FAQ's (Frequently Asked
1. How is Buttboarding
different from Street Luge?
Street Luge and Buttboarding
are two racing divisions of Laydown Downhill
Skateboarding. Thanks to ESPN's X Games, Street Luge
is more widely known. Here are some of the more obvious differences:
- Street Luges may be made of
metal or high tech composites while Buttboards
must be made of wood.
- A Street Luge may be up to
10 feet in length while Buttboards are limited
to 48 inches.
- Street Luges may be dropped very low
for better aerodynamics. Buttboards have a minimum ride height.
- Street Luges typically have 6,
8 or more wheels, up to 5 inches in diameter and
use Ceramic or other high tech bearings.
Buttboards must use exactly four 70mm skateboard
wheels with standard metal bearings.
In other words:
Buttboards are LIMITED to
standard skateboard sizes and technology, while
Street Luges are highly customized for
However, the advanced technology of a Street Luge yields about a 5% advantage which can be overcome by a talented Buttboarder.
Read "Rules" for full specifications that define the racing class.
The Buttboard" to see
2. What are the advantages of
They are far less expensive than a competition
Street Luge. Competiton metal luges are easily over
$1,000 while a world class Buttboard is under $200.
A Buttboard is easy to transport. You can carry it
in your lap when getting a ride up the hill. It can
stay in the trunk of your car. Airlines won't
charge you extra to transport them. They are
more fun to ride according to most racers who do
both. The ride is less like driving a little
vehicle and much more like skimming along the
suface of the road.
After his first month of riding,
Chris Chaput posted what he liked:
"Buttboards have a separate
class that protects them from having to race Open
Class luges. Your reasons for riding a Buttboard
are your own. They may include, but are not limited
to, the following:
- You like
- You are fast on
- You can afford
- You feel safe(r) on
- You can build and design
- You can find parts for
- You have friends with
- You get to spend more
time on the hill at events.
- You like the
- You have one more toy in
the toy chest.
- You appreciate the
history of skateboarding and want to carry the
- You get recognition as
being a good rider by beating faster
We only pretend to be "Luge
Hostile." Professional racers who do both will hop
off their luge during practice, grab a buttboard,
and say "let's get those stinkin' luges." It's part
of the fun to be rebels against a supposedly
rebelious sport. But the truth about Buttboarding
is that it's also an excellent entree to the world
of Street Luge. And if you become an excellent
Buttboarder, you are more likely to become a world
class Luger. Plus the Luge guys are a bunch of
crybabies who only took up their sport to be on
3. Why such a silly
When faced with a hill too steep to ride,
skateboarders will sit and "buttboard" down the
grade. The less skilled the rider, the more often
they must buttboard. Hence, "buttboard" has a
pejorative sense to skaters, associated with a lack
of skill or bravery.
A legacy of laydown
skateboarding is the shadowy accusation that it is
really "just buttboarding." Some "Extreme Athletes"
actually fear that Street Luge (a new name for
Laydown Skateboarding) might become associated with
Buttboarding (an old name for Laydown
We can try to hide from the
insult, or we can turn it inside out.
The TRUTH is that all variants
of Downhill Skateboarding require considerable
skill and bravery. Buttboard racing pushes the
speeds higher than Standup. And it pushes beyond
the skills required by Street Luge. When the
fastest Speedboarders are passed by a Buttboarder
going 20 mph faster, they are not thinking "LAME."
They are thinking "Damn, that's fast!"
And so part of the goal of this
sport is to REVERSE the impression that
Buttboarding is a trivial activity practiced by
cowards. Instead of hiding from the name, we are
changing the definition.
It can be fun to speculate about
differerent titles and their effect on the
Buttboarding sounds silly
because of the BUTT portion. However, the silliness
puts it on the tip of every kid's tongue. "I wanna
go BUTTboarding!" "Can we watch the BUTTboards?"
They love an excuse to say "BUTT" without getting
in trouble. So they say it as often as possible.
