How to go down hills on a longboard?

If you just started longboarding, you might be interested in this downhill longboarding thing that everyone talks about when they talk about longboarding.
If you like doing extreme sports, downhill is probably for you. Downhill longboarding is all about going as fast as possible. Downhill skaters go very fast down steep hills, usually between 50 and 65 mph, and have reached speeds of over 80 mph in the past.
Because of this, some people might say that downhill longboarding is tough. It takes a big commitment and getting over your fears, because going down this fast on asphalt can be dangerous.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the most important parts of downhill longboarding, including how to think, how to ride, what to wear, how to get ready, how to compete, how to stay safe, and downhill longboarding tips. After reading this, I hope you’ll have a better idea of what downhill is, if it’s for you, and how to downhill longboard.

What is different about longboarding downhill?

Downhill longboarding is a lot of fun because it gives you a rush. It’s the same as surfers who always ride big waves and snowboarders who like to shred steep, rough, powdery mountains they have never been on before. All of these riders want to experience intense, life-affirming moments that make them feel alive.
But if you’re on a longboard, you’ll usually go much faster than if you’re surfing or snowboarding.
When you ride a longboard fast down a hill, you get a rush that is very hard to stop. Some people don’t just do downhill as a sport; it’s a big part of their lives and a way of life.

Riders form a close-knit community, which is sometimes called a “family,” because they share the same passions, experiences, and emotions. Longboard speed riders are friends with people of all ages, social classes, and cultures, just like surfers are. Speed is what they all have in common.
Downhill is different from freeride in that freeriders don’t focus as much on speed as they do on making smooth turns and technical, advanced slides as they ride down a hill.

Who does longboarding downhill?

Well, I’ll tell you who it’s NOT for: people who are easily scared. But people often think that downhill longboarding is for dangerous hotheads who want to die. This isn’t true.

Serious downhill riders, like most big-wave surfers, are very dedicated, technically skilled, and generally responsible sports fans who want to push their limits without taking unnecessary risks.
Even though it’s dangerous, some first-time longboarders want to go downhill right away. It is possible for a new rider to get into the sport, even though they need to learn some advanced skills. But you’ll need to learn some skills first (see next section).
If you’re serious, committed, and focused, if you like adrenaline, and if you’re not afraid of a steep learning curve, downhill might be your thing.
Last thing: a lot of “older” downhill longboarders are in their 30s and 40s, but they blend in perfectly with the younger riders when they’re flying down big hills. There are also a lot of people in their 30s and 40s who like to skate with their kids on gentler hills.

What you need to do downhill longboarding

Before you can go fast on a hill, you need to know how to control your speed on your longboard. Foot braking is an obvious skill to learn, but it’s only useful when you’re going at a moderate speed. It’s done by putting your back foot down and dragging it along the ground to slow down.
The second skill you’ll need to learn before hitting the hills is simple turning. Leaning on one edge will make your board wheels turn to the left or right, which will make your board move in that direction.
To slow down, carving involves making deep turns by leaning more and shifting your weight. When longboarding downhill, you need to know how to keep your board from going too fast.
Sliding is probably the hardest skill to learn. To slide, you push your longboard sideways down a hill while going fast. This makes your wheels skid, which slows you down a lot. Before you try to slide down real hills, you should first get good at it on flat ground and small slopes.
Now that you know how to do the basics, let’s look at some more advanced downhill longboarding skills.

Downhill longboarding: How to ride a longboard downhill

In this section, I talk about the main skills and techniques of the sport, as well as some important downhill longboarding tips.

