Last Updated on October 14, 2020 by Michael J. Branco
Downhill longboarding is a fantastic sport for adrenalin junkies that are both fearless and confident. No doubt, your interest in this sport is sparked by an intense love for speed and only speed. It’s fast, it is fun, and you may never want to stop once you start.
This article will give you more insight on this trending and fast-growing genre of the longboarding sport. It is tailor-made to provide a beginner with the necessary knowledge to avoid unnecessary fatalities. Take note of every tip, and you will never go wrong!
Downhill Longboarding Prerequisite
Downhill longboarding involves longboarding downhill at alarming speeds. As fun as flying downhill may be, it does have its dangers. There are prerequisite techniques you need to acquire first to ensure your safety. Be sure to have mastered each of these fundamental speed control skills before you embark on your downhill ride.
This is one of the most effortless speed control skills to master. To brake using your foot, drop your back foot, and drag it onto the ground while riding. The friction or resistance formed will slow you down or even bring you to a stop if you so desire.
However, you can only use the skill when you are going at moderate speeds. Attempting foot braking at high speeds is dangerous. Also, gradually cause friction as sudden stops can injure you.
Turning is another simple speed control skill you need. Lean and shift most of your weight to one edge of the board to the front. Then turn your foot to your required direction, and your board will follow suit. This will make your board wheels, and ultimately the whole board rotates. Make sure your eyes stay peeled for obstacles in your way.
This is a very crucial technique, but it is slightly more complicated and may take a little longer to master. To carve, you need to move your weight to your toe or heel edge then use your entire body to make an S shape. This sudden body turn will reduce your speed immediately.
Carving helps you control your speed and avoid reaching speeds that may lead to fatal accidents. It may even save your life!
This complex skill may take novice longboarders a while to learn but is very useful when going at high velocities. To execute the perfect slide, push your longboard sideways across the slope. As a result, your wheels will skid, drastically slowing you down.
To slide safely downhill, first learn to slide on flat surfaces and short slopes. It is easier to understand sliding in such places.
Read More: Skiing Tips for Intermediate
Downhill Longboarding Techniques
Once you are confident of your mastery of the above prerequisites, you can move on to fundamental downhill longboarding techniques. I will cover several tips and skills that will enrich your downhill longboarding experience.
Just as its name implies, tucking makes yourself as small as you can as you go downhill. This minimizes wind resistance, thus increasing your speed. In short, when tucking, every part of your body is tucked as much as possible. This allows it to gain an aerodynamic advantage.
To get into a well-tucked position:
- Place your front foot on the front truck. Make sure your toes face forward.
- Put your hindfoot behind you positioned front foot. Make sure it is slightly angled and on the rail.
- Bend your knees to form a 90° angle. Tuck your back knee against your calf.
- Tuck both arms behind your back.
This may seem simple to the eye, but in practice, it takes time to learn and hold for the entire duration of your downhill slide.
You need to perfect your turning before you can attempt high-speed cornering. It encompasses making sharp turns at high speeds and is a primary downhill longboarding skill you need. To get that turn right, you identify a line that allows you to enter and emerge from a corner safely.
The line you pick should minimize speed lost and prevent you from ejection from your board. Also, you need to maintain a perfect posture to get this right. So, at a corner-
- Squat down as far as possible to lower your gravitational center.
- Allow your ankles free movement.
- Lean as far as possible on the edge of your board. While it may feel like you are falling off, a centrifugal force will help you maintain your balance.
Remember, a turn can be broken down into four essential parts, and each needs to be treated differently. The first is the pre-drift zone, which is immediately before the turn, then the apex or actual turn. Next is the scrub, which is immediately before the exit and final part of the turn.
To get the perfect turn, use the outside – inside- out rule. This means you go into the turn at the outermost edge of the slope. Then lean to the apex in turn and move back outside before you exit the turn.
Sounds easy? Do not be discouraged when you find making a turn difficult at first. You may endure a few falls, but with practice, it gets easier.
This skill lets you entire a turn at speeds you cannot achieve otherwise. It keeps both your speed and trajectory in control. To get into the sliding position, follow the following easy steps:
- Crouch down
- Put your hand down to the ground. This will provide you leverage and make you stable. You will need solid sliding gloves to protect your hands.
There are several types of slides, each perfect for a different situation. For instance, stand-up slides are possible but only safe when you are low to moderate speeds.
While this is one of the prerequisite downhill longboarding skills, there is a need to learn advanced carving techniques. Not only do they help control speed, but they also help deal with speed wobbles. They occur when your speed increases making your board shake and enter several unnecessary mini turns.
One advanced carving method merely is shifting all your weight to the front tuck. This relaxes your muscles and reduces wobbles.
Downhill Longboarding for Beginners
If you are a beginner and you fancy downhill racing, you need a few tips before you begin. Take note that downhill racing has its hazards and can lead to fatalities when done in ignorance. Here are a few tips for a downhill longboarding beginner.
Getting into Downhill Riding
This sport is dangerous. If you do not know what you are doing cannot be overemphasized. So if you are just starting–
- Ensure that you also have the right mindset before you begin. It should be confident. This will help avert unnecessary fear that may dampen your experience and endanger you.
- Master prerequisite skills first.
- Get a good quality board and check for equipment problems before you hop on. Also, get protective gear like gloves and knee pads.
- Start at low to moderate speeds and only go to high speeds when you are confident of your skills level.
- Start with more gentle and short slopes before taking on a big hill with a steep slope.
Learning Skills to Control the Speed
Speed control is pivotal to safe downhill racing as it allows you to adjust and maintain safe longboarding speeds. And patience is crucial. If you rush into high-speed longboarding before learning all the speed control skills, fatal accidents are probable.
Checking Downhill Area
Do not attempt downhill longboarding in an unfamiliar area. First, scout the area, familiarize yourself with turns and cracks, and take necessary notes. Advice from expert riders familiar with the place could also prove to be invaluable.
Final Words Everybody knows that speed thrills, but it kills. Also, an adrenalin rush feels great but getting into a nasty fall afterward is never fun. Make sure you take heed of everything noted in this article, and you will minimize the risks you face. Remember, this is not a sport for the fainthearted. If you believe you have what it takes, go ahead and have fun!