If you have good balance and a healthy sense of adventure, you can mountain board. Mountain boarding is considered safe for anyone over the age of six and weighing at least 50 pounds (22.7 kilograms), although kids with skateboarding or snowboarding experience can start even earlier [source: MBS].
For the safest experience, always ride with a friend [source: Munro Boards]. If you turn an ankle or sustain a more serious injury, you'll want someone there to help.
Even experienced mountain boarders wear full protective gear. That includes a helmet, knee and elbow pads, wrist guards, leather gloves, long pants, long sleeves and well-fitting athletic shoes.
Before you ride, perform a safety check on your equipment. Tighten all bolts and screws. Look for any visible cracks on your board or damage to your tires or trucks. Make sure that the bindings lock completely and are securely fastened to the board. If you have channel trucks, make sure the springs are working well and that the plastic shocks aren't broken or compacted [source: Board Pass].
Mountain boards work on all types of terrain, but the best riding location for beginners is a soft grassy hill with a gentle slope. Make sure your tire pressure is appropriate for the terrain and for your skill level. The lower the skill level, the lower the tire pressure.
Always know your terrain and the course you're going to take down the mountain. Scout out the slope first for any hidden obstacles. Once you're on the hill, don't stop someplace where other riders can't see you [source: Board Pass]. That can put you at risk for a serious collision. Also yield to the rider in front of you. You can see them, but they might not see you, so they have the right of way.
As a final safety tip, don't try to get air until you are fully confident in your riding abilities. Big jumps look like a lot of fun, but they require excellent board control and balance to execute. Keep practicing and you'll keep yourself out of the hospital.
For lots more information on outdoor adventure sports, click on the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Board Pass. "Mountainboarding Basics"http://www.boardpass.com/mtnboard/mtntips.asp
- Exploratorium. "Half-Pipes: Pumping for Speed."http://www.exploratorium.edu/skateboarding/trick04.html
- Exploratorium. "Mid-Air Maneuvers."http://www.exploratorium.edu/skateboarding/trick03.html
- MBS Europe. "History of MBS and Mountainboarding."http://www.mbseurope.com/about-mbs-europe/history-of-mbs-and-mountainboarding/
- MBS Mountainboards. "FAQs"http://www.mbs.com/support/faqs.asp
- MBS Mountainboards. "Ride Tips: The Mountainboard Ollie!"http://www.mbs.com/rideCenter/mountainboardollie.asp
- Munro Boards. "Ride Guide"http://munroboards.com/index.php?page=ride_guide