If you’re an avid longboard rider, you know that checking the speed of your board is crucial to ensuring safe and enjoyable rides. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about speed checking your longboard, from equipment to techniques. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions, so keep on reading!
What is speed checking?
Speed checking in longboarding refers to a technique used to control or reduce speed while riding a longboard. Longboards are designed for cruising and downhill riding, and they can reach high speeds, making speed control an essential skill for riders.
When you’re going downhill on a longboard and want to slow down or maintain a safer speed, you can employ speed checking techniques. Here are a few common methods:
- Foot Braking: This technique involves dragging one foot on the ground to create friction and slow down. The foot is placed sideways, usually with the sole or heel of the shoe contacting the pavement. By increasing the pressure, you can create more friction and reduce speed. Foot braking requires practice and proper balance to avoid losing control.
- Sliding: Sliding is a technique where the rider intentionally initiates a controlled slide using the wheels to reduce speed. There are different sliding techniques, such as a Coleman slide or a stand-up slide, which involve shifting your weight and applying pressure to initiate the slide. Sliding requires skill, as well as the use of specialized slide gloves to provide a controlled grip on the pavement.
- Carving: Carving involves making wide, sweeping turns back and forth across the road or path, using your body and weight to control speed. By leaning into the turns, you create resistance against the direction of your movement, which helps slow you down. This technique is effective for gradual speed control and can be combined with other methods for better results.
- Air Braking: Air braking involves opening up your arms wide to catch the wind resistance while you’re in a tuck position. By increasing the surface area facing the wind, you can create drag and slow down. This technique is mainly used in high-speed downhill riding.
What equipment do I need to speed check?
To speed check a longboard, you don’t necessarily need any specific equipment beyond a longboard and appropriate safety gear. However, if you want to measure your speed accurately, you can use the following equipment:
- Speedometer app: There are various smartphone apps available that use GPS to measure speed. You can download a speedometer app, mount your phone securely on your longboard, and track your speed during your ride. Make sure the app you choose is reliable and has good reviews.
- GPS watch or cycling computer: If you prefer not to use your smartphone, you can invest in a GPS watch or a cycling computer that tracks speed and distance. These devices are designed to measure speed accurately and can provide additional features like tracking your route, distance, and other performance metrics.
- Radar gun: A radar gun is a device commonly used for measuring the speed of moving objects. It emits a radar beam that bounces off the object and measures the speed based on the Doppler effect. Radar guns are more commonly used for measuring the speed of vehicles but can be used for longboarding as well. However, they can be expensive and may not be practical for casual longboarders.
- Speed trap system: Some longboard enthusiasts set up their own speed trap systems using various methods. This can involve using laser sensors or infrared beams across a specific section of the road to detect the passing longboard and calculate the speed based on the time it takes to cross the sensors.
How do I carve to slow down?
Carving is the most natural way to reduce your longboard’s speed without losing momentum. It involves making S-shaped turns that gradually decrease your speed. To carve, lean your body weight towards your front foot and use your back foot to initiate turns. Gradually increase the angle of your turns until you reach your desired speed.
How do I slide to slow down?
Sliding is an advanced speed checking technique that requires practice and mastery. It involves rotating your board’s wheels perpendicular to the direction of travel, creating a controlled skid that reduces your speed. Sliding can be done in various ways, but the most common ones are heel-side and toe-side slides. It’s crucial to wear protective gear and practice in a safe and empty parking lot.
How do I foot break to slow down?
Foot braking is the most straightforward way to reduce your longboard’s speed, but it’s also the least effective. It involves dragging your back foot on the ground to create friction and gradually slow down. Foot braking is excellent for emergency stops, but it’s not recommended for steep hills. To foot break, shift your weight towards your back foot and drag it gently on the ground.
How can I improve my speed checking skills?
Speed checking is a vital skill for any longboard rider, and like most things, it takes practice to master. Start by practicing on gentler slopes and gradually progress to steeper hills. Focus on the technique that feels most comfortable to you and keep practicing until it becomes second nature. You can also watch instructional videos, join longboarding clubs, and ride with experienced riders to pick up tips and tricks.
Speed checking is a fundamental skill for any longboard rider who wants to enjoy safe and enjoyable rides. By mastering the various techniques and using the right gear, you can confidently tackle any hill and make sharp turns without losing momentum. Remember to start small and work your way up, and most importantly, have fun!