One of the main advantages of learning how to ride an off road skateboard is how much of the world it opens up to you. With this kind of skateboard, you can do much more than ride on paved roads and skate parks. You can now choose a spot on a map, and there’s a good chance that you can ride there.
From a paved road to the rough terrain of a forest trail or a BMX track, you name it. If it has a road through it, you can probably ride there. Of course, off-road skateboarding comes with its own set of risks, which are somewhat unique and different from the typical risks you would encounter when riding a regular skateboard.
However, depending on your attitude, those additional risks are nothing more than opportunities for you to hone your riding skills. The more careful and skillful you are, the more rugged terrain you will be capable of conquering on your off-road skateboard.
If you are ready to take on the world while riding your off-road skateboard, let’s look at some of the skills and tips that might help. These tips and tricks will help you become a better skater and keep you safe.
Tips on How to Ride an Off Road Skateboard
The first thing that we should mention is that riding an off-road skateboard isn’t that unlike riding your typical skateboard. It’s just a bit more challenging because the terrain can vary quite a bit. While riding on paved roads does require some skill, riding off-road requires both skill and a heightened sense of precaution. Here are some tips that will come in handy.
Start by Learning the Basics First
This important rule is one you must remember when dealing with any sport or activity in general. Just as you had to learn how to crawl before you walked and eventually ran, you need to learn the basics of skating on a skateboard before you can go off-roading. Here is some basic skateboarding knowledge you should strive to master first.
There are two main stances in skateboarding, “regular” is for people who are comfortable with their left foot in front and pushing with their right, while “goofy” is for people who prefer it the other way around. It’s simply a matter of determining what works best for you. Just like there are right-handed and left-handed people.
Learning to skate
Learning how to skate takes practice and more practice. As such, you will need a safe environment to practice. Some of the best places to learn how to skate are skate parks where there are dozens of other skaters who have varying degrees of know-how and skill.
You can learn from observation or by trying what you see, and you might even get coached by some of the better skaters. If you are mingling with people who are better at it and are willing to learn, there’s a good chance that you will get better sooner rather than later.
Bend your knees
While riding while standing upright might seem cool and cavalier, it’s also a practice reserved for those who have mastered the art. Most skaters, especially beginners, need to ride while bending their knees. Doing so gives them a lower center of gravity and offers the flexibility you need to adjust balance whenever necessary. It will save you from a lot of wipeouts.
Learn how to push your skateboard
Learning to push your skateboard forward should be at the very top of your skill list, even if you intend to use only a motorized or electric board. This basic skill is easy enough to learn but requires patience and practice. Here’s what you need to do:
- Place your front foot (regardless of whether you ride regular or goofy) at a 30-degree angle near the front of your skateboard.
- Slightly bend that knee so that your back leg can comfortably reach the ground.
- While balancing your body weight on the front foot, push off using your back foot.
- Once you have gained enough speed, bring your back foot back onto the board and place it at a slight angle near the back of the skateboard.
This is the same skill you will use even when skating off-road.
Learn to turn
The thing about riding off-road is that you need to learn how to turn quickly because the terrain will throw debris, rock, cracks, and bumps your way at any given moment. Learning how to effectively turn at a moment’s notice is crucial to staying on your board.
There are two main types of turning styles: kick and carving. Here are the steps involved in each one.
- Bend your knees and get low as you head into the turn.
- Lean into the turn, leading with your shoulders.
- Apply enough pressure on the board with your heels or toes in the direction you want to turn.
- After completing the turn, gradually bring your body back to its original stance.
- This kind of turning is quite intuitive and will certainly get easier as you get better at skateboarding.
- Place your back foot on your skateboard’s kicktail.
- Lean back a little and apply pressure to the kick tail to lift the skateboard by the front so each wheel is off the ground (this allows you to turn the skateboard in the desired direction).
- To make the turn, lead with your head, shoulders, and torso. Your skateboard will turn in that direction.
