Longboard pumping – Techniques & Tips for the Board Setup

If you’ve been skating for a while you’ve probably come across longboarding pumping. It looks kinda crazy but it is a lot of fun to do.

Today, I’ll be talking about how to pump and which setups are great for it. After reading my article, you’ll know exactly what you need to do.

What is pumping on a longboard? How to do it?

Pumping is a way to gain speed on your skateboard without stepping off of it. It’s a technique used by long-distance skaters, cruisers and slalom skateboarders.

To pump on a longboard, you swing hard from the left to the right. When you do this you make the front truck quickly change directions. This gives you some forward momentum and you often have an increase in speed. If you do it correctly, you can skate without pushing for a considerable distance. Long-distance skaters often use it to take a break from pushing without losing any momentum.

It’s super useful when you know how to do it. The bad thing is that it looks kinda awkward haha.

How to pump on your longboard

The video below from Loaded boards is really useful and illustrates how to pump perfectly.

As you can see, the rider in the video digs left hard, and then swings up and digs right hard. 

The key thing here is to use your shoulders to lead the motion. In many ways, it’s like you’re throwing (or swinging) your shoulders in one direction, and then swinging them hard in the other. Imagine it as throwing your shoulder down towards the toeside or heelside.

A big mistake that riders do, is trying to use their legs (or feet) to drive the pump. You can’t generate enough force with your legs alone. This is why it’s important to use your shoulders and your body. Putting your whole body into it allows you to generate a lot of momentum and force. 

What are some things to keep in mind?

  1. Rhythm is important – you have to keep swinging left to right consistently, otherwise you won’t be able to consistently build speed and maintain momentum.
  2. Dig in – You have to dig in and push into every carve. Otherwise, you’re just kinda turning on your board and not doing much.
  3. Put pressure on your toes or heels. This is key to help your board turn hard on each carve. Putting pressure is a good way to consciously help you direct weight in either direction.
  4. Your front foot leads – The momentum generated often comes from the front. foot driving the front truck.
  5. Keep practicing – Pumping is also about ‘feel’. You gotta learn and get comfortable with how your board turns and figure out how to make the most of it. Keep practicing and it will naturally come with time. 

What setup is best for pumping on a longboard?

You can typically choose between two types of setups. You can have a setup that is highly specialized and built precisely for pumping, or you can have a setup that isn’t specialized, but that will still be decent for pumping.

If pumping isn’t what you primarily want from your board, I recommend you go with the second option – an all-around setup.

Go with a flexible deck

A flexible deck lets you dig in hard for every carve. They also bounce you back and up and out of it. This allows you to quickly change direction. They also bump you up so you have a lot of force to get down and drive each pump. Finally, they provide a comfortable ride for cruising too.

Top mount skateboards are also the best. They give you the most leverage over your trucks and you can get them to fully turn with each swing to the left or the right. Just watch out for wheel bite!

Bigger wheels are better

Wheels bigger than 70mm are best. They maintain their momentum and you’re able to stack and build up a lot of speed.

With the right deck, you can use wheels 85mm in size – you might get wheel bite with normal top mounts.

Finally, you want grippy wheels with square lips. These types of wheels allow you to dig into carves without breaking traction and slipping out. They allow you to come out of each carve without losing speed.

Wheels with round lips tend to break traction. They could drift out and make you lose speed. The worst is that they can suddenly slide out and make you fall, so you gotta be careful when using them. However, they are fun for doing a slide or two.

Which trucks work best?

You can use any trucks to pump, but some are better than others.

Narrower trucks are better for pumping generally. But they aren’t stable and have a slower top speed.

However, wider trucks can also be used. You will need to push a bit to get some speed going so you can pump with them. They also need a bit more force and drive to get them to turn quickly. But they do have a higher top speed so you can keep going for a while.

Some people have specialized precision trucks for pumping. For example, the Don’t trip Poppy or Exile Hydra. They’ve been built especially for pumping long-distance and pushing. They have a very turny front and a back truck that doesn’t turn much. This allows all the turning to come from the front which allows for easier pumping.

