|Fundamentally we have found out:
An increase in injuries is directly related with the use of inferior equipment. Our group has often been confronted with people becomming quickly disinterested in streetsurfing because of the use of faulty or improvised gear. The most important aspect for increasing the fun factor is the use of a good skateboard! Especially the wheels are of importance!
When performing radical moves, spin-outs can occur.To reduce the occurrence of spin-outs during strong winds, it is advisable to place broader wheels on the back trucks (5-8cm in width). To avoid blocking of the front wheels (eg. stones) it is advisable to place narrower wheels (1.5cm in width) on the front trucks. This will reduce the frictional forces acting on the board. The wheels should be softer, so as to improve the grip on the road. Unfortunately the wear of the soft wheels is higher. It should be noted that the larger the diameter of the wheels, the better the absorbtion is of any bumps on the road surface. A wheel diameter of 80mm will make your ride much smoother.
Do not forget to look after your ball bearings. The care of them will make the skateboard go faster and when riding through puddles, rusting will not be promoted. I always check the wind and the surface of the road before a streetsurfing session. After this I then determine which set of wheels I should place on the board.
Very important: The trucks must be attached right at the farthest ends of the board. If this is not done you will be confronted with "wheelies" or "nose dives". Who however like to do "nose dives" or "nose slides" should place the front truck about 15cm behind the front end of the board.
The trucks should not be wider than the deck. The deck should always cover the wheels, so that the wheels do not get in the way when doing manouvres or when jumping/falling off the board. Especially in strong winds this freedom of positioning your legs is a big security factor.
The deck should be bent at both ends just like a standard skateboard deck. This will help your feet feel where the end of the skateboard is, without having to look (reduces the risk of stacks and crashes). A slight concave in the deck will also reduce the risk of sliding over the edge of the deck. You should also use some kind of grip tape so as to improve your grip on the deck. Screw ends and nail heads will also promote your grip on the board. If you are considering doing moves like a pirouet-jibe, then you should use a board of at least 1 metre in length.
Trapeze/Footstraps F O R B I D D E N !!
You do not need to use a trapez for windskating. This is because you already start rolling in very light winds. Also, imagine how the chicks will appreciate your boader shoulders! You also do not need to use footstraps because of the absence of waves on the road. Imagine being stuck in your straps just before you are about to crash. No escape possible!! (although probably funny to watch)
Use a padded back pack or padded shorts to reduce back injuries.
Please check the road surface conditions before going for a ride. Keep in mind where the bumps are, as well as sandy/wet areas and any stones/pebbles that may get in your way. Stones have the ability to block your front wheels, whilst sandy areas can cause radical spin-outs.
Please also concider any people that are walking around as a source of uncalculatable risk.
Obstacles such as cars, fences, trees or any larger objects which cause wind turbulence should also be concidered. I once was cought in a wind turbulence(caused by a parked truck) whilst speed skating. It was not an enjoyable experience. It is important that you are prepared for the wind to change the sail side when you are tacking strongly into the wind. This practice will enable you to improve your sail handling skills for use on water.
Generally not recommended, but if you do need the adrenalin rush, then you should only attempt it when there is a constant wind blowing (the effect of wind turbulances are even more noticeable at high speeds). You should also be familiar with the area where you are riding and have enough space to roll out your speed. Please remember that you (in most cases) do not have any break mechanisms, but a low coefficient of friction. And hell dammed you get a strong gust of wind next to the end of your speed area ... On some occasions I have had to jump off the board at high speeds, due to fast approaching fences, or whilst taking a wrong turn to join the normal road traffic! If I really do intend to go speed skating in favourable conditions, I get out my inline-hockey gear for complete protection. The road is not that hard any more!
This is the holy grail of streetsurfing. You should attempt the more difficult moves only in light winds (especially if you are a beginner). Please take care with manouvres where your back is facing the forward direction eg. backwind-jibe, monkey duck jibe .. When you attempt your first pirouette on the streetsurfer then you will probably feel the effect of the pebbles on the street.
The best way to break is to open your sail (letting up your boom hand) and ride some snake lines. Please let me know if you have invented a secure breaking system for use on a wind skater. There is only one thing left to do if you can not stop/break any more. Jump off and run/walk out your speed. It is possible to run out lower speed with the boom in your hands. This will help prevent damaging your gear.
Safe windskating/streetsurfing is possible by sticking to the above mentioned tips. I have spent over 120 hours streetsurfing last year. The wind even reached 4-5 beaufourt on some occasions. I only had 2 stacks during those 120 hours, which resulted in a bruised wrist and a slightly bruised hip.
Further information: Which sail size for which wind strength, press here.