Detractors will call us
"Buttboarders" no matter what we want to call
ourselves. Beat them to the punch. Tom Mason came
up the ultimate blend of Street Luge arrogance and
Buttboard self deprecating humor:
"Body Rocket" sounds very cool. The infamous Bama
even made a masterpeice version of a Lott Classic,
of sculpted aluminum and inlaid wood. It was routed
with the logo "BODYROCKET" and glassed in with B-Bs
to hi-light the name. But Bama retired and sold the
name to Tim Cayer who marketed
luges under this brand. Had we adopted it, the
downside would be everyone confusing it with Billy Copeland's Rocket powered Street Luge. Also the
"Rocket" idea encourages people to want to make the
board itself "hi-tech."
"You guys are really
"Actually we prefer to be called 'Butt
"Ha, ha, ha"
(Click to see a larger
Another problem with
altering "Buttboarding" is it can
get worse. Much worse. The Brits
took a turn at "cleaning up" the name and
ran through lovely variants like "Ass
Planking", "Syphincter Racing", and
finally "Ringboards". The ever charming
Jeremy Gilder even folded a "Lott Classic
Racing Boards" sweatshirt to his desired
(Click to see a larger image)
"Skate Luge" is a term coined by
Tim Novak at HAE. His goal was to remember the
Skating roots of luge and "take the spirit of all
the 'family snow sledding fun' and put wheels on
it." At 16 inches they are too wide to fit the
Buttboard racing rules. Find out more about
Novak's Skate Luge at SkateLuge.com.
Tim's Skate Luge was
actually designed to be ridden sitting up, whereas
racing Buttboards are ridden in the luge position.
Both are all about having fun. To expand the horizon of fun Tim also sells his own race winning HAE Buttboards
Afrikaans for Buttboarding. Literally translated it
means "Rear End Skate Board Riding."
"Luge Boarding" is a combo name
several have suggested. It's a nice alternate way
to refer to the activity. It's good when someone
insists on trying Street Luge and you plan
to start them off on a Buttboard. After a great day
riding, they will tell their friends they went
"Street Luging" anyway.
"Classic Luge" is as close to an
alternate title for the sport as it gets. Sometimes
it is blended as in "Classic Buttboarding." It has
some factual basis as this was the earliest form of
skateboarding in the luge position. IGSA is very
good about using the title. They also list the
rules as "Classic Luge (Buttboarding)" which is
another great blend.
4. Is there a book about
Luge Suvival Guide
covers a tremendous amount of necessary
information. A future edition will certainly have
Buttboard specific topics. Until then, this site
coupled with the book covers most of what's
5. Is there a Video I can
Jeremy Kahn took the plunge and produced
Luge 101." It's a DVD
featuring many of the Legends
from this site talking about safety, hills, and
other things common to Street Luge and
Buttboarding. It's an excellent addition to any
6. When is the next Race; can
I go someplace to watch?
Dave Auld maintains the most reliable racing
schedule for Luge and Buttboarding, regardless of
Organizer. He rarely misses an event and doesn't
print rumors or tentative schedules. Check it out
East Coast riders should check
in with Tim Cayer's New Hampshire track. He
organizes events under the GSI banner:
maintains info for the IGSA.
Exciting spectating can also be had on practice or
training days. If you live in Southern California,
there will certainly be someone riding on any given
weekend. The message boards are a good place to
look for local riders.
7. Is Buttboarding
On Open Roads:
Luge Survival Guide
provides a good editorial sense of this issue.
Unless there are specific laws against
Skateboarding, you will probably be considered a
pedestrian. Some states also have laws concerning
"toy vehicles" or "sledding" which may apply. LA
County has a specific Ordinance against riding a
skateboard on greater than a 3% grade or faster
than 10 mph. Some hills in neighboring counties
have roads which specify "No Skating." The web
offers ways to check the vehicle codes in your
If there aren't laws explicitly
concerning skateboarding, you can still get in
trouble depending on how you ride. If you obstruct
traffic in any way, expect to get busted. There are
federal "reckless endangerment" laws that can be
applied to how Law Enforcement views what you are
doing. Punishment ranges from Warnings (typical) to
Tickets (ocassionally) to Equipment Confiscation
(rarely) to Arrest (extreme circumstances). If
things go very badly with Police, either you
deserve it or the guys just before you deserved and
you're inheriting their bad PR.
