Science of FS Powerslide in skateboarding

Let's powerslide in the rain

So you wake up in the morning, and it's raining outside. I know it sucks but going back to bed is a luxury you can't afford because you have a job or other things to do. And weekends are the only time you can skate.

So why not make the best use of the slippery ground and find something you can do? Powerslides just do the job.


Key is to balance between the friction and gravity

Your board gains friction against the ground as you slide. Plus, your body gains downward acceleration as you lean back. Key to stable and long powerslide is to hit the right balance between these two forces.

Crouch and raise your body to lock in.

You can't move your board effectively while your body weight is pressing down on your board. In order to effectively move your board, you have to lower your body and raise it. That way, you can reduce the pressure on your board, which also reduces the friction between your wheels and the ground.

Redistribute your weight on your front foot to turn your board back.

Your board stays 90 degrees open while you push it with both of your feet equally. Put your weight back on your front foot to turn your board back into its original direction.


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Principle of powerslide

Common principle of powerslide

There are different variations of powerslide.

  • Backside powerslide
  • Frontside powerslide
  • (Not sure what to call this) backside tail powerslide
  • Frontside tail powerslide
  • Nose powerslides, etc.

Whatever variation you go for, the principle is the same; you must hit the right balance between your board getting closer to you and your body getting farther away from your board.

Breakdown of Physics

You have to take into account two factors

  1. The friction between your board and the ground that stops your board's movement.
  2. The energy your body tries to fall toward the ground (which potentially could send your board farther forward).

Those two forces have to balance perfectly.

Why you can't powerslide?

It's because the abovementioned two forces are not balanced effectively.

In other words, too much friction gets your board stick to the ground, and too much downward force may cause you to shoot out your board.

This fundamental principle applies, whether a backside powerslide or frontside nose grab powerslide.

How to lock in to the sliding position

Why you can't swing out your board?

An obvious tricky part is to lock into this position. You might not be able to swing out your board 90 degrees while rolling if you don't do it right.

There's a reason behind this. Simply put, while 100% of your weight is pressing down on your board, you can't move it.

Reduce your weight's pressure by raising your body to swing out your board

In order to effectively swing out your board, you should crouch down and raise your body before moving your board.

This way, you can loosen the pressure of your body weight, which also reduces the friction between the wheels and the ground and makes it easier to move your board.

Also, don't forget to wind up your shoulders to start the horizontal spin.

Shift your weight backward and lock it

At the same time, start shifting your weight backward. Try to figure out how far you should lean back because it varies depending on the condition of the ground.

You might want to consider multiple factors, including the smoothness of the ground, its moisture content, and the hardness of the wheels.

Sliding and getting out

Keep your weigh backward

While sliding, maintain your body's center of gravity behind your board so you can slide longer.

Also, both of your feet must be pushing the board with the same amount of energy to keep your board at the right angle throughout the slide.

How to come out of powerslide

At the end of the slide, loosen the pressure on your back foot. Your front foot and your board still have the energy to go forward.

So without the pressure of your back foot, your board spontaneously turns back into its original direction.

Conservation of rotational energy

One side turns, the other side turns in the other direction

Just for your reference, let me show you how the "Conservation of rotational energy" works in powerslide.

When I swing out my board counterclockwise, my shoulders turn clockwise. Their angles remain the same while I'm sliding.

But when I release the pressure of my back foot, both my shoulders and my backfoot return to their original positions.

That's how my body conserves the total amount of energy. Let's talk more about this some other time.

After Skating in the rain

Give your board some love

I know you are busy, but it doesn't mean you can leave your board after skating in the rain and let it get rust.

Make sure to remove water, dismantle it, oil your bearings, and let it rest in the sun.


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Trouble Shooting

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