, lip profile, and core design.

Choosing the Right Diameter and Durometer


  • Tight Slalom: Smaller wheels, typically ranging from 60mm to 70mm, are preferred for tight slalom. They offer quicker acceleration and sharper turning capabilities, which are essential for navigating tightly spaced cones.
  • Giant Slalom: Larger wheels, between 70mm and 75mm, are often used in giant slalom. These wheels provide higher top speeds and better roll over rough surfaces, making them suitable for the faster and more open courses.


  • Hardness (A Scale):
    • Tight Slalom: Harder wheels (83A to 86A) are commonly used for tight slalom. They slide more easily and allow for quicker maneuvers around tight corners.
    • Giant Slalom: Softer wheels (78A to 82A) provide more grip, which is beneficial for maintaining speed and stability during high-speed turns in giant slalom.
  • Rear vs. Front Wheels: It’s common to use slightly softer wheels at the rear for better grip and stability, and harder wheels at the front for increased responsiveness and speed.

Lip Profile and Core Design

Lip Profile:

  • Square Lips: Provide maximum grip and are ideal for giant slalom where stability and maintaining speed through turns are critical. The square edge digs into the pavement, offering superior traction.
  • Rounded Lips: More common in tight slalom wheels, allowing for smoother slides and quicker transitions between cones. Rounded edges reduce the chance of wheel bite and enable more fluid movements.

Core Design:

  • Offset Core: Commonly used in slalom wheels. This design places the core slightly towards the inside edge of the wheel, balancing grip and slide characteristics, which is essential for both tight and giant slalom.
  • Centerset Core: Provides symmetrical wear, extending the lifespan of the wheels. It’s less common in slalom but can be beneficial for riders who prioritize even wear and longer-lasting performance.
  • Core Material and Structure: High-quality cores are typically made from durable plastics like urethane or composite materials, providing a strong, lightweight base that supports the urethane and maintains the wheel’s shape under stress.


Bushings are a critical component of slalom longboarding trucks, directly influencing the board’s responsiveness and stability. The recommended setups for front and rear trucks and an understanding of how bushings affect performance can significantly enhance your riding experience.

Recommended Setups for Front and Rear Trucks

Front Truck Bushings:

  • Soft Bushings: Typically, softer bushings (e.g., 73A to 78A) are used in the front truck to allow for greater maneuverability and responsiveness. This setup helps the rider make quick, sharp turns necessary for navigating tight slalom courses.
  • Bushing Shape: Cone bushings are often used in the front truck to provide a high degree of lean and agility. They enable the truck to turn more easily, which is beneficial for tight slalom riding.
  • Bushing Configuration Example: Venom HPF 73A/78A in the front truck, offering a balance between control and flexibility.

Rear Truck Bushings:

  • Harder Bushings: Harder bushings (e.g., 90A to 95A) are preferred in the rear truck to provide stability and prevent wobbling, especially at higher speeds typical in giant slalom.
  • Bushing Shape: Barrel bushings are commonly used in the rear truck to maintain stability and support. They offer less lean compared to cone bushings but provide better resistance to tipping, which enhances control.
  • Bushing Configuration Example: Venom HPF 95A/97A in the rear truck, ensuring a stable and predictable ride at high speeds.

How Bushings Affect Responsiveness and Stability


  • Soft Bushings: Increase the responsiveness of the truck, allowing it to turn more easily with less effort. This is crucial for tight slalom where quick direction changes are needed.
  • Cone Shape: Provides a higher range of motion, making the trucks feel more lively and responsive. This shape is beneficial for the front truck, enhancing its ability to navigate through closely spaced cones.


  • Harder Bushings: Offer more resistance to turning, which enhances stability by reducing the likelihood of speed wobbles. This is important for maintaining control during high-speed runs in giant slalom.
  • Barrel Shape: Offers a more solid and supportive feel, which is advantageous for the rear truck. This shape helps maintain a stable platform, especially when carving at high speeds or descending steep hills.

