Riding a longboard is more than just a method of transportation, it’s one of the most entertaining and challenging activities around. While learning to ride is exciting, stopping can be a daunting task for beginners.
This guide presents different methods and tips for how to stop your longboard, ranging from beginner to advanced techniques. Whether you just picked up a board for the first time or have been riding for years, this guide contains everything you need to know to improve your stopping skills.
How to Stop a Longboard
Riding It Out
The most straightforward technique to stop a longboard is merely riding it out. Ride at low or moderate speeds over a long stretch and allow friction to slow you down naturally. Riding up a shallow hill can slow you down faster, as can riding on rougher surfaces like grass and dirt.
While beginners can easily pick this up and practice, it’s critical to keep safety in mind when riding it out. If you cannot consistently brake with another method, you should never practice in an area with cars or other people. Verify that you have plenty of space ahead so that you can stop without needing to carve hard or run into an object.
Similarly, don’t ride at high speeds if you aren’t comfortable braking manually. To make sure you stay safe at all times, only ride your board out at speeds under 15 miles per hour. This ensures that if you do run into trouble before coming to a stop, you can hop off your board without problems.
Tips for riding it out
Air braking is another braking method that’s easy for beginners to grasp. To air brake, move your arms and body out to maximize your wind resistance and slow yourself down as you coast. Make sure not to overextend yourself, or you risk losing your balance and falling off your board. Simply let the air do its work and slow down gradually.
Air braking can be used in conjunction with riding it out to help you stop faster. Like the riding it out technique, you shouldn’t rely on air braking as your only braking method when riding. If you aren’t able to brake with your foot or slide to a stop, don’t practice in areas with other people or cars around.
If you’re a more advanced rider, air braking can be a helpful technique to slow down in small amounts while carving or to slide to a stop.
Tips to air brake properly
Once you feel comfortable riding and stopping with beginner methods, it’s time to master foot braking. Foot braking is by far the most common method of stopping a longboard, and many advanced riders rely on foot braking for their everyday rides.
To foot brake, you move one leg off the board and carefully skim your foot against the ground as you ride. The friction created between the sole of your shoe and the asphalt will slow you down as you go, and allow you to stop much more quickly and consistently than riding your board out to a complete stop naturally.
When practicing foot braking, it’s important to work on your technique to avoid dangerous falls. Many beginners simply drop their whole foot onto the ground at once, jolting them to a stop and often leading to a nasty spill. Instead, slowly lower your foot against the pavement, starting with the sole and gradually dropping the rest of your foot as well.
Take care not to press into the ground but to let your foot lightly skim the surface. This will keep you balanced and upright while still slowing you down. If you have trouble keeping your balance, bend your other leg (the one planted on your board) slightly and rest your hands on your knee to help. Keep most of your weight centered on the board, rather than in your braking foot.
Tips for smoother foot braking
A more advanced form of foot braking, sit braking can be difficult but allows for cleaner stops at the end of runs. To sit brake on a longboard, drop down into a sitting position and place your feet on the ground in front of the board.
To take a seat on your board, lower your torso and move your knees and legs out as you sit down. If it helps, you can use your hands to hold the sides of the board for balance, though be careful not to tilt the board and steer yourself in an unwanted direction.
Sit braking may look cool, but the difficulty in getting into and out of a sitting position while moving means sit braking is best utilized to stop your board completely. Dropping into a seat while traveling at high speeds can be dangerous, so this technique is only advisable at low or moderate cruising speeds.
sit braking tips
For riders who’ve mastered foot and sit braking, carving is a great way to come to a stop without ruining the soles of your shoes. Carving involves tight turns in a wide zigzag pattern, much like how snowboarders or skiiers travel down a mountain slope.
To carve on your longboard, lean your body and turn until you travel nearly perpendicular to your previous direction, then turn back the other way and repeat the process. Carving can be especially helpful when going downhill, as it allows you to keep your speed under control without potentially losing your balance.
Advanced riders may be able to put a hand down when carving, in a variation of what’s known as a Coleman slide. Keep your center of gravity low and balanced over the board when practicing slides, and make sure to always wear sliding gloves so you don’t hurt your hands.
If you’re carving while moving down a hill, make sure to lean back into the hill as you complete the turn. You don’t want to turn completely sideways against the direction of the hill, which will cause your wheels to lose traction and skid, but you want to keep your turns as tight as possible to maximize your slowdown.
If you’re going too fast to brake safely and don’t have the room to ride it out until you do, bailing off your board may be your only option. If possible, try to steer towards an area of softer ground, like grass or dirt. Stay on your board for as long as possible to try and slow yourself down.
If you can jump into an area of soft ground, roll your board into the area. The sudden friction will likely slow your board down and cause you to fall off -- if you can, try to run the speed change off until you can stop.
Bailing should only be used as a last resort, and only on softer ground and with protective equipment. Remember that knowing how to bail out properly and taking a tumble on softer ground can save you from severe injury.
tips to bail out safely
Essential Gear for Stopping a Longboard
Practicing your stopping techniques on a longboard can be dangerous if you don’t take proper precautions. To ensure you stay safe and prevent severe injury, you’ll need a few pieces of safety gear.
First off, a helmet is critical for any longboarder, no matter the time. Brain injury can occur from even the most innocuous falls and has life-altering potential. Wear a helmet any time you step on a board, period.
If you’re a beginner practicing stopping, elbow and knee pads are a good idea as well. While these aren’t absolutely critical like a helmet, new riders may fall more often and protective padding can save you from nasty scrapes or even broken bones.
For sliding practice, sliding gloves are a must-have. The gloves allow you to maintain hand contact with hard surfaces without tearing up your skin. Pick up a pair before you practice your slides for the first time.
Finally, any longboarder needs a good pair of skateboarding shoes. Techniques like foot braking can ruin the soles of your shoes. Skateboarding shoes like Vans, DC, or Nikes have thicker, flatter soles, allowing for more effective braking and a longer lifespan when compared to other footwear.
Must-Have Gear for Practicing Stopping on a Longboard
Stopping a longboard may seem frightening for new riders, and can be dangerous if done improperly. Learning to stop your board is an essential part of riding and must be practiced over and over.
We hope this guide has helped you learn how to stop your longboard more effectively and given you enough tips to practice safely. Happy riding!