Hoverboards are the latest craze, and chances are you would have noticed what is effectively a scooter with no handles drifting down the streets. Although they have wheels so are not technically a hoverboard, it is easy to see how they got their name – at first glance, they really do seem to almost float.
Hoverboards, or self-balancing scooters as they are otherwise known as seem to defy gravity. They almost seem to read the rider’s mind as there are no obvious controls or pedals. There is, of course, a science to how they work, but nobody really cares about that. You want to know how to ride one. You want to be able to effortlessly glide down the street being the epitome of suave and coolness. While riding a hoverboard is not rocket science, there are some tips and tricks that can make the first ride easier and more successful.
Below are some tips and tricks to get you onto that hoverboard and scooting confidently. Please note that different hoverboard brands will have different features, but they all have the same basic functions so these tips should work for all models.
The Definitive Guide to How to Ride a Hoverboard
Getting yourself and the hoverboard ready
- Prepare Yourself – The first step to riding a hoverboard is to make sure that you are appropriately dressed. Because you will be controlling the board with your feet, it is important to wear high quality, flat shoes. Sneakers or skater shoes are perfect. You will also want your shoes to support your ankles while you ride, so using bare feet or just socks is not advised. Wear comfortable clothing so you are able to concentrate on the hoverboard, and not on your clothes or conditions outside.
- Charge your board – Make sure the hoverboard is fully charged. It may seem obvious, but some boards will have a minimal charge when unboxed so you may think it is charged, only to have it die within 5 minutes of riding. Full charging will take a couple of hours depending on the model, and there will be an indicator to let you know when it’s ready.
- Beginner mode – Most hoverboards will have a beginner and advanced (sports) mode. When you are starting, it is highly recommended to ensure the board is in beginner mode as it will be easier to control and have a lower maximum speed. Check your manual to find our how to switch modes. It will either be on the remote or a button on the side of the board.
Riding the hoverboard
- Stepping on – This is the moment of truth. All your preparation has led to this – getting onto the hoverboard. This is where most people fail – they put one foot on the board, panic and instantly spins out of control. The key here is not to overthink it. Place one foot on the board as close to the wheel as is comfortable. Do not step down too hard, and quickly lift your second foot on the other side. Once you are on the hoverboard, stand up straight and do not lean. You will sense how your movements in your feet move the board and you will subconsciously self-adjust.
- The further apart your feet are, the more stability you will have.
- Do not tense up – keep your feet loose. If you are too tense you will cause the hoverboard to wobble.
- Do not stamp onto the board. Gently step up.
- Do not use your hands to get onto the hoverboard. You need to stand straight up, so keep your hands to your side. Act as if you are stepping onto a step.
- Does not matter whether you put your right or left foot on first. Whatever feels comfortable.
- Keep the hoverboard on a flat surface – not on a slope or uneven terrain.
- Keep your legs slightly straight with only a very slight bend. If your knees are too bent, you will lose control.
- Back or Front – One question that gets asked a lot is which side is the front and which is the back? The answer is that there is no front. It can literally go whichever way you like. The lights will be on one side only so it depends on whether you prefer the lights in front of you or behind you. Traditionally the lights to do behind simply to create some additional visibility, but again it is completely up to you.
- Get Moving – Getting onto the hoverboard is only the first step, and once you’re on the real fun can begin. The most important thing you can know when riding a hoverboard is that they are super sensitive, and when it comes to movement, less is more. Basically, you lean in the direction you want to move in. So to move forward – lean forward. And to reverse – lean backwards. You really want to ‘think’ where you want to move, rather than go into an extreme physical lean. As soon as you over-lean you will lose your balance and you will fall flat. If you only ‘think’ that you want to move forward, you will find yourself leaning forward SLIGHTLY, which will make the hoverboard move. It really is something that you need to feel and sense.
Speed and Turns
- Speeding and Slowing – The maximum speed of your hoverboard will depend on the model and whether you have it in beginner’s mode. However, if you want to speed up, simply lean more (but not too much). If you want to slow down, lean less. You will get a feel of how much to lean to get the desired speed. Leaning backwards when going at speed is basically equivalent to pulling a handbrake, and while it will successfully cause the hoverboard to stop suddenly (if that was your intention), there will be a very high chance of you losing your balance. Try to gradually slow down instead.
- Turning – Turning is very simple, and just takes some coordinated and strategic pushing of your feet. Basically, you push down on the opposite foot of the direction you want to turn in. If you want to turn left, you would push down on your right foot. A gentle push will result in a gentler turn. So if you are cruising and want to veer right, as you are leaning forward slightly, push down with your left foot. If you are standing still, then you will turn on the spot.
Using a hoverboard is something that will come surprisingly naturally. The process of moving and turning the hoverboard is more subconscious, and once you get the feel of the board, it will almost come naturally and you will not have to think about what you are doing. It will just happen. Like anything, practice makes perfect, so get onto your board and start having some real fun!