As soon as I got my first skateboard, I immediately went down to the park and tried to see if I could do the same heel flip I had done on my game without any difficulty before. As it turns out, the only thing I got to see that day is the ground coming towards my face about a dozen times (thank god for helmets and knee-pads). After that I tried to learn how to do the simpler moves, but found I preferred to simply ride my board around, instead of doing tricks with it. Later on I also found out that the longboard is much easier to do this on because of the shape – regular skateboards are a little too short to get the hang of at first.
After you pick up a longboard, you can ride it anyway that you like or that suits you the most, but the “signature move”, so to speak, when long-boarding is called carving. Carving is basically leaning forward on your toes and backwards on your heals on the edges of the board’s deck while riding in order to make an S shape while going down the road as opposed to a straight line. This is done in order to both be able to limit your speed better while on steeper slopes, as well as to give you a lot more control in general.
Truth be told, most people can’t even distinguish between longboard skateboard carving and carving on a regular board since they think it is basically all just leaning forward or leaning back on a piece of wood with wheels. The difference is that with the longboard skateboard carving is much easier to pull off purely because of the size of the deck. While both types of boards are similar, the difference in their shape and the space between the wheels is what make the difference when it comes to which one is more suitable to which type of riding. Not that an experienced boarder can’t do quite a bit with both of these, but when you are just starting out, the best thing would probably be to pick the right board for the job.
Unlike learning how to grind on rails, you can get the hang of carving in a relatively short amount of time even if you are as unbalanced as a giraffe on ice skates. But even if you do go for the longboard and have an easier time because of it, there will still be a bit of a learning curve, so just keep at it, develop your sense of balance and for the love of god, buy some protective gear.