Downhill Riding – Learn What to Know Before You Start

Downhill riding is very sporty and exciting. Your mood will constantly fluctuate while doing it. If you are a fearless and confident human being, then you should go for downhill riding. It is full of speed and only speed.

You need to have a proper mindset while going for this task. With the steep curves along the way, you might let fear creep into you. Don’t let it happen as all it takes is your guts and sheer determination to perform as smoothly as possible.

So, to achieve all of this, you must have proper knowledge about downhill riding from top to bottom. Along with that, you must take safety precautions beforehand, so you also need to have a grasp on this. You must get the best longboard for downhill as well.

Following the article, you will get to know all about downhill riding basics to safety precautions.

Have a look at it to get a full understanding.

What Is Downhill Riding?

Downhill riding mainly came from skateboarding. This one is an upgraded version of skateboarding. Like skateboarding, you can longboard in streets, parks, etc.

The difference between them is the length of the board and the size of the wheel. Different longboards are used for different motives. They also come in various colors. So, for the downhill purpose, you have to ask the seller for giving you the specific one.

Downhill riding is getting famous day by day because it is all about speed. If you are a speed lover, this one is the perfect fit for you. From the top, you will be able to see the bottom and then get on with your longboard and ride like a flying bird.

The air and the adrenaline rush will be top-notch, and at some point, you will want more after doing lots of downhill riding. This will be a part of your life within no time if you are in love with speed. It is wise not to go for downhill riding if the person has problems with height and speed.

You will see that all experienced downhill riders are mentally strong and very strategic about the way they can adjust themselves according to different situations.

For example, they will shift their body position towards the back, or they will even bend the knee on the longboard according to different curves of the road. You will be awed with their flexibility and techniques.

Downhill Riding For Beginners

Let’s breakdown all the do’s and don’ts every beginner should follow while trying to master Downhill riding.

Getting Into Downhill Riding

Before jumping into it, you first need to know that your basic skills on longboarding are highly important. Learn it from online videos or take help from experienced riders about the way to place your foot on the longboard and apply different techniques to push forward and stop the longboard.

As you will master these skills, you can shift your mindset towards downhill riding. You will be confident automatically as your basic skills are set in your mind like super glue.

So, keep in mind that without the basic skills of longboarding, it is highly unlikely that you should go right into downhill. If you do it unintentionally, you will probably end up in a hospital or even injure someone along the way. Therefore, don’t be naive.

Learning Skills To Control The Speed

As you already know, downhill means hilly areas. Longboarding in downhill areas will involve uncertain speeds. So to tackle this, you must know some skills about the way to control the speed of longboard.

Braking

Start by learning the foot braking technique. This is an instrumental technique to slow down or stop the longboard at any time. Typically, this is used for average speed, but it is better to know about it beforehand. Pick your back foot and place it on the ground while riding.

This will create friction between your foot and the ground. As a result, resistance will be formed and the speed of the longboard will slow down. Try causing the friction gradually, don’t do it suddenly as you might jump off the longboard and injure yourself.

Turning

The next one you should learn is the way to turn according to the curve of the road. As hills got lots of steep areas, turning skills will be a must for you. Put your body weight onto the center and transfer a small amount of weight onto the front.

Turn your foot the way you direct, and you will see the longboard is moving along with your foot movement. Just keep your eyes open to avoid any obstacles around the way.

Carving

Next is the carving technique. You should be a master of this technique as it will be a life savior for you if you have lost control of the speed. The turns due to carving are powerful because the weight shifting is massive in comparison to regular turning.

Shift your body weight to your toe or heel edge and make an ‘S’ shape with your body. The strong turning will force the uncontrollable speed to come into control.

Sliding

The final skill you should know is sliding. This one is tough to learn as you need to have good flexibility of your body. You can do this by putting your body weight onto the front and bending your knees. In this case, put your front foot forward by bending it.

After that, slide off the board smoothly using your back foot and while doing this, make contact between your front knee and the ground. Initially, you will have a hard time grasping it. With consistency, you will master it and perform it like an experienced rider.

Checking The Downhill Area

Before starting, take a short walk to the areas to know all about the turns and cracks. If possible, create a map in your diary or notebook. Check the location of the obstacles and mark them on the map.

These will give you a hint of where to be strategic and apply certain techniques to keep you out of harm’s way. Visualize the place with a positive mindset and get excited about it. Take advice from the longboarders that have already done longboarding in your desired downhill area.

Downhill Riding Techniques

Now, let’s enlighten ourselves with some of the effective techniques while downhill riding.

Tucking

This is a very cool technique and feels great while performing. This famous technique can be seen performing by most of the downhill longboarders. As downhill riding involves speed, this technique will surely level up the excitation.

This technique involves making yourself small by adjusting your posture in a way that your speed gets faster. While making yourself small, you can cut the air resistance easily and increase from your normal riding speed. You can’t just reach high speed by making your body small.

This will be the wrong thing to expect. There are ways that you can adjust your body position. It will take time for you to automatically shift to the tucking position. But with practice, these will get easier and faster.

Let’s get on with the steps;

  1. Place your front foot forward and the back foot backward in alignment with your front foot.
  2. Lift the heel of your back foot, putting the weight on the toes.
  3. Then bend both of your knees at an angular position.
  4. Your back foot should bend in a way that it will be closer to your front foot’s calf muscle.
  5. Bend your upper body in a way that your chest is placed on top of your front thigh.
  6. Keep it in a horizontal position.
  7. Finish it with putting your arms behind your back. If possible, lock both of your hands behind your back with your fingers.   

Drafting

This one is a racing technique and is considered as a clever one. As you are longboarding and managed to get closer to the front longboarder, make yourself as small as you can like the one mentioned in tucking.

