Beginners GuidesGear Knowledge

Basics for downhill skateboarding (gear and skills)

Today’s guide is a list of things you should have before you attempt to go down a hill on your skateboard – essentially, the basics for downhill skateboarding. They’re not a strict list of “must-have” requirements, but having them all will start you off on the right foot.

Basic for downhill skateboarding checklist

Safety gear

You need a helmet and slide gloves at minimum. 

A certified helmet will keep your head safe and free of brain damage should you smack it against the ground – which will happen at some point in your skate career. I’ve personally gone through 4 helmets in 5 years of skating.

You’re going to want either a skateboarding helmet or a DH or MTB full-face helmet. Motorcycle full faces are inappropriate. They are too heavy which can lead to even worse damage in a fall.

Slide gloves will keep your hands and upper body injury-free by allowing you to catch yourself when you fall. They are also key components to hands-down glove slides, which allow you to slow down in a safe, controlled, reliable way.

Other bits of safety equipment – knee pads, hip pads, and elbow pads would be wise investments too.

Right equipment 

You need a proper board for downhill skateboarding. Not any cruiser off Amazon will do. You need a stiff board, with high-quality trucks (lower chance of wobbles), wheels that roll fast, and coarse griptape to keep you from slipping off your board.

Check out this article to learn about appropriate boards for downhill skateboarding.

Be able to be comfortable on your board. 

Make sure you’re comfortable pushing around, turning left to right, and simply just being in control of your board. If you’re comfortable doing this, you’re setting yourself up to have an easy time and great learning experience downhill skating. 

Yeah, simply make sure you have the basic longboard skills.

Be able to stop first before hitting any hills

You should be able to footbrake to a stop before you hit any hills. If you haven’t learned to footbrake, you’re going to have a significantly steeper learning curve, and endanger yourself.

Sometimes to stop, you can’t slide – for whatever reason, it could be a car in the road suddenly, a skater falling in front of you, you’ve don’t feel comfortable sliding (loss of confidence) etc. You’ll need to footbrake. And if you can’t bring your speed down in a controlled way, a hard object or the road will do that for you. Both painful ways of slowing down.

Foot braking also means you can still skate and enjoy the hill and as you work on your other skills and bring up your sliding skills to a level you can use them to safely get down a hill. 

Learn to shutdown slide before hitting any proper big hills

Before you hit any big hills or try to go faster than 30mph, learn to shutdown slide. 

This is a slide where you shave off all your speed and come to a controlled stop. 

Look up pendulum slides to learn more about shutdown slides.

Others but important

Be mentally prepared to eat sh*t

You’re gonna fall a lot and possibly get hurt. You’re gonna get a lot of bruises and your fair share of road rash. You are going to wear through more pants, shoes, and underwear than you can imagine. 

it’s all worth it, I promise you haha.

But yes, you’re going to fall, ALOT. 

Be ready to physically use your safety equipment when you eat sh*t

When you fall, you need to get ready to use your safety equipment. Whether this is your gloves, knee pads, hip pads, etc. You gotta be ready to use em.

You also have to fall in a target sort of way, so you can ride the fall out on your safety gear. That takes a bit of practice too.

Safety stuff

  • Remember to skate within your limits – don’t skate faster than you can stop, don’t skate hills above your skill level, don’t push your limits too much.
  • Skate safely – don’t drop in at peak traffic times, inspect the hill before skating, make sure your gear is tight and on you properly.

Is having all the basics worth it?

Absolutely. You’ll have a safer, more enjoyable time skating. It will also be less likely for you to get hurt.

What do you think? You got all the basics stuff ready?

Don’t do yourself a disservice and skating without the basic stuff. Having these things will make downhill skating a lot easier, I promise.

Big thanks to folks over at #whatgearshouldIbuy, made this content with info I got from them –

Big thanks to all my patrons for the support – Jed, Mowgii, Jan, Jay, Bryan, Owen, Samil, Daniel, Alex, Kasajja, Leah, Helge, DeLacoste, and Justin. I couldn’t write articles like this without you guys’ support

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