If you conduct yourself in a
professional manner, have all the safety equipment,
NEVER go into the on-coming lane, NEVER blow stop
signs or speed, you will have a much better time
when approached by Police. Also don't run or hide
if they approach you. This indicates you believe
you are breaking the law. Take off your helmet and
walk over to them. Let them see you are a person.
Say "Hi." Let them know you are being as safe as
possible and certainly safer than the bicycles. Let
them know that even if there is no specific law
against what you are doing (there probably isn't)
you are ready to go home if they have the slightest
problem with your presence.
Police car arrives and you
approach with your helmet off. Take a helpful and
respectful tone. The Police don't want to be bad
guys, but a Worried Mortorist called and they have
been sent to make you stop riding. It's their job
and they can't afford to lose here.
"You know you can't do
"I'm sorry. I checked
the <Insert State> DMV code and
couldn't find anything about it being
illegal. Is there a specific law to this
county or road which I missed?"
"What you are doing is
"I'm sorry. We have all
the proper safety gear. We also stay in
our lane and the chase car prevents us
from being overtaken from
"A motorist called and
said she couldn't see you and almost ran
"Is there another road
close by you would prefer us to ride?
Maybe one that has less
"Well, you can't ride
"Thanks Officer, we're
Police car arrives and you
approach with your helmet off. Take a helpful and
respectful tone. They just happened to see you in
leathers with skateboards and want to check it
"How fast do you go on
"We can get going about
<not over 10 mph over the posted
limit>. We have a chase car which
prevents cars from overtaking us in our
"I see you wear
"Yes. And full face
motorcycle helmets. We're actually very
protected if we fall."
"I think you guys are
"It's actually a lot of
fun. We could teach you when you're off
duty some time."
"Have fun and be
If someone has already called
the Police it is very unlikely to get the
"Favorable" scenario. But by offering to leave you
may be able to return to the hill under favorable
conditions later. If you give Law Enforcement the
slightest problem (including Park Rangers, Fish and
Game, Corporate Security and anyone with a badge
who's job it is to tell you to go home) they will
forever be hostile to your cause and tell all their
Associates that cover nearby areas.
You best bet is to ride where
the Neighbors, Pedestrains, or Motorists never
call. If you do find a good road somewhere, make
friends with the locals. Never hinder normal
traffic. Don't frighten pedestrains. Don't spook
the horses or make the dogs bark. Yield to
everyone. If you do see a car, sit up so they can
see you and give your friendliest wave.
On Pedestrian Trails:
Buttboards have the advantage of being fun and
nimble at low speeds on tight tracks. This opens
more places to ride than for a Street Luge. You can
find a short hilly section of bike or walking path
in a park. These are usually slower in speed than
roads, but require quick reactions because they are
so narrow. Make sure you scope out what things line
the trail if you go off path. Even a little tree at
15 mph could really hurt you.
You also have an advantage as
you'll have to walk back up. So carrying a 10 lb
Buttboard is nicer than a 45 lb luge.
The main concern is hitting a
pedestrian. You would probably rather hit a car
than break the legs of someone walking a dog in the
park. Don't go around blind corners unless you are
sitting up and going slow enough to stop
immediately. If you want to practice fast
turning, set a friend on the corner to signal if
the track is clear. It's what they do in real races
At Organized Events:
The best bet is to attend organized events. For
a fee, you get a good track, and rides up the hill.
