Video Skate Tutorial 1: Downhill brake

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Starting this week Asha will be posting a weekly Skatefresh Blog Tutorial and this first tutorial is ‘How to heel brake downhill’. Each mini Blog Tutorial will look at a problem area of one skill, in this case, why do skaters still not stop downhill even when they have the heel brake on? Each Blog Tutorial comes from real skaters’ questions and queries and will range from Beginner to Intermediate and some Advanced skills. The tutorials are not an entire lesson, just the fixing of one specific or common ‘problem’ that arises with certain skills. We hope these mini Blog Tutorials help those stubborn skills.

2 Responses to "Video Skate Tutorial 1: Downhill brake"
  1. The thing to understand about quads is that they were never designed to go beyond the roller disco (ie smooth indoor surfaces). Anyone skating outdoors on quads should realise that there are massive disadvantages in outdoor quads skating, mainly rough surfaces and downhills. The downhill quads stopping options are;

    *Toe stop drag. This works fine on the flat but on slopes you will find that it becomes increasingly difficult to slide to a stop and also you will wear out your stopped extremely quickly (sometimes in one hill!). Unlike the heel brake of inline skate where there are options to variate the pressure on the heel brake, it’s allot harder to do this with a toe stop dragging behind you. You can pull the toe stop towards your front heel as you bend your front knee more, but this is then at the maximum pressure and if you don’t stop then, you will have nothing else up your sleeve to deliver more stoppability (and that isn’t a nice feeling when a looming obstacle gets closer and closer).
    *T stop (which is a zillion time sharder on quads than on inlines and equally unsatisfactory when it comes to any steep hill or needing to actually stop in a hurry. I do not rate the T-stop as a viable option for either inlines or quads particularly on slopes. The technical ability needed to do a downhill T stop (to a complete stop) is beyond most upper intermediate level skaters.
    * Paralllel turns. Advanced skaters can and do try the slalom technique of doing tight consecutive parallel turns, but this demands a high level of control, excellent turns on your bad side and a certain about of width of road (and no traffic on your right) so this is ruled out on any normal street or pavement due to lack of width.
    *The quads spin stop to backwards is perhaps the best one to master but again, at high speed going into a spin in not a great way to go and this only works well for medium and slow speeds, plus you need a good level of comfort in backwards to be able to stop backwards using your stopper. This stop also doesn’t have the gradual ‘slow down’ setting, it’s either stop, or not, so again on a slope it’s very easy for that comfortable speed to be exceeded.
    *Snow plough, is another option for slowing down speed and I think from my observations of quaddies this is a preferred option (easier to do than the T stop) and the back wheels skid easier than on inlines. But the drawback here are that any horizontal cracks will be problematic, so this is ruled out on pavements with paving slabs or dodgy road surfaces.

    I am not trying to be a downer when it comes to quads, I am just trying the share the realities of the situation so that people are informed as to the limitations of quads on slopes. They weren’t designed for this.
    Street skating on quads is at least 5x more technically challenging than street skating on inlines. Speed is harder to produce (more friction), obstacles are more obstructive, hills are more problematic…..I know you quaddies out there are experiencing these challenges.

    Practice on the lower portion of small slopes and see if you can master some or all of the above techniques so that you can have several options to choose from and change from one to the other as needed. It’s really important to know your stopping capabilities and to ‘edit’ your hills accordingly.

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