Proper feet placement is something I struggled with as well and I often see others doing the same mistakes, especially beginners, who have just started learning stand up slides.
This tutorial will show you how to improve your feet placement on a longboard when doing stand up slides for easier, more controllable and faster transitions between heelside and toeside slides.
But wait! Before we start, please note that there are different styles of skateboarding and this tutorial doesn’t say that “this” or “that” is wrong. However, when it comes to fast transitions between heelside and toeside checks, a proper stance on a longboard is required if you want to perform well and progress faster.
Proper longboard setup matters
* This part is for beginners who might not have a proper longboard setup.
Before we push off, let’s talk a bit about a proper longboard setup for freeride. Learning stand up slides on a pintail cruiser and soft downhill wheels could easily take the fun out of your experience.
Your deck should have a nice deep concave to hold your feet locked in while sliding and give to you good leverage over the trucks. I highly recommend symmetrical decks with a platform wide enough to fit your feet size. Pintail? Forget about it.
Use extra coarse grip tape. It will hold your feet on the board much better.
One of the worst things that can happen when throwing stand up slides is your feet slipping off. Softer bushing and symmetrical bushing setup are much recommended. Don’t tighten them too much, you should be able to do a deep carve before throwing out the slide. Trucks should be around 176 – 180mm, but not necessarily. You can use wider but narrower than that will give you a headache if you’re still learning.
And of course, I would recommend that you get yourself a set of a freeride longboard wheels. It’s much harder to learn how to slide on the softer downhill wheels. Wheels with rounded lips and durometer between 80a – 83a will make you get there much faster.
Let’s get down to business – feet placement
This is the juicy part of this tutorial. I’m going to “talk” about the feet placement which will help you make easier and faster transitions between heelside and toeside stand up slides / checks.
Let’s say something about the placement of the front foot first. This might be just my personal preference, but since it works for me, I am sure it will work for you as well.
If your board has wheel cutouts, you should place your foot as far in front as the platform allows you to do so (see photo 1). If not, try to stand around 1.5 – 3 cm away from the bolts (see photo 2). Your foot should be positioned at an around 45* angle, evenly across the platform, from one edge to the other.
Photo 1: Front foot on a board with wheel cutouts
Photo 2: Front foot on a board without wheel cutouts
When shifting between the heelside and toeside slides, you might want to slightly adjust the angle of your front foot, there’s nothing wrong with that. More specifically, when sliding heelside, you can lower the angle by moving your heel a bit forward / towards the nose.
The catch is mostly in the positioning of a back foot. Let’s talk about it.
If your trucks are tightened too much, you might have problems with the lean. If that’s the case, you most probably put your foot over the edges of the board in order to be able to push it out into the slide.
This forces you to move your foot around the board before and after sliding. Most likely, that’s what holds back your progress. Also, this way you probably push the board out too much and don’t really feel the wheels sliding. When pushing the board from the side with your heel or toes far over the edge, you can’t really feel how much pressure / weight you need to apply. See photos 3 and 4 below.
Photo 3: Toeside – too much over the edge
Photo 4: Heelside – too much over the edge
The key to quick transitions between heelside and toeside checks is having your feet always positioned pretty much the same way and just shifting the weight from heels to toes. This will also help you feel the slide much more and make it easier to decide how much pressure / weight you have to add or remove from your board. See photos 5 and 6 below.
Photo 5: Toeside – toes slightly over the edge
Photo 6: Heelside – heel slightly over the edge
Here’s a short demonstration video I put together. It’s nothing to be impressed with, but it should give you a good insight about how to place your feet on the board. Let’s watch it.
Yeah, I know… It’s a slow hill and that sweater makes my legs look shorter than they are, but I love it. It’s from Alternative Longboards. Thank you Szymon!
That’s it! Hopefully you will give it a try, especially if you found yourself doing the same mistakes as I used to. At first, you might feel a bit uncomfortable changing your feet positioning, but don’t worry, you will notice a big progress in no time. Skate on!
Let us know how that worked for you or share your thoughts on this tutorial via the comments below.
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