It seems like every skateboarder has been struck with the “speed bug.” If you are constantly contemplating how to go faster on a skateboard, look no further because this is the perfect article for you!
We have compiled the best tips for you to improve your top speed and achieve that adrenaline rush.
We’ve separated this article into two sections about the main factors that influence your speed: the skateboard and the rider. There’s also an extra section at the end, touching on a third factor you might not expect.
There are many different types of skateboards, the classic popsicle skateboard being the most popular. But if you want to reach top speeds you will have a better chance with a longboard.
Longboards reach higher speeds due to their bigger wheels and larger wheelbase. Longboarding down a hill, you could even reach around 50 mph — and professionals usually go even faster!
Smaller wheels are easier to push and they accelerate quicker, so they’re better right? Surprisingly, this is not the case!
A bigger skateboard wheel (58mm+) is shown to be faster overall and reach higher top speeds. If you’re interested in the science of wheel sizes influencing top speed, we recommend checking out this Pirelli article. 75mm longboard wheels are ideal for increased top speeds.
Harder wheels are also recommended to increase stability at those top speeds. You should not try to cut costs with skateboard wheels, as bad quality wheels can really impact your comfort and stability.
The hardness of a wheel is indicated by a number followed by an ‘a’. For example, this wheel has three different hardness options: 80a, 83a, and 86a.
The last thing about wheels is not to make them too tight. Over-tightening causes pressure against the bearings, making it a lot more difficult for the wheels to spin. You’ll notice a squeaking rubbing noise if you tighten the wheels too much.
Many riders believe that a faster bearing can make you skate faster. This is not necessarily the case. Many factors influence your speed, including weight and pumping technique.
The most important tip we have for your skateboard bearings is to maintain them. Bearings that are looked after will roll smoother and at higher speeds.
Dirty bearings will lose their smoothness and generate a lot more heat, causing your wheels to spin slower. We recommend cleaning your bearings once a month.
If you’re struggling more than usual to gain momentum and your wheels are locking up more often than usual, it’s time to clean your bearings.
You can clean your bearings by removing them and soaking them in a degreaser for two or three minutes. Let them dry completely before replacing them on your skateboard.
Trucks play a big role in the stability of your skateboard. They allow the skateboard to move and react better to your body. This is important at high speeds where the truck should be sensitive to any slight movements that you make.
Loose trucks make it extremely difficult to balance, ultimately slowing your overall speed.
We also recommend trying hollow trucks, to make your skateboard as light as possible.
A skateboard with all the bells and whistles is great, but it’s only half of the solution. The second factor that greatly affects skateboard speeds is the rider.
When skateboarding downhill, increased weight results in increased gravity. A heavier person will create more momentum and reach a higher top speed. Although the advantage is minimal and not something you can really change, it’s simple physics.
Aerodynamics refers to the way that air moves around things. It plays an important role in speed. If something is not aerodynamic, the air trying to flow past it will slow it down. Airplanes and F1 cars are designed specifically with aerodynamics in mind.
Luckily, some longboards are also shaped for the best possible aerodynamics. These models usually feature a pointed front with a flat tail end.
Probably the most important factor of aerodynamics is your body. The goal is to make your body as small as possible, to reduce the amount of air that needs to flow around you. You’ll see other skateboarders bend over in a position called the ‘tuck’.
How to tuck for aerodynamics:
- Have both feet facing forward and bend your knees.
- Press one knee against the back of your other knee.
- Keep your arms along your sides and fold your hands behind your back.
- Bend your torso so that your head is as close as possible to your knees.
- Keep your face looking forward.
You can also watch this video to see a visual representation of ‘the tuck.’
One last thing to improve your aerodynamics is to skate in a straight line. Swerving from side to side is great for cruising, but if you’re trying to reach high speeds you need to be in a tuck and keep to a straight line.
The downhill skateboarding record is over 90 mph. This is incredibly fast and probably a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Do you want to know what their secret weapon was? Wind.
On that day they had a 10 mph tailwind helping them to reach top high speeds. This gave them an extra advantage and along with all the other factors mentioned in this article, they were able to break the world record.
The opposite is also true. If you have strong winds blowing towards you, it will drastically reduce your top speed, no matter the quality of your longboard or aerodynamics.
Next time you notice strong winds on your weather app, grab your longboard and helmet and chase those high speeds.
There you have it! Now you know how to go faster on a skateboard. Make sure that you follow all these tips and soon you’ll be reaching those high speeds that you are seeking. Remember: it takes practice, so don’t expect to break any records with your next skateboarding session.