There are countless people who start longboarding due to the downhill riding style. It is probably the last step towards becoming a master of longboarding. First of all, you have to put your fear aside before you get into this. The game of downhill longboarding is all about achieving as much speed as you possibly can. It looks unachievable but is true that the rider can go 50-60mph normally while riding a longboard down the hill. When it becomes your regular routine, you can reach 70-80mph as well but requires a lot of dedication.
If you are among those who don’t suggest riding downhill due to safety reasons, you are right. That’s the reason we suggested everyone to be fearless if opting downhill longboarding. On the other hand, it can be a great way to enjoy the adventure for longboard rides if implemented in the suggested way. The protective gear should always be protecting your head, knees, and all other sensitive body parts.
You might be confused due to our remarks about downhill riding. But everything that we are going to suggest in this discussion will keep you on the safe end. This debate will move around downhill riding tips, what should you prevent, safety equipment, and all other things that relate to downhill longboarding. If you find yourself in the situation of, “should you start riding or not”, explore what we discuss and then take the decision. Let’s begin with the most awaited discussion of our debate.
What is Downhill Longboarding
You must have knowledge about a downhill but not about riding with a longboard on it. As mentioned above, riding down the hill is all about riding at the maximum speed levels. In the beginning, you might even struggle to give it a try but once you have learned it, it will become compulsive to you. If you have some kind of knowledge regarding snowboarding or surfing, downhill riding requires the same confidence that a surfer needs to ride on the ocean swells.
The major difference we pointed out between surfing and downhill longboarding is speed. You may fall in love with this longboarding style at first glance after you watch the video attached below. Remember we said downhill riding is the last step to mastering longboarding? Yes, it is true because you have to go through the other basics first. Such as freeride longboarding and longboard carving. BoardsOnTop never suggests you ride your board down the hill before learning these styles.
It is utmost because you have to try out multiple things when riding at near 60mph to keep your ride safe. In this scenario, instant braking, sharp turns, and sliding can help you repel any upcoming threats in your rides. Most importantly if you have heard from someone that freeriding is downhill riding is the same, you are wrong. A free-rider never goes at such speeds.
Should you Choose Downhill Longboarding?
To sum it up in an easier way, we will set the limitations. Go through each one and see if you can manage it or not.
Make sure you are not afraid of performing downhill tricks as it becomes the major reason for failure.
If you have a strong grip on the rest of the longboard riding styles and their techniques, you can choose this addictive riding style.
The basics can be learned by covering all your sensitive body parts by using the safety essentials. Start from riding at 10-20mph with no other vehicle coming your way.
Start watching the complete videos on downhill longboarding and note down all the bullet points that can help you when implementing.
Set the goal to stay focused on your rides and polish the skills of stopping the longboard instantly. In the end, improve your longboard stability and momentum at higher speed levels by trying out different methods and hacks.
You can also find the downhill longboarding places near me on google and select the track that suits you the most. Some say that age matters in riding a longboard down the hill which is not a valid reason. In this case, your longboarding experience and your madness to learn downhill riding play a vital role.
Terms for Downhill Longboarding
Sorry to say but if you don’t fulfill the terms mentioned below, you should not take the risk of downhill riding. It is neither suitable for beginners nor for those who are just stuck to simple longboarding.
Give more time to your longboard braking expertise as you will have to apply all these techniques when going down the hill at speed more than usual. Stopping the longboard has numerous tricks and techniques. Join the complete discussion on How to Stop on a Longboard and see if you are missing something or not.
Are you familiar with longboard sliding? It is another way of restricting your board wheels to keep spinning and also improving your turning skills. Throughout your downhill ride, you will come across several turns on the hill which needs to be bombed in a perfect way. In this case, our sliding debate will help you a lot. Read, How to Slide on a longboard.
If you have been involved in longboard carving since you started longboarding, you are one step ahead of others in learning downhill longboarding. Although both of these riding ways are incomparable but when you need to take a sharp turn while going down the hill, your carving skills minimize your learning efforts. If new to longboarding read, What is carving on a longboard.
We are confident if you have a strong grip over your sliding, braking, and carving skills, you are far better than the others who want to ride on a hill going down. Till now, we are done with the basics of downhill riding, who should choose this, and the requirements. Now let’s move on to the technical part of our debate named, How to Downhill Longboard.
How to Downhill Longboarding
To be very honest rather than believing in downhill riding steps, go for the techniques. It is so vast and expendable riding styles that can not be taught within a few steps. Therefore, we will be naming the techniques and how to implement them.
Tucking for Downhill Riding
If you are not intimate with the tucking, we will take you through this first. Half or even more of your downhill riding is dependent on this method. The reason is simple, we have to do everything we possibly can to bring speed to our ride and this is where tucking plays its role. In simple words, tucking is a body positioning that lets you lessen the resistance of the wind. To do that professionally you bend your knees, keep your hands at your back, and your head down. As the image given below shows, most of the body parts stay in a limited space.
Your front foot (according to your longboard stance) goes straight as your longboard. Make sure non of its part is lifted up.