You will learn that your trucks are designed to help you turn your off-road electric skateboard. The tighter they are, the more rigid the turn becomes. The looser they are, the easier the turn, but the skateboard might become wobbly as you ride. You will find the right balance for you as you keep riding.
Get the Right Off Road Skateboard
Some people like off-road skateboarding, and then some would prefer to go for mountain boards instead. Now, the truth is that they both do almost the same thing in that you can ride them in a wide range of rough terrain.
The biggest difference is that a mountain board is simply more rugged and equipped for off-roading than an off-road board. That said, one can be confused for the other.
This brings us to the point: you need to choose the right off-road skateboard for you. If you go the off-road skateboard route, you need to know which one will work best for you. For example, you might like an off road electric skateboard, which makes it faster and easier to ride downhill, but also makes it heavier and more demanding in terms of maintenance.
What about going with a non-motorized skateboard? These are easy to maintain and lighter but will demand more energy to get them uphill or over rough road. They also don’t go nearly as fast as an all terrain electric skateboard.
The thing about off-road skateboards and mountain boards is that you can customize them to your liking. But before you can do that, you need to discover your riding style and preferences.
Wear the Right Protective Gear
From the phrase “off-road skateboarding,” you can tell that there will be a lot of opportunities to collect some scrapes, cuts, and falls along the way. To protect yourself against this inevitable eventuality, you need to wear protective gear.
A helmet and elbow pads are essential for most sports, but there are a few more items you need when off-roading. These include:
- Wear thick socks that protect your ankles from scraping against the skateboard when you try to kick and push or stop.
- Wearing shoes that are not only comfortable but hardy enough to withstand the harsh treatment that will come with the rugged terrain and rough surface of the road is essential.
- Wear goggles that will protect your eyes not only against the on-coming wind but also against other forms of debris and dust while on the trail.
Finally, things like shin pads and tough gloves are all part of the ensemble. You need to realize that no matter how good you are at skating, you will inevitably fall in one instance or another. Preparing yourself for that eventuality is another form of self-protection.
Falling the Right Way
Since it’s going to happen anyway, it’s only logical to learn how to do it the right way. There are several things you need to remember when falling off your skateboard:
- Try not to land head first or hands first. This could lead to concussions or broken wrists.
- When you fall, don’t stiffen up your body. Try to tuck into the fall so you roll over as you hit the ground, whether it’s a paved road or a rough surface.
- Try as much as possible to propel yourself towards a grassy patch or off the paved path just so you get a softer landing.
Here’s a video showing you some tricks you can use when you do fall:
Skate in a Safe Environment
No matter how good you are, skating in an unsafe environment is not a good idea. Off-road skating, in particular, can be quite treacherous, depending on where you go. Part of learning how to ride an off-road skateboard is learning where and when you can skate. There are several excellent rules you can follow to keep yourself safe.
- Vehicle traffic: Don’t skate where there’s a lot of vehicle traffic as it could leave you prone to car accidents. Vehicles are not only distracting but are also quite noisy, which will ruin your skating experience.
- Skating in the rain: Try to avoid skating in the rain as much as possible. This is particularly true when you are new to the sport. Learning how to control your skateboard is challenging enough without adding an unnecessarily slippery surface to the mix. Besides, the rain brings with it much more than just slippery surfaces. If it’s raining heavily or windy, your visibility will be impaired, which can prove disastrous in an off-road terrain.
- Skating in the dark: How will you see that protruding tree stump or loose rock in the middle of the road when it’s dark? Off-road skating is best done in broad daylight when there is ample visibility to see where you are going.
- Skating where there’s too much human traffic: Off-road skating in an area where there are too many people is dangerous for you and everyone else around you. While it’s a good idea to skate with friends, especially when going deep into the rough road of the backcountry, it’s always better to do so in small groups as opposed to in crowded areas.
Like most new things, learning how to ride a regular skateboard or high speed off road electric skateboards can be extremely exciting. It’s even better when you learn how to do so safely. The tips and tricks highlighted here will help you do so and ensure that you enjoy this new and exhilarating experience in a safe and wholesome manner.