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

West Coastin’ 1rst Report

Daddies Board Shop & Longboard Girls Crew presents:
West Coastin’
The Journey to the first Maryhill She-ride.

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1rst Rider Report by Marisa Nuñez

It all started in Santa Monica, California, where the 5 of us girls, Pam Diaz, Ishtar Backlund, Amanda Powell, Daisy Johannes, and myself, Marisa Nunez, were gathered together for a 2 week “vacation” from the IGSA races. We would get together to skate and hang out everyday.

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Amanda was nice enough to have us stay at her rad apartment and show us around her streets. We went out filming in Laguna one day with the Yuppie family and the Abec 11 crew. It was such a blessing to see all the Yuppies together shredding hard and giving their all for the camera. The girls and I might have our own little part in their video too, which we´re extra stoked about!

The idea of a documented skate trip to the She-ride came about quite spontaneously and we got to work right away. We went out for a film session on Venice Beach and got everything we needed for our trailer. Pam knew exactly what she wanted, and directed us in front of the camera like a boss-woman. It was inspirationally rad. We skated all day and watched the sunset on Venice as we discussed plans for our trip. The next day, Amanda and I had to go to a shoot in Hollywood for a commercial that we are skating in. We´re really stoked on this because we´ll be able to get our style of skating and our sponsor´s products on national television. Hooray for Longboard Girls Crew´s Youtube videos inspiring Hollywood for commercial media! This is epic.

In the meantime, Ishtar, Daisy and Pam were hard at work at the local coffee shop getting all the emails out to potential sponsors for our trip.These girls are some serious go-getters, they could rule the world if they wanted to… seriously. That night, Pam stayed up until 4 in the morning putting together the sponsorship package presentation, and the following night, she stayed up until 7 in the morning putting together the trailer video. In only a couple of days we were able to put together a sponsorship package presentation, filmed and edited a trailer video, and got in touch with everyone that we needed to.

Goes to show, that will power and wanting something bad enough could bring you anything you work on.

The countdown is at T-minus 2 days until we get the show on the road, destination: Maryhill She-ride. We are 5 girls and will be traveling, skating, filming and editing these videos all ourselves.

Stay tuned and get ready ladies, we´ll see you there!

Pictures: Pam Díaz

We needed Photos….

Pete Benda with the Sector 9 Joel Tudor Mini

So we needed to get some photos so Pete and I went out after work and got out jimmy jam on. We set up a Sector 9 Joel Tudor Mini board with some Randal 150′s and some Abec 11/Sublime 62mm 100a Fernando Yuppie Powerslides. It was actually pretty freaking amazing.

Pete Benda with a BS board slide on this lil ledge

I realized that the Sector 9 Joel Tudor Mini Board is probably more of a park board rather than a street board, seeing as how it doesn’t have much concave… and well it isn’t a popsicle shaped deck either.  It has a nice pointed nose and a crazy square-pointy tail thing. Man its crazy fun though. But regardless of shape and size we have fun on this little thing here.

This wasn't even close to a land.

I was doing this little wall ride/slappy thing to 5-0 on here and Pete got a picture of this happening at one point. There is no way I was landing this seeing as how I wasn’t trying to do this at all but it opened up my mind to some tricks I want to get now. Like a slappy 5-0 to no-comply? Or a No-comply slappy to 5-0… the possibilities are endless!

This is more like it

Slappy type tricks are just fun. I like riding on these big Abec 11 wheels cause when you drop off the wheel and onto the hanger when doing a trick you can really feel it. The best part about this little session Pete and I had was that this ledge is so small and dorky but we had such a fun time messing around on it. Thats what I love about skating… doing stupid stuff, having a good time, and not being too concerned with everything being all perfect and in formation. I have to give some of the credit to this board set up though. That Joel Tudor deck is so sick! Sector 9 seriously did an awesome job on that one.

Pete getting a wiff of awesome

Pete FS Air

Then we found this amazing bank. It is the length of a tennis court and it is seriously phenomenal. We were skating it in pitch black though and so when the flashes went off you were basically left blinded. It was pretty sketchy but fun none the less!

Me - Alley-oop FS 180

One thing besides the board that I was stoked on was that the wheels we were skating were actually very durable. Usually power sliding on tennis courts is a surefire way to get flat spots. I was definitely doing power slides and still no flat spots on these Abec 11/Sublime Powerslides! 

Pete Backside Air on the Joel Tudor Sector 9

 

Scoot’s New Board: The Sector 9 Tiffany!

Scoot Smith and The Sector 9 Tiffany

Finally, we have a good finished product shot of the new Sector 9 Tiffany, Scott “Scoot” Smith’s new pro-model longboard!  And look at that puppy, it is gorgeous.  It is pretty amazing to see a Downhill Division Deck with some green flavor to it!  This here is an interesting deck and I think that other companies out there are going to take bits and pieces of it in the future and apply them to their future models.

Lets look at the specs!

I think the most noticeable feature is the nose!  It isn’t a wedged nose, its a dropped nose! I think that after years of riding the Landyachtz Evo Scoot wanted something that felt somewhat similar when he switched over to Sector 9.  After speaking with him at Maryhill this is what Scoot told me about his new board and the function he wanted it to have.

Daddies Board Shop Team Riders Scoot Smith and Robin McGuirk at Maryhill Festival of Speed!

Scoot said that he wanted to have the nose dropped a bit because it makes the board a bit more divey in the front. Obviously that would be great for diving into turns and for initiating slides.  And you get the best of both worlds because it is not going to be offsetting the angle of the kingpin much, if at all!  Imagine it this way, amazing control up front that mellows out in the back so that you can follow through in turns with no sacrifice in stability. A lot of boards have the ability to do this but I think the Tiffany is going to set a new standard in design.

Next, you can see in the picture above by the way the light reflects off of bottom of the board, there is a hefty amount of W-concave thrown into the Sector 9 Tiffany!  Essentially Scoot and Sector 9 have created one innovative downhill machine. AND to boot it has some burly wheel wells so say “bye-bye” to wheel bite with this guy!  Unless you run some Gullwing Sidewinders with 107mm Abec 11 Electric Flywheels… but that would be pretty stupid and I highly doubt anyone is going to do that, but props if you can pull it off.  Check out this video!

As you can see, this thing is basically perfection!  Plus it has that little swallow-tail thing going on and ever since the Comet Grease Shark came out the swallow-tail steez has been KILLING IT! Looks so sick.  This board paired up with Scoot’s flawless style is going to provide for some great racing and some series eye candy video content!  I can’t wait to see how Scoot man-handles TIFFANY!

Scoot Smith stopping by Daddies Board Shop! - Photo: Spencer Morgan