The front rider is also doing the tucking technique to cut air resistance and you can use the riders’ body as an advantage. The body will be a shield for the air resistance, and you can use it for your benefit.

In this situation, you will increase your speed and will cleverly pick the perfect time to cross the front rider and take the lead. Be careful not to get hit by anything while crossing the rider. Look both ways while passing.

Pushing

This one is a bit scary to execute as it will increase more speed while you are riding. Place your front foot in the forward direction and use your back foot to push yourself forward by pushing it against the ground.

This will get your longboard to move faster. Increase the speed according to your requirement. Don’t push too hard as you will lose control of the speed. Slowly push against the ground and speed up gradually.

Freeriding

This technique is very friendly and unique. It is considered to be the most suitable one for beginners. The speed controlling while doing this technique is awesome. This can be done to show your clever maneuvers to impress anyone, including the experienced riders.

Clever maneuvers can be from sliding to spinning and different other maneuvers. The other 4 techniques; foot braking, turning, carving, and sliding are already mentioned in the article.

All of these techniques are the ingredients to be a perfect downhill longboarder. Learn all of them to be a master of longboarding.

Dangers of Downhill Riding

Like every other sport, this too has its fair share of hazards, let’s have a look at them.

Hurting Yourself

As exciting and sporty it looks while looking as a viewer or performing as a rider, it is a hazardous sport. The danger level can be life-threatening also. Many riders have injured themselves because they haven’t taken any precautions.

They were so excited with all the speed and adrenaline rush that their life fell into jeopardy. Some of them spent months in the hospital, and some of them hit some incoming passengers along the way, putting all of them in the hospital bed.

Incoming Traffics

Accidents can also happen due to incoming cars also. While taking a turn in the curved road, a car or truck came out of the blue and hit you within a split of a second.

The ultimate solution will be to slow down while taking a turn and stretch your head a bit forward to see any incoming car or truck.

Along with that, keep your ears open to hear any horns or movements of the vehicles. This will give you an early warning to take safety steps.

Different Obstacles

Roads are very uncertain, and for downhill roads, chances of uncertainty are huge. Uncertainty comes into different types of obstacles. Cracks or bumps inroads can arrive out of nowhere.

If you hit this unintentionally, you might lose your balance from your longboard and injure yourself along the process. Check the area and note down everything from the curved road to various obstacles.

These are already mentioned above. If your selected areas involve lots of obstacles, switch to a different location. Constant bumps or cracks will not help your longboarding experience a good one.

Non-Professional Rider

Downhill riding is not regular longboarding that anyone can do smoothly. If you are not a professional, you will surely hurt yourself while going down the hill.

You need to learn proper techniques about how to stop a longboard at high speed and the way to do turns and other techniques that are already mentioned. As downhill riding is defined by speed, you must have control over switching to different speeds.

Choose different hilly areas. The ideal for you as a beginner will be to go for a small hilly area initially. Practice in that place for a couple of times and master yourself in that height. After that, gradually push yourself to different heights.

Longboard Problem

If you haven’t checked your longboard to notice any equipment problem, then you are in big trouble. Before going downhill, take some time to analyze the longboard. Check whether there are any cracks present or not.

Also, check the wheels and rotate it to see if it is working correctly or not. If it is not working properly, lubricate it. Finally, tighten the wheels and get on with your longboarding.

These are all the dangers that are very common, and it is wise for you to strictly follow the solutions that have been given.

Importance of Using Protective Gears

Downhill areas are hazardous and dangerous. Chances of injuries are huge as hilly areas involve different curves and obstacles. You can’t just do the longboarding with your regular dresses and think that you will complete the task unharmed. That will be a big red flag for you.

So, you must wear protective gear and keep yourself immune along the whole journey. Protective gears are divided into different categories according to your body parts.

Head Gear

For your head, wear a helmet. Buy a good quality one from the store and use it every time you go for a ride. The most important body part is your head. If you get into an accident, your head is the most vulnerable of all. Head injuries can cause you to have certain brain damages or other dangerous injuries.

Hand Gloves

You need to use your hand while doing different techniques during longboarding. You might cut yourself or break your hand or fingers if you fall off or get hit by something.

To avoid this, wear branded protective gloves. Check the flexibility and test the impact the gloves can take. All of this will come in handy if you face trouble in the downhill.

Knee Pads

If you fall off, landing on your knees could be highly possible. If the speed of the longboard is high, you will fall at a much greater distance. This will give a strong impact on your knees, and you may probably shatter your knee and experience other massive injuries. Hurting your knees might cripple you for a lifetime. 

You might end up in a wheelchair and miss your longboarding experience forever. Don’t get panicked. This was just an illusion that can come true if you don’t wear kneepads.

This will be a perfect shield to cover up your knee and leave it unharmed. Any impact striking your kneepads will make it absorb the force and immune your knee from getting hurt.

Shoes

There are various longboarding shoes available in the store. You will get to see different brands and some of the shoes might look familiar to you.

There are various videos online about reviewing different longboarding shoes, so check it and also go through different websites to check the demand of each brand. After doing all of this, buy the one that fits with your overall budget. If your choice exceeds the budget, don’t change your mind. Just buy it at any cost.

Bodywear

You can complete your protective gear by wearing a good leather jacket and leather pants. These are quite expensive, but it will save your body, that’s for sure. After all, the most expensive thing in the world is your valuable life. These are mainly used for avoiding any scratches on your skin from top to bottom.

Final Words

If you have read the article till now, you understood everything about downhill riding. Go through this article multiple times if required so that you can reap the benefits hidden in it.

Ride safely. Enjoy being extreme.

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