On the other hand, your back foot follows the front one for direction but on its toes. On the deck, its placement can be according to your satisfaction.
Let’s discuss knee positioning (most important). As mentioned above, for the purpose of gaining speed, the rider has to bend both of his knees with an angle of 80-90 degrees. When you have positioned yourself, make sure your back knee is touching the calf of your front knee.
Bend all the body parts in a way that assures your chest is almost touching the front knee. The tip here is to practice this pose before you go to ride down the hill.
In the end, we have our arms. Place them on your back and be ready at once because you may need to use them for sliding under different conditions. Sliding gloves will help you slow down your longboard in a decent and quick way.
Sharp Turns at High-Speed
As the method’s name suggests, you have to combine both of your speeding ad turnings skills together. No doubt doing this together is an unmatched feeling but needs more attention and polished skills. For beginners, we suggest stopping longboard at turns and starting riding again. But if you are confident that you can do that at once, we will let you know how you can tackle this.
When riding down the hill and a turn appears in your path suddenly, you go in the position of almost falling off. The masters of this technique just pretend to be fall but not actually. This pose does an extraordinary job in keeping the speed alive (minimizing 5-10mph only) and makes sure you turn your longboard the way you need to. We would like to let you understand this in a few steps.
Steps to Perform:
Bring as much speed as you possibly can right before the turn on the road where you want to practice the steps.
When you have achieved the pace, give yourself a falling down on one side (right or left, according to your stance) while your feet stick to the deck. For better turns, you can grab your deck from beneath.
Applying these steps will slow you down no doubt but as soon as you get back into the straight position, you will get back to the same speed as you are going down the hill.
When to take Turn:
Now there is another debate, how and when should a rider pose for sliding his longboard. There are 3-4 different methods that can you follow to get rid of this mystery.
Execute the turn before it appears on the path, it is called pre-drifting. As an involved member in downhill riding groups, we suggest the same for the sake of the rider’s safety.
The second way is to drift when you enter the turn or in the middle of the turn. Although, it brings speed back instantly after the drift but can be crucial in terms of safety.
Lastly, a few riders love to take turns at the ending point for no valid reason. Maybe they get back in the same rhythm immediately or they don’t their drift to be too long.
Where on the road should you take turns?
It also has different practices, we all know there can be three different paths on a road. The middle and two different edges. The outer edge of the road is highly recommended to begin the drift. Because you have clear visuals of the path you are riding on. It means you can execute the plan of longboard braking if any vehicle comes to the same road. So by now, we have covered the most technical part of our discussion. Let’s move on to the other essential methods that you will have to implement.
Sliding During the Downhill Longboarding
You can use your sliding expertise as the backup plan when going down the hill with your longboard. Sliding is an excellent way of slowing down at both normal surfaces and downhill. Comparatively, it is less technical to learn but has the same importance as high-speed turning. In simple words, we would define sliding as one of the most beneficial ways of slowing down the wheels at higher speed levels. Also, it helps you turn sharply without losing your stability and momentum.
Many sliding methods have been discovered by the pros of longboarding and almost all of them are advantageous. So in the downhill longboarding task as well, we will follow the experienced riders and go for the hand sliding. With hand sliding, you don’t have to relocate your body parts again and again and it is simpler to understand than others. Slowing down the speed and turning with the hand is also known as the Coleman slide. Here are the steps you will have to work on.
Steps for Hand Sliding:
As always, bring pace to your ride before sliding. In case you don’t know, sliding looks more professional if executed at maximum speed. Therefore, try to reach around40-50mph, especially when going down the hill.
When there is the time to slide, bow yourself to the left side while your feet stick to the deck very well. To keep the stability alive, you can slightly use your right hand to grab the deck so as not to fall off to the side you have bowed yourself.
As one of your hands is under the deck (optional), place the left one to reduce the speed. The experience of sliding would be great if your try to drift with sliding gloves. Most importantly, keep your longboard stance in mind to not get conflicted.
That’s it, you are done with the Coleman slide but you can explore more ways of sliding as well. Such as stand up slides, sit-down slides, etc.
Carving for Downhill Longboarding
Your carving skills can take your downhill rides to a whole new level of excitement. For this, you must have all the carving techniques and knowledge of where to apply them. In case the speed wobbles happen while riding downhill, the carving masters can repel any mishap without hesitation.
What are speed wobbles?
When the trucks on the ending point of your deck start shaking, it means the speed wobbles has started. Including me, many riders start carving in this situation because it manages the wobbles very well.
Steps to Apply for Downhill Carving:
It is all about weight distribution. In normal carving rides and downhill rides, you put maximum weight on the front trucks and leave the back ones free.
Secondly, reduce the wobbles and control your rides by performing toeside and heelside turns. We found this the most helpful strategy to get back in the same rhythm you started your ride with.
Safety Equipment for Downhill Longboarding
You are throwing stones in the adventure of your downhill riding yourself if you go for the rides without wearing any safety gear. Whenever a mishap occurs in a downhill ride, riders injure their head, knees, hand palms, or elbows. Simply, cover all these body parts with gloves, helmets, and pads. You will find all this equipment in the safety category of BoardsOnTop. In case you want us to suggest the best products, you can find each one below.
