With set-up, stance and starting sorted, we’d better learn to steer a mountainboard.
Steering is the only means of control you have on a mountainboard, so it´s important to get it right. Not only does knowing how to steer properly mean you can go where you want to, it´s also a way of controlling your speed. Some people, having already seen how a mountain board turns, think they know how to steer so it is important that you know how not to steer to dispel any misunderstanding before learning the correct method of steering.
How not to steer
Firstly, a mountainboard is not steered by the rider leaning out over their toe-side or heel-side, like a snowboard. Your shoulders should stay positioned over your feet to maintain your centre of gravity, and if you try to steer by leaning your centre of gravity will not be going down through the board and so you might fall off. Secondly, mountainboards can´t be steered using your ankles as the muscles in the ankles aren´t strong enough to give you the kind of accurate control that you´ll need, and that if you try to steer with your ankles it might cause the board to wobble.
So, now the correct method for steering. You should steer wth your hips. It is important that you keep your shoulders parallel with the board as this provides the greatest control with your hips. If you turn your upper body to face the direction of travel when riding you will have less control when attempting to use your hips to turn. Using your hips gives you a great degree of control as you can push your hips out a little bit for a wide turn or push your hips out more for a sharper turn, all without losing your centre of gravity.
For a toe-side turn you should keep your shoulders over your feet and push your hips out over your toes. This will adjust the distribution of your body weight and push your toes down and so turn the board in the direction your toes are facing. Your body movement for a toe-side turn is similar to dropping down on to your knees.
For a heel-side turn you should keep your shoulders over your feet and your knees bent, and push your hips out over your heels. This will adjust the distribution of your body weight and push your heels down, and so turn the board in the direction your heels are facing. The further you push your hips out the more you will have to bend your knees. Your body movement for a heel-side turn is like sitting on a bench.
Once you have toe-side and heel-side turns you can link them together to carve down the slope in a controlled manner. Your speed is determined by the angle of the board on the hill. If you point it straight down you´ll accelerate quickly. If you point it across the slope you will roll at a slower pace. In this way, you can control your speed by choosing the angle of your board on the hill when linking turns or carving.