Some thoughts on competition strategy

I’ve seen quite a few mountainboard competitions over the years, seen things riders do that gives them a competitive edge and seen the mistakes they’ve made. Maybe a bit of thinking about how to approach riding in a comp, and what to focus on to improve your riding might help.


  1. Get out the gate first and fast. Watch the other good riders and learn from how they pull out. Being in front of other riders not only gives you the obvious racing advanatge but it has a psychological advantage too.
  2. Get good at pumping. BoarderX races are won or lost over rollers so learn how to pump as smoothly and efficiently as you can.
  3. Get round berms fast. Berms usually slow riders down, especially when there are other riders also trying to get round it. The outside line is usually the smoothest and fastest, but sometimes the shorter but slower inside line can get you in front. Learn to judge which line is going to be the fastest and look for gaps in between the other riders.
  4. Practice every line. Most riders just ride their preferred line when they’re on their own. Practice coming out of each gate in turn and follow that line down the track, just as if you had other riders in your way.
  5. Ride close. Practice the track by riding really close to your mates, not trying to beat each other, just trying to stay as close as possible the whole way down the track so you get used to having other riders right next to you.


  1. Go big. Big and stylish beats small and technical, so get good at jumping and then add the tricks.
  2. You won’t impress the judges by keep trying the same trick again and again. If you don’t get it, move on to another trick.
  3. If you know the jumps get yourself a set of tricks that work well on that set up. What works well over two big jumps won’t work on a slopestyle with four smaller jumps and a quarter, so tailor your set to the jumps.
  4. Variety is good. Don’t just learn to 360 one way, learn all four, and then learn them with grabs. And if you don’t have that many tricks change the order that you do them.
  5. Find your trick. There are loads of tricks that never get used in competition. Pick one of those and get good at it. It’ll make the judges notice you.


  1. Walk the track. Look at from a riding perspective and plan you lines.
  2. Get a safe run first. And then go a little bit faster to get your time down a bit. Doing that is better than trying to go as fast as possible every run as you don’t give yourself the chance to learn the track.
  3. Tuck. Learning to speed tuck properly (or at least as properly as you can on a mountainboard) will make a huge difference to your time.
  4. Sliding out kills your time. Avoid it at all costs. So if there’s a part of the track that gets you every time slow down before you get there rather than keep trying to get through it at the same speed.
  5. Learn to tic-tac. If you do slide out you need to get back on your wheels and up to speed as quickly as possible. With no rollers to pump like a BX course, tic-tacing is the best way to gain speed from a standing start.

Competition riding is all about smoothness, which comes from time spent on a board. Practice makes perfect. Unless you practice the wrong thing, in which case you become perfectly wrong. Practice the right thing.

Ding Ding! Round 2: at The Edge

Mountainboarding at The Edge

We’re going all listicle for what happened at Round two of the ATBA-UK International Series at The Edge in Shropshire on the 18 & 19th June 2011.

Top Five Reasons To Have Been At The Edge

  1. It’s a Centre that doesn’t get enough love from the mountainboarders.
  2. It was World Mountainboarding Day.
  3. Fly-bys.
  4. Breakfast in a box.
  5. Renny Myles was there.

Top Six Genius Ideas of The Weekend

  1. Old-skool MBS decks
  2. Toed-in and out wheels.
  3. Hybrid boards.
  4. Dressing like Matt Brind.
  5. Having more battery for your Go-Pro.
  6. Outside Lines.

Top Seven BoarderX Best Bits

  1. Ryan Bunting tooling up to stab the other riders on the way down the track.
  2. Richard Fisher’s smooth whip-round the pile up in the first berm.
  3. Simon Neck jumping over James Wanklyn.
  4. Max Rye showing true Pro BX skills.
  5. Jonny Wheeler coming 2nd in his first comp.
  6. Rachel La Roche coming first after thinking of dropping out.
  7. Raph finally on the BX podium after eleven years.

Top Eight Injuries Of The Weekend

  1. Ian Williams breaking his arm (ouch, seriously. Get well soon).
  2. Rory faceplanting off a rail.
  3. Dunstan ending up on the bottom of a four-man first berm pile-up.
  4. Max Rye with his magic dislocating/reloacting kneecap.
  5. Phil De havilland-hall knackering his achilles tendon.
  6. Mark Adams with the ‘now I look ‘ard’ swollen lip.
  7. Andy Milenkovic’s back looking like he won’t be laying down for a week.
  8. Andy Brind getting concussed every time he steps on a mountainboard.

Top Nine Freestyle Factors

  1. Piers ‘Stromtrooper’ Sutton going big.
  2. Lisa getting the backflip and only just over-rotating a rodeo.
  3. Tyrone pulling boned-to-the-max nose grabs
  4. Chris Horsley’s too smooth bs cork five, backflip and frontflip.
  5. Tom ‘the man with no pain threshold’ Sharp nailing a rodeo.
  6. Sam ‘he’s got springs in his legs’ Nicholas boing-ing back-to-back backflips.
  7. A beautiful laid-out backflip from Leo (we should have seen more).
  8. Angry Andy nailing an awesome backside cork seven.
  9. Simon Neck attempting a barrel roll.

Top Ten Highlights Of The Weekend

  1. Riding The Wrekin Friday night with Goofy & Mutley in total darkness, rain and thick fog (ok, that was just my highlight).
  2. Spending World Mountainboard Day with a truly awesome bunch of people.
  3. Dancing on top of vans.
  4. The sun shining just when we needed it.
  5. The coincidental arrival of an ice cream van.
  6. Noggin’s Heli-cam.
  7. Meeting the most awesome medic in the world.
  8. Ben Searles’ life flashing before his eyes as Joe Leonard drifts wide on a five.
  9. Ending the freestyle jam with a Pro train.
  10. And finally… Getting the Results up Sunday night!

For media including ace vids & more great photos follow the links 🙂
Ben Rye’s video
Ben Searle’s video
Simon Neck’s video
Emlyn Bainbridge’s video
Noggin’s Heli-cam video
Mountainboarding’s Facebook media page photo gallery
Theo Acworth’s full Facebook photo gallery

Thanks to all at The Edge, ATBA-UK, the sponsors, and everyone at the event.
Photos copyright Andy Rolfe

Originally published on