Today we cover the basics of how to ride a hoverboard. We also touch on safety and some common mistakes.
Hoverboards are a fun alternative to skateboards, longboards, and roller blades, but riding them doesn’t necessarily come naturally to everybody. This beginner's guide walks you through safety essentials and how to ride a hoverboard in a few simple steps.
The first thing you should know is that safety gear is necessary for hoverboard riding - especially if you're new. You will need:
You can even buy a tailbone protector, which is basically a pair of padded shorts.
If your hoverboard does not have lights of some kind (most do), you should also get shoe lights. Lights are necessary for riding in low light, so you can see and so other people and vehicles can see you.
As we said, riding a hoverboard doesn’t come naturally to most people. Even if you’ve ridden skateboards before, a hoverboard is a bit different. You will most likely fall at some point during this process, so be sure you’re wearing safety gear and are in an open, clear space. Here’s how to use a hoverboard step-by-step:
Once you’re ready to go on your first ride and actually move, be sure your hoverboard is fully charged. Relax as much as you can and start slow.
Here are some hoverboard riding tips:
The further you push your toes, the sharper your movements and turns will be, so be cautious the first time you try it.
There is no real “trick” to how to control a hoverboard when you’re going up hills except to be cautious. Hoverboard specs will usually tell you what slope degree it can handle, but it’s not like you’ll be able to eyeball if the hill in front of you is too steep or not. When you’re just getting started, start with very slight inclines at very slow speeds to get the hang of it.
Hoverboards can reach speeds of 10 mph or more, but how do you get them to go that fast? When you go forward on a hoverboard by leaning forward slightly, it will keep accelerating as long as you keep leaning forward. If you have a mode on that limits the speed, it will only go as fast as those limits allow. If you don’t have a speed limit on, the board will keep going until it reaches its max speed. Many hoverboards will beep to let you know you’re getting up there.
If you hear that warning beep, it’s time to slow down. If you don’t, the hoverboard motors can actually shut off, and you’ll fly off the board. How do you stop? Stop leaning forward. Straighten back up, and lean back a little, but not so much that you start going backward. Your speed will gradually decrease until it’s slow enough for you to step off.
Stepping off a hoverboard can be tricky. If you do it too quickly or leap off, it’s very easy to wipe out.
Here’s how to safely dismount:
You have an idea of how to ride a hoverboard now, but what are some things you should not do? Don’t:
It can be tempting to bend your knees when you first get on a hoverboard because you’re afraid of falling, but bending can mess up weight placement for the board. You want to stand as straight as possible, so your weight is spread properly on the hoverboard.
You don’t need to see your feet when you’re on a hoverboard, you need to see what’s in front of you. Staring at your feet can also confuse you and throw everything off.
If you’re new to hoverboard riding, stick to the smoothest, most even paths until riding is easy for you. If you have an off-road hoverboard, you might be eager to hit the sand and gravel, but you should master the basics before tackling rougher ground.
Traditional skateboards are flexible and designed for high-flying tricks. Hoverboards are not. Do not take your hoverboard to the skate park and try to fly off ramps. Hoverboards are meant for traveling, not flipping through the air. You can find tricks for hoverboards online, but you shouldn’t try them until you’re more than comfortable just riding the board, and outfitted in all the essential safety gear.
Paul is an environmental engineer turned micromobility expert. With a mechanical background and hands-on experience with more than 150 personal electric vehicles, Strobel is one of the leading specialists in the PEV scene. He handles everything from technical guides on the inner workings of vehicles to industry development news.