Balancing Responsiveness and Stability:

  • Split Bushing Setup: Using a combination of softer bushings in the front and harder bushings in the rear allows riders to achieve a balance between responsiveness and stability. The front truck remains agile for quick turns, while the rear truck provides the necessary support to keep the board stable and under control.
  • Tuning Options: Riders can further fine-tune their setups by adjusting the tightness of the kingpin nuts, changing the bushing durometer, or experimenting with different bushing shapes and configurations to match their personal preferences and the specific demands of the slalom course.

Riding Techniques for Slalom Longboarding

Mastering the art of slalom longboarding requires a combination of fundamental skills, advanced techniques, and insights from seasoned riders. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced enthusiast, honing these techniques will enhance your performance and enjoyment on the slalom course.

Basic Skills

1. Balance:

  • Maintain a centered stance on the board with your feet positioned shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent to absorb vibrations and maintain stability over uneven terrain.

2. Turning:

  • Initiate turns by shifting your weight onto your toes or heels, depending on the direction you want to go.
  • Use your body’s natural movement to guide the board through turns, focusing on fluid transitions and smooth execution.

3. Carving:

  • Engage in wide, sweeping turns by leaning into the direction of the turn while maintaining consistent speed.
  • Use your body as a counterbalance to control the board’s trajectory and maintain control throughout the carve.

Advanced Techniques

1. Aggressive Riding:

  • Develop confidence and assertiveness in your riding style, pushing the limits of speed and control.
  • Focus on maintaining a low center of gravity and a stable stance while navigating tight turns and challenging terrain.

2. Cornering:

  • Approach corners with precision and anticipation, adjusting your speed and line to maximize efficiency.
  • Use your body weight and foot placement to carve through corners with precision and minimal loss of momentum.

3. Grip Control:

  • Master the art of controlled grip to navigate tight spaces and maintain control at high speeds.
  • Practice different grip techniques, such as from your toeside and heelside grips, to enhance your agility and responsiveness on the board.

Tips from Professional Riders

  • Consistent Practice: Dedicate regular practice sessions to refine your skills and build muscle memory.
  • Visualize Success: Mentally visualize your lines and maneuvers before executing them, enhancing your focus and confidence.
  • Seek Feedback: Solicit feedback from experienced riders and coaches to identify areas for improvement and refine your technique.
  • Stay Relaxed: Relax your muscles and maintain a calm demeanor while riding to minimize tension and optimize performance.
  • Have Fun: Above all, enjoy the journey of learning and mastering slalom longboarding, embracing the challenges and triumphs along the way.

Competitions and Events in Slalom Longboarding

Slalom longboarding competitions offer an exhilarating platform for riders to showcase their skills, compete against peers, and immerse themselves in the vibrant culture of the sport. Here’s an overview of major competitions, participation guidelines, and insights from top slalom riders:

Major Competitions

1. World Slalom Skateboarding Championships:

  • The pinnacle event in slalom longboarding, featuring top riders from around the globe.
  • Hosted in various locations worldwide, showcasing diverse courses and challenging terrain.
  • Divided into different categories based on skill level, age, and board type to accommodate riders of all backgrounds.

2. National Slalom Championships:

  • National-level competitions organized by governing bodies or local skateboarding associations.
  • Provide a platform for domestic talent to compete and qualify for international events.
  • Often feature a range of disciplines, including tight slalom, giant slalom, and hybrid slalom, to test riders’ versatility and adaptability.

3. Regional and Local Events:

  • Hosted by slalom longboarding communities, skate shops, or clubs in various regions.
  • Serve as grassroots competitions to nurture talent, build camaraderie, and promote the sport at the grassroots level.
  • Offer accessible entry points for novice riders to gain experience and connect with the broader slalom community.

Participation and Expectations

1. Registration and Entry:

  • Registration processes vary by event but typically require participants to sign up online or in person.
  • Fees may apply, covering event costs, insurance, and amenities provided to participants.
  • Riders should review competition rules, categories, and safety guidelines before registering to ensure eligibility and preparedness.