The tricky corners will be protected with hay bales
(within reason) so you can challenge yourself a bit
more than on an unprotected course. You also get to
watch and learn from others more skilled than
yourself. Swap tips and strategies. Organized
Events are well worth it when they
8. What's the fastest anyone
The 2000 & 2001 Guinness Book of World Records
list Darren Lott as "World's Fastest Buttboarder"
at 65.24 mph. You can read about how this was
established in the AIS
Fountain Hills Event
Most Buttboard races don't
exceed 100 kph (62 mph). Even a 40 mph course could
be extremely challenging. The fastest course on the
World Cup Circuit is the Aviemore
Scotland race, which is
closer to 70 mph.
Since the AIS event, Darren has
been clocked by car (not a reliable method) at over
75 mph down a faster hill. Several other fast
riders have also broken the 70 mph barrier
(unofficially) on various hills in the States. It
appears that ultra high top speeds are a function
of the hill. Only another contest on a very fast
hill will indicate who is best at top speeds. The
next non-trivial, official record should be just
under 80 mph.
In the meantime, we do have a
current measure of "Who is Fastest" based on
current racing results. The "Legends"
page gives a good feel for which racers are
consistently faster against other top
9. How do you stop?
With your feet! Someone coined the phrase "Fred
Flintstone Style" which some people instantly get.
You can imagine that skidding your shoes to a stop
wears them out quickly. Most active participants
attach tire treads to their soles, enhancing
braking power and extending the life of their
shoes. More about this in Street Luge Survival
10. How much does it
How much you got?
Like any sport, you will get out
of it what you put into it. Fortunately, the entry
level is affordable. It is also considerably less
expensive than sports with a similar thrill factor.
Here are some ideas of what you can expect with
various levels of commitment (your mileage may
A) You have friends that do this and they
totally set you up with their gear and let
you roll a slow portion of the hill a few
times. You probably have to drive and/or
guard a corner while they ride in
B) You already own a
skateboard and you sit going down some
local hills. If you get hurt or don't have
a fabulous time, you probably did it
You find a venue that will rent you the
equipment. Bring extra shoes to wear out.
Bring your own competitent instructor. Or
add $$ for proper training.
Buy and study the Street Luge Survival
Guide. Watch the Street Luge
101 DVD. Study this site. Improvise
protective gear from what you already own.
Borrow a helmet. Cut out your own deck if
you don't have a suitable longboard. Spend
the money on decent wheels, or trucks, or
missing protective gear. Find a local hill
without any traffic. Don't go too
Buy really inexpensive leathers and a full
face helmet. Perhaps good used stuff. Make
your own deck with 70mm Kryps and RIIs.
Get 3 or 4 friends to do the same. See
above "Dabbler" tips.
You can get all competion level stuff and
have enough money left over to attend your
first local race. Make friends there and
pick up the current hot tips. Find people
with whom you can ride between events.
Perhaps a Pro lives near you.
Aside from having all the best gear, you
have money to make all the local races and
a few international ones. You have
duplicates of the necessary stuff for
racing, but don't get into "Collector
Mode." You practice before upcoming races,
but never kid yourself you will make any
money back on this sport.
But you do pop for a
$300 color printer so you can make your
own "Hero Cards."
You start racing Street
Luge because a Roger's sled is only a
grand more (now you've done
And you begin to budget
for the extra days taken off
You have the coolest stuff and are racing
the World Circuit: The Scottish Highlands,
the Austrian Alps, Barrett Junction(?)...
You still can't fly first class to events,
but perhaps soon a sponsor will notice and
provide some travel money. The majority of
your budget goes to Airfare and Lodging.
You also start to include all the money
you spend on gas driving to events. And to
You get your trucks and
wheels at wholesale...and need it. To stay
on top you need to ride very hard and very
frequently. Practice wheels are good for
only one weekend, and race wheels for a
few runs. You have boxes with multiple
sets of every 70 mm wheel ever made. You
never use your last set of anything. You
have several decks in case one breaks
before a race. You've bought enough stuff
from Randal to make his February house
You have totally cool
custom leathers with your name all over
them. You need a second set for practice
since they get torn up. A German will
knock you off your board during an
international race and tear your cool
leathers. Every year. Either a German or
Tom Mason. The repair bill at Z Leathers
is always more than a new budget set from
Jeffrey's LLLV deal, but then you'd look
like a "Sport" level guy. Plus the budget
leathers are good for only a few high
speed get-off's and you'd need a new set
You have at least two
helmets. A dozen set of shoes and gloves
each year. You also need special boxes to
organize all this stuff. Extra rolls of
Duct tape (in various colors), tubes of
Shoe Goo. Hundreds of dollars in
little screws, nuts and various fasteners.
