Skateboarding: there are several technical adjustments and riding styles you can adopt to increase your riding speed | Photo: Allan/Creative Commons

It's a simple truth known to anyone who has ever placed a foot on a skateboard: speed is exhilarating.

There's a visceral thrill in the surge of the landscape as it blurs into an adrenaline-filled tableau.

Whether launching higher tricks, cruising city streets, or dropping into a vert ramp, the right momentum can transform a good ride into a great one.

But how does one harness this coveted speed?

The answer lies not only in the machine - your trusty skateboard - but also in the pilot - the rider.

Your technique, strength, and precision significantly contribute to your velocity.

There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding the perfect combination of factors to enhance your speed.

It's a blend of art and science, an alchemy that requires trial, error, and personal intuition.

However, with these tips, you're armed with the knowledge to elevate your ride.

Cruising: the sum of small increments of change will speed up your skateboard | Photo: Chen/Creative Commons

Skateboard Adjustments

Let's start with some tweaks you can make to your board.

Choose Your Wheels Wisely

The speed of your ride begins with the wheels.

Opt for larger-diameter wheels if you want to skate faster. The larger the wheel, the more ground it covers per rotation.

Moreover, consider hardness.

Softer wheels (78A to 87A) grip the ground better, making them great for cruising, but harder wheels (88A to 101A or higher) will roll faster on smooth surfaces.

Swap Your Wheels Around

Skateboard wheels don't wear evenly due to the difference in weight distribution and directional forces.

Rotate your wheels regularly, similar to how you rotate car tires.

Swap the front and back wheels and flip them so the outer edge faces inward.

This practice can extend the life of your wheels and maintain a smoother and faster ride.

Loosen the Axle Nuts

When was the last time you checked your axle nuts?

If they are over-tightened, they can limit wheel rotation, causing your skateboard to slow down.

Adjust them until they're just loose enough to allow the wheels to spin freely without wobbling.

This little tweak can bring significant changes to your speed.

Choosing Bearings

Bearings are another vital component when considering speed.

These small circular pieces live inside your wheels and enable them to spin.

Their quality is often rated on the ABEC scale, ranging from ABEC 1 (the least precise, slowest) to ABEC 9 (the most precise, fastest).

High-quality ceramic bearings are a popular choice for their low friction and high speed.

Maintaining Your Bearings

Similar to wheels, bearings also gather grime, which hinders their efficiency.

To clean them, remove them from the wheels, wipe off excess dirt, and then soak them in a solvent like isopropyl alcohol.

After a thorough soaking, dry them completely and apply a skateboard bearing lubricant.

Regularly cleaned and lubricated bearings result in less friction and a faster ride.

Balancing Trucks

With trucks, there's a balancing act at play.

Looser trucks allow for more nimble steering, but tighter trucks offer stability, which helps maintain speed, especially during downhill rides.

Experiment with different tightness levels to find the perfect setting that keeps you steady and fast without sacrificing maneuverability.

Speed: downhill skaters know how little fine-tuning can have a massive impact on their rides | Photo: Lamsa/Creative Commons

Skater Techniques

After fine-tuning your board, it's time to shift focus to the rider.

Push Power

The way you push off the ground can greatly impact your speed.

To optimize each stride, plant your foot beside the board and push off with as much force as possible, extending your leg fully each time.

Once your foot is off the ground, bring your knees up to your chest to decrease wind resistance.


Pumping is a technique typically used on ramps or in bowls, but it can also boost your speed on flat ground.

Essentially, you shift your body weight to generate momentum without taking your feet off the board.

Bend your knees when going down a slope and straighten them when going up to maximize velocity.

Drafting and Tucking

Drafting involves riding closely behind another skater to reduce wind resistance.

Once you've built up enough speed, you can overtake.

On solo rides, adopt a tuck position, similar to downhill longboarders, by bending your knees and lowering your chest towards the board to minimize wind drag.

Keeping a Straight Riding Line

When it comes to maintaining speed, the physics is straightforward - literally.

Riding in a straight line reduces the distance traveled and prevents loss of momentum due to frequent changes in direction.

A straight line might not always be feasible in city streets, but where possible, maintaining a direct path can considerably enhance your velocity.

Physical Training

Strengthening certain muscle groups and increasing your endurance can give you that extra edge.

Lower Body Strength

Regular squats and lunges can boost your lower body strength, leading to more powerful strides and improved balance.

Plyometric exercises such as box jumps can enhance your explosive power, helping you gain speed faster.

Core Strength

A strong core aids in balance and stability.

Incorporate exercises like planks, Russian twists, and bicycle crunches into your routine to build a solid core foundation.

Cardiovascular Endurance

Activities like cycling, swimming, and running can help improve your cardiovascular endurance, meaning you'll be able to maintain higher speeds for longer periods.

Each of these strategies offers unique ways to gain that alluring velocity.

Remember, speed isn't everything - it's the journey that matters, and every skateboarder's journey is different.

Experiment with these techniques, discover what works best for you, and ride on.

With a dash of determination and a splash of perseverance, you'll be cruising faster, launching higher, and riding harder than ever.

And as you master these tips and watch the world whizz by at breakneck speed, remember to always skate safe - your helmet can be the difference between a thrilling ride and a hazardous fall.

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