Longboard slides are typically classified by the amount of rotation needed during takeoff, and can also be referred to as “slide angles”. A slide that takes off at an angle less than 30 degrees is considered a “low-angle” slide. Slides that take off between 31-45 degrees are considered “medium-angle” slides, and anything above 45 degrees is considered a “high-angle” slide.
Setting Up a Slide Deck
There’s so much you can do with a simple deck, some hard wheels, and bearings that will take what would be otherwise just junked off your hands. From an engineering standpoint, there are some basics to consider when tuning your skateboard setup: we’ll cover them here! So get out those tools because it won’t be long before skidding on the street sounds like music in our ears…
First, take a look at your board and see if you can get a sense of where the wheels will contact the ground when cornering. Some boards have raised contact points right in front of or behind the kingpin (the part that attaches to the trucks) which allows for more leverage, but can cause wheel bite. Wheelbase occurs when the wheels hit the board and act as brakes to lock up the board. It is important to take into account where your trucks are placed on the deck by looking at where you want that contact point to be.
Once you’ve decided where you want your downward force to be applied you can begin the process of setting up your board.
Wheels and Trucks
The most important part of getting your slide setup is to make sure that your wheels don’t rub against each other while you’re sliding, or they’ll lock up and stop moving (this is called “wheelsucking”).
Wheelsucking happens when the wheels rub against each other during a slide and rotate together. The first way to prevent this is to take the axle nuts off of your trucks and adjust the nuts so that they’re as close together as possible, but not touching. If your boards have reverse kingpin trucks (where the hanger is mounted backward on the baseplate), you’ll want to move the hanger towards the inside of your trucks.
If your board has traditional kingpin trucks, you’ll want to move the hanger away from the bolts on the base plate so that you have some space between your wheels. Once they are adjusted perfectly fine without them rubbing together at all, put your axle nuts back on and re-tighten them.
Once your wheels are adjusted, it’s time to throw on some hard wheel set-ups. 100A or harder is best because you’ll be sliding at high speeds, so softer wheels will wear down quickly. You can also use coarse grip tape or sandpaper to rough up the top of your deck where slide gloves will go.
Slide gloves are used to help you grip the deck while sliding, they generally come in padded form so that they don’t rip up your hands during a slide. There are two popular styles of slide gloves: pre-cut and Koston. Pre-cut slide gloves use foam padding that is heat molded onto the glove. This has a lot of flexibility in where the padding can go and can create a more comfortable fit for your hands. The downside is that these gloves wear down quickly, so be prepared to get a new pair every few months if you slide often.
Koston-style slide gloves have foam padding on the thumb and pinky side of the hand and a leather palm that is left bare to wear down and create the perfect slide. These gloves fit tighter than pre-cut gloves but they can be used for longer periods without wearing out, so if you’re looking to get serious about sliding it’s essential to get Koston-style slides.
The other part of your slide glove is the gripping tape. This is like sandpaper and it’s glued onto your glove to give you grip while sliding. You can get this pre-cut or cut it yourself, but try to use at least one layer of the grip tape so that you have something for your gloves to stick to.
There are two different types of slide pucks, flat and cupped. Flat slides are better for beginners because they come to a point at the bottom that stops them from flying out from under your board when it’s on its rail during a slide. Cupped pucks don’t have this stopping point and will fly off the side of your board if you aren’t holding on to them.
The next part of the sliding puck is what makes it so unique. Most are made out of urethane, plastic, or rubber but some are even made out of metal. Urethane slides are good for beginners because they come in lighter weights making them easier to push around. Plastic slides are typically used for grinding because they are extremely light, but they break easily. Rubber slides are somewhere in between urethane and plastic slide pucks on the sliding scale.
Once you’ve got your trucks adjusted, wheels picked out, gloves on and slides mounted it’s time to get sliding! Be sure to practice new slides at moderate speeds (around 20-30 mph) because you could go flying if you don’t know how to control your board in a slide. Most importantly, have fun! If anything is unclear or if there are any terms that you don’t understand make sure to leave me a comment down below. I’ll be updating this guide when needed so check back every once in a while for new info. Thanks for reading and sliding smoothly!