Riding a skateboard is tricky.
The movements are simple, but they require a ton of balance and an ability to react – but not overreact – to changes in terrain and momentum.
Stopping a skateboard, by comparison, is relatively easy.
Though, it too demands some degree of balance.
Along with balancing and pushing, stopping is one of the first skills you should learn on a skateboard to ensure safe practice.
How to Properly Stop a Skateboard
When it comes to stopping a skateboard, just put your foot down.
It sounds like a joke, but putting your foot down is actually the easiest way to stop a skateboard.
When you are moving at low enough speed, when you want to stop, simply lower your back foot to the ground next to the board and shift your weight to it.
Keep your front foot on the skateboard to bring it to a stop along with you.
It looks like this –
Simple enough, right?
This is the same technique used to stop a skateboard at higher speeds as well, though you must first slow the skateboard down.
There are a couple of ways to reduce speed on a skateboard, including a powerslide and scraping, but these are more advanced techniques.
When you are first learning to skateboard, only one method of slowing to a stop matters – back-foot deceleration.
How to Stop a Skateboard at Speed
Stopping a fast-moving skateboard is very similar to stopping a slow-moving skateboard.
You use your back foot as a brake.
But, instead of just putting your foot down and shifting your weight to it, which would jerk you, your skateboard, your groin, and other sensitive parts of you to a violent, whiplash-inducing stop, you use the foot to slow down first.
To slow down on a skateboard –
1 – Lift your back foot off the board as if you are going to push or stop.
2 – Bend your front knee slightly deeper, as you do when going into a push.
3 – Lower your back foot to the ground, but do not shift your weight fully to it. Instead, keep your weight centered over the board and let your back foot drag against the surface until you slow enough to stop.
4 – Shift your weight to your back foot to stop.
If it sounds like stopping this way will wreak havoc on your shoes, you are absolutely right, which is why skate shoes typically have highly-durable, reinforced soles.
Practicing Stopping on a Skateboard
Before you even think about other stopping techniques, you should get down this most essential “foot brake” method of slowing down and stopping on a skateboard.
Here are a few tips for practicing back-foot deceleration and how to stop on a skateboard:
Nail the fundamentals first.
- Practice stopping at slow speeds until you can put your foot down and come to a stop without stumbling or losing your balance.
- Don’t try stopping at higher speeds until you have stopping at lower speeds down.
- Practice slowing from high speed on a flat surface or a surface with very minimal incline.
- Don’t practice back-foot deceleration on hills until you are very comfortable slowing on flat surfaces.
Get a pair of skate shoes.
- A pair of skate shoes with a good, durable sole will go a long way in your practice.
- You don’t have to get the best, most expensive skate shoes if you’re just starting out.
- Look for a sale, and buy a dedicated pair of shoes just for skate practice.
Try to relax.
- Like any movement on a skateboard, the more tense you are, the more likely you are to get hurt.
- The most likely potential injuries when stopping on a skateboard are to your lower body.
Potential injuries include:
- Ankle strain from putting your foot down wrong when you stop.
- Knee strain from stopping too fast.
- Groin strain from stopping too fast or losing control of your board.
And, of course, you always have the potential of injury to your hands, wrists, arms, or face if you fall incorrectly.
This is why, when you first start skateboarding, it is so essential to practice the fundamentals over and over again until you master them before moving on to more complex moves.
It might be boring to put your foot down a thousand times in your own driveway before adding to your skating repertoire, but by practicing skateboarding’s most basic stopping technique, it will become a reflex and you’ll be ready to use it when you need it the most.