Powersliding is a pretty rad trick. It’s one of those things that can really launch your longboarding career to the next level. This article should give you a pretty good idea on how to improve your slides and hopefully take it from a ‘longboarder’ to a ‘longboarder who slides’.
It will also help to have some basic physics knowledge, although it is not too difficult to guess your way through the trick if you do not. Read on to find out more.
Enter physics mode
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a physics genius to understand the basics of sliding. The laws of friction dictate that for a slide to occur there must be a constant force acting against the ground. Otherwise, your wheels will slow down until they come to rest on the ground. This force is generated by the friction between your wheels and the surface you are traveling on.
In order for you to increase this force, you must increase the amount of friction between your wheel and the ground. There are three ways to do this:
1) Increase the coefficient of friction between your wheel and the ground- this can be done by using a substance such as wax or using a harder wheel
2) Increase the pressure between your wheel and the ground- this can be done by using more weight on your front foot, or by using a harder wheel
3) Increase the area of contact between your wheel and the ground- this can be done by widening your stance
Assuming that your wheels are already at their optimal hardness and you have the correct stance width, your only option for increasing friction between your wheels and the ground is to increase weight on the front foot.
In order for a powerslide to occur, there must be less weight on the rear foot than there is on the front foot. This means that simply standing on your back foot will not produce a slide. In order to get your back foot off the ground, you must push down on it with your front foot. This is called a ‘front foot pressure’.
Now that we have increased the amount of friction between our wheel and the ground, all that is left to do is control the direction of that force.
In order to turn a powerslide, you must apply a greater pressure with your front foot than the amount of weight on your back foot. This will cause your board to lean in the direction of where you have more weight and thus initiate a slide.
Powerslide on a Longboard
Now that we understand the basic physics behind sliding it is time to get into the real nitty-gritty.
In order to slide you must apply a greater pressure with your front foot than the amount of weight on your back foot
When initiating a powerslide, you must lean in the direction of the slide
There are two types of slides: ‘regular’ and ‘switch’
A regular slide is when you slide in the same direction that you are traveling. A switch slide is when you slide in the opposite direction to which you are traveling.
There are two main ways to initiate a powerslide: ‘tail-grab’ and ‘nose-grab’
A tail-grab is when you grab your board with your back hand near the rear truck. A nose-grab is when you grab your board with your front hand near the front truck.
In order to make a powerslide easier to control, it is best to practice them on a smaller slope. Start by finding a gentle slope and then work your way up to steeper ones as you become more comfortable with the trick.
There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to powerslide:
- Ensure your wheels are waxed or have a high coefficient of friction
- Ensure that you are using the correct stance width and pressure on your front foot
- Start off on gentle slopes until you become more comfortable with the trick
- Practice powerslides on both your right and left feet
- Remember to ‘lean into the direction of the slide’ when you are initiating it. This will make powersliding much easier and controllable for you. When you lean into a powerslide, the greater pressure that is generated by pushing down with your front foot will cause your longboard to lean in the direction that you want it to go, instead of just sliding straight.
Powerslides can be a very fun and stylish way to get around on your longboard. With a little bit of practice, you will be able to slide with ease down even the steepest of hills. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start sliding!