In our Beginner Longboarding Tips, we briefly discussed the importance of learning how to fall. Let’s face it, falling is a part of longboarding. The beginner is going to have his or her share of falls.
How can you minimize the damage of falls? First, get the right safety equipment. A helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards will help absorb a lot of the impact from your falls. They will not, however, protect you in every circumstance. That is why learning how to fall is important.
The first time I ever set foot on a longboard, I took a nasty fall. I was headed down a hill and tried carving. My friend’s longboard was not set up properly, and because of wheelbite, I was launched off the board and onto the pavement. From all my snowboard experience, I knew not to fall on my hands, so I took the blow with my elbows instead. This resulted in a pretty nasty scrape and bruised elbow that took a while to heal, but I am confident that knowing not to fall on my hands saved me from breaking my wrists. This was not a textbook fall, because even landing on my elbows was not a good idea.
When we fall on a longboard, our tendency is to try to catch ourselves with our hands. This is just human nature. That is why broken wrists are common. I used to work at a ski resort, and we would see people with broken wrists every day. That is because of this inborn tendency to catch our falls with our hands.
So, how should you fall? Fall with your hands and elbows tucked in toward your body. Try to absorb the impact by falling on your back and shoulders. Of course, this is easier said than done.
A good way to learn how to fall is to practice, not on the pavement, but in your yard. Get on your longboard and simulate a fall, absorbing the blow with your body instead of your hands and arms. Even after you get some practice in, I would still recommend wearing wrist guards until you get falling down to a science.
However you decide to longboard, always remember to put safety first. Practice falling and wear the proper safety gear and hopefully you won’t have any broken bones!