Learning how to stop on a skateboard can save your limbs, or even your life. Sometimes you’re rolling too fast, and you suddenly spot an obstacle. Maybe it’s a pebble or a large crack. Or someone is in your way and you need to stop so you don’t hurt them or yourself. Or you have lost control of your skateboard for whatever reason and want to quickly get off the thing.
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Being able to slow down a skateboard and bring it to a safe stop is a skill every skateboarder must learn. When you’re learning to ride a skateboard for the first time, you may not master advanced skateboarding stopping techniques.
But that doesn’t mean you should be satisfied with knowing only basic stopping skills. As time goes, you’ll want to learn every stopping strategy known so you can stop safely even when skating downhill.
Here, I present 9 ways to stop on a skateboard so you can have more control over your ride. Let’s roll!
9 Skateboard Stopping Techniques
I’ll first list down the 10 stopping techniques and then describe how to perform each stop. So, here’s the list:
- Use your foot to Brake (Ideal for Beginner Skateboarders)
- Do the Tail Scrape (Not Highly Recommended)
- Jump off Your Skateboard (for Emergency Stopping)
- Use the Heel Braking Technique (Heel Scrape)
- Roll to a Rougher Surface to Slow Down (You Might Fall!)
- Carve to Slow Down Your Skateboard (Use Loose Trucks)
- Ollie, Pop Your Board, and Walk (Not for Beginners)
- The Controlled-slide Stopping Technique (Best for Stopping When Skating Fast Downhill)
- Powerslide to a Stop (Works Best on Smooth Surfaces)
Let’s now take a closer look of each stopping strategy and learn how to execute each step.
1. Use your foot to Brake
Braking with your foot isn’t a hard technique to master. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have had a little board time before, you can easily learn this one.
In this stopping strategy, all you need to do is drop one foot down and drag it on the ground. To perform this stop, start pushing on your board. As you build up speed, put down onto the ground the foot you use to push.
You want to have your pushing foot flat on the surface to do this stop effectively. Stepping on the ground with the entire foot rather than just the ball allows for maximum friction, slowing you down.
Foot braking is an effective stopping method best suited for beginners. For the most part, advanced skateboarders are moving super fast, and this strategy doesn’t work well at high speeds.
This isn’t the best way to stop when you’re flying down a hill at supersonic speed. Nor is it a good strategy to turn to in an emergency.
Foot braking is for when you’re rolling down a street bustling with life but are skating too fast for comfort. Both advanced skaters and beginners can use this method, but it’s not an advanced stopping technique.
2. Drop Your Tail and Drag It On the Ground
Here’s another method you can use to stop on your skateboard. I don’t recommend this stopping strategy because it wears out the tail. Even worse, this method chips away at your board’s pop as time goes.
The tail scrape is just what the name suggests. It involves putting the tail of your skateboard down on the ground and dragging it for some time.
As with the foot braking we discussed above, the tail scrape stop relies on friction to slow down things.
The problem with dragging the tail on the surface is that it’s easy to lose control of your board. For that reason, tail scraping isn’t ideal for slowing your speed in an emergency.
Use the tail scrape to stop on your skateboard when skating the sidewalk or other surface recreationally. And, don’t try this stopping method when riding downhill fast.
3. Jump Off Your Skateboard and Roll Off
Sometimes safely jumping off your skateboard and rolling off trouble is the best option for you. One situation that’d necessitate the jump -and-roll-off technique is when you’re in an emergency.
Every skateboarder finds himself or herself in a situation where they need to dismount instantly to avoid danger. Like when you’re skating down a road and some crazy driver is riding their vehicle too close for comfort. In such a situation, jumping off your board safely can save your skull. Or life.
Jump-and-roll may sound like a simple technique, because it is, but it’s not easy. Make sure to practice this as many times as you need to do it properly and safely each time.
So, find a soft surface such as your lawn and practice this method until your perfect it. As you practice, keep your skating speed low, at first. But after you’ve practiced enough and can comfortably use the technique, try jumping off your board when skating at faster speeds.
Here’s What to Do
With your arms and legs relaxed, jump off your board. When up in the air, get into a roll and hit the ground. Avoid trying to catch yourself with your arms as that’s a quick way to break your wrist bones.
Curling into a roll as you head downward to the ground helps you absorb fall impact better. And sticking out your hands to catch yourself almost always culminates in broken bones and pain.
4. Use the Heel Braking Technique
The heel scrape stop is similar to the tail scrape stop. In both strategies, you’re damaging things you should be taking of. If used too often, the former ruins your shoes while the latter harms your skateboard.
I don’t recommend this skateboarding stopping method unless you really, really have to use it.
The heel brake stopping approach is a little more challenging to execute than the tail-drag strategy. That’s because you need better balancing skills to keep the front of the deck and the tail down but not completely down.
To brake using your heel, bring the rear of the board down, but don’t let it touch the ground. As the rear drops down, the nose needs to pop up, but too much.
