Surfskate Downhill Safely with These 5 Tips
5 Tips for Surfskating Downhill Safely
- Tip #1: Wear Protective Gear to Stay Safe When You Surfskate Downhill
- Tip #2: To Safely Surfskate Downhill, Don’t Bomb—Carve
- Tip #3: Use Deep Knee Bends to Surfskate Downhill
- Tip #4: The Steeper the Hill, the Wider the Path You Need to Surfskate Downhill
- Tip #5: When Surfskating Downhill, Always Know Your Exit Strategies
- How Steep of an Incline Can You Surfskate Downhill?
- What are the Best Surfskate Trucks for Surfskating Downhill?
I want to tell you the story of how it got so crooked. Because it’s relevant to the topic of how to surfskate downhill safely.
I started longboarding in March of 2020 when COVID hit and shut our family business down. So my family and I longboarded all summer long.
I did with longboarding exactly what I’ve done with surfskating. I got hooked and started buying all the longboards I could find.
So I was experimenting with a bunch of boards, and about two months into starting to learn, in about May of 2020, I picked up a new board that I was unfamiliar with, which had very fast wheels and bearings.
I never bombed hills because I wanted to be safe. But I was starting to get into carving them, which I really liked.
Well, I got on this new longboard and I started carving a pretty steep hill. It was faster than I was used to, and I started losing control. I would have been just fine, except then a car started coming, so I couldn’t pull out.
I lost control and had to bail out on a side street and ended up crashing and breaking my finger. I had two pins in it for six weeks. And as you can see, my finger and my hand will never be the same.
That’s a long story to say, one of the really huge benefits that I found immediately when I got into surfskating was that I could very safely surfskate downhill because of the carving functionality of surfskate trucks.
I’ve seen a lot of people post videos online of them bombing hills on surfskates and getting speed wobbles and crashing. I’ve also had a lot of people ask me, “How do you go downhill on a surfskate?”
That’s honestly a confusing question to me because, given my experience, surfskating downhill came so intuitive to me.
That’s one of the biggest benefits of a surfskate truck for me. With a surfskate versus a longboard, I now have control on hills, which opens up a whole new world of possibility for me.
So let me give you some tips on how to safely surfskate downhill, which will open up a whole new world of surfskating for you.
For more in-depth surfskating tutorials, get my video course, “Surfskating for Non-Surfers.”
The first thing I should say is, if you’re a surfskate beginner just learning surfskating, you’ll want to pad up before practicing downhill on a surfskate.
This means wearing a helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads at least.
But on a surfskate, I recommend one other critical piece of protective gear, and that is hip pads.
In over a year of surfskating, the only thing I’ve ever hurt is my hip. I land on it when my surfskate truck jackknifes.
Any time I’m learning something new on a surfskate or am trying to push my limits as a skater, I always pad up with full protective gear, and I highly recommend you do the same.
To me, it’s just very obvious. The bottom line is, how do you navigate a hill on a surfskate? You don’t bomb it, you carve it out.
This simply means to carve the hill side to side with total control, taking your time. I never surfskate downhill in a way that would make me lose control. For me, the thrill of a surfskate isn’t speed, but rather control.
The key to carving hills is to make quick turns. The slower your turn, the more likely it is that you’ll gain too much speed and lose control.
So you’ll want to practice on gentle declines before moving up to steeper hills.
If you’re having a hard time carving tightly on steep declines, an easy fix is to bend your knees lower. The deeper your knee bend, the more control you have.
Practice bending as deeply as possible while taking turns on a surfskate. Bend down (compress) going into turns, and stand up (extend) coming out of the turn.
For live tutorials on how to improve your surfskate carving, get my video course, “Surfskating for Non-Surfers.”
To carve hills, obviously the steeper the hill, the wider you need it to be to have room to carve it out.
This means that if you’re going down something steep and narrow, if you don’t have the space to carve back and forth very tightly, then you’re going to lose control and you shouldn’t be skating that hill.
I will often come to hills that are too steep and narrow, in which case I just jump off my surfskate and walk down the hill. I never put myself in situations where I will lose control.
But if you have the width to carve, steep hills can be a lot of fun on a surfskate.
If you really want to get some speed on a downhill surfskate ride, the key is to always know your “exit strategies.”
What I mean by that is, don’t skate fast down any hill without first walking it and knowing all the places you can bail out if you need to. This could be side streets or driveways.
So if a car comes, you need to be prepared to bail out on those side paths at a moment’s notice.
How steep of an incline you can surfskate downhill really just depends on the width of the path you’re skating. The wider the path, the steeper the hill you can safely surfskate. The narrower the path, the more dangerous.
However, at a certain point, steep hills aren’t super fun on a surfskate. Reason being, you have to carve them out so slowly that it just takes a lot of time, and it’s like walking down the hill.
So I’ve found that some hills are more fun than others on a surfskate.
How much speed you can handle on a hill very much depends on your surfskate truck. Because some surfskate trucks are much looser than others, and the looser surfskate trucks get speed wobbles much easier than the more stable ones.
From my list of the best surfskate trucks, I’ve found that the ones that work best for downhill surfskating are:
- Carver CX (my personal favorite to surfskate downhill)
- Carver C7
- YOW Meraki
- Curfboard (This is an anomaly because it’s the loosest surfskate truck on the market. But because of the way it’s engineered, it gets no speed wobbles when the wheels are making contact with the ground.)
The surfskate trucks that I recommend you avoid getting a lot of speed on are:
- Smoothstar Thruster
- SpiceSkate SpicePilot
And there you have it, everything you need to know to surfskate downhill safely.
For more live surfskating tutorials, get my video course, “Surfskating for Non-Surfers.”