Downhill Skateboarding. The In’s, Out’s, and everything in between!

Per request we have decided to do a little write up on downhill skateboarding. Not just skating down hills but actual downhill racing and speedboarding. Downhill has been around forever but until recently it has remained in the shadows of traditional skateboarding. The real O.G.’s however, have always been out there searching for bigger, gnarlier, hills to test their skills on! The sport has evolved throughout the years. Aside from product turning into seemingly space age equipment riding has undergone some big changes as well. New techniques let riders go bigger, harder, and much much faster.

The downhill slide, as it was traditionally called, is one of the most important skills a downhill rider needs. You need to be able to properly slow down in order to make certain corners and turns effectively. In racing and speed boarding there are two main slides that are commonly used, frontside and backside hands-down slides. Frontside and backside are also known as heelside and toeside respectively. There are many other names for these slides, most commonly heard is the Coleman Slide which was popularized by one of the greatest downhill skateboarders of all time, Cliff Coleman.

Cliff Coleman, 60 something years young and still shredding!

Having one of your hands down on the ground while performing these maneuvers helps in properly de-weighting your board and effectively drifting or pre-drifting corners. Drifting is literally the action of sliding before or throughout a corner in order to make it through safely. Depending on which side you are entering the turn you will either apply weight to your front hand leaning backwards doing a heelside slide or you will use your backhand leaning backwards doing a toeside slide. But your hands don’t do all the work. You have to know how to kick your board out and how far to push it to determine how much speed to scrub off. Pushing it too far out will make your board shoot out from under you and vice versa not pushing it enough will make your wheels grip up early shooting you forwards off of your board. Finding that happy medium isn’t too hard though, it just takes a bit of practice like anything else!

Robin McGuirk with a textbook Coleman slide

Powerslides are another option but they are rarely used in the world of downhill. They are however a good skill to have under your belt! The world of longboarding knows powerslides as stand up slides. Standing up and doing a slide in the middle of a race isn’t always the best idea though, it is best to play it safe, put your hands down, and you will be winning races in no time!

Marcus Dalton navigating some turns via stand up slide.

Tucking! That is next on our list of wonderful things that are downhill related. Having a good tuck is pretty essential. Check out this photo of Robin McGuirk in his Old-School tuck which is mandatory at the Mt. Tabor Downhill challenge. An old-school tuck is not the most ideal style of tucking but our forefathers did it so doing a little throw-back skating every now and then is definitely a blast. Old-School tucks are very dependent on placing as much weight on the front of your board as possible. Generally both feet are always touching and they are as close to side-by-side as possible.

Robin McGuirk in Old School Tuck Mode at the 2011 Mt. Tabor Downhill Challenge

Standard tucking nowadays is much more refined! The main idea is still to have as much weight as possible on your front foot closest to the front of the board. Your back foot is used as a secondary balance point and for controlling slides and drifts. Some people still have much better tucks than others though and that is what separates the young pups from the big leagues! There is actually a lot more to tucking than one would think. On a long course with big sweeping turns you don’t have to break tuck like you do when you have to slide and drift. When you stay in your tuck for extended periods of time, only making minor adjustments in weight distribution and footing, your legs get really tired really fast! You actually feel bits of relief here and there when taking corners due to centripetal force. It allows you to take more weight off of your legs when leaning throughout corners and turns. A tuck that has good form has great aerodynamics and this will really come in handy when drafting other riders.

Sector 9 Rider Louis Pilloni with a solid Tuck

When you are in another riders draft you want to sling shot yourself ahead of them when the time is right. When you do this you will break away from their draft and if you have little aerodynamic resistance you should be able to pass by them with ease. It is actually a pretty cool feeling when you do it; it is a technique you can go on to perfect with time. In order to draft a rider or group of riders you are going to have to be comfortable riding in very close proximity to other riders. This is called “Pack-Skating.” Pack-skating requires a lot of trust in the other riders around you. You have to trust in their abilities as riders and that they won’t fall in front of you going 50+ miles per hour. The reason why you have to trust them is because you have to be fully focused on your own riding and what your plan of action is. Pack-skating takes some getting used to but as soon as you can train yourself not to worry about the people around you the closer you will get to becoming an even better downhill rider.

Pack-skating and drafting!

Downhill riding has so many techniques but one of the most important ones out there is navigating a course properly. You need to know how to carry the right amount of speed up until you reach the apex of a turn without risking the chance of scrubbing out and falling down. Choosing your lines and sticking to them is something that every skater has trouble with on occasion. It is the reason that some riders will go from first place to dead last in 4 or 5 man heats. Sometimes holding your line means coming dangerously close to other riders and this is a huge reason why you see so many bails near the end of a race. Your line may cross paths with another riders line and if you give up on your line you could lose a huge amount of speed and potentially sacrifice your position in the race. Generally taking the inside position of a turn will allow you to pull out ahead of everyone else but at the same time everyone is going for that inside spot. If your timing is right and your skills are there you should be able to cut in just right and move up the line!

2012 Juniors Finals at Maryhill. Holding their lines!

Downhill riding gives you so much of a rush, the feeling is unexplainable! This is why downhill skateboarding has become one of the most popular board sports in the world. The benefits of racing with good etiquette and within your skill levels are amazing. Winning events can lead to so many new opportunities in your life. Sponsors will seek you out, fly you around the world to new races and events. You will make new friends and be able to see things that you would have never been able to see otherwise! Granted, not everyone is going to get to that level but then again not everyone wants to! The feeling of camaraderie when skating with a few friends at high speeds is awesome and it is also a great way to connect with new riders. All in all we are a bunch of skate-nerds who want to have fun and hang out doing something we all love. It is cliche but spreading the stoke is what it is all about. Spread the stoke and good things are bound to come to you! Now go bomb some hills kids!