2. Event Format:

  • Competitions may feature timed runs, head-to-head races, or freestyle elements, depending on the format and course design.
  • Riders compete individually or in teams, aiming to navigate through a series of cones or obstacles in the fastest time possible.
  • Events often include practice sessions, qualifying rounds, and finals, allowing riders to refine their skills and strategies throughout the competition.

3. Expectations:

  • Participants can expect a competitive yet inclusive atmosphere, with riders of all ages and skill levels coming together to celebrate the sport.
  • Events often feature a mix of camaraderie, adrenaline, and sportsmanship, fostering a sense of community and mutual respect among competitors.
  • Spectators can enjoy thrilling races, impressive maneuvers, and memorable moments as riders push their limits and vie for victory on the course.

Safety Tips and Best Practices in Slalom Longboarding

Slalom longboarding is an exhilarating sport that requires a combination of skill, agility, and safety consciousness. Here are some essential safety tips and best practices to ensure a safe and enjoyable riding experience:

Protective Gear

  • Helmet: Always wear a certified skateboard helmet to protect your head from impacts and reduce the risk of head injuries.
  • Pads: Consider wearing knee and elbow pads to cushion falls and prevent abrasions or fractures in case of a spill.
  • Gloves: Invest in slide gloves with palm pucks to protect your hands and wrists during slides and falls.
  • Closed-Toe Shoes: Opt for sturdy, closed-toe shoes with good grip to enhance stability and protect your feet.

Minimizing Injuries

  • Start Slow: Begin with basic skills and gradually progress to more advanced maneuvers as your confidence and proficiency increase.
  • Warm-Up: Perform dynamic stretches and warm-up exercises to prepare your muscles and joints for riding.
  • Know Your Limits: Avoid attempting tricks or speeds beyond your skill level to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Fall Safely: Learn how to fall properly by tucking and rolling to disperse impact forces and minimize the risk of injury.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and maintain peak performance during extended riding sessions.
  • Check Equipment: Regularly inspect your board, trucks, wheels, and protective gear for signs of wear and tear, and replace or repair any damaged components promptly.

Importance of Safe Environments

  • Choose Suitable Locations: Select riding spots with smooth pavement, minimal traffic, and adequate visibility to minimize hazards and distractions.
  • Avoid Crowded Areas: Steer clear of congested streets, sidewalks, or areas with pedestrian traffic to reduce the risk of collisions or accidents.
  • Obey Traffic Laws: Follow all local traffic regulations, including speed limits, stop signs, and pedestrian crossings, to ensure safe and legal riding practices.
  • Practice in Controlled Environments: Seek out designated skate parks, closed courses, or empty parking lots to practice skills and maneuvers in a controlled and supervised setting.
  • Ride with a Buddy: Whenever possible, ride with a friend or fellow enthusiast to provide mutual support, assistance, and supervision in case of emergencies.

Continuous Learning and Improvement

  • Take Lessons: Consider enrolling in skateboarding lessons or clinics to learn proper techniques, safety protocols, and risk management strategies from qualified instructors.
  • Seek Feedback: Solicit feedback from experienced riders, coaches, or mentors to identify areas for improvement and refine your riding skills and strategies.
  • Stay Informed: Stay updated on industry trends, equipment innovations, and safety guidelines through reputable sources, forums, and community resources.

Slalom longboarding offers a thrilling blend of speed, skill, and adrenaline, attracting riders of all ages and abilities to the sport. With its dynamic courses, challenging maneuvers, and vibrant community, slalom longboarding provides an exciting platform for riders to push their limits, showcase their talent, and forge lifelong friendships.

As you embark on your slalom longboarding journey, remember to prioritize safety, respect, and continuous learning. Equip yourself with the necessary protective gear, practice responsible riding habits, and seek out opportunities for growth and improvement. Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or a novice enthusiast, the joy and excitement of slalom longboarding await you on the open road.

So, strap on your helmet, tighten your trucks, and hit the pavement with confidence and enthusiasm. With dedication, perseverance, and a passion for the sport, you’ll discover endless possibilities and exhilarating experiences in the world of slalom longboarding.