So you've built up some speed and aren't sure how to stop? We sincerely hope this isn't the case as you read this on your phone.... The first step to taking speed is learning how to stop and stay in control. If you can't stop then you probably shouldn't go fast!
There's several options for learning how to stop on a longboard and it's going to take some practice to really learn any techniques. As always we recommend throwing on a helmet, elbow, and knee pads. Concrete and asphalt never feel good to fall on without pads.
There's a moment in skating known as the moment of no-return and it's built on the oh $hit realization. It's when you've gone so fast that you can't stop and don't have a bail out plan. It almost always ends in trying to dive off into the grass and recovery rolls and can be quite painful. Don't let this happen to you, it's terrifying and can really hurt. Always have a plan or be sure you can stop. Learn how to stop on a longboard and you'll always be glad that you did.
The Gravity and Build Up Method
This one is simple and requires no skill whatsoever. It lets you start on some hills right away and gain some speed. Just remember to do this in low to no traffic areas and where there is no danger of being hit by a car.
Find a great hill that has either a long flat outrun, or a nice uphill at the end. This way you can go as fast as you'd like down the hill but you'll eventually come to a stop. This is in no way a solution to not learning how to stop, but its a good way to build up some confidence. Start just a little ways up the hill each time and go farther up when you feel more comfortable. Don't go too far off the bat and have the oh $hit moment.
The first method that you should learn and one of the easiest ways to stay within control. The danger here is if you go so fast that you can't put your foot down because the board is wobbling. Use this earlier so you don't get stuck in this situation. Foot braking is very simple:
- Put your weight on your front foot.
- Lower your center of gravity for maximum stability.
- Reposition your body and foot so both are pointing towards the front of the board.
- Keep your weight stable on the front foot and lift the back foot off slowly and lower it towards the ground on the natural side.
- Softly place your heel on the ground to create friction. Don't push down too hard or your foot will catch. This is why you keep all your weight on the front foot on the board.
- With practice you'll be able to use this method at more and more speed. Build up from the start.
The Coleman Longboard Slide
This slide was invented by professional skater Cliff Coleman and is considered the starting point for anyone looking to slide. It's very balanced because you drop your hand down into the slide using slide gloves for extra stability.
This slide works really well and you can even learn it in a flat parking lot or on a flat road. We can't stress enough the importance of putting on a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads before you attempt this. Here's our post on learning a perfect Coleman Longboard Slide.
The Frontside Standup Slide
Although standup slides are less stable than Coleman's because you don't have the extra contact point, they are a key slide to add to your arsenal. These slides work especially well at speed but are also easy to learn on a flat road. Confidence is KEY with these and you'll want to carry some speed to make it work at all. The good news is that with knee pads you can run out into a knee slide if things go wrong!
Here's our step-by-step breakdown so you can land these faster:
- Cruise into this slide comfortable with your weight centered and knees slightly bent.
- Carve across the road in the direction you'd like to initiate the slide. Take a little bit of speed or you won't be able to make the board slide. Steeper hills are easier but much scarier to learn on.
- During the approach start to bend your knees more. Turn your head in the direction you'd like to slide while both feet are still flat on the board.
- Lower down throughout.
- Engage a hard carve and pop your weight upwards to start the slide. Keep your front arm down and loose and swing the back arm across as you turn to face directly downhill.
- Once the wheels start sliding, maintain control by keeping your weight on your heels and continuing to pivot the slide. You can slow the pivot by stopping your body rotation and turn back to go straight again. You can also keep the rotation for a full Frontside 180 slide.
- The full 180 slide will finish with you skating fakie / switch and can be hard to recover from if you still have speed.
- Make sure you are comfortable riding fakie before trying to carry the turn through with speed.
- It's key to have all four wheels sliding for a true slide. Practice until you feel all wheels slide under your feet. Once they are all sliding you can hold the standing slide for longer.
Now that you've learned some new ways to stop, it's time to get out there and practice. Remember that speed helps, pads are necessary, and confidence is the only way to make a slide or foot brake work.
Thanks for reading and we hope this helps you learn how to stop a longboard. We'd love to hear from you below if it does and hope to see you out there shredding!