How To Ride A Hoverboard in 3 Simple Steps

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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.

Safety Is Important

The first thing you should know is that safety gear is necessary for hoverboard riding - especially if you're new. You will need:

Cute kid on an electric self-balancing scooter

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. 

How To Get On A Hoverboard

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:

  1. Put your hoverboard on a flat, even surface.
    An even surface is the best place to start as it eliminates other obstacles.
  2. Turn on the hoverboard.
    Don’t try to get on it before it’s turned on, because it won’t have the self-balancing function on.
  3. Put one foot on the hoverboard.
    It doesn’t matter which one. Position your foot so it’s as close to the wheel as possible.
  4. Put your second foot on the hoverboard.
    Put your other foot on the board close to the other wheel, so you have a wide stance. This gives you the best stability.
  5. Stay still and stand straight
    Stay still and stand straight, getting used to how balancing feels. Once you’re comfortable, you’re ready to start moving.
Many hoverboards have learning modes designed for beginners, so if you’re nervous about riding a hoverboard for the first time, get a hoverboard with these modes.

How To Ride A Hoverboard

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:

  1. To move forward or backward.
    Lean very slightly in the direction (forward or backward) you want to go. Keep your waist straight, so it’s basically just your ankles moving at all.
  2. To turn left.
    Push your right toe forward, so your weight shifts in the opposite direction you want to go. Keep your other foot horizontal. You can also lean very slightly in the direction you want to go if the foot stuff is confusing.
  3. To turn right.
    Push your left toe forward. Just like with turning left, you actually shift your weight in the direction opposite of where you want to go.
  4. To spin in a circle.
    To spin left, push your right toes down while pushing down your left ankle. To go right, push your left toes and right ankle.

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.

How To Speed Up And Stop

Young woman riding a hoverboard

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.

How To Get Off A Hoverboard

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:

  1. Shift your weight to your dominant foot.
  2. Step off the board backward with your other foot.
  3. Step off the board completely.
If you step forward off your hoverboard, it could cause the hoverboard to shoot forward, taking out your other foot from under you. It’s safer to step off backward.

How Not To Ride A Hoverboard

You have an idea of how to ride a hoverboard now, but what are some things you should not do? Don’t:

1. Bend your knees

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.

2. Look down

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.

3. Riding on terrain you aren't ready for

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.

4. Try skateboard tricks

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.

Safety is so important when it comes to riding a hoverboard, so don’t take unnecessary risks or use the hoverboard in ways it wasn’t designed for. If it isn’t an off-road hoverboard, don’t go off-road or try to push the speed limits.

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Rasmus is the founder of ERideHero. Through half a decade, he has tested more than 110 electric rides across more than 6,400 miles. He handles the review process, content creation, and all things web and video.