Some thoughts on speed tucking
A while ago, when we had the crazy idea of trying to set a world speed record for mountainboarding, we did some research and experiments on using speed tucks on a mountainboard. I’ve used what we learned a couple of times since then but never really had the chance to test it properly against a rider who would normally be faster than me. Here’s a brief overview of what we learned and how putting it into practice went.
Things that affect speed
Things like tyre pressure, tyre footprint, and lubricated bearings all affect how fast you can go on a mountainboard. And having those things sorted will certainly help you accelerate quicker, but once you get to about 20mph it all comes down to how aerodynamic you are. And that’s where speed tucking comes in.
Longboard Speed Tucks
Longboarders have been using tucks to go faster for a long time. They have three main types of tuck; the American, the European, and the Brazilian.
The Brazilian Tuck is characterised by being low to the board, and sometimes includes the riders arms pointing out in front to cut through the air. The American Tuck has both feet flat on the deck, the rear leg behind the front leg, and the riders back as horizontal as possible. The European Tuck is slightly lower than the American with the rear foot raised up on its toes, the rear knee resting on the front ankle and often with the arms straight out behind.
Brazilian speed tuck
American speed tuck
European speed tuck
Longboarders have lots of discussion about which is the faster tuck, and it often depends on things like the height of the person using the tuck, but one thing is certain, using a tuck makes the rider more aerodynamic and so makes them go faster.
The problem of speed tucking with bindings
Of course, the thing that makes longboarders be able to tuck so effectively is that they can move their feet into whatever position they want to. Mountainboarders aren’t so lucky. We have bindings which reduce the options for positioning out feet, but if you use noSno softs or snowboard bindings you could considering pointing them forward more so you can more easily get into a speed tuck.
Mountainboard speed tuck techniques
So, which speed tuck works best on a mountainboard; American, European, or Brazilian? We found that a mix between the styles worked best on a mountainboard. Whether you can adjust your bindings or not, pointing your feet as forward as possible is a good start. then bend your front knee and put your rear leg directly behind your front leg (you might find it easier to keep your rear leg straight). Twist you body so you are facing forward and lean over the front of your board so your back is as horizontal as you can get it. Your arms can either be against your sides or held down in front of your body to fill the dead space and direct the airflow to the sides. From the front your body should be a T shape.
Does it work in practice?
Which board should go faster, a noSno on twelve inch skyways or a Trampa on 8 inch wheels? Dave McBean was on the noSno. It was the same set-up he used to win the Masters and get the third fastest time at the Whinlatter Downhill Comp. We were riding the Scotland Downhill Comp track at Dunkeld, a track he knows well.
I was on my little Trampa and holding a speed tuck all the way. And I kept up with him. Speed tucking works. If you want to go faster and get better times at Downhill Comps, get good at speed tucks.
Other speed tucking tips
Here are a few other things that might help with the speed tuck and going faster.
- Stretch. Stretching before using a speed tuck will make your legs feel better and mean you can hold the tuck for longer.
- Keep still. Holding your body as still as you can in a speed tuck will help with it’s aerodynamics.
- Practice. Try out the speed tuck on a easy predictable run. Maybe try timing runs standing up and tucking to see what difference it makes.