If you skate downhill, you need to know how to spot. Spotting corners and junctions allows you to skate more hills, faster and safer. We borrowed everyone’s favourite UK up and comers to show you how it’s done… or not done…
If you’re spotting, the first job is to identify a good place on the hill where riders can see you, and you can see far enough down the hill or round the corner. For this particular road, it’s super easy to spot – this photo is taken from the top of the hill, the spotter can see all the way to the bottom, and also can bee seen clearly by the skaters before they push off.
We use two hand signals – Two hands above your head (optionally accompanied by shouting and jumping around) means “STOP…”
…and a hand waved below waist level means “CLEAR.”
There are a few other basics that will help you to keep things safe and fun:
1> Shouting alongside hand signals is good, but never shout “GO” becuase from a distance it sounds like “NO!” Shout to draw attention to your hand signals. We use “CLEAR” or “STOP” as they cannot be mixed up, also “CAR UP” for a car coming up the hill and “CAR DOWN” for a car coming down the hill. Always assume that skaters can’t hear anything you are saying – because most of the time, they can’t!
2> Rotate your spotters!!! If you are walking back up the hill past a spotter, ALWAYS offer to spot for a run. That way, everyone gets to skate more. If you’re running a tight ship, you should never be spotting for more than 2 minutes… and you probably need a rest on the way back up anyway.
3> Pay Attention and Take It Seriously!!! As a spotter you potentially hold the lives of your fellow skaters (who we hope are your friends…) in your hands. Be super clear with your hand signals and take no chances. If you are unsure of anything, stop skating and move your spotter, add another spotter, or whatever you need to do to make it safe.
4> If it’s all clear, tell skaters with a clear hand signal. Inactivity from a spotter can be confusing or misleading.
5> If you’re skating, clap your slide pucks together to get the spotters attention if you’re dropping in – they’ll tell you if everything is good.
6> Some scenes run different hand signals to this – whilst we would all love it if there was an international standard for longboard hand signals, if you’re skating with a new scene and spotting, check how they do things before the session in case it’s different to what you’re used to.
Here is John with a classic example of how NOT to spot… maybe the choice of reading material has something to do with it?
More from these two lovely chaps on the 3rd greatest blog in downhill skateboarding….