Max Wippermann and Wolfgang Coleman bro-hugging it up.

Photos: Spencer Morgan

This is our experience out at maryhill… just a little part though!

Team rider Ishtar Backlund kicking it with Ambassadors Eric Hoang and Richard Topete

So Maryhill has come around again! This year got very very rowdy and very out of control. I am glad we got to be a part of it. Check out some of the photos from the event. We ran around, camera-happy, and got a bunch of great shots for you to enjoy!

Team Rider Amanda Powell hanging out with shop employee/gangster Jesse Stuart

We were slanging all sorts of goodies up there. If you weren’t there to get in on our awesome deals and mayhem then you were missing out! Abec 11′s and Landyachtz Biggie Hawgs were flying off the shelves!

Patrick Switzer getting crazy-faced! Love this dude.

Patrick Switzer went on to win the event and it was a huge win for Rayne longboards as well. Patrick was on a sweet prototype slalom deck and absolutely killed it!

The homie James Kelly… you may know him as the American Dream!

Daddies riders! The beautiful Marisa Nunez and Alex “The Fiercest” Tongue!

Bricin “Striker” Lyons! … And Rebekka Gemperle… what a babe!

Camping like a boss!

Camping out in a good location is KEY if you want to avoid some of the skater’s campsite mayhem… We avoided it until the final night in the maryhill state park! it was great!

Camping in the makeshift tent… awesome!

Tad Drysdale!

Loaded and Orangatang’s Kyle Chin!

This is the man that is responsible for quite a bit of the Loaded and Orangatang videos and product that you all love!  Kyle CHIN!

Douglas Dalua!!! Love this dude too… such a gnarly rider!

Douglas Dalua is loved by everyone! He set a new track record on his rayne and abec 11 wheels! He has a new wheel sponsor but he was still on abec 11′s!

Team Rider Pam Diaz with Aaron from the block!

The coolest cornering steez out there…

Bustin Longboards’ Soloman Lang! King Soloman!

Push Culture covering me, me instagramming them, and then me documenting instagram… inception? Thanks Travis!

Alex Tongue Butt-Boarding for King of the Hill!

It started raining pretty heavily during the King Of The Hill race between the top 6 qualifiers. Everyone was butt-boarding except for James Kelly who decided to stand up after he started. James ended up winning king of the hill for his second year in a row! Go James! AMERICAN DREAM!

Jesse Stuart and Pete Benda running the show.

Our Homie Scott from One 11 longboards!

Alexa got us a lot of attention, everyone had a crush on her!

My buddy Daniel Figueroa all the way up from Mexico! Good to see him again this year!

Venom founder Zak Maytum singing the national anthem!

Zak belted it out for the national anthem. Who knew that the dude who created Venom wheels and bushings, and who also rides for madrid would be killing the national anthem. I’ve seen him sing it before though haha… good work Zak!

Mischo Erban, Bricin Striker Lyons, and Patrick Switzer singing the canadian national anthem for Canada Day… whatever that is haha.

Alex Tongue had the 3rd fastest qualifying time!

K-Rimes flying down with Zen Shikaze! Both insanely rad dudes.

Alexa and Jesse Kicking it like the Karate Kid.

Pete Benda… aka…. the american “Muscles-glasses.”

I shot this dude shooting!

James Kelly cruising down like a chief in a unique tuck!

Douglas Dalua with a strong lead!

Gotta show local rippers some love! Chip Killing it! Go subsonic!

Patrick Switzer straight killing it! Basically winning on an old school skateboard.

Louis Pilloni doing some filming for http://www.skatehousemedia.com

Louis rocking those stylish Sector 9 leathers!

Team DADDIES was everywhere!! Alex and Robin were killing it with Niko from Kebbek!

Patrick Switzer, Zak Maytum, and Kevin Reimer coming in the final corner!

Douglas Dalua with Alex Tongue coming in the bustin corner! Killing it!

Our good friend Ayumi Oride all the way form Japan!

Byron Essert with some mad eagle steez!

Those comet leg patches are sick… but Byron was definitely riding a Rayne Killswitch… I think his board was out of commission. I saw him carrying around his beloved chopped Comet Takeover.

The juniors skating tight!

Jon Huey taking the win for luge!

Pam Diaz flying by!

Ayumi Oride! Chou Hayai yo!

Ishtar Backlund with Amanda Powell following

Marisa Nunez taking 3rd place!

Alex Tongue flying in for the 3rd place spot!

Brian Bishop with a fun tuck

Byron Essert keeps it steezy at all times.

The amazing view of Mt. Hood from Goldendale, Washington!

We will be back next year and we will do this bigger and better than ever! I hope everyone is ready for what we are going to bring to the table next year! We got a while year to plan and set this stuff up… this is about to get CRAZY!

For LOTS more photos check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/supemorgan8

Skatie Katie goes racing

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Photo: Francisco Contreras

Well, she’s back at it again folks!  This weekend Daddies Board Shop Team rider Katie Neilson set up a brand new Switchblade 36 with Precision Grizzlies and Biggie Hawgs, showed up to a race in the middle of Colombia and dominated the field going home with a 1st in Women’s and a 6th in mens out of a 96 rider bracket, putting a serious end to her 8 month recovery from knee surgery without skateboarding.

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make sure you hit up Katie’s Instagram account ‘Kateslynne’ for a constant, behind the scenes look practise days, race days and other skateboard related travels around the world!!!