Skating downhill is probably one of the skills skateboarders can acquire quickly. It doesn’t require jumps or board flips, since our only goal is to get down that slope. However, without sufficient knowledge of the fundamentals, we expose ourselves to risks.
With that, let’s learn how to skateboard downhill safely and efficiently. Here, you’ll know the best practices when riding on downward sloping areas. Take note of the basic steps below.
- Stopping on the board
- Speeding up
- Turning properly
Table of Contents
What You Will Need
As we mentioned, downhill skating is a risky skill to do. And without the right pieces of equipment, we become prone to injuries. So, ensure you have these things on hand before skating.
1. Your skateboard
The perfect downhill longboard is dependent on various factors.
- Deck – Your deck should come in a slightly concave shape and a width of around 9″. That way, your feet will have a comfortable stepping surface for better balance. On the other hand, the length of the board won’t matter a lot. As a rule, lengthier decks are slower but yield better control.
- Wheels – The wheels of your board will have to deal with the rough ground, which means they have to be durable. Downhill rollers should come with diameters of around 70mm to 75mm. For the wheel hardness, they should be at 80a to 86a. These figures will help sustain the wheels during downhill rides.
- Trucks – You will have to perform quite a few pivot motions in downhill skating. And using a pair of quality trucks will do the work. As a rule, your trucks should match the width of your deck. Specifically, these parts should go around 180mm for the best performance.
2. Downhill skateboarding gear
Skateboarding isn’t a dangerous sport, but riding at high speed is. And since downhill skating can get you riding at 40mph to 90mph, you need to secure yourself against possible mishaps. Take note of the following pieces of equipment.
- Helmet – The head is the most fragile part of our body. Therefore, we need to protect it with a quality full-face helmet when skateboarding downhill.
- The best helmets to use are the well-padded ones, like TSG helmets. Find those with durable ABS exteriors, and you’ll have quality impact and injury protection. Having a CPSC and ASTM-certified helmet also gives riders confidence.
- Slide gloves – Different from other leather gloves, these protective pieces for downhill skating come with sliders. These parts commonly use PU as the primary material, and they are either present on the palm or the fingertips of the gloves. With experience, you’ll learn why you need this kind of protective equipment.
- Knee protectors – You will either fall on your hand or knee first when you encounter mishaps on the board. As a result, securing the knees with quality pads will be the best protective measure.
These items should have ABS plastic on the outside with sufficient paddings behind the cap. Also, they should be full-sleeved to achieve the best fit around your knees.
Steps to Riding a Skateboard Downhill
Step 1: Skateboard preparation
If your trucks were incorrectly tightened, skating would be difficult. Before you get onto the road and dodge that wavy asphalt slide, you first need to check your trucks.
In this step, make sure the front truck is looser than the rear one. But note that excessive loosening of the trucks can cause you to lose control and is risky for many.
Step 2: Slowing down and completing a stop
First, find an easy slope to complete the two steps below. Don’t go for anything too challenging if you’re a beginner.
- Slow down on a skateboard downhill
To slow down, the most effective way is doing a controlled slide. And to do it, start skating down on a slightly sloping village road.
Remember the standard skating position with your dominant foot’s tip on the front bolts and your back foot slightly perpendicular to the deck’s length. With the nose of your board in front, drag the tail of your skateboard to the front using your back foot.
To help guide the board and maintain balance, move your arms from behind.
- Stop on a skateboard downhill
After slowing down the skateboard, pull its tail back to its original position. This time, we’ll reach a complete stop. And to do this, you need the coordination of your feet while maintaining balance.
Lay your back foot down on the ground. Slowly apply pressure as you generate friction against the road. Continue putting pressure on your back foot until the board eventually stops.
Step 3: Actual downhill skating
Now that we know the necessary preparation for downhill skateboarding, it’s about time we get into the real thing. Take note of the following.
- Gaining speed
While downhill speed skateboarding might be dangerous, a specific body position will help you keep calm under such circumstances. In simple terms, we call this position tucking in on the skateboard. It’s a unique way to skate downhill while reducing wind resistance, thus increasing your speed.
To do this, let’s start with the standard skating position with your dominant foot in front and your rear foot over the back truck. From there, bend your dominant leg down at a 90° angle. Follow with your chest resting on top of your front leg. Your back knee should be tucked into your front leg’s calf.
Often, downhill roads are curvy. Therefore, learning how to turn downhill is necessary. And while carving on a skateboard is simple on straight roads, it gets different once the road becomes sloping and wavy.
To turn while skateboarding downhill, you need to slow down first. Note that turning while your board is moving too slowly will cause a complete stop. On the other hand, excessively high speeds might make you miss the turn.
That’s why you need to perform the previous step (slowing down) correctly. By then, you can initiate the turn you want.
- Staying calm
Not all skateboarders recognize the necessity of maintaining composure, but you should. If you panic, mishaps on the road become more likely. In fact, anxiety can worsen athletic performance.
A pro tip: Besides the essential steps we have discussed, you might want to consider learning how to fall. That way, you can protect your joints or any body part from possible injuries.
And while there are various ways to do it, it’s practical to roll your body instead of falling on your hands.
Like with any skateboarding skill, your safety should be your top priority in downhill riding. Knowing how to skateboard downhill takes a ton of courage. Keep learning from the tips I have shared, and you’ll get better eventually.
Did you like this tutorial? Tell us what you think in the comments section.
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.