When anyone asks “is Freebording hard to learn,” the short answer is always yes-but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. In fact, if you already board (either snow or skate) you’re one step ahead of the competition when it comes to learning Freebording.
Can You Snowboard? Then You Can Freebord!
Technically Freebording is much more like snowboarding than skateboarding. You can slide and glide horizontally, rotate 360 degrees, and carve like no other when riding a Freebord-even on asphalt-but one key skill you have to learn is balance. When you’re first starting out, it might be helpful to get on the Freebord while holding onto a stationary object and just get a feel for how the Freebord moves. It rolls back and forth but it also has that crazy rocker motion caused by the two caster-mounted center wheels. When you shift your weight over those wheels, the Freebord slides horizontally-that’s something no skateboard can do.
Once you’ve got a feel for the Freebord, you should take it out on some smooth surfaces in an area that’s relatively flat (you don’t want to go bombing a steep on your first run unless you want to end up road pizza.) Make sure there isn’t any traffic to hit, or to hit you, and you may want a little privacy so nobody sees you fall the first hundred times.
Don’t forget to wear protective gear! Freebording, even on “safe” surfaces, is always potentially dangerous. To minimize your risk of injuries and the severity of them wear good quality knee and elbow pads, and wrist guards. And always wear a helmet!
The Freebords Unleashed!
Once you think you’re ready to “let go,” keep your shoulders centered over the Freebord to maintain balance and go with the flow. You can carve a turn by leaning into it. The harder you lean, the harder you carve. It’s a little different than skating because the Freebord’s wheels sit farther out on the hangers and replicate a snowboard’s steel edge. Be careful not to lean too far though or you’ll either slide out or catch and edge and end up eating asphalt. Be especially careful of leaning too far over your toes.
Next, shift some weight onto those center wheels and get a feel for how the Freebord glides. Remember, those wheels rotate 360 degree so your Freebord will spin and reverse direction fairly quickly. Too much weight over those wheels will send the Freebord sliding right out from underneath you.
Practice makes perfect and whether it takes a day or a month you will get the hang of it.
Keep Your Equipment Tight
A few tips about your equipment that can make learning to ride your new Freebord easier:
1) Find a Freebord that fits you-They’re available in a ton of sizes and several different materials.
2) Adjust your Freebord to fit you-Tweak the bindings to your stance, raise/lower the center caster wheels to a comfortable spot (lower = more rocker motion, higher = less), and tighten the trucks to match your riding style.
(You may also want to buy a truck and wheel kit to fit your style of riding: downhill, freestyle, or freeriding.)
3) Keep your equipment in good repair. Replace worn wheels and loose trucks often. Inspect your hanger arms and truck baseplates too-you don’t want your Freebord falling apart while you’re bombing a big hill-it wouldn’t be pretty.
To learn more about freebording and customizing your freebord to fit your style, check out Freebordsite.com, a geat source for free information on this cool new sport.