Next, put your heel down until it comes into contact with the surface. Once the heel of your back foot is on the ground, you start dragging it. By so doing, you create the friction you need to finally stop.
You’ll be using your heel to bring your ride to a stop. So, you need to wear the most durable skate shoes you have. But nobody ever buys tough skateboarding shoes so they can wear them out using bad skateboard stopping techniques.
5. Roll to a Rougher Surface to Slow Down
This one is pretty straightforward. To learn this strategy, start riding your skateboard — moderately fast. You need to have two surfaces of varying roughness. Think of a smooth concrete pavement that transitions to a grassy field.
So, you’re skating on a smooth surface reasonably fast. If you’re rolling really fast and instantly transition from smoothness to roughness, you’ll likely spill.
Instead of using any of the techniques described above, you simply roll to the rougher surface. When you do that, you should naturally slow down, but you likely won’t stop immediately.
This is more like a slow-down-your-skateboard strategy. This isn’t the best stopping technique when you’re traveling too fast.
6. Ollie, Catch Your Board, and Just Walk Away
This one isn’t for beginning skateboarders. Beginners haven’t learned how to Ollie or pop their board, yet. That’s why beginning skaters can’t or shouldn’t use this stopping technique.
While this stop isn’t ideal for beginners, you shouldn’t do it when riding super fast. Instead, turn to this strategy when skating moderately fast and need to stop.
To perform this stop, start pushing on your skateboard and build some speed. Next, jump an Ollie and then catch your board with one of your hands. With the board now in your hand, descend, land, and start walking in the direction you were skating in.
Getting this technique down isn’t easy and takes tons of practice to master.
By the way, I’ve heard some skateboarders calling this approach the board pop. Regardless of its name, that’s how you do it.
7. Carve Long Turns to Slow Down Your Skateboard
This skateboard stopping strategy involves three steps namely carving, popping the board, and walking way.
As you can see, the carve-long-turns-to-slow-down method is similar to the board pop technique discussed above. The only difference is that you incorporate carving into this method.
So, start pushing on your board to gather speed. Don’t skate too fast if you’re a beginner. Then, launch a series of long, full turns.
Carving should help you skate slowly enough to pop your board into your hand and just walk way. Of course, you should walk in the direction of your initial momentum.
To perform this stop efficiently, make sure to have your skateboard trucks loose but not too loose. Maybe you should first learn how to loosen your skateboard trucks?
8. Slide to a Controlled Stop (for When Skating Downhill)
How do you slow down a skateboard when going downhill? The best method to slow down a speeding skateboard when going downhill is to use controlled sliding.
When bombing down a hill and need to brake quickly for some reason, use a slide stop.
Imagine you’re rolling downhill insanely fast and a car appears out of nowhere. The last thing you want is a collision. A skateboard-car collision is one of the quickest routes to the Emergency Room or even the grave.
So, the only option is to stop and do it fast and safely. And that’s where a slide stop comes in.
Use the slide stop in an emergency instead of jumping off your board. That’s because it’s safer and more effective than jumping off into a curled roll.
Don’t confuse sliding down to a stop with powersliding to a stop, though.
Here’s How to do a Slide Stop
Put your riding foot forward (the front foot), positioning it so that it’s facing nose-ward. The best place to have your foot is above the front trucks where the bolts are.
Then, shift your body weight to the side so that you make a 180 degree turn. This is an extremely sharp turn and you could lose control, so be careful.
To increase stability, crouch to your knees. And to avoid falling backward, lean forward a little. Don’t attempt to put either of your feet down to drag it. Your feet should remain solidly planted on the deck throughout the slide.
Next, put your hands (you have good wristguards on, right?) on the ground to further increase stability. You need wristguards designed to slide well on the ground. To slow down and stop, drag your palms on the surface.
You’ll practice this technique many times before you can build it right into your muscle memory.
9. Powerslide to a Stop (for Advanced Skaters Only)
The powerslide stop is similar to the slide stop above. But you can’t powerslide when skating fast or on a road with heavy traffic.
This is an advanced skateboarding stopping technique best left to experienced skaters. To powerslide effectively, you need a skateboard with the best wheels for powersliding. These are usually small, hard (high-durometer) wheels.
How to Powerslide on Your skateboard to Slow Down
I’d rather you do this on a smooth surface. The skatepark is one of the best and safest places to learn or do this.
Now, shift most of your weight to the front foot with this foot standing above the front wheels. Next, using your front foot as a pivot, turn your shoulders and hips, making a 90-degree turn.
Then, using your back foot, kick out in the direction you’re sliding in. This motion will help you complete your powerslide. And you’ll stop, but not abruptly.
As you kick out with your back foot, lean back a little to promote your balance. You shouldn’t be skating too fast, though. Otherwise, you’ll lose control of your ride.
You’ve learned at least 9 different ways to stop on a skateboard. Now, go out and start practicing. And remember to wear good protection.