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How to Footbrake

If you own a longboard, you need to know how to footbrake!!!!

This really is an essential skill, right after pushing your board along.

Without being able to footbrake, you can’t slow down and stop.

One of the questions we get asked the most* is “how do I stop on my board?”

So we thought we’d put together a real quick how-to on footbraking, which is used by everyone who skates, from total beginners to the fastest skateboarder in the world.

Learning to slide is a good skill to have when it comes to stopping in a hurry, and being able to carve is also great for more refined speed control – but nothing beats a footbrake for the emergency stop.

Both carving and sliding have their place, but they both take up a lot more width n the road than a footbrake. If you find yourself hemmed in by other skaters at a freeride, or stuck in a narrow bus lane without slide gloves on the way to work, a footbrake is what you need.

 

 

*Right up there with “which wheel is best for sliding” – but we’ve answered that, too!

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Get Rolling

Footbraking is really easy to learn.

You can start nice and slow, around jogging/running pace.

Push up to speed, and assume your normal stance on your board.

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Set Up Your Feet

You need to turn your front foot slightly so that it’s pointing more along the length of the board.

When you are actually footbraking, you will be facing forward with your body, rather than sideways as you are when you are skating along.

It’s just the same as when you are pushing.

Moving your front foot so that it points along the length of the board sets you up for this position.

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Lift Your Back Foot

Taking your time, bend your front knee and lift your back foot off the deck.

Keep it smooth, and don’t hurry. It’s very tempting to rush this bit, but as long as you keep your weight forward and stay relaxed, it’ll work out.

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Skim your braking foot

Bend your front knee until you are skimming your back foot along the road next to your board.

Try to make first contact with the road surface as evenly and smoothly as you can.

You only need a very little pressure on your braking foot to start with – just keep it skimming along the road and feel for a solid contact right across your foot.

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Lean back and brake

Once you have a good contact with your braking foot, start to lean back onto it, applying more and more wieght. You’ll start to slow down a lot quicker.

A consequence of leaning back is instability. So don’t overdo it, especially at higher speeds.

Use your arms to balance if you need to.

You can lock your ankle against the rail of your board for extra stability.

As you skim your foot along the road surface, you’ll be able to vary the weight across your foot – from your toes to your heel. You can use this to avoid wearing down one part of your shoe too fast!

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Next Steps

Go faster, and stop harder. Seriously, practice your footbraking as much as you can, so that you have it on lock for when you really need it.

There are a few footbraking variations for really high speeds – the “Swiss” footbrake or even a double footed “Luge style” footbrake. But we’ll save that for another day…

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