Downhill skateboarding is an exciting sport.
Photos by Riaan Swanepoel.
A longboard is an over sized skateboard designed for cruising on flat ground, carving down hills or bombing steep roads in excess of 100km/h. The longer length gives a longboard stability and control and the bigger, softer wheels provide less rolling resistance and more grip than standard street/vert skateboard wheels. Longboards are available in many shapes and sizes designed for the specific disciplines of the sport.
Downhill skateboarding is a dangerous sport but if the proper precautions are taken, most injuries can be avoided. A helmet should always be worn when longboarding, no matter how fast you plan to go. Slider gloves, knee and elbow pads are also highly recommended. When going fast we wear a full leather suit, leather gloves and a full face helmet. The biggest danger when longboarding is cars so we always skate on quiet roads or if we skate main roads we do it at sunrise when there is very little traffic. At downhill races the road is closed to traffic and hay bales are placed on the corners where crashes might occur.
The different disciplines include but are not limited to:
Cruising/commuting – Using your longboard as a form of transport
Carving – Going downhill on an medium gradient and turning from side to side, similar to surfing or snowboarding
Sliding – Also known as free-riding, this is where you force your wheels to go sideways in a controlled manner
Slalom – Weaving between cones
Speed – Going down steep hills as fast as possible in a tucked position for lower wind resistance.
Fair Cape Downhill Challenge16,17 April in Durbanville on Malanshoogte Road
King of the Fort: Schanskop Downhill Challenge at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria on 18 and 19 June.
Want to get involved? Join these Facebook groups and chats!
Jo’burg Longboarders; Longboard Stellenbosch; East Cape Longboarding; Durban Longboarders Club; Cape Town Fizzers; Obi Longboarding;Â First Nature
First Nature are also stockists of all the equipment you could possibly need.