Also tools for those little modification
you are sure make"just enough difference"
but really don't.
You justify all this by
not buying that new [SUV/Sports
Car/Motorcycle] you wanted. You get to
travel the world and your old car still
runs OK. Plus there is always hope for
sponsorship or prize money down the
11. Can I use a regular
skateboard to race?
The first popular boards to be
raced were actually "Santa Monica Airlines" pool
boards. Those decks are a bit hard to find now, but
fortunately skating has made a nice
A longboard works best. There
are longboards which are actually too long, so make
sure it fits in the 48"x12" spec. A smaller trick
board with small hard wheels is also legal. But you
probably won't be very fast or have as much
Gerhard Lanz got top results on
his Sector 9 in the US
Nationals. Lee Dansie
raced the same deck in Longboard Slalom and
Buttboarding at West
12. Which deck is the
A deck is just a peice of wood.
One can't be faster than another. It's purpose is
to provide a surface between the Trucks and the
Rider's body. That's about it. Trucks screwed into
your back would work but be very
Some decks are more confortable
than others. And that's what's important. If you
feel more comfortable on the board, then you are
more in control and can perform better.
13. Can I make my
You can't make a sculpted deck
with concave and a kicktail very easily. But many
racing Buttboards are just cut from a flat piece of
plywood. You are not limited to what gets exported
from Southern California (where almost all molded
skateboard decks are produced). With local
materials and a hand saw, you can make your own
competiton Buttboard anywhere in the
14. Which trucks should I
To prevent speed
wobbles, you end up tightening the trucks
considerably. With a narrow truck, you can
lean and have the wheels on the far side
pick up in the air. This means less
turning and less traction. Wide trucks
provide more leverage against tight
cushions, so the wheels are more apt to
stay on the ground.
A wider truck is also
less rapid in it's response. So it will
feel more stable or controllable. An
Independent 215 is an example of a wide
skateboard truck that will work. Indys
retail for about $23.95 each at the
If you plan on high
speed riding or racing, you need to
remember that regular truck geometries
were designed to provide a fast lively
ride at about 10 mph. Sidewalk Surfing. At
high speeds you'll want a more stable
geometry than provided by the
Randal designs trucks
for more stable high speed applications.
The RII is wide like an Indy, cost about
the same ($25 at the Luge Store), and was
designed to be more stable both at speed
and in a turn. The RII-B was specifically
adapted for Buttboarding. Randal selects
the most "Balanced and Blueprinted" RIIs
from each lot, then retrofits them with
grade 8 Kingpins and the cushions from his
Luge trucks. The result is a championship
truck that is light and affordable.
($29.95 at the Luge
Randal RII-Bs recieve
the highest recommendation for our
Hard core racers use
the Randal Luge Truck. There is a
misconception that the spinning axle makes
them faster than say the RII-Bs. But what
we find is that the RII-Bs are as fast and
win just as often. They share the same
geometry and the RII was actually designed
after the Luge Truck. It was
Randal's way to bring performance to the
The advantage of the
Luge truck is it's bullet proof. Off road
excursions which would destroy or bend a
normal truck, just yield some nice "Battle
Scars." The spinning axles let you know if
they are bent (nice feature) and they are
MUCH stronger than normal axles. They
should be. A replacement axle alone is the
cost of an entire RII.
You see a lot of them
on competition Buttboards and could be
fooled into thinking they are de
rigueur. The truth is most racers
cross train, and since they already have
lots of extra parts from Luge racing it's
easier not to mix truck types.