If you have RKP trucks, you can make the front turnier than the back. You can do this with wedge risers. Just make sure to change the bushings when you wedge or dewedge your trucks. 

Soft bushings are better

Getting the right bushings can certainly help but isn’t that important. But as a rule of thumb, you always want to go with soft bushings. Soft bushings allow your truck to full lean and turn. It also allows you to change direction easy – just watch out for wheel bite!

Super high rebound bushings like the Orangatang Nipples or Venom SHRs, can also help you bounce out of turns and conserve energy. They are what I’d recommend for a longboard pumping bushing setup

Finally, you might want to have a softer bushing set up in the front truck. It will help keep the turning focused on the front truck.

How to make a bad setup good for pumping

If you have an existing setup and want to make it better for pumping, here are a handful of things you can add or change to it:

  1. Big, square-lipped wheels – wheels 70mm in size with square lips can make pumping easier, as they maintain momentum.
  2. Huge risers – risers increase the distance between your deck and your trucks. They allow for deeper and tighter turning.
  3. Softer bushings – softer bushings can make your trucks turn better and deeper. 

Best Completes for pumping

FLOW Surf Skates Surf Skateboard with Carving Truck

Pumping was originally inspired by surfing, it makes sense for a good setup to pay homage to that. Surfskates aim to do this by creating a fluid and smooth riding experience for the rider.

How the Surfskates work is kinda simple. They have a turny front truck and a back truck that follows in line. They turn left to right very quickly and you can quickly gain momentum with them.

The front truck is a specialized version of a tkp truck. It has a spring that allows for deep turning without the rider getting wheel bite. You can dig into carves confidently with it.

If you want a complete that will be good for pumping and cruising, the Surf skate would be a good choice. Check it out here on Amazon.com.

Loaded Fat Tail

The Loaded Fat Tail is a traditional longboard. It has RKP trucks, a flexible deck and is top-mounted. It was designed with cruising and pumping in mind.

It uses Paris V3 trucks. These are arguably the quickest turning trucks on the market. They’ll be good for pumping and will be stable for everyday cruising.

The Fat Tail has a flexible deck – you can choose from 3 flexes depending on your weight. A flexy board will help with pumping. It will let you drive into each turn and bounce you out for the next. Finally, it will also provide a comfortable ride for cruising.

Find out more about the Loaded Fattail here on Amazon.com.

SwellTech SurfSkate

Similar to the Surf Skate above, the Swelltech was made to work in the same way. It has a front truck that turns a lot and turns very quickly. But it has a rigid back truck that encourages most of the turning to come from the front.

The front truck is unique and uses a combination of springs and geometry to provide the turn without any wheel bite.

The Surfskate is a pretty great complete for pumping. The only drawback is the cost. The Sector 9 board with sidewinders below is a lot more affordable by comparison.

Check out the Surfskate here on Amazon.com.

Sector 9 Aperture Sidewinder Drop Through

Sidewinder trucks are known for being extremely turny and able to change direction quickly. This makes them perfect for pumping. The double kingpin system of the sidewinders allows them to turn further and deeper than any other traditional kingpin truck.

The bad thing about the Aperture is that it is mounted as a drop through. This limits how much leverage and turning you can get from the trucks. However, you can change this if you’re willing to take apart the trucks.

Find out more about the Aperture here on Amazon.com.

Are you ready to pump? Your turn!

The best way to learn to pump is to go out and practice it. Every set up has a different feel and it’s key you figure this out so you can pump properly on it.

If you’re looking for a complete setup to pump, the FLOW surf skate is your best option. It is affordable, comes in a good size and has decent components. It will also be fairly easy to maintain. 

 

William Thaddeus Baker
 

My name is William and I’m boardsports enthusiast. I’ve been skateboarding streets since I was about 9. Also I’ve experimented with longboarding & downhill. As to this site my goal is to help beginner riders to find the right equipment. Everything that I write here is my own opinion…