When you’ve progressed from simple skateboarding and are ready to make the commitment to traveling downhill and learning tricks, you also need to make a renewed commitment to safety. To avoid becoming one of the more than 65,000 youth under age 15 with wrist, lower arm and ankle fractures in 2006, learn how to wear your helmet correctly and invest in leather slide gloves and body padding. To keep safe, follow the example of James Peters, a skateboard commuter, who always sticks to paved trails and sidewalks if possible. Peters avoids city streets and traffic, because someone from his hometown of Seattle was killed in 2008 in a collision with a bus.
Scout a Practice Spot
Pick the most gradual incline you can when first learning how to stop going downhill. It’s worth your time to scout out various downhill locations and to begin practice near the bottom of the hills.
Move up further on the hill in very small increments, such as 3 or 4 feet at a time. Practice four times as much as you think you need to before progressing to steeper inclines and faster speeds.
Schedule practice sessions over a period of weeks or months on gentle inclines. Give yourself time to let the stopping mechanisms get into your muscle-memory and become instinctive.
Transfer all your weight to your front foot. The foot braking method works for both level surfaces and downhill.
Place your rear foot on the ground slowly. Use the sole of your shoe.
Apply pressure gradually to your back foot to slow yourself down. Alternatively, place one foot off the side of the skateboard and drag it there instead of behind you.
Controlled Slide Stop
Place your front foot over the front bolts.
Turn your board sharply to a 90-degree angle from downhill. Pivot with your upper body and shift your weight to accomplish the turn. Be prepared to fall many times before you succeed.
Place your hand on the road if needed for stability and a bit of drag. Siding gloves, with plastic disks on the palms, enable skaters to use their hands in this way.
Allow the board to slide to a stop. The maneuver is much like a skier or snowboarder’s stopping turn at the end of a slalom or snowboard run.
Ensure that your helmet is snug, touching your head all the way around, as low on your head as possible and held level on your head with snug straps.
Use the controlled slide for the most effective stopping technique on steep hills.
Evren Ozan, winner of the International Gravity Sports Association World Championships in 2009 who has traveled at speeds up to 67 mph, says that with practice, skateboarders can stop faster than a bike or car using the controlled slide technique.
Foot braking causes significant wear and tear on your shoes.
Falling on the fleshy parts of your body, such as your butt or thighs, may reduce your chance of injuries. Crouch down to minimize your fall if you feel your balance slipping and try to roll once your do fall rather than absorbing all the force with your arms. Practice falling on grass to perfect this technique.