If you plan on lots of
hard riding, and can afford the cost ($75
each at the Luge
the 50 degree base plates and turn the
Hanger over so "F" shows. Also beware that
"Heavy Duty" also means much heavier
weight than the RIIs.
Other trucks may also
be applicable. Thunder and Invader make
fairly wide inexpensive trucks that
compete with the Indy 215. Some riders
prefer these trucks as they have a lower
profile than the taller
Another lower profile
truck is the Z Roller. Popular for Street
Luge the Z Roller was the first truck with
a spinning axle. However, the geometry is
the EXACT opposite of the high stability
Randal. They are also pricey ($45 at the
Luge Store) and the axles bend more easily
and are fussy to work with. Great care
needs to be exercised in expeimenting with
these trucks. They work on Luges with very
long wheelsbases and which are dropped
below the plane of the wheels. Some
Germans/Austrians use them for racing, but
it is an aquired skill.
Also remember that
lowering the ride height of your Buttboard
places your delicate fingers all the
closer to the flesh eating
15. Which wheels should I
The racing rule is to use 70mm skateboard wheels.
There is good reason for this. First, almost every
manufacture makes a 70mm wheel. They have been
around since the 1970s or earlier and are a very
mature form factor. They are the least expensive of
the wheels that will work. Since everyone has an
equivalent level of technology in the wheels, it
makes for closer racing.
The original Hot Heels practice
was to use 72.5mm Super Mundos. But 73mm were
illegal. When Mundos went off the market years ago
it made an easy decision to write the rule as 70mm.
It becomes a slippery slope to move from a very
solid standard like 70 mm up to 72.5 mm. Another
manufacturer makes 73mm longboard wheels, and
another 76mm, 80s, 82s, 85s and then 90s. As the
wheel size increases, so does the price. Sometimes
Ironically, Europeans made big
noises to remove the 70mm rule for Hot Heels,
thinking they "discovered" the 76mm Turbo. What
they missed was that these wheels are not a secret
to Americans. Almost every wheel in the world is
made in Southern California. Local racers can meet
with any number of manufactures during their lunch
hour, pick up "special pours", influence new
designs, get the last of discontinued wheels. The
70mm rule is to PROTECT riders outside the United
States from a technology war which they cannot
If you are not racing, you may
be tempted to run larger wheels. Keep in mind that
with normal trucks on a normal deck, wheels larger
than 70mm may "bite", particularly if you have a
flat deck. "Bite" happens when you are leaning in a
turn, and the inside wheels hit the deck and stop
spinning. This is highly undesireable. You can
either cut away the deck where the wheels hit, or
put riser pads under the trucks. Taller wheels
already make you higher, the pads put up even more.
This is a recipe for instability. Or since you are
laying across the board, if you cut away the deck,
larger wheels may bite against your body. 76mm is
about the largest you can use without too many
mechanical problems. Unfortunately these mid range
wheels usually have a hub designed for a larger
wheel and even less urethane than the typical 70mm.
Crossover (Luge and Buttboard) Racers will
sometimes wear down their luge wheels on rough
practice roads, and when they get into the 75mm
range, shift them to the Buttboard. The main appeal
is to save the new 70mms for racing.
Personal preference determines
which 70s you will use. Randal successfully raced
at Hot Heels on Power Paws. Gerhard won the 1999
World Championship on ExKate Easy Riders. Darren
set the Guinness Record on 70mm Labedas. But most
riders are now using Kyrptonics Classic 70s. They
are readily available, have decent speed and good
traction. They also come in Red, Blue or Green with
different durometers (hardness). Reds are the
softest and most grippy. Greens are harder and
supposedly faster on a straighter course. Bob Ozman
is the king of "psyching out" his competiton by
combining different colors at places on his board.
Perhaps one Red on the left front, matched to a
Blue and two Greens in back. Because he "needs the
speed but wants extra traction for turn
Wow, here's an update. For top racers ABEC 11s are
in - way in. When Chris Chaput wanted to produce a
70mm racing wheel he called me and talked about
making a Kryptonics clone, but using his Street
Luge formula. "Chris, be different. Make it wider.
