Does skateboarding help with snowboarding?
You have decided to pick up snowboarding and want to improve your riding, you wonder if skateboarding will help with your riding style. Are the basics of skating the same or in any way related to snowboarding?
Let’s find out and see if skateboarding really helps with your progression in snowboarding. This post will also provide you with useful information that you can use if you want to practice your riding.
What came first, skateboarding or snowboarding?
Skateboarding was already a part of popular culture by the time the snowboard was created. When surfing rose to popularity a lot of kids wondered if they could create the same feel on cement roads, so they attached rollerblade wheels on wooden planks to create makeshift skateboards. This probably became the inspiration for snowboards and may have led to its creation.
An Engineer by the name of Sherman Poppen was the first to create a makeshift snowboard. By fastening a pair of skis together he created the first prototype, which his wife dubbed “snurfers” which is a combination of the words “snow” and “surfer”. Soon snurfers gained popularity amongst teenagers and quickly became the new hip trend.
Fast forward, Jake Burton Carpenter and Skateboard Champion Tom Sims worked on their own versions of the snurfer which we now know as snowboards. By then, snowboarding had already become mainstream which will then lead to it becoming an Olympic sport.
Does skateboarding help with snowboarding?
You are probably wondering if skateboarding will give you an edge or if your skills will transfer over to snowboarding when you make the switch. While they do share the same riding stance, snowboarding and skateboarding are two different sports.
Despite their differences, there are still some things you can use from skateboarding that will help you.
So yes, skateboarding can help you improve your riding style. Now, let’s discuss how we can work on your footing and balance.
How to practice snowboarding on a skateboard?
Unlike skateboarding wherein you turn by shifting your weight on one side to turn left or right, snowboarding requires a lot of body movement and coordination which involves your head, shoulders, hips and knees to turn. One thing I have heard snowboarders say is that you can improve your snowboard freestyle skills on a skateboard by taking sessions at the park. A lot of snowboarders use skateboarding to improve their lines since it transitions well into snowboarding, it gives them more confidence when doing freestyle tricks.
Here are some things you can practice on a skateboard
1. Riding switch
As we all know both sports share the same riding stance, you’re either regular (meaning your left foot is on the nose of the board) or goofy (meaning you have got your right foot on the nose of the board). Having said that, you can practice riding switch on a skateboard to help carry this over to snowboarding.
Riding switch means that you can balance and make turns on both regular and goofy footing/stance on a board. Mastering this on a skateboard will help give you confidence on a snowboard.
2. Improving balance:
You can improve your balance by going down short hills and getting to a carving motion. You can try maneuvers such as slides to help incorporate the basics of snowboarding to your skate sessions. This is to get yourself accustomed to certain speeds which will not only help with your balance, but will also help with your reflex and confidence at higher speeds as well.
3. Skateboard tricks
As mentioned previously, a lot of snowboarders used skating as a way to improve on their freestyle skills. Practicing your ollies, grinds, slides and rotations on a skateboard will definitely make an impact on your snowboarding skills. You will have more confidence doing tricks and it will be easier for you to commit to tricks since you already got the body movements down.
How to create the best skateboard setup for practicing?
Snowboarding involves a lot of carving and downhill action, copying this feeling on a skateboard will definitely help your riding skills. So let’s talk about setups and how you can use your existing skateboard to create a board that will help you accomplish this.
I have been riding this setup for quite a while now and I must say that this certainly is the best setup for this purpose. Now, this is only my personal preference but this should be a good base for your carver setup.
Start off by using softer durometer bushings, ones with high rebound will give you a good riding feel. Anything in between 78a-92a for the bushings hardness will give you a good rebound which is essential for carving skateboards. Check out these Independent bushing on Amazon.com.
Once you get the bushings down, you can move on to choosing the correct wheels. Square lipped wheels would be ideal for this setup since you’re going to need a lot of grip on this setup. With this you can lean more on your board which will help you make sharp turns or initiate slides. Check out these OJ Skateboard Wheels on Amazon.com
It’s also worth noting that this setup may be too tight or too loose depending on your weight, so you should follow the bushing’s durometer guide and select the hardness based on your weight and riding preference. Further, if you’re getting wheelbite on your board you can try getting some risers to help give you some clearance. These Bones rises pads on Amazon.com are pretty decent.
When you’re done setting up your carver skateboard, you can now practice doing turns by leaning more on your board and really using your hips and knees more for turning. This will help with your riding posture and will improve your riding stance.
What other sports are similar to snowboarding?
Not to mention, longboarding involves a lot of downhill, carving and slides. It’s a perfect alternative to snowboarding and is worth a try. This Sector 9 longboard on Amazon.com makes a good first board.
I have heard a lot of things about wakeboarding, personally, I have not tried it but some say that it is the closest you can get to snowboarding since your feet are also strapped to the board. This sport, like snowboarding, requires extreme balance.
What about the best of both worlds? Freeboarding was created for the sole purpose of giving snowboarders the option to snowboard off snow. These boards are designed to copy the riding feel of a snowboard, they look sick and look a lot like fun.
Will skateboarding help you improve your snowboarding skills?
Definitely! While there are some differences between the two sports, skateboarding does improve some areas. For starters it will help with your balance, give you confidence with certain running speeds and most especially it will make an impact on your freestyle skills.
Of course, nothing will beat actually practicing on a snowboard. However, some of the recommended alternative sports above may help you make improvements to your riding style and they’re definitely worth checking out.
This article is based on my own personal experience and as well as some of my friends who are in the skateboarding and snowboarding scene. I hope this guide will help you practice and explore available options to aid with your snowboarding progression.