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On 02 March 2014 at 10:03 | updated on 21 March 2014 at 18:27

Which braking technique for downhill skating?

Which braking technique for downhill skating?

Stopping is always problematic for skating beginners. The problem is even greater in downhill because of the high speeds you can reach… a problem all the more important as there are not always emergency stopping lanes down the road! Here are the main braking techniques that may be useful in downslopes…

By 

Every situation has its braking type

 

Rubber Braking

Stopping with your rubber brake is one of the first braking techniques that you learn. It has the advantage of not requiring a lot of space, it works whether you are on a wide road or on a narrow sidewalk. It proves to be very efficient on dry ground. On the other hand, it is less efficient on wet ground.

You don't need to have a high technical level to master it, which makes it one of the safest braking techniques. However it is not compatible with bends. It is not suitable for an emergency braking in a bend.

In a steep downslope, rubber braking will enable you to check your speed, even stop after long efforts.

When to use it?

In soft downslopes in order to regulate your speed or stop… but make sure you have a good safety distance.

Wearing of the wheels?

No wearing of the wheels, the wearing is on the rubber brake.

Learning how to rubber brake

Fish Braking

 

Definition

Doing fish is more about limiting the speed in taking advantage of the width of the road. That braking technique requires a wide road in order to be efficient. The wider the road, the longer the fish, and the better can you check your speed.

Used in the extreme, that technique enables beginners to go down a slope in a very progressive way, going a bit up after every turn.

When to use it?

In wide downhill roads with slow to medium speed. That technique doesn't enable you to stop unless you go up the slope.

Wearing of the wheels?

Low wearing of the wheels.

T Stop Braking

 

Definition

It's the most common braking technique amongst skaters. It may be more efficient than rubber braking, but with a proportional wearing of your wheels. Just like the rubber technique, it doesn't need much space and can be used in any situation.

As long as you have a good balance on your leading foot, this is not a very high technical braking. The risk of falling is low. On wet ground, braking will take longer. It may be used in bends as long as you can handle the balance on your leading foot while edging.

In a steep downslope, that technique will enable you to limit your speed but not to stop, unless you lean on your stopping foot, which will wear your wheels out. On wet ground, as soon as the slope gets too steep, the technique becomes inefficient, even impossible.

When to use it?

You can T brake on soft or medium downslopes in order to check your speed or slow down. That braking technique will not enable you to stop easily.

Wearing of the wheels?

That braking technique is a real wheel-eater and tends to bevel their edges.

Learning how to T brake

Powerslide Braking

Definition

Hockey skaters powerslide a lot because it enables to skate easily to the opposite direction. That technique should be banned for downhill as it makes you turn your back on the slope. It is no more efficient than a soul slide.

When to use it?

You can use it at slow speed in order to stop.

Wearing of the wheels?

The wearing of the wheels will be more or less important according to the intensity of the braking. Powersliding bevels the edges of your wheels, sharpening their profile.

Learning how to powerslide

Snow Plow Braking

 

Definition

Plow stopping is pretty efficient both on dry and wet grounds with not a high risk of falling. On long downslopes, that technique proves to be physical and will be hard to hold for your thighs. Keep it for even grounds. Indeed, if the grip is not the same for both skates, beware of the fall!

You will need the same width as the maximum spacing of your skates, which is a limiting factor as for sidewalks and narrow spaces.

You can plow stop on your outside edges (not recommended) or on your inside edges, more common.

When to use it?

You can plow stop at slow and high speed, in order to slow down. That braking technique will not enable you to stop unless you get very physical on your thighs.

Wearing of the wheels?

It is a good compromise as for wheel wearing as they 'slide' on the road, instead of scraping like during a T stop.

Soul Slide Braking

 

Definition

Soul sliding is a variation of plow stopping, and is efficient both on wet and dry grounds, with a low risk of fall due to your leading foot.

You will need half of the width needed for a plow stop, which enables you to use that technique in most situations.

The soul slide is the first braking technique of our list that actually enables you to stop in downslopes. From the moment you master that technique, almost all downslopes are accessible.

When to use it?

You can soul slide at slow and high speed, in order to slow down and stop.

Wearing of the wheels?

The wearing may be important according to the intensity of the braking. Soul sliding bevels the edges of your wheels, sharpening their profile.

Variation (double soul slide): Sliding Snow Plow Braking

 

Definition

That variation is a more efficient version of the soul slide, as both feet brake at the same time. A good balance is required in order to master that technique, as you need to be able to measure out the braking on each skate independently.

Keep it for even grounds. Indeed, if the grip is not the same for both skates, beware of the fall!

Séverine Christ-Thomas, a multiple world champion of downhill skating, uses that braking technique in a very efficient way and finishes in front of a lot of skaters who brake with the parallel slide technique.

Magic Slide Braking

 

Definition

The magic slide is very efficient on dry and wet grounds, with only medium risks of falling thanks to the leaning back foot.

You will need half of the width needed for a plow stop, which enables you to use that technique in most situations. Most of your bodyweight (and consequently the wearing of the wheels) is on your back foot.

That technique is very useful on wet grounds because of its stability (both skates on their inside edges). On dry ground, that technique is very efficient, but may be hard to do depending on people. Moreover it's an 'all-or-nothing' type of technique as it is hard to measure it out to slightly slow down.

When to use it?

You can do the magic slide at slow and high speed, in order to stop or strongly slow down.

Wearing of the wheels?

A lot. You may do flat spots on your wheels if your skates tilt too close to a 90° angle with the ground. Edge beveling is potentially more important than with parallel slides because of the bigger angle used for the Magic slide. Your wheels will get a sharper profile.

Learning how to magic slide

Parallel Slide Braking

 

Definition

The parallel slide is probably the most efficient braking technique but it's also the hardest to master. Indeed there is a high risk of fall as you need to master your side balance throughout the whole sliding.

In order to do that slide, the space needed depends on the width of the take-off turn you take (varies according to people and according to the road).

On wet ground, that technique is extremely efficient but may be hard to do depending on people. On wet ground, that technique is most of the time close to a tightrope walker challenge. It also enables you to regulate your speed during bends, the launching of the parallel slide comes naturally in tilting your skates a bit more in order to slide and lose a bit of speed.

When to use it?

At slow and high speed, in order to stop or strongly slow down.

Wearing of the wheels?

A lot. You may do flat spots on your wheels if your skate are too close to a 90° angle with the ground. The angle of tilt will bevel the edges of your wheels, sharpening their profile.

Learning how to parallel slide

Which braking technique according to the weather and the situation?

Braking technique / Weather conditionsWetDrySafetyNeeded
space
Possibility of use
in bends
Wheels
Life-span
 



  
Rubber braking
++ + ++ + +- - -+ + +
Fish Braking- - -- -+- - - + +
T Stop Braking- -+/-+ ++ + ++/--
Powerslide Braking+/-+- -+/-- - --
Sliding Plow Stop Braking- - --+-- -+
Soul Slide Braking++++/---
Sliding Snow Plow Stop Braking++ +--- -- -
Magic Slide Braking+ + ++ + +- -+/-+/-- - -
Parallel Slide Braking+ + ++ + +- - -+ ++ + +- - -

Summary

Links

"Magic" slide and "UFO"

Shuffle or cess-slide

Off piste braking

Going down a hill carefully on your skates

Trajectoire : les virages en descente

"T-Way" braking system

Learning section of OLS

Estrem Dounill

Text, photos and videos by Xi, Rollo, Alfathor
Translation: Chloe Seyres
Mise en ligne  on 02 March 2014 - Read 27646 times


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