Today’s guide is on the heelside 180 stand-up slide. It will be the foundation for all the other heelside stand-ups you are going to do in the future, so it’s a key skill to have.
This guide is part of the downhill skill progression guide. Check out the guide if you want to learn about which skills you need to learn for downhill skateboarding.
What is a heelside (frontside) 180 stand-up slide?
With your back facing up the hill, the heelside 180 is simply throwing a slide 180* and ending up going down the hill in switch. The video below illustrates this.
What you should know before trying this slide
Before trying this slide, you should already know how to carve and how to slow down – either by foot braking or doing a push-up, Coleman, or a toeside pendulum slide.
You should also know how to setup carve (pre carve) for a slide. Setup carving will be key to getting the board to break traction. If you can’t do it, you will have quite a bit of trouble when trying to slide the board.
I also recommend you check out the other guides in this skill tree list I have made. This one builds off the progress, experience, and knowledge you gain from following the other guides.
Gear to have for this slide?
You should have a helmet, and slide gloves at minimum. I also highly recommend getting some knee, hip, and elbow pads too as you are likely gonna be falling a lot.
Having wheels for freeriding and sliding will also making your sliding attempts a lot easier and a lot more successful. But if you have already watched and bought a board according to my guide to beginners downhill skateboards, you should have one appropriate for this.
How to heelside/frontside 180 stand-up slide
Two different ways to learn this
There are two ways to learn this slide, the first (which is easier) is leading with your shoulder – throwing out your arms, and rotating your shoulders, and allowing the board to follow. The second is using your shoulders less and using more subtle motions with both your shoulders, chest, hips, arms, and feet to get the 180 done.
The first is easier but means you’ll have to unlearn some things to progress to stand-up checks. The second is harder, but it will be easier to progress to stand-up checks, (and easier to even learn the first once you get it). I think it’s the more worthwhile method to learn.
I’m going to teach the second method primarily but will mention the first briefly in the guide.
Step 0.1 – Foot positioning
The first thing to look at is foot positioning. You’re going to want your front foot to be near the front truck at about a 45* angle, or an angle between 45 and 90*. Whatever is comfortable for you.
You are then going to want your feet to be about shoulder-width apart. It will look like something in the picture below.
I advise you to have your back foot either in front of the back truck, or on top of it. It’s also ok to have it on the middle of the board – if that’s where your shoulder-width stance places it. Finally, don’t have it behind the back truck unless you can’t help it.
Check out the video below for more information and an illustration of the foot positioning.
Step 0.2 – Weight distribution
You want to have 60% of your weight on your front leg, 40% on the back leg.
Most of your weight is going to be on your heels and the zones marked red in the image below.
Step 1 – Speed
You want to be going faster than jogging pace. You can learn this on a mellow hill but make sure you push in fast enough. Also, the steeper the hill, the easier it will be to get the board to break traction.
Step 2 – Setup carve is key
The setup carve will make your life easier, so it’s important you do it. It naturally brings your wheels to that edge of traction where just a nudge will get them to slide.
So before you start doing the slide, you initiate the setup carve.
Check out the setup carve guide for more info!
Step 3 – Compress
At this point of the setup carve compress in anticipation of the kick out/pushing the board into the slide (I’ll talk more about the importance of compression, decompression, compression, later on in the article).
Compression is just bending your knees and sinking into your board a bit.
Step 4 – Decompress and kick out
When you get to the zenith of the setup carve (illustrated by the image below), decompress, lean back, swing your body out lightly, and kick out the board … You kinda do all of this at the same time, I explain more about each step below.
- Decompressing allows you to kind of deweight/unweight the wheels/board which makes them very easy to kick them out.
- Swing your arms out lightly after this helps your body and thusly the board rotate.
The following steps all happen in quick succession or almost simultaneously sometimes.
Step 4.1 – How to “decompress”
Decompressing is sort of coming out of the bent position, extending yourself upwards. You can also lightly throw your arms up to help with it.
