How to stop a downhill skateboard at 130kph

Ever wondered how to stop when breaking a world speed record on a skateboard? Find out here.
By Corinna Halloran

Stopping, when bombing a hill on a downhill skateboard, is not necessarily as easy as slamming on the brakes. After all, technically, you don’t have brakes.

So you have to use what you do have – your body. No, this doesn't mean jumping off your board while rocketing along, nor belly-flopping onto the pavement.

For one, everything must be as controlled as possible – from your toes to your chest. When banking a turn (and you’re not attempting to break a world record) using a set of hand pucks is a pretty good way to balance.

“You release pressure off the wheels with your hand on the ground, plus you can balance,” Erik Lundberg says. “Using pucks [in your hand] is the most efficient way to slide stop.”

When you slide stop, you take a very sharp turn and stop very quickly. If you’re looking for ultimate speed, though, like Lundberg was during his world record speed run, then you won’t be using the pucks.

A longboarder's protection
A longboarder's protection © Marcelo Maragni/The Red Bulletin

You can also use your whole body to slow down and stop after bombing a hill. This is called air braking, and you stretch your body up from your crouched tuck. First, you spread your hands out, then stretch out, and finally you open your chest.

If you want to go from 130kph to zero in a few seconds the fastest way is to air brake to 100kph and then slide stop. It will take about five to seven seconds

Erik Lundberg

 

Finally, if you want to slow down faster with your air brake, you should open your suit and create a human parachute. However, “that’s not ideal for a race because you don’t want to fall and lose your nipples,” Lundberg says.

Erik Lundberg takes the curve on the hill
Erik Lundberg takes the curve during speed record © Emma Daigle
Erik Lundberg opens up his arms to slow down after bombing the short steep hill
Erik Lundberg slows down after bombing the hill © Emma Daigle

Finally, there's foot braking. "Foot braking is the fundamental way to stop and it's a great way to stop in a race," Lundberg says. 

There are a few ways to foot brake. However, the most important thing is to maintain your balance as you take one foot off your board at top speeds. And yes, you do need to have special footwear – Erik glues an additional 4mm pad onto the sole of his shoe.

Want to check out other world records? Check out Laso Schaller world record cliff dive from 58.8m and this world record 1km slackline crossing!

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