Skateboarding is one of the energetic activities performed by kids, teenagers and adults. The style of skateboarding can be categorized into two ways: the skateboarding for the purpose of transportation and skateboarding as sports and fun that includes tricks and drills. Over the time, the styles of skateboarding have been evolved significantly and now a day, there are many styles aside from traditional cruising and carving. Let’s check out the types of skateboarding!
Somewhere between 1960s and 1970s, a downhill skateboarding styles called slalom was introduced. It got popular among professionals and amateurs in the 2000s. In this style, the hilly surface is marked by plastic cones and racers skate down all the way following the cones. Racers are supposed to finish the course in the shortest time possible by speeding up. They must knock the cones as each fallen cones will add some time to their original race duration.
Skateboarding race can be done in two formats: Dual format in which the racers compete with each other head to head while in single lane format, the racers only race against the clock the try to finish the track as faster as possible. When it comes to slalom racing, there are total five formats i.e.
Super Giant slalom, Giant slalom, Hybrid slalom, Tight-slalom and Banked slalom. In Super Giant format, the cones are placed at a distance of 40-50 feet and the run time is around 1 minute. Giant slalom is similar to Super Giant format but the distance between the cones in this format is relatively smaller and running is done in single lane format.
Hybrid format on the other hand has spacing of 10-15 feet between cones and the run format is head to head. The tight slalom has a very tight spacing between cones of 5-7 feet that requires sharp and frequent turns. In this format, the racers pass 3 to 4 cones per second. Unlike other slalom styles, banked slalom involves a walled course through which the racers skate. The course is pretty unleveled and difficult for racers to finish faster.
In slalom skateboarding style, there is a rule of time penalty for hitting the cones. Extra time for each cone hit by the racers is added in the actual finishing time. If racers hit too many cones during the race, they get disqualified. The disqualification is often done in a head to a head race in addition to time penalty. There is also another rule called Grass Roots rule.
According to this rule, racers are allowed to hit a certain number of cones such as 5 or 6 and if they hit more than that, disqualification happens. They have to keep the number of hit cones as lower as possible otherwise they won’t get any chance to get in the game again. In both, head to head and single lane format, the winners are decided on the basis of qualifying time.
When it comes to slalom skateboards, the important features are speed, traction and turning. Comparing to the wheels of a typically skateboard, the wheels of a slalom skateboard are much softer and bigger. This allows the wheels to roll faster with great grip. The trucks of slalom skateboard are fine hand-machined products that comes with spherical bearings, high quality rebound brushings and 8mm axles. The boards are also more strong and responsive than typical decks.
This style requires longboards that allow sufficient space for standing as well sitting. Control and balance are two things important to learn for downhill style. A downhill style also requires riders to wear proper safety gears because chances of injuries are higher in this skateboarding style.
If you don’t want to risk your life, always go for a high quality deck for downhill skateboarding. Make sure you choose a stiff deck for downhill skateboarding with a concave shape as it allows better grip and more hold on the board. The wheels of boards for downhill style shouldn’t be slippery whereas trucks must have higher stability to keep you straight at terminal velocity as well. When skateboarding in downhill style, corners can be quite tricky. Go for sharp and lipped wheels that make it easy for racers to pass through the corners. This style is pretty technical and risky hence don’t compromise on board quality.
In downhill skateboarding, racers need to use their hands at corners to make smooth and safe turns. For that cause, gloves are not only highly recommended but essential for this skateboarding style. With gloves, racers are able to leverage their slides and enjoy more control with higher speeds. Gloves for this style are made from high quality material and well-padded to keep the knuckles and palm unscratched.
As we have already mentioned that downhill skateboarding is quite risky than other skateboarding styles, it has to be done while wearing all the essential safety gears. It is done in hilly areas where one might get serious injuries if got off from the track or slipped from the board. To prevent severe head injuries, racers are strictly instructed to wear helmets and keep their brains safe.
Once you know everything about the deck and safety gears used for downhill skateboarding, you are ready to learn how to tuck. Tucking is basically important when there is too much wind and you need to speed up down the hill. Tucking allows racers to become smaller and increase their speed by reducing wind resistance. Tucking is not an easy posture and requires a lot of time to learn.
Where tucking is important to keep up with the competitors, drafting helps racers to get around them faster and efficiently. To do that, the key point to learn is to navigate the wind resistance that slows down racer’s speed. The leading racer is always facing higher resistance while the following ones enjoy the advantage of low wind resistance.
To win the race, riders should utilize this factor in their favor by staying behind the leading racer. They should stay close but behind and there will be a point when they will notice high acceleration due to low wind resistance. This is the time when riders must push a little more and pass through the leading racer without slowing down.
Other than the setup, aerodynamics also plays an important role in increasing the speed. People are of opinion that aerodynamics helmet helps in reducing the wind resistance and increasing the overall speed. But what matters more is your tuck position. By maximizing the tuck, you can reduce the resistance created by shoulders. Identify the motion of the air and then work on your tucking to enjoy better speed.
Once you have learned about the setting up for downhill style and tucking technique for speed enhancement, you must learn how to take smooth turns at balanced speed. When it comes to passing through the corners, entrance speed is the important element. An appropriate entrance speed can help you look like a super hero while a wrong entrance speed results in slamming into the side rail.
