If, like us, you’re a fan of land paddling then scooting along silky smooth surfaces, taking it all in – especially on a sunny day – is what it’s all about. The looks and (generally) positive comments from passers by, even though they haven’t got a clue what someone pushing themselves along on an oversize skateboard with a stick is actually all about, are priceless. But as with any discipline it’s good to mix things up and see what’s possible. (Check out the vid below from Alan Taylor showing some progressive land paddling – ramps and slides).
Sliding longboard skateboards isn’t a new thing by any means – downhill skaters (you know, those riders who chuck themselves at warp speed along precariously sketchy inclines) have been doing it for ages. But what makes sliding so good for land paddlers is there’s none of the life or death stuff you get with downhill skateboarding. Yes, you can fall flat on your ass (and probably will at some point), but it’s nowhere near as painful as hitting the deck at the speed downhill nuts produce. Plus, the added benefit of having a stick (paddle) in your mitts means you can lean on and use it for stability. This is fabulous for muscle memory and transfers directly across to water based SUP and gives riders the chance to work on their placements – vital for all sports that include gripped shafts.
Sliding your land paddle board is also a good way to improve your paddle surfing skills in the absence of waves. You can slide both front and backside and simulate the feeling of loosey goosey top turns pretty effectively. So, how do you get some release for land paddle sliding?
Consider the surface
Smooth surfaces tend to work better for sliding – the less rough the better (although there’s an argument gravel asphalt will also work).
Speed, speed and speed
Even though you’re generally going to be on the flat you’ll still need momentum to release. Push hard through each stroke and give it one last bit of welly before hitting the NOS button.
Consider your foot placement just before you initiate a slide. Having your back foot in board generally isn’t the best – especially on wide boards. You need to get your foot over on the trailing edge of the board (rail) and then will need to push hard.
The slide we’re describing is the front side variety where you lean backwards onto your paddle. Don’t be afraid to utilise the flex of your paddle (as long as you own a sturdy one from a reputable company). Tuck your chin into your chest and let it fly.
As you progress through the slide bring your body inboard and transfer your weight to the front leg, rotating your upper torso and head back towards your entry ala 180 degree turn at teh same time. This allows slides to be finished off. Timing should be such that you aim to come upright as the slide is coming to an end.
If you’re sliding for the first time then it may be wise to wear protection – helmet, gloves, elbow and knee pads will stop grazes and scratches. As we mentioned above, you’ll probably stack it at some point but as long as you stay compressed there’s not as much chance of you injuring yourself (although accidents can and sometimes do happen).
Consider your equipment
If you’re looking to achieve powerful slides then you’ll need to consider your gear as well as the above tips. Some wheels simply aren’t designed to slide and you’ll end up sticking a lot. It’s also worth considering the overall weight of your board. You can see the Hamboards Classic KC Shaka we used in the vid give more dynamic release.
And lastly: have fun. It’s actually a right old laugh learning to slide your land paddle board and will give your mates a bit of a giggle in the process.