Skateboard Powerslide Instructions

Skateboarding Achival Imagery
Gabe LHeureux / Getty Images

Powerslides are the coolest and fastest way to stop on skateboards. A powerslide is executed when you are skating along, sometimes pretty fast, and spin your board to the side and skid to a stop. It's very similar to how you stop on a snowboard, except that if you mess up, you eat concrete or pavement instead of snow! Most people have a hard time learning to powerslide, but it's extremely valuable. Imagine being able to stop immediately—you can use the powerslide to keep yourself from getting into traffic, to prevent running into someone and to stop with style.

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Powerslide Setup

Powerslide on skateboard
Powerslide. (Jamie O'Clock)

Before learning to powerslide, you need to:

The powerslide is a tough move to learn, and until you get it right, learning can be pretty painful! If you are a new skater, we recommend first learning to footbreak to stop, then learn to powerslide a little later when you feel more confident. But once you're ready, powerslides are easily the fastest and coolest way to stop. You can use powerslides on regular skateboards, longboards, when flying down hills, and in skateparks on transition.

Read all the instructions before you go out and try it—make sure that you have a strong, clear mental picture of what it should look like. The better you can visualize it before you try it, the better your powersliding will be!

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Speed and Foot Placement

skateboarder on ramp
Executive Director and Founder of Globe International Limited, Stephen Hill skateboarding on an indoor skate ramp, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. (Globe International Limited/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Powerslides are one of those things that are easy to explain, but hard to do correctly! First, you should be skating along at a pretty comfortable speed. You can't be going too slow—go as fast as you can while you still feel like you have control. For practice, try to find a place that's very flat and smooth. Concrete is usually best.

Once you have a good speed going, position your feet so that you have one over each truck.

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The Turn

(M M/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Now, shift most of your weight to your front foot. Slide your back wheels around 90 degrees, making your board horizontal underneath you. The easiest way to explain the action of the slide is to straighten out your back leg while sliding it out to the side.

It's important to understand that you need to drag, or slide, those back wheels around. They need to be touching the ground. Don't just do a kickturn or it won't work; you'll end up either flying off to the side or just wiping out.

Once your board is sideways, lean back a bit. Push out with your feet, sliding the board along the ground.

As your speed is spent in the slide, you will stop and should end up just standing on your stopped board! The first several times you try to powerslide, you might need to do some kickturns to keep your balance, but the goal is to get to the point that you won't need to at all.

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Considerations and Tweaks

skateboarder sliding down a rail
(Jurij Turnsek/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Don't feel bad if you don't get the hang of powersliding right away. Take your time and keep practicing. But practicing and failing can hurt! We recommend wearing pads—you might look like a dork, but crutches look more lame and will keep you off your skateboard!

Once you have your powerslide dialed in, there are a few things you can do with it besides just stopping:

  • Slow down - You don't have to stop completely with the powerslide—you can use it to slow down and then straighten out your board and keep going. However, you need to have very good balance and board awareness for this!
  • Bert slide - The bert slide is something like a powered-up powerslide—you crouch down and slide the board out, full of style.
  • Frontside/backside powerslide - These instructions don't specify which direction you are turning when you powerslide—that's on purpose. We recommend backside powerslides to start (where you are facing the direction you are going), but learning both is a good idea. If you imagined doing a frontside powerslide, then go for it!
  • 180 powerslides - These are strangely hard, but pretty sweet looking and fun to do. Execute it just like the regular powerslide, except that instead of stopping as the board spins to 90 degrees, keep that spin going all the way around 180 degrees. You'll need to give the tail of the board a push to keep it going.