Georgia Luck is exploring the beautiful art of longboard dancing on a skateboard and is inviting you to learn about its nuance. She is currently living north of London, where she was born, but has spent the last three years in Bristol building a thriving longboard skate community. Georgia recently undertook a solo trip visiting different longboard groups around Europe. Alongside her skating – offering workshops and private longboard lessons – she works as a marketing freelancer for a remote expedition and TV & Film safety company. We catch up to learn about the nuances of longboard dancing on a skateboard.
How did you get into longboard skating?
Before the coronavirus pandemic, I walked into a charity shop in Brighton and left with a longboard skateboard. It became the perfect mix of something that I could learn alone while the roads were quiet and get me outside while the world was seemingly imploding and we were given 30 minutes of exercise. I later discovered the London Dock Session community, a weekly meeting of talented and international longboarders meeting next to a beautiful sunset view of the skyline in North Greenwich. I learned about, and fell in love with, the nuances and creativity in longboard skateboard dancing. On that day, I remember seeing seemingly normal people do things I thought were near impossible and hoping that if I practiced hard enough, I could do those things one day too.
What is so special about the art form of longboard dancing?
It’s incredibly special and has become a huge part of my life. Within the skateboarding scene, longboard dancing is a niche within a niche. It attracts people who are open-minded and willing to work through the awkward process of learning, falling and failing, and more open to creativity and fewer rules. There is no gatekeeping, just a global community wanting to share a passion and a lifestyle. These people are not people that live-to-work, value expensive cars, and have lots of money, but are people that set out in life to find joy outside and play, even in adulthood. There are a lot of parallels to surfing and surf culture.
Around the world, there are international competitions and skate jams to demonstrate what people can do and to share skills. Skating is universal. You can travel with a board, without speaking other languages, and make connections with people from all walks of life. It’s entirely up to you what you do with it. You can skate to build discipline, resilience, and progress alone. Or you could use it to join or build a community, make friends, and enjoy new experiences. I try to do both.
What are the core moves and tricks?
You will find some good beginner tutorials online that will run you through where to start. Before you start dancing, I strongly recommend working on your core balance, foot breaking, riding switch, and adjusting speed while carving the board so that you have a strong foundation to start dancing. After that, you can learn to pivot, Peter Pan, cross-step, 360-step, and try some beginner longboard grab tricks. Understanding your equipment; the different types of bushings, bearings, and wheels you use, will also affect how you enjoy and get the best from it.
If you want to learn more about the nuances, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of combinations and tricks to learn. Find a local crew like Dock Session, or Longboard Girls Crew, join an international longboard camp, or take a deeper dive for inspiration on YouTube. There is a mine of information out there and many amazing people who travel the world doing it. I could spend hours happily talking about it.
Who have been the pioneers of longboard dancing, and where is the scene most active?
I read once that skateboard longboard dancing originally derives from surf culture, to recreate the feeling of carving on land, when the conditions are too flat to surf waves. Our dancing culture is intrinsically linked to water. Dock Session, the international movement that originated in Paris in 2014, now appears as hundreds of city meet-ups every Sunday around the world, always positioned by a body of water or ‘dock’.
In my mind, the highest calibre of longboard dancing creates symmetrical carves, using body weight and creative steps to manipulate the board’s direction. A bonus is doing this with rhythm and flow to music, and at high speed. It’s not as simple as stepping and balancing, it involves whole-body movement.
I’m still learning about the history. Hundreds are active and well-known for their style and talent. To name a few; Dock Session founder and filmmaker Lotfi Lamaali, World Champions Aboubakry Seck and Antonine Champetier, and many may have seen a video of the effortlessly graceful Valeriya Gogunskaya. In Europe, the largest communities and the most talented riders exist in France. There are huge communities in the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain. I don’t know nearly enough about the Asia or South America scenes, but I hear there’s incredible talent there too.
Can you tell us about your relationship with Luca Longboards and what makes a dance board different to other long skates and carving skateboards?
I am sponsored by the Polish brand Luca Longboards and Slide Perfect Longboard Shop. I ride the Ballar L model. Dancer boards are usually between 40 and 47 inches long and have a kicktail on both ends, like a skateboard. I like a mellow concave, soft bushings, and grip tape on the ends and sides only. There is no ‘perfect set-up’. Just as, I imagine, like choosing a surfboard, it falls to whatever feels good for you. Some people would say you can skate almost anything, and it’s true. I have seen people dance on classic skateboards, surf skates and even wooden sticks with trucks and wheels attached.
The thing I like the most about Luca is how lightweight they are. They are water-resistant and have a polyurethane sidewall, which prevents splinters and slows damage. Some people like a classic wooden board. I have seen how quickly people can destroy wooden boards and good boards aren’t cheap. For me the Luca boards are built to last.
Slide Perfect Longboard Shop has encouraged me since the day I joined. They are one of the few independent longboard shops in the UK and sell some of the best European equipment and have a wealth of knowledge to keep the local community skating. I’m very grateful for their support through the years. I recommend it to all my friends.
Do you get any inspiration from longboard surfing?
I really admire it. I follow Elle Sutherland and I think her longboard surfboard dancing is beautiful. Skating helps with your sense of balance. It also helps me reach the ‘flow state’ and encourages me to have a better understanding of the environment around me. I spend more time looking at the sky and trying to understand cloud formations and weather than ever before in life. ‘Will the wind throw my tricks in another direction? Will the floor have dried overnight for me to skate in the morning? Will there be a good light to enjoy?’
I can really appreciate how much patience you need to surf. It mostly depends on my own performance, not on the performance of a wave or wind on that day.
The process of ‘walking along a board’ is different between a skateboard longboard and a surfboard longboard. We are encouraged to move our feet differently and shift weight to the side and edges of the skateboard. On a surfboard, I believe, dancing steps are made along the centre line and weight shifts to the back leg to initiate a turn. I can see similarities and differences. It is possible to hang ten on a longboard skateboard, and some people choose to occasionally ride barefoot by the sea. The biggest distinction for me is that stepping along the centre line of a longboard skateboard wouldn’t enable you to create a nice deep carve, or pass beyond the beginner stage, because it only allows you to ride straight.
Ultimately, it falls to a matter of taste and doing what you enjoy. On a longboard skateboard, it takes much more skill to dance on the edges and to use the whole surface while the board is turning on a carve rather than a straight line. When done right the result looks and feels incredible. If you are looking for progressive cross-training for your longboard surfing with a similar technique for stepping along the centre line, a surfskate setup like Yow, Carver or Hamboard is the one for you.
In the future it would be a dream to be part of a workshop or training camp, in partnership with a longboard surfer, to explore these connections further. I would love to teach what I know, somewhere along a beautiful path or road on the coast.
What are the cultural benefits of skateboarding having such strong movements in urban areas (which contrasts with surfing, often in more isolated coastal areas)?
Longboarding gave me a reason to make more use of outside spaces in the city, even spaces that people might not appreciate, or see as more of a pathway or dead zone. It helped me find the confidence to explore new places as if it was my own garden or playground. I started longboarding to find a community and to address feelings of loneliness and isolation. Often, I am approached on the street by people who notice the board with a genuine interest and start interesting conversations. Unexpectedly, I also learned more about myself and found ways to enjoy my own company. The BBC reported on how skateboarding can help improve mental health and well-being in adults. It also is linked to improving focus in people with ADHD. For me, it gives me a sense of feeling grounded and calm, and certainly more of a purpose.