As most skateboarding riders will know, when you hit a certain speed and the board below you seems to have decided to do something unexpected, which will definitely throw you off the board. This is what we called speed wobble (sometimes called death wobble). Speed wobbles can be caused by a number of different reasons. Loose trucks, weight displacement, and foot displacement can be possible sources of speed wobbles.
Speed wobbles are unpredictable and dangerous as they often occur at higher speeds. To pursue a enjoyable skateboarding experience, it’s necessary to master some basic knowledge. What causes those speed wobbles and how to handle them? Is there any "rule of thumb" or tips on what you should keep in mind while doing that? Find the answer in this article.
What causes speed wobbles?
Loose trucks. All types of boards are prone to speed wobbles at high speed, especially for skateboard starters. One of the common reasons is loose trucks. Loose trucks offer too much turning ability that newbie cannot control, making the board too responsive. It’s hard for beginners to make response and maneuver the board promptly. They often end up jumping off the board or even falling on face. In worse situation, it can cause severe injuries. When the front truck is tighter than the back truck, it means that the back truck will turn more than the front truck, which will often lead to violent fishtailing and fling you off the board.
Weight displacement. Over 90% of the speed wobbles come from wrong weight displacement. Many people lean their foot too far back on the board, which is a common mistake that beginners encounter when learning ho to ride. If you are riding at a high speed, it’s natural for your body to lean back. But too much weight on the back truck will compress the bushings in the back truck more than the front truck. The more weight that is being exerted on a truck the more it will turn. The same thing as having a looser back truck than front.
Foot positioning. Another reason that causes speed wobbles might be foot positioning. A lot of beginners place their front foot in the center of the board while placing the rear foot over the back truck. It’s definitely a wrong action. This foot stance undoubtedly put more weight on the back truck, resulting in more turning ability of the back truck than the front. The same thing as the two root cause mentioned above, which is not good for maintaining the center of balance. Your standing posture is also part of it. Speed wobbles are often caused if your legs, ankles, and feet are too tense.
How to overcome speed wobbles?
Tightening your trucks helps ease speed wobbles. Keep the back truck tighter than the front truck. This allows good turning radius and stability at high speeds. But also keep front truck a half turn looser for more control on steering. Meanwhile, don't over tighten your trucks. That will make it more dangerous because then when you need to turn it'll be too hard to maneuver. Just make sure you can still freely turn. Try adjusting a quarter turn at a time. If you just start skateboarding, you’ll need time to find a sweet spot when tightening the trucks reduces the wobbles yet still offers a fair amount of carving.
Riding technique helps a lot in preventing speed wobbles. Lean forward to put the majority of your weight over the front truck when going faster. More weight in the rear will create and exacerbate wobbles. For this reason, brace your front leg when accelerating. Don't try to lean back or you'll risk losing control, especially at higher speeds. It’s natural that with the constant acceleration on an e-board, your weight will be constantly pushed to your back leg. You need to shift if forward by continuous practice. Moving your weight forward enables you to get maximum stability and control over the trucks.
It’s easy to bend knees and stay low on the electric skateboard in normal cases. But when you experience speed wobbles, your instinct reaction may be to stand up and start moving your hands, which will worsen the speed wobbles. This is a common beginner issue. You have to train yourself to keep knees bent and stay low whatever happens. This will allow you to maintain your center of balance. It’s a hard thing to get over it if you've gotten used to standing straight up. What you can do is to strengthen your legs by riding a lot and getting a good feel for it.
Adjust foot stance
How you stand on the board also plays a part while you are combating speed wobbles. Putting your front foot in the center of the board while putting the rear foot over the back of the board is a wrong act. You need to adjust your stance to put more weight on the front by putting the front foot in the front of the board. Put your foot slightly close to the two edges of the board. This enables you to control both edges of the board for more stability / control rather than just a straight linear stance. But not all boards are the same. Adjust as needed.
Keep calm and relax
It’s very difficult to keep calm and relax while you are hitting higher speeds, especially for a amateur to skateboarding. If you keep worrying about getting speed wobbles at high speed or being thrown away from the board, your body will be in a stiff condition. Your worries will tense the legs up, making you unable to make prompt reactions while encountering speed wobbles. Therefore, you need to relax as much as possible and try to be dynamic rather than static in your mindset. Overcame your fear of going fast on the board. Try to vibe with your board and follow it's rhythm. Just imagine that you are part of the electric skateboard.
Experience is the only source of knowledge! The only way to really address wobbles is to practice. You need to slowly build up your skills and strengthen your muscles. You can never expect to learn it in one hour. Your body needs time to adjust. So go out and practice, it takes time to feel more comfortable at higher speeds. You may start riding a lot at lower speeds regularly to build up the muscle in your legs and knees, and improve your balance. Keep practicing to push your limit. Or you could start with non-motorized skateboard to learn how to control the board and handle speed wobbles. Once you grasp those skills, move to your electric skateboard. You shall be getting yourself ready before the occurrence of speed wobbles.
Electric skateboard offers a lot of fun, but also meanwhile brings some challenges. Speed wobble is one of those challenges. If not handled properly, it may result in severe injuries. But speed wobbles can be reduced or even eliminated as long as you follow the important skills mentioned above. always keep in mind that skate within your limits and make sure that you at least wear a helmet to protect yourself. Constant practice will help build your muscles and confidence at the same time. What’s your idea to handle speed wobbles on electric skateboard? Any thoughts and tips are welcome in the comments.