Why is it so important to know how to powerslide on a longboard? It's not only cool to look at, but it's also an important technique for slowing down and stopping on your longboard. The freeride and downhill longboarding disciplines are built around powersliding. However, if you're just cruising or commuting through traffic, it's also very useful.
The following are the basic steps to learning how to do a heelside standup powerslide:
- Begin by gaining some speed on flat ground or a small incline.
- By pressing on your front rail, make a slight toeside pre-turn.
- Then, with your weight down low, initiate a sharp heelside turn.
- Push your board out with your back foot as you turn to make a 90o turn.
- Straighten your legs, swing your shoulders, lean backward, and skid at the same time.
At first glance, powersliding appears intimidating, especially if you aren't a fearless adolescent or a seasoned snowboarder. It is, however, a highly technical move that can be practiced and learned in a gradual and safe manner.
Let's take a closer look at the powerslide technique.
Powerslides come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including:
- Slides on the heelside (facing downhill)
- Slides on the toes (facing uphill)
- Slides that allow you to stand up (remain standing while sliding)
- There are 180 slides total (end the slide in switch stance)
- Slides / Coleman / glove down (put one or two hands down on the ground)
- Slides with a pendulum (hands on ground, swing board around hands while sliding)
- Slides for sitting (crouching low on your board)
- Checks for speed (partial slide for slowing down)
- And there are plenty more.
Most powerslides are a combination of these techniques, rather than being distinct techniques. A toeside Coleman slide, for example, entails sliding uphill while putting your (gloved) hand on the ground.
Certain powerslides are more difficult to master than others. Because you're facing forward (downhill) and pushing on your heels, heelside slides are generally easier than toeside slides (vs your toes).
Sitdown slides are easier to learn for some riders because you're crouching low on your longboard, making the move less intimidating. Stand-up slides, in my opinion, are easier to learn on, especially for older rid
To maintain control, keep your front knee slightly bent and your back leg extended out. Both legs, on the other hand, are pointing up the hill and pushing you away.
While your board skids, maintain that slide stance for as long as you can. Your board is sliding perpendicular to the hill as you face it. Your arms are raised, your heels are slightly off the rail, and you're pressing hard against it to prevent the wheels from catching.
You're leaning back and balancing with your torso to keep your weight off the board as much as possible. Leaning forward will stop you from pushing out and your wheels will catch. Simply adjust your balance by moving your torso back and forth.
You must return to normal stance and resume riding after a few seconds of sliding down the hill in a balanced, backward leaning position.
Bend your knees again and shift your weight back into your front foot, relieving pressure on your back foot while leaning forward slightly.
Pull your back foot in to bring the board back under you as you sink your weight back into your board, swinging your torso back into its original position as your board starts rolling again. Your elbows are brought back to your sides.
Although you can learn to powerslide on almost any longboard, some boards, trucks, and wheels make the process easier.
Smaller, sideset wheels with a small compact patch make learning how to initiate a slide much easier. Note that "sideset" refers to the core (hard part) of the wheel being placed closest to the board.
While harder wheels are easier to slide on, you can learn on wheels with durometers ranging from 78A (for a smooth surface) to 200A (for a more challenging surface). It's also more difficult to learn to slide on wheels that haven't been broken in, so you'll have to wear them out a little before they become easier to slide on.
Orangatang Kilmer 86a and Sector 9 ButterBalls are two wheels that are commonly used for learning to slide.
You can use any truck, but learning to powerslide with a turny truck like the Gullwing Sidewinder will be easier. A flexy deck will also assist you in learning to slide at low speeds, though you may need a stiffer board once you begin sliding at higher speeds.
Longboards with a higher center of gravity, such as symmetrical topmounts and pintails, are easier to slide because they provide more torque over the wheels, reducing the amount of carving required to initiate a slide.
Pintails, on the other hand, aren't ideal for beginners learning to slide because they often lack concave, causing your back foot to fly off the tail when you push out (unless you add some very strong grip tape). Start with a board that has more concave for a more secure foot placement.
So far, we've gone over the technical aspects of performing a basic stand-up heelside powerslide. As previously stated, there are many different types of powerslides, some of which necessitate significant additional steps and technical maneuvers.
The speed check and the 180 powerslide are two other common beginner slides that are very similar to the one we've learned.
The speed check is a gentler version of our stand-up slide, with your shoulders still pointing downhill.
As a result, rather than fully swinging your torso and shoulders downhill, you keep your shoulders back and your front shoulder facing the hill, as you would in normal riding.
Only your hips rotate for a brief moment when you push your board out for sliding, then they swing back into riding position. You don't rotate your shoulders very much.
A speed check is when you take a quick slide to control your speed before continuing to ride.
180-degree stand-up slide In the sense that you complete a full 180o body rotation to end up in switch (reverse) stance after the slide, this is a "fuller" version of our basic stand up slide.
The steps are the same as in the previous section, but the swinging motion is wider and the exit step is different. In one fluid shoulder rotation motion, you rotate through the slide. Instead of returning your shoulders and hips to their original position after you finish sliding, you continue with them. As a result, after the slide, you'll be riding switch, with your opposite foot in front.
Learning to powerslide is a game of patience and skill development, which can be intimidating at first. While it may appear to be a matter of "guts," it is actually a highly technical skill that requires mastering fluid sequences of balanced positions and transitions.
Once you've mastered basic powersliding, the sky's the limit as you improve your slide complexity, speed, and longboard specifications. As a beginner, this will expand your longboarding horizons to include the thrilling disciplines of freeriding and downhill.