Mountainboarding is fun, safe and easy to learn.
The best way way to learn to mountainboard is to get lessons from an ATBA-UK Instructor, but if you don’t have any instructors near you, you can pick up the basics on your own.
If you are teaching yourself, an easy way to remember the basics is to think about the Five ‘S’s’ of Mountainboarding: Stance, Starting, Steering, Speed and Stopping.
The first part of Stance is figuring out whether you ride with your left leg forward (regular) or your right leg forward (goofy). You should ride whichever way round feels most comfortable to you.
The next thing to think about is weight distribution. When you ride you should have more weight on your front leg than your rear leg. This will give you better control over the board and make steering easier. Try to keep your body in line with the board, and turn your head to see where you are going rather than turning your upper body.
Once you’ve got your Stance sorted, you need to get strapped into your board and rolling.
Firstly, place your board across the slope so it doesn’t roll away without you. If you have bindings and heelstraps you can strap yourself in and then, using small jumps, hop your board around until the front is facing down the slope and you begin to roll.
If you have bindings that you can slide your feet in and out of, you can try having your board already pointing down the slope, put your front foot in the binding, and giving a gentle push off before sliding your rear into the binding and riding off down the hill.
As you get riding you’ll start to figure out how the steepness of a slope, the smoothness of the ground, and the pressure of your tyres affect how fast you go.
Straight down the hill is the fastest line with diagonal lines being gradually slower the to closer to across the hill they get.
Harder tyres usually go faster than softer tyres so you can make your board go slower just by letting a bit of air out of your tyres.
Steering is the main way of controlling a mountainboard. It not only controls which direction you go, but also how fast you go. If you get good a steering your mountainboard you need never be out of control.
Mountainboards are steered by pushing one side of the board down to turn in that direction. So a toe-side turn means pushing down on the side of the board that your toes are on, and a heel-side turn means pushing down on your heels.
The best way to make the board turn is using your hips. Trying to steer by leaning can take your centre of gravity too far away from the board making it lose traction
Linking Turns, or Carving, involves riding down a slope steering from side-to-side in an ‘S’ shape. Steering across the slope will reduce your speed and you can then turn down the hill to pick up more speed before turning the other way. Remember that as you turn your board from one diagonal traverse to another you will go faster, but if you hold the turn and come back across the slope you will slow down.
You can choose how fast you ride down the slope by picking the right diagonal angle across the slope. Steeper diagonals are faster than shallower traverses across the hill.
They are three main ways to stop a mountainboard; steering, sliding, and brakes.
Using Steering to stop is also called J-Turns because of the shape you make on the hill looks like a ‘J’. So, if you’re riding down a slope and want to stop, simply steer to one side (whichever side is the clearest or avoids obstacles) and hold the turn until to come back uphill and stop. Your turn needs to be confident and held all the way through
Sliding is a bit more of an advanced technique but it’s a good way to stop quickly. There are lots of ways to slide a mountainboard, but the easiest way to to bend down, wrap you rear arm around your rear leg and grab the board just in front of your read foot. Then, with your front arm out behind you for stability, lean back so your board makes a sharp heel-side turn. As the rear wheels lose traction the board will slide. Getting your wheels perpendicular to your direction of travel will give you the most stopping power. As you practice you’ll get better at controlling the slide.
Brakes are a great way of controlling your speed and stopping your board. There are a few different types of brakes available from less effective and cheap to very effective and expensive. Riding with brakes is a great way to mountainboard safely and confidently without the more physical demands of sliding to stop your board.
Now you can go out and give it a try, but always ride within your limits. You can find out more about learning to ride with The Beginners Guide to Mountainboarding.