Ride Guide - A brief guide to get you started
The following are tips from experienced riders that may aid you as a beginner. They are no substitute for reckless riding and are only offered to you as an introductory guide to mountain boarding. We encourage all new riders to read these steps as they are the basis of fun and safe mountain boarding. If you have any more questions please contact us.
Setting up your board
Each rider will need to set up their board differently depending on your weight, height and actual board. All boards come ready to ride however please refer to the owners manual of your board for customisation tips. The basic tweaks for all boards are outlined below.
- Spring Setting: If your board has springs in it then you are riding what is known as a 'channel truck'. You may like to adjust your springs as this is a personal preference. Light riders or riders who like an easy steering board (tight turning circle) will find the standard springs best while heavier riders or those who like a stable board set-up for high speed and big air will prefer the hard springs. In addition to spring conversions, riders can add spring inserts (know as Eggs or Eggshocks). These give the board more stability at higher speed and eliminate 'speed wobbles'. A low cost performance upgrade for any channel truck board.
- Bindings will also need to be adjusted to accommodate the rider's shoe size. This can easily be done by placing your foot in the binding and doing the Velcro up tight or tightening the ratchet around the shoe depending on what binding system you use.
- Tyre Pressure will also need to be adjusted. You can do this just like a bike tube and tyre, for your first ride it would be recommended about 10psi. An effective speed reducer is low pressure.
LOW tyre pressure = SLOW speeds. (better traction, much safer)
High pressure = HIGH speeds.
NEVER EXCEED THE TYRE MANUFACTURE'S MAXIMUM PRESSURE! (this is printed on the tyre sidewall)
Your first ride of an All Terrain Board
Before you step on your board you will need to determine your stance (regular or goofy). As a general rule of thumb, the foot you hop off will be at the front of the board and the other at the back. Once you have determined this it's time to hit the slopes. Before you start don't forget to put on plenty of safety gear. As a minimum you should ALWAYS wear a helmet, wrist guards, kneepads, elbow pads, gloves, shoes and eye protection. Shin guards, bum pads and body armour are also great. To start with it is best to try and play around on the board on flat or a slightly sloped hill until you feel comfortable then move onto a slightly steeper hill (grass is best because it is nice and soft).
Ask us about an instructional video or learn to ride clinic near you.
How to fall
To those who have not ridden a board before this may seem like a stupid thing to say. You will notice that a mountainboard has bindings, which partly strap your foot to the board. It is possible to jump out of the bindings some of the time however doing this actually increases your chance of knee and ankle injuries so it is not recommended.
Considering that most of the time you will know when you are going to fall off the best thing to do is NOT jump out of the bindings. The best thing to do is actually put all the weight onto the heel edge of the board sending the board into a power slide, lower your centre of gravity then put your hands and bum down.
- Check all nuts, bolts and screws to ensure your board components are tight
- Inspect board for any wear (particularly deck cracks and tyre damage)
- Pack your spares and all safety gear
- Take plenty of water and high-energy snacks
- Always ride with a friend & alert someone what time you will be back and where you are riding
- Mobile phone and first aid kit
When you have mastered standing on the board and hoping that you don't run into a tree (joking) it is time to learn how to steer. Turning is often an underestimated skill amongst riders and can be quite a complex task in rugged terrain. Before attempting to turn your board have a look at what surface you are riding - different surfaces have less traction then others E.g. Gravel has very little, asphalt has a lot. Tyre pressure also is a significant factor of turning.
LOW pressure = MORE grip.
Ok, now you are ready to attempt a turn.
Some people find turning toe-side (forward, towards your toes) easier and others find heal-side (backwards, towards your heal) easier. Either way you need to shift your body weight to whichever side of the board you are looking to turn. If you are travelling at a very slow speed then you can sometimes simulate this by pressuring your heels and toes depending on which way you want to turn. As you progress into the turn apply more pressure and once you reach the half way point you should be starting to take weight of the edge and trying to centre the board. At the end of the turn you should be travelling up the hill, so this move also doubles as a way to stop.
Linking turns is just an extension of J turns. The ability to link turns allows you to snake / carve your way down a hill without stopping. It is also the most important way to control your speed.
Look at a skier or snowboarder - they don't go straight down the mountain (most of them anyway) - they carve from side to side and 'wash off' speed. A wide / big carve will wash off more speed where as a slight turn won't do much. To start off turn as you would with a J turn. As you approach the point in which you want to change direction center your weight and then transfer it gradually over to the opposite edge.
This takes some time to perfect.
Linked turns should be mastered early.
They and the power-slide are the critical techniques for enjoyable and safe riding.
How to stop
Stopping on a mountain board is much harder then a bike because there are generally no brakes (however brakes can be purchased and fitted and some boards to come standard with a brake). The most common way to stop on a mountain board is a technique called power-sliding (as outlined in the MBS Ride Guide and demonstrated on the video). This involves letting the board go into a controlled slide to create more friction and therefore stop. The power-slide is easiest to practice on gravel however we recommend wet grass, as it is also soft and slippery and does not hurt as much when coming off the board.
When you are used to turning you will find that there is a point during the turn where the board wants to slide (you might have already done this accidentally). To power-slide you must put more weight on your back foot when you are turning, then as soon as you feel the board sliding, distribute the weight evenly on the front and back foot. It is important to keep the weight directly over the board. Power-slides should be mastered before any steep terrain is tackled.
Congratulations! By now you should have developed the basic skills of mountain boarding and are looking to extend and add skills to the ones you have already. We do not recommend jumping your board however understand that many people do. Don't practise jumping until you are 100% confident with handling your board in all terrain. In the case of an unseen obstacle it is sometimes beneficial to be able to 'bunny hop' (jump over) that fallen branch or ditch.
A good way to practice for bunny hops or jumps is to be stationary and jump on the spot with your board. Make sure all 4 wheels land evenly on the ground. You want to ensure that when coming down from a jump your weight is centred and the wheels land at the same time.
To practise, roll along a smooth surface (like a flat patch of grass) and practise to bunny hop by pulling the board up with your feet as you jump. When you feel you are ready move on to a small obstacle like a broom stick and try jumping that. Gradually progress and try to end up bunny hopping over something about the size of a small branch. You never know what obstacles may confront you when riding so be prepared! The bunny hop is only to be used to get you out of an emergency situation. It is not to be a risky manoeuvre.
We'll save back flips and 540 rodeos for another time ;-)
Ride safe, RIDE.LIFE.
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