How to ride an electric skateboard (AND not all flat)?

I’ve skated for over 7 years but this did not prepare me for trying out an electric skateboard for the first time. It was a whole new experience. The way the longboard took off, to the way it cruised and carved differently, these all surprised me. Even though I fell on my butt … twice, it was refreshing to have to learn a new way to ride a board.

In today’s article, I take you through some tips and advice on riding an electric skateboard (“esk8”). Put them to practice and you’ll be just as good as the pros!

Know your position on the board!

The first tip is how you should position yourself. I personally like to have my front foot behind the 2nd row of bolts of the front truck. However, if the skateboard is small (around 30in) I like to have my foot over the 2nd row of bolts. Most wallet friendly electric longboards are this size, so if you’re interested in one, pay attention to the following tips!

For my back foot, it doesn’t really matter where it is, as long as it is in front or on the 1st row of bolts of the back truck. Never behind! If it is behind, it could cause the board to tip backward or it can cause wobbles.

If the board has a kicktail, a lot of people tend to put their back foot on it. I don’t recommend this. It makes the back trucks turn and respond too much, which could once again lead to wobbles.  

For a beginner, I recommend you put your back foot as far away from the back bolts as you are comfortable. This will focus all the turning of the board on the front truck, making it more stable as it picks up speed. These tips are the electric longboard basics.

If you watch the video below of this guy getting wobbles, you’ll see how he is standing too far from the front truck and kinda leaning back when the wobbles start. He is trying to stop the wobbles but leaning back makes it worse. If he was further forward I’m sure he’d be ok. Painful lesson!

It’s all about how you place your weight

A lot of people tend to lean backward when they first step on a board. On an esk8, this means when you pull the trigger the board will fly out from under you, and as mentioned earlier, this could lead to wobbles at higher speeds.

The idea with electric skateboards is for you to lean forward and put most of your weight on your front foot. So as the board accelerates forward, it goes forth with you.

Also, to build on the idea of positioning. Placing your weight on your front foot will encourage most of the turn to come from the front truck. You can also focus on turning the front truck with your front foot, this will naturally make you place more weight on the front so you can turn the trucks.

Finally, this guy with his esk8 also talks about his experience with wobbles and how he learned to overcome them (If he read my guide he wouldn’t have gone through all that struggle hehe).

Learn how to turn the beginner way first!

Cruising and carving on an electric longboard will be a bit different. The length, width, and weight reduces their maneuverability but also makes them stable.

I advise you at first to position your feet across the board, touching each edge. This gives you maximum leverage for the best possible turning. As you get experienced, you can decide what position you like best for your feet.

Now, due to the driving force of the motor, the board will act differently when you are pressing the trigger. I advise you to carve lightly to get used to how it will move with the motor.

This is something that could catch even the most experienced skater off guard.  You can read about the electric skateboard working principles if you want to learn more about the motors.

Don’t be a daredevil! (At first)

Most electric skateboards will come with options for slow and fast speeds. Be humble, start slow and slowly build up the speed until you are uncomfortable. Note your limits and then skate within them and then when you feel confident next slightly push them. This is the way your skating will get better.

That said, if you simply want to jump on board and go as fast as possible, tightening the back trucks as much as you can will make the board super stable. You won’t be able to get the full swing of the truck but you’ll be able to go fast comfortably.

Practice makes perfect!

If you are a beginner, a lot of this will be challenging for you. My advice is not to worry, practice the basics and time will take care of the rest. Naturally, your ankles will get stronger and your balance will get better.

This is also why I don’t recommend tightening your trucks so much, yeah you’ll be able to skate easier if they are tight, but you won’t get better. However not tightening means that you’ll have to skate slowly as you work your way up the ladder.

My last tip

So the easiest solution is to simply tighten your trucks and skate in a straight line. If that’s what you want, fair enough, I highly recommend you go for it. However, if you want to make the most out of your longboard, skate slow, learn to cruise and carve, and slowly build up your skills.

For sure along the way, there will be mistakes, some painful falls and funny crashes (hopefully nothing serious). Don’t take it too seriously, it’s all a part of the game and a part of the learning curve.