Step 4.2 – Rotating with the whole body/swinging arms out
You rotate by swinging your widespreads arms, shoulders, chest, and hip lightly into the other direction. You want to swing them just as you come out of compression and just before you kick out the board.
So instead of just using your shoulders to swing out, you’re going to be opening up and rotating your whole body.
This in combination with the kick out should land you in the 180* position. More on the kickout below.
Step 4.3 – The lean back?
Leaning back is just something you have to suss and figure out for yourself. You have to lean back a bit to get good leverage on the board and sort of counteract the fight back you get from the wheels. It is something that will come with trial and error.
You also want to lean off the middle of the board (or rather the point on the board between where your feet are placed). You don’t want to be leaning more off your back or front foot … maybe **slightly** more off your front foot.
The image below is just to show you how much I lean back. I’m not necessarily suggesting you lean back this much, but feel free to try it and see if it works for you.
As Doom duck media said, you will fall a few times learning to get the right feel for the kickout.
Step 4.4 – The kickout?
The kickout is more of pushing your board out. It’s not an aggressive push, but one that is firm. In the chain of things happening, it is the one that happens last.
As I said above, you will have 60% of your weight on your front foot, and about 40% on the back foot.
You push out with your back foot whilst keeping your front foot stiff and firm, with your weight being kinda forced down.
Remember to have most of your weight on your heels.
The image below roughly illustrates how you want to be applying force and pushing out.
You essentially want to push your board into the 180* direction, almost like you’re pivoting on/around your front foot/truck.
You also want to push outwards (or forwards) but also down at the same time to keep your back foot planted and from slipping off.
- Weight on your heels.
- Don’t unbend your knees and straighten your legs all the way when you decompress, keep your knees bent a little bit.
- Video yourself to see what you’re doing.
- Make sure you are setup carving.
- Make sure you stay on top of the board and not let it get away from you, sometimes the board can keep going and will leave you behind.
Troubleshooting + shoulder help
Your shoulders can also help with the 180. With you doing all the other things, simply throwing your shoulders out and into the other direction (180*s) can help the board rotate and will let you do the 180 slide. In fact, it will be really easy to learn it this way. Your board will naturally follow your shoulders and you will end up 180*s.
However, it doesn’t always lead to the cleanest hookups and it will make it harder to learn stand-up checks as you will have to unlearn leading the slide primarily with your shoulders. So I don’t recommend using just your shoulders, but your whole body.
The above is essentially the “first method” of doing stand-up 180s I outlined above.
Step 5 – Hang in there sweetie
To hold it out, you just stay relaxed, with pressure in the relevant places. Your board/body will naturally glide along in a 180* carve, just allow your body/board to follow.
Step 6 – Compress on hookup
As you feel the board rotating into 180* position, it will naturally hook up (regain traction) – just allow this to happen and follow the board along.
What you need to do now is compress (which is bending your knees) to allow your body to sort of absorb the harshness/momentum of the rotation.
Compression is key and will allow for a cleaner more controlled hookup.
If you’re having trouble hooking up the slide, you can push out the board even more at the last minute it will end up in the 180* position. Be careful though, the board can keep going on without you.
Step 7 – Switch …
You should now be rolling away in switch. The steps to swing it back are pretty much the same … I like to cheat and just swing back with my shoulders leading hehe, bad behavior I know but I don’t plan on progressing with my switch skating any time soon …
This is so important to do
The compression before kickout, decompression at kickout, and re-compression on hook-up are key for clean and consistent stand up slides.
If you observe super good riders like Cole Trotta, Lars Troutwine, Patrick Lombardi etc., They all do this. This method of initiating and catching stand up slides is key and results in very consistent standys at any speed.
Trust me on this. Try it yourself and see wondeful results.
Any questions? Has this heelside stand-up 180 guide been useful?
Let me know if this guide has been useful. As always these guides are a bit dificult for me to make so your feedback is really appreciated. Helps me know if I’m doing something right or wrong.
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