To get around the corners smoothly, sometimes you will have to slow down with the help of foot brake or pre drifting. The most important and essential skill of downhill skateboarding is to manage your speed according to the situation. Speed shouldn’t be too slow as it will kill all the speed in the initial drift and make it extremely painful and difficult for you to take a smooth run. On the other hand, it should be too much as well because you will lose control and blow the line. It will take you outside of the turn and you might hit the guard rail or landscape rocks. It means, the only way to pass through the corners is to enter them with a well-maintained speed and keep it steady while turning.
Predrifting / Scrubbing
In the skating domain, it is one of the most challenging skills mostly learned by downhill skateboarding racers. Pre-drifting is a very beautiful move that racers make when it comes to turning through the tight or large corners. It helps racers to enter the corners with a large amount of speed and then using the friction, they slide off only a bit to maintain a proper cornering speed.
It is obvious that beginners cannot perform this trick because it requires practice and mastery on managing speed. With endless efforts and continuous practicing, you can learn this trick and enjoy downhill at its best. This trick is used by professional skateboarding racers participate in head to head downhill skateboard tournaments.
Where entering the corner is significant, exiting it is also tricky. Once you have learnt how to enter the corner with proper speed, it’s time to learn how to exit through the apex smoothly. When you enter the corner, you hit the apex and this is the point where you will need to slow down even further. According to experts, the one and only rule to hit the corners apex is ‘outside inside out”.
This rule helps the racers to gain cornering potential whenever they encounter a corner. Entering the corner at a top speed with pre-drifting and scrubbing through it all the way helps the riders to exit it with a great apex. The key point is that you have to maintain the speed through the mid corner as it will allow you reach the apex smoothly without losing balance or control.
Another thing, riders must keep in mind while turning is that the tighter they will get to the inside, the harder turn they will have to make. Get in the middle of the corner and maintain that line through out to make turn not only easy but safe. Get to the outside of the corner and gradually come to the inside as the exit gets closer.
Freestyle skateboarding is the oldest style of skateboarding that became widely popular from 1960s to 1990s. It is basically a flat ground skateboarding and one of the easiest styles. Riders mostly enjoy skateboarding as it allows them to be very free with their body and movements.
They can attempt a number of tricks when riding in freestyle. Many freestyle riders are musicians and choreographers who use this skateboarding style to improve their talents. Different types of skateboards can be used for this style and it doesn’t require any safety gears as top priority.
This style is also called flatland skateboarding but it is not confined to the flatlands as riders also use rails and stairs to perform tricks. They use different street features like benches, bins, ditches and handrails to attempt a number of tricks. For this style, a narrower and lightweight deck is used with 55mm wheels.
These features allow the riders to flip and spin the boards faster while performing tricks and drills. It can be risky as you may lose balance on the rail or while jumping over the bench hence protective gears are necessary.
Vert pool skateboarding is not an ordinary style and only performed at the skate ramp. The ramp is like a pool with a polished wooden floor on which the riders perform tricks. When riders enter the pool from one end, they gain higher speed due to gravitational force and by the time they reach the other end the speed is high enough to let them leap into the air and land back in the pool.
Skateboarding in Skate Park combines a number of styles such as vert pool and street style. Skate Park is a specifically designed area that contains multiple features like pools, pipes, handrails, boxes, bowls and stair sets. It is like a recreational park where riders enjoy a wide range of tricks and drills. This park allows riders to have non-competition rides while performing pro level tricks.
The world’s largest Skate Park is located in Shanghai while the first ever skate park was made in Arizona. Other than recreational purpose, these parks are widely used to organize tournaments and competitions. Here riders with the urge of learning street and vert pool tricks come and find suitable features to perform every trick safely.
Cruising is the easiest style of skateboarding that is perfect for those who use skateboards as means of transportation. It is just like pushing around on the wheels and enjoying the slow wind. Many people don’t buy longboards to satisfy their adrenaline rush but only crave for smooth and relaxed rides. When cruising through the neighborhood, carving also occurs. For this style, you will find a wide range of options in cruisers.
There are different types of cruisers and the best one can come out of any type depending on your needs. Generally speaking, flat boards with not even a minor concave are ideal for this cruising. Something between 38 and 46 inch is perfectly fine for this style.
Another thing you need to consider is how flex or stiff the board is. If you want a cruiser for covering distances, go for something stiffer while for freestyle cruising, a flex board will do fine. A stiff board gives stronger grip whereas a flex board provides a bouncy carve. When choosing the trucks, aim for the ones that have a seat for bushings and get a pair of bushings that match your weight to enjoy perfect cruising and carving.
When riders ride their boards on an uneven surfaces made up of dirt only, the style if called off road skateboarding. It is also known as dirt-boarding because the surface is merely dirt made and not concrete at all. Such a style requires stiff deck with big and hard wheels that roll through the dirt dunes easily. Off road style is a fun way to skateboard but can be injurious as well.
Skateboarding is a popular sport among kids, teens and adults. There are multiple types of skateboarding and it’s up to the riders which style they want to adopt. From downhill style to freestyle and cruising to off road, there are different ways to have fun on the board. Every style requires different type of deck, wheels and trucks. Riders must identify their style first to decide which board and gears are appropriate.