Tucking downhill

When most people think of downhill riding, the first thing that comes to mind is tucking. It is the art of making yourself as small as possible while riding downhill to reduce wind resistance as much as possible and go as fast as possible.
The downhill tuck is a well-defined position that downhill longboarders learn to master in order to get up to high speeds. There are actually a few different ways to do it. For better air flow, everything is “tucked” in that position:
You put your front foot on the front truck, with your toes facing forward.
Your back foot is behind your front foot, on its toes, close to the rail, and at a slight angle.
Both of your knees are bent about 90 degrees, and the back knee is tucked against the calf muscle on your front leg.
Your upper body is almost horizontally leaning forward, and your chest is tucked against your front thigh.
You have your arms behind your back.
This is a very fast position, but it takes practice and strength to stay in it for a long downhill run (sometimes a few miles or minutes).

Turning at high speed

I said that knowing how to turn is a skill you need to have before going downhill. Cornering, or making sharp turns at high speed, is an advanced skill that is essential to downhill longboarding.
When you’re going fast and turn a corner, you want to find the best way to go into, through, and out of the turn so you don’t get thrown off and lose as little speed as possible.
This is a very technical problem, and some people even call it an art.
In terms of your body position, you should squat down to lower your weight and keep your ankles free to move. When turning, you lean hard into the edge of your board as if you were about to fall off (sort of like race bikers).

Again, the most difficult and technical part of downhill longboarding is probably turning. It can take years of practice to get good at it.

High-speed sliding

You probably know by now that sliding is also a very important part of downhill riding. Longboarders who ride downhill slide to control not only their speed but also their direction. Sliding lets you go much faster into a turn than you could if you couldn’t slide out.

At high speeds, the best and safest way to slide is to crouch down and put your hand on the ground for more leverage and stability. You need to put the right amount of weight into your hand. To do these slides, you need sliding gloves that are solid (see below).

There are many kinds of slides, and they are used in many different ways. I’ve already talked about pre-drifts, speed scrubs, and inside corners.
Stand-up slides are good for learning at low speeds and are often used in freeriding at moderate speeds, but they are riskier at high downhill speeds. Red Bull even holds an extreme “No Paws Down” (no-hands sliding) downhill longboard race in Slovenia.

Downhill carving

As I said before, carving is a key skill for downhill skiing. On a hill, you use it over and over to slow down.
Advanced carving skills at high speed are also important for dealing with speed wobbles, which happen when your board starts to “shake” and makes small turns that you can’t stop.
Users with more experience can stop wobbles by putting more of their weight on the front wheel and letting their muscles relax.
As a beginner downhill rider, it will be easier for you to get rid of wobbles by carving big toeside and heelside turns to regain control over your board’s trucks and direction.

Drafting

Drafting is a racing technique in which you skate right behind another rider at a high speed and use them as a wind block, which makes you go faster and reduces your air resistance.
Once you’re in this “air vacuum,” you wait until the last second to break out and pass the other rider after you’ve picked up enough speed.
So far, we’ve looked at the most important downhill techniques. But a natural question is, how dangerous is it?
#Longboard racing
Racing is the last thing I want to say about downhill. Speed racing gives riders a rush of adrenaline, a strong sense of community and camaraderie, and the thrill of competing with other riders who have the same goals.
When skating and turning at high speeds in a pack, you have to trust the other riders. This brings people closer together because they share a passion and a way of life.
The International Downhill Federation is the most important downhill racing organization today. It holds and regulates official longboard and luge races all over the world in 4 rider categories (open, women, juniors, masters).
There are also some races that are put on by cities, like the Mount Jefferson longboard race in North Carolina. On the day of the event, the race road is closed to cars.
Race organizers have a hard time choosing the best spots, which are usually winding, gradually uphill roads with good pavement and, if possible, beautiful views.
Some serious skaters are always looking for the best downhill spots in the world. This page has a good list of spots with a photo and a description of what they are like.

Conclusion

If you’re interested in the dangerous world of downhill longboarding, make sure you buckle up, get your gear, and go into it with a healthy dose of humility, an open mind, and determination.
You’re about to go on an adventure that will test your bravery, smarts, friendship, and respect. Respect for others, but also respect for the steep road you hope to drive down one day, with the same mix of fear and respect that surfers feel for the ocean.

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