As a beginner, you have to commit to the idea that you’re snowboarding on pavement (not skateboarding). Just like learning to snowboard, it may take several days or weeks to get the hang of it – even if you rip on snow. Be patient and expect to fall down a few times. You’ll be ripping soon enough.
Some tricks and moves need more time and effort to master. But don’t get frustrated when your progress is not as fast as you expected. Patience is the answer.
- Always wear protective gear, including a helmet, wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads.
- Check the pavement–cracks, manhole covers, water, oil, etc. will affect your slide.
- Keep your weight on your uphill edge.
- Check your board for loose parts before riding.
- Know your abilities and ride under control.
THE RIGHT LOCATION
IDEAL | BAD
The right location will help you learn faster. Look for:
- Super smooth pavement with no cracks, ridges or bumps.
- Wide street–just like a bunny hill.
- Moderate incline–enough for momentum but not enough to lose control.
- No traffic.
BEFORE YOU START
For now, we will assume you have assembled your Freebord, and are wearing a helmet at least. If not, read the safety and assembly sections that come with your board or in the links section. [Safety information].
- Good posture or the correct body positioning is most crucial to practice in all board sports:
Your head should be held up and high. Try not to look down.
Focus on the direction you want to go. The direction you look, you’ll tend to go.
- Your head as well as your shoulders need to be turned slightly in the direction you are riding.
- Core muscles (hips, abdomen) and shoulders should be solely used to turn your freebord.
- Turn by looking in the direction you want to ride, slightly move or open up your shoulders following your head & the turn or spin direction is initiated. Keep the back and abdomen fairly straight and upright.
- Keep the hips balanced in the center of the board, the degree of drift or overslide can be held steady with the hips.
- Keep your knees bent and weight just slightly over the forward leg to help initiate turns in the beginning or at slower speeds.
FEEL THE BOARD
Before trying to shred a spot, start by feeling the rocker effect on some flat ground. Freebord behavior and balance is very different from a normal skateboard.
Stand on the board getting your foot perfectly centered and snug in the bindings. Practice this a few times until your foot is always in the right location (centered, and snug).
Place feet in the bindings and push with your toes and then rock over to your heels, and repeat. This is the crucial movement of Freebording. Do it several times to get comfortable with this before dropping.
Practice getting out of the binding by jumping up, your feet will automatically get out of the binding.
Tip: you can do this without rolling by standing on a flat surface holding on to something.
CARVING, SLIDING & STOPPING
Finding a wide gentle slope, for example, a sloped parking lot that’s empty would be great. If you can’t find a wide area try to find a spot with grassy or easy and safe borders. It’s especially important not to have people (for your nerves) or cars (because of safety).
LEARN TO CARVE
- Adjust your kingpin (the big screw that holds the trucks together) so that your trucks are fairly loose.
- Center your feet on the board in a comfortable stance, with your toes and heels equidistant to the edges. Your stance should be either centered on the board or slightly toward the board’s nose.
- Step into your Bindings and start rolling. Put all your weight on your heel edge. Just go from A to B holding the one edge and get the feeling of the very big turning radius that you can only change very little by putting more pressure or weight into the edge.
- Ride down the hill making wide sweeping turns. Lean into your turns and feel the board hold its edges.
- Adjust your trucks so you can comfortably turn in both directions. Lighter riders will want looser trucks than heavier riders.
- Continue practicing until you feel comfortable carving on your board.
LEARN TO SLIDE
- Assume your stance on the board and feel the rocker from one side to the other. This rocker effect will allow you to transfer your weight from your “edges” to your “base.”
- Try carving your turns as you did earlier. Don’t go straight. As you lean into a turn, roll a small amount of weight off of your trailing edge and onto your center wheels. The lean of your turn will push the board outwards allowing it to slide. This takes some practice so be patient.
- Stay committed to one edge at a time; don’t wobble between them. Keep your weight on one edge as you turn then immediately switch to the other edge to initiate a new turn.
- Always keep your weight on your uphill edge. If you weight your downhill edge you will “catch an edge” and stop abruptly.
- Keep your weight forward on the board and use your rear foot to swing the back end out to start a slide.
- Never ride with your weight directly over the center wheels. As with snowboarding, it’s unstable and you can catch an edge. With practice you’ll learn how to ride straight.
- Go from carve to carve, use your knees to avoid lifting or pushing edges by lifting toes and heels. Engage the edge change quickly.
- Try to get slower on the edge change to start feeling the slide. If you keep your hip forward slightly your weight will be slightly over the front foot and each edge change will begin to drift the tail.
- This is the goal, and feels great because you’ve started to connect your first turns.
- Hold these slides as long as possible so that you control your speed. When you’re sliding you control your speed, so hold them as long as possible; pushing harder to slow down more.
- Keep your vision forward, think about the edge changes ahead and try to keep yourself in the center of the run so you are not going too much from side to side.
TIME TO STOP !
You’ve most likely made a few turns, and it feels great! Now it’s time to boost your confidence so you can get riding and stopping at the speed you choose, in control on any hill you want. To this If you managed to slide, you probably found yourself sliding more than 90° into a switch position or “overslide”. So now just work with your hip placement.
- If it is hard to reach a sliding rhythm when changing edges, shift your hip forward, adding a little weight over the front foot. This helps to slide more.
- If it was hard to stop sliding and you ended up going backward or doing a 180, shift hip back over the rear foot. This helps to carve more.
- Work with these subtle weight changes repeatedly trying to stop without going past 90° to your direction of travel. Do this both on your heel-side and Toe-side repeatedly until you can stop in both directions.
- You can use your knees to apply pressure to the edges as described previously
- The more rocker the easier it is to slide. Many beginners prefer to learn this way, even if the board feels more unsteady. If the rocker is too much for you starting out, experiment by raising your center wheel one notch (towards the deck). This will give you less rocker but make it easier to catch an edge. When you improve, you will most likely want as much rocker as possible.
- Experiment with your stance and truck tension. Small adjustments mean a lot and every rider is different. Set your front truck looser than your back truck to help initiate slides. Set them to equal tension if you plan to ride switch at all. Always set your two center wheels to the same height.
- If you’re spinning unintentional 180′s, move your stance and weight forward on the board and square up your shoulders to the fall line.
- As your outer wheels wear down, adjust the center wheels closer to the deck to maintain a consistent amount of rocker.
- Most riders wear out the rear heelside wheel first. Rotate your wheels in an X pattern to get the most life out of all four.
- Prevent flat spots on your wheels by avoiding slides that are exactly perpendicular to the fall line. Instead, slide diagonally to keep your wheels spinning.
- Harder wheels (82A, 86A) slide easier, last longer and prevent flat spots. Softer wheels (78A, 74A) hold a better edge.