Triple Eight Helmet
Longboard Slide Gloves
Triple Eight Pad Set
STX Elbow Pads
Downhill Longboarding Issues
The safety items save your delicate body parts nicely but there are some other things that you need to be careful with. It can be the vehicles coming into your way, cracks and holes in the road etc. Let’s see how to tackle these issues.
Once you get used to the downhill riding style, you will often notice cars and bikes coming into your way to ruin the whole momentum of the ride. Still, we have found some useful tips to avoid unusual incidents. First of all, ask your fellow skaters to look after if there’s any threat when taking turns or not. On the straight path, you can measure the situation yourself.
Secondly, choose the right track before sliding. The perfect way to slide is to select the outer edge of the road where you can see the upcoming threats yourself. Lastly, bury the accident risk and go somewhere where the vehicles are not allowed.
Cracks and Holes on Roads:
You can imagine yourself what would be the result if are riding at 40mph and suddenly a hole comes into your way. Have you ever thought about this before? If not then think about it and keep the solution in mind we are going to mention. If you are thinking to do some magical stuff and rolling over cracks, it is not that much easier. The most helpful way would be to examine the track thoroughly and see if something appears. In short, you have to find some suitable place with no cracks and traffic if you really want to enjoy downhill longboarding.
Buying Instructions for Downhill Longboards
Don’t be surprised if we say you can’t ride down the hill even if you apply all the techniques mentioned above. Yes, because having the best downhill longboard is foremost and somehow it decreases your learning effort as well. So we will give you a quick review of what should be in a downhill longboard and what not. For an in-depth discussion read, Downhill Longboards Buying Guide.
Deck Dimensions & Design:
Decks with a shorter length are suitable for generating speed quickly. But we don’t suggest such length due to the short width which is necessary for stability. Longboards can be fastened in different ways but a downhill rider should not compromise on stability. Therefore, a deck with a length of around 40 inches (for beginners) or 36 inches (for experienced riders) will work exceptionally well.
For the design, you have to choose one between top-mount, drop-deck, and drop-through. The first two designs are not suggested for downhill longboarding as they compromise on the rider’s stability and safety. Get to know about if longboarding is safe or not. So, choose the drop-through deck with 36-40 inches length and learn the downhill riding basics quicker. For the width, stay around 8-9” as this is enough for any rider to stand firmly.
Among all the longboard accessories, wheels play the most vital role. You have to find grip, speed, and sliding ability as well. For your satisfaction, we have already made a list of the best longboard wheels for sliding. Rollers with 80A hardness are the perfect choice to grip the ground well when sliding. For the diameter of wheels, you can go for 65-70mm.
The quality of bearings defines if the ride is going to be faster or not. You should never compromise on the ability of the bearing. Coming to the point, for downhill riding pick the bearings with ABEC-7 ratings or even 9 if you can manage the speedy rides. That is to say, the ratings allow the wheels to either roll faster or slower.
No matter what the riding style is, we see the trucks’ width and their technology to get it done. We will go with the same rule for downhill riding as well. Firstly, make sure that the trucks have a 180mm width. Secondly, two different technologies used are used in longboard trucks, reverse kingpin and traditional ones. Reverse kingpin trucks provide more responsiveness during the rides which is essential in downhill rides. Explore the best longboard trucks for downhill rides.
What People Frequently Ask
Is it easy to learn Downhill Longboarding?
It depends on how madness you have to learn and what’s your experience in longboarding. To keep it simple, we must say that downhill longboarding is difficult for beginners. On the other hand, if you have ridden the board with all other riding styles, it will become easier for you if you learn with dedication.
What longboards are good for downhill riding?
Among the three different types of longboards, drop-through ones are the most suitable choice for downhill riders. They are comparatively more stable and their design is specified beginner-friendly. Top mount and drop-deck boards don’t suit this riding style due to a different design of trucks and deck.
How much time does it take to learn downhill longboarding?
Again the answer is simple, it depends on how long you have been riding the board. If you consider yourself a beginner, it will take 4-5 months maybe more because it is important to master the other riding methods first. If you know carving, sliding, and sharp turnings, 1 month or maybe less would be the duration for you.
Is it safe to longboard downhill?
Going downhill on a longboard without wearing safety gear can create a huge problem. So no, it is not safe if you don’t wear a helmet, gloves, and pads while riding. All of the injuries can be repelled with these safety items.
Countless longboarders want to move on to downhill longboarding in fact, people join this field just because of this specific riding style. Technically it can be a tough task, to be honest. But BoardsOnTop has debated this specific riding style in-depth and mentioned everything you need to know about downhill longboarding. You must have knowledge about all other longboarding styles, and also how to implement them in critical situations.
Moreover, I’ve discussed the major techniques that you will come across when going down the hill on a longboard. Go through each one and analyze if you have the confidence or not. Most importantly, not all the longboards are suitable for this riding style. Therefore, we also talked about what to look for in a downhill longboard. If you still find yourself in a “don’t know what to do” position, below is our suggestion for the best downhill longboard.