Many new riders will experience the unpleasant experience of speed wobbles, especially once you start bombing bigger hills. The first time I got them bad I was bombing a hill on a really flexy board (Gravity Hypercarve) with the trucks super loose. Of course I ended up meeting the pavement with my body (elbow mainly) and had to limp back home bleeding. Since then I’ve really worked on some different techniques that will help you avoid the dreaded speed wobble.
What exactly are Speed Wobbles?
Speed wobbles occur when your not comfortable thus tense the muscles in your ankles which causes you to over correct your movements. This in turn causes your body and board to turn from side to side uncontrollably eventually resulting in you getting trampolined off sideways unless you can stop them.
Preventing Speed Wobbles
Firstly you need to be relaxed when your bombing a hill, just take deep breathes and try to stay as loose as you can and if you do get speed wobbles, just ride it out or simply carve it out. Secondly you have to be confident, if you can’t footbreak at any time down the hill your trying to bomb, don’t try it till you can. Also remember that keeping most of your weight over your front truck will help keep your board more stable and make it easier to control through turns.
Remember that the more you ride the more your body is used to the movements and the more comfortable you’ll be. Practicing your tuck will help immensely as you will become more flexible and have no problems remaining stable through turns. Once the board is simply an extension of your feet you’ll have no more issues with the wobbles.
Whenever I session a new hill I start the first few runs under the very top to allow some more room for error. Also I never bomb it straight up right away, I prefer to carve it up and throw speed checks to control speed. Knowing you can slide to a stop at 40mph certainly helps boost your confidence, so learning slides and footbreaking is crucial. Furthermore instead of looking at your feet and worrying about what your ankles are doing, look out at the road ahead of you, I find this one really helps the mental aspect of the speed wobbles.
I find a lot of riders will experience less speed wobble problems once they adjust their trucks properly and have the right bushings for their weight. Too tight or too loose of trucks can be a bad thing when your bombing a fast hill, so you need to find that certain sweet spot. Overall once your comfortable on the board and your abilities you should have no problems preventing and beating speed wobbles.
I leave you with a video of someone experiencing a nasty case of the speed wobbles!