Downhill longboarding is for the inner daredevil in all of us, as this boarding technique involves fast speeds, sharp turns, and steep slopes. You should follow the eight beginner tips for downhill longboarding to have a better chance at learning this fine art.
Like any other form of exercise, you’d better take a few minutes to warm up. Putting the pedal to the metal when you’re not loose is a recipe for disaster. If your ankles are stiff, you’ll find it difficult to maintain balance on your board, so the first few minutes of riding should focus on finding solid footing after a few short laps.
Another integral aspect of warming up is stretching. Before and following each downhill session, you should perform dynamic and static stretches. Dynamic stretches are simple and don’t require a lot of time. Lunges and leg swings are enough to get the juices flowing. Then, you can shift to static stretches.
Doing static stretches when you’re not warm could lead to major discomfort and possible tearing of the muscles, so don’t begin with them. Static stretching involves touching your toes, reaching high above your head, and other classic techniques. Doing these right before you hit the pavement or at your ride’s conclusion ensures you won’t wake up in pain the next morning.
Work on Your Flexibility
While there are elements of flexibility in stretching, it doesn’t necessarily improve it. The primary focus of stretching is to warm up the body, which is why we do it. However, becoming more flexible helps you conquer downhill longboarding.
Contorting your body while boarding gives you balance and speed. Your body positioning matters when you are going fast downhill, particularly sliding. At first, positioning your body to do these slides may seem awkward. Yet, your positioning will become second nature as you work on your flexibility.
Don’t Dwell on the Inevitable
Some people may shy away from downhill longboarding because of the inherent risk that comes with it. The idea of hitting the pavement when you’re going over 50 mph isn’t a pleasant thought. You should know it’s impossible to learn the art and stay upright the entire time. You must accept the inevitable falls to conquer downhill longboarding. The best strategy to combat these nefarious thoughts is by padding up.
You should protect your body as much as possible for your first few attempts. Hard cap knee pads are a must for downhill longboarding. You need durable protection when you’re bombing hills. The flimsy plastic kneepads will do you no good if you take a spill.
Elbow pads serve the same purpose as your knee pads. You will instantly regret not wearing elbow pads if you experience road rash. Finally, hip pads can protect your hips and rear end, minimizing the impact of a blow. You may not look the coolest, but at least you’ll be able to laugh about it afterwards if something happens.
Don’t Be Cheap
Nothing makes longboarding less enjoyable than bad equipment. Going the cheap route may appease your wallet, but your performance will pay. Skimping out on your wheels, trucks, and deck can only result in a horrible experience.
Poorly-made wheels aren’t conducive for sliding. Inexpensive trucks make turning a chore, potentially leading to uncomfortable wobbling as you gain speed. Saving a buck on a deck means getting a board that’s as brittle as balsa wood. Buying cheap safety gear usually means you’re getting bad safety gear.
Soak up the expense and invest in high-quality equipment. It will help improve your skating experience and how quickly you learn and protect yourself adequately.
The Best Trucks & Deck
Now that you know not to go penny-pinching, you might wonder what to buy. Regardless of the trucks, they must be loose. Tight trucks help with stability, but you will limit their movement, restricting your lean when taking a turn. Instead, use tougher bushings or washers for added stability. A neutral configuration is best for beginners since you can adjust it when you realize what you want.
Regarding the board, you don’t want something too large. While a larger board offers a more stable experience, they can be a huge pain to control. A drop-down board is solid for beginners who are learning to slide.
Practice Any Chance You Get
Every elite athlete doesn’t settle in their ways. They are looking to improve their game every day they wake up. Top athletes hit the gym at the crack of dawn and continue to work on the fundamentals throughout their careers. You should do the same for longboarding and practice every day.
It’s important to remember you don’t have to practice downhill longboarding every time you head out. Look into complete cruiser longboards as a daily board, allowing you to mosey about and decompress from the rigors of downhill longboarding. Making a habit out of riding will pay dividends the more you do it, ultimately improving your skills.
Learn How To Gain Speed
With consistent practice, you can learn how to gain the speed necessary for downhill longboarding. Developing the fundamentals of acceleration is critical for downhill riders. Tucking is a beneficial acceleration approach that makes your frame as compact as possible. The goal is to decrease aerodynamic drag and enhance speed while leaving your front foot on the deck and your rear foot on its toes. This position is why you should bolster your flexibility.
You should also explore and practice drafting, or riding closely behind a buddy to take full advantage of the reduced wind resistance and overtake them.
If everyone could downhill longboard on a whim, finding a spot to do it would be a lot more challenging. It takes moxie and a sense of fearlessness to get on the board and become a speeding bullet. Don’t do anything irresponsible, and stay within your means. Test your limits and remain confident. Being tense and nervous will lead to mistakes that could cause injuries.
One way to become fearless is to learn how to fall correctly. Never use your hands to stop a fall at high speeds. You may sustain a significant injury to your hands, wrists, or elbows. Know how and when to duck your chin and roll over, and always try to find the softest landing spot.
Remembering these eight beginner tips for downhill longboarding should do wonders for your experience. You have limitless potential once you acquire the skills, allowing you to visit some majestic locales. The Longboard Store has a great collection of downhill longboards and other styles. If you’re unsure what board is best for you, our quiz in the banner above can point you in the right direction.