You probably got your first longboard, learned how to balance, kick push, and acquired the skill to stop using the foot brake technique, but now what? Are you ready to go with a bit of speed? How about some downhill ride? Of course, moving on to the next level is the way to go.
But before you try the downhill ride, going a bit faster, or doing the freeride, you have to learn to stop. Yes, you already know about the foot brake, but it won’t be ideal to use when you’re rolling at a high speed. Until you learn how to master the powerslide technique, you’re not supposed to ride too fast. So, why is powersliding so important to learn?
Indeed, it does look scary for most beginners. But if you’re serious about developing your longboarding skills, powersliding should be part of your major goals. Why? Because powersliding is but a basic technique for slowing down and stopping, especially from a highspeed roll. And don’t you think it’s a cool technique?
Whether you’re freeriding or downhill riding, powersliding is your only option to stop or slow down safely. But of course, it’s highly useful as well even when you’re just cruising or rolling through traffic. So, what really is a powerslide? It’s a highly effective way of stopping or slowing down where you push your board at a 90-degree angle across the surface until the wheels are no longer spinning but skidding instead.
The friction created by skidding quickly reduces your speed, which is highly effective for slowing down or stopping. Are you ready to try it? Don’t worry, this article is going to provide you with some helpful tips. With a bit of determination and practice, you’ll be able to do it in no time. Let’s get that longboard to roll and slide.
3 Ways of Stopping or Slowing Down
Before you get to learn about powersliding, you have to know that there are three ways of stopping or slowing down. First is foot braking, which you already know and is only used at slow speeds. Second is the powersliding, which you’re about to learn in this article. And the third one’s called the advanced technique, which requires an advanced skill of longboard riding.
You can think about learning the advanced techniques later once you mastered the powersliding. But to give you a quick peek at some advanced braking techniques, the three most popular ways are heelside pendulum slide, toeside pendulum slide, and 360 slides. Again, you can think about them later as most longboarders consider powersliding to be the coolest and fastest longboarding braking technique.
Basic Steps in Longboard Powersliding
Finally, you’re about to learn the basics of longboard powersliding. Aren’t you excited yet? It may seem a scary task, but with patience and practice, you can do it. Oh and just a reminder, you have to wear the proper footwear. You can’t wear flip-flops or any thin-soled shoes when doing a powerslide.
So, let’s get to it.
To perform a powerslide, you need to get a little bit of speed. You may try this on a flat surface but a shallow slope will give you a little bit more speed with less effort. Why do you need speed? Generally, the idea behind the need for speed is that the wheel will easily lose traction when you’re rolling fast.
For most advanced longboarders, a steep hill is ideal but for beginners like you, a slight slope is preferable. Some experienced riders suggest practicing powersliding on wet ground. The damp ground would be a bit slippery and would require lower speed and the surface is easier to slide on.
Practice pressing your foot on the front rail to prepare for a toeside pre-carve. You may try this first without rolling. In a halt, just feel your foot pressing the front rail. When you’re ready, start rolling and pick up some speed. When you feel that you already have enough speed, apply pressure with your toes while leaning your body forward to carry a quick toeside turn.
Keep in mind that making a good pre-carve is critical in breaking the traction for the upcoming turn. It’s a good practice to put both feet from the tracks at an equal distance. Also, make sure that the trucks are positioned symmetrically, at a slight angle. Keeping your feet closer will provide you with a stable slide. Additionally, ensure you keep a low center of gravity by maintaining your knees bent.
Try to keep your center of gravity low by putting your weight down low. This will give you more balance when you commence on the sharp heelside. While maintaining the position, prepare for the heelside carve. How do you know when you’re ready? When your longboard gets close to the side of the road.
Here’s a Tip: Try pressing with the heel of your front foot and do a quick 45-degree backside turn. Your heels should be just over an edge of the longboard applying light pressure. This move will give you more leverage. Maintain a low position by bending your knees, crouch, and then rise up into the slide.
Now you should be able to start the turn by pushing the longboard with your back foot pivoting to a 90-degree spin. You’re now in the step of the actual slide, which you need to follow a few important things simultaneously. Kindly check the bulleted list below:
- Shift your weight on your bent front knee.
- Toss out the back truck forward by digging the back of your heel on the road. Simultaneously, extend out your back leg.
- Push and turn by swinging your back hips.
- To lose traction, you have to lean back to reduce the weight on the longboard while lifting both arms up.
- Using both legs, push the longboard into the slide.
Simultaneously, you should be able to coordinate your posture while sliding. You need to straighten out your legs while swinging your shoulders, and then adjust to lean backward.
You’ll be sliding at step 4, and to end the process, you need to release the pressure on your back foot. You’ll start to stop when you push your weight to the front. So, that’s how you end the slide. Need more detailed steps? Check out the bulleted list below.
- While keeping the slide, your body position should be back to a normal stance.
- As you push the board with your legs and lean backward, the slide continues on.
- To start slowing down, get back into proper position maintaining both knees bent. Now your weight should be shifted from the back to the front. Do this using your front foot to release the rear pressure, then slightly lean forward.
- Now, your full weight is back on the longboard. You then have to bring back your arms down with elbows on your side.
Powerslide for Beginners
Now that you’ve learned about the basics of powersliding, you’re ready to learn about the two most popular powerslide for beginners – Speed Check and 180 Standup Slide
Speed Check Powerslide
The speed check powerslide is a more conservative version of the stand-up slide. The difference is in the position of the shoulders. Here the shoulders are more relaxed just like you’re riding the board normally. It’s unlike the stand-up slide where you need to fully swing the torso and shoulders into the downhill direction. The hips work to swing back to the normal riding position.
The 180 Standup Slide
The 180 standup slide is a more complicated version of the basic standup slide. What does it mean? Just right after the slide, a full body rotation is completed resulting in a switch of stance. A full 180-degree turn is accomplished. Here, both the hips and the shoulders work together to do the rotation.
In the 180 standup slide, you don’t go back to your normal position. Instead, you finish the ride in a switch, where your opposite foot is at the front.
Safety Tips and Warnings
If you ask some experienced longboard riders, the powerslide is not really too difficult to learn. However, just like any other sports, injuries could be inevitable. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of injuries. Here are some safety tips and warnings to help you prepare for practicing the powerslide.
- Before riding a longboard, even if you’re already an experienced rider, wearing protective gear is a must. Basically, you need pads to protect your hands, elbows, and legs. To protect your head, you need a first-rate helmet. Never go out longboarding without a helmet. You wouldn’t want to suffer from serious brain injury, would you?
- Choose a location for practice wisely. Try looking for a practice area with a lawn nearby. Just in case, you failed to stop, go for the lawn to minimize injuries. Concrete pavement could cause more serious injuries than softer ground like a lawn.
- If you’re a complete greenhorn, practice in a place where there are fewer or no pedestrians at all. Additionally, avoid busy streets at all costs.
- Start practicing on a flat surface or a shallow slope. Don’t just go yet to a steep slope. Better yet, find a damp pavement instead.
Now you’ve just learned the basic steps on how to powerslide on a longboard. It’s fine to fail on the first few attempts; it’s normal. It’s also not unusual to get some bruises, but the reward is unexplainable happiness once you get your first powerslide right.