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How to Coleman/Pendulum Slide

If you want to learn to slide on a longboard, this is the place to start. A classic move developed from early surf-style bank skating applied to a hill, the Coleman Slide is essential to have in your arsenal if you want to be able to stop in a hurry and look good doing it. It’s easy on soft or hard wheels, and any length of board works, so whether you’re a carver, speedboarder or slider you should really make some time to get this on sorted. No matter what your ability on a longboard, you will definitely be able to do this with a bit of practice. Once you have it down you will be able to deal with pretty much any hill in your path, as long as you have some slide gloves!

Lush teamrider Jorge Pernes is demonstrating here. He’s goofy footed, which means that he’s skating right foot forward. If you skate left foot forward, you’ll be planting your left hand and sliding to the left instead of your right as Jorge does. Note that it’s still your front hand that goes down on the road and your back arm that does the initiation.

Note: A lot of beginners learn this slide by grabbing rail. This feels easier and safer to start with, but it actually makes the slide a lot harder to initiate and bring back. It also makes it much harder to control the slide once you’re in it, as you can’t use your free arm to steer with. If you’re really going very fast (think leathers and full-face helmet) and you want to keep the board under you, then grabbing rail will do that – but if you’re just starting to throw your first coleman slides then we strongly recommend that you learn it the right way – without the grab! You are less likely to get high-sided, you’ll have more control, and… it looks better! You can thank us later… 🙂

Extra special mention goes to our friend Cliff Coleman for inventing this one… Still skating downhill in his sixties!

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Get Ready

Approach the slide at a decent speed – if you’re going faster than you feel comfortable, it’s probably about right! Keep your weight centered, knees bent, and your posture relaxed.

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Setup

Do a little carve across to the other side of the road, which winds your body up ready to do the slide.

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Get Low

Crouch low on your board. Bend your knees and roll your back foot – the key here is to keep your weight forward, over your front truck, and don’t back away from the slide. If you approach the slide with confidence, you’ll be fine – it’s only when you get scared and back away from it that things can start to go funky.

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Initiate

Plant your front hand on the road, out in front and to the side of your wheels. Stay leaning forward!! A really common beginners mistake at this point it to lean back, which causes your back wheels to grip up and for you to get spat off.

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Let it Slide

Put some weight on your hand and start the slide by swinging your free arm (the one that’s not on the road!) across your body. Cliff Coleman, inventer and namesake of this slide, tells his pupils to punch an imaginary parrot sat on their front shoulder. The further you swing that arm, the more the board will come round, and the easier it’ll be to get it to go back to facing the right way again. Keep looking where you are going – not where the board is pointed.

If you do this right, shoulders and upper body will be twisted around facing sideways or backwards, and you’ll be looking over back shoulder down the road. Hold the slide out for as long as you want… to slow down faster, hold the board sideways, and to style it out, go all the way round until you are backwards!

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Bring it back

To bring the board back round facing down the hill again, just bring your free arm back down beside you. This will undo the twist that you put in your body in the previous step, and your legs and board will naturally follow.

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The Next Step

Do it into a corner! Next time you’re bombing down a straight towards a hairpin on your speedboard, try sticking the board sideways to control speed instead of footbraking and continuing the slide straight into a corner “predrift.”

It’s also worth taking the time to learn the toeside/backside equivilent, which is a bit more intimidating but arguably allows more control and braking power. Plus then you’ll be able to set up for corners in both directions…

There are also some fun variations of this – try it one-footed, or without putting a hand on the road. You can even coleman round corners backwards, although this requires a very sharp corner with a lot of speed!

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    You can do this backwards around corners once you've got it!
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    Here's the grab rail into a corner version... also known as a Predrift.

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