It's all about 'contact patch' when you're in the
corners," I suggested (OK...pleaded). He took it to
heart and the result was the ABEC11 Flashback. I
like to think of it as the first wheel DESIGNED
SPECIFICALLY for Buttboard racing. But that's not
the end of the story.
The 70mm (tall) Kryps have nice
rounded edges, but it leaves a contact patch (the
part that you actually ride on) of about 36mm. The
Flashbacks came out with a whopping 43mm contact
patch (20% more) which is as wide as his bigger
Street Luge wheels. And they immediately started
winning races. Racing in Scotland, I tried both the
Kryps and the Flashbacks against Dave Rogers' on
Flashbacks. The Kryps were competitive, but there
was little doubt that the ABECs were just a bit
In 2004, ABEC11 introduced 70mm
Grippins. Chris said they'd be my "Secret Weapon"
at the "Fire
on the Mountain" race
(read the report to see). With a contact patch of
50.5mm, Chris's claim of "Suction Cups for your
Buttboard" may not be just hype.
However, in terms of just having
fun, all the 70mm wheels seem to be up to the task.
Unless you go really fast, and then none of them
16. Can I buy all this stuff
in one place?
The closest to "One Stop Shopping" is Tim Cayer's
Store. They carry all
the trucks, wheels, leathers, helmets and
protective gear you might want. They also carry
Lott Classic Racing Decks and ready to ride
Buttboards. Tim is very knowledgeable and will also
be the first one to sell you a Street Luge
Survival Guide to go with the kit. He also runs
track in New Hampshire.
Tim is running a "No Excuses" package deal to help
people get into the sport. CLICK
HERE to findout
Jeffrey Schonzeit runs
StreetLuge.net and features deals on inexpensive
and Gloves. He's also
carried equipment through his local "City Board
In Britain, contact Chris Beard
though his site - www.GravitySports.co.uk.
Chris imports Trucks, wheels, and Lott Classic
Racing Boards. Chris also runs the Highland Wheels
Extreme World Cup race.
In Australia, Leon
Smith is the current
ambassador for Buttboard racing. Contact
17. Wouldn't it be cool to
have a dual truck, dropped, carbon fiber
When you start making
"performance modifications" then it ceases to be a
Buttboard. But there is Good News. You can persue
the road to higher performance and still race
against others. It's called "Street Luge." By
having two classes there is no need to make even
further divisions like "Super Modified Buttboard"
or "Spec Class Street Luge." If you want to see who
is the best racer by keeping the equipment
virtually the same, race Buttboard. If you want to
pursue the limits of technology making a skateboard
go even faster, race Street Luge. Many do both.
Buttboard is an excellent reality check when
designing your World Championship Luge. If it's not
faster, then it's not worth the effort.
Pegs and Dual trucks were added
when Laydown Skateboarders wanted to go even faster
on the switchbacks of GMR. In Austria they kept the
same equipment and worked on riding technique
instead. Same kind of roads, different approach to
increasing speed. What happens when you combine the
best of both worlds?
The IGSA Rule is that you can't
race a potentially legal Buttboard against the
Luges (political reasons). If you make a design
such that it could not be legal for Buttboarding
(dropped, too long, too heavy) then you can add big
wheels, ceramic bearings, carbon fiber and race the
big boys. You'll still have to add bumpers and a
number plate and check the IGSA
Rules for any other
Street Luge requirements.
Or if you don't want to bother
with all the equipment hassles, stick to
If you are still unclear about
the boundries between Street Luge and Buttboard,
take the "Identify
18. Do I really need leathers
if I'm not racing?
What you really need is "appropriate abrasion
protection for the conditons under which you will
be participating." If you are limiting
yourself to very slow speeds, then you don't need
the same protection as someone falling off at 40
mph. But leathers are always a good idea and
experienced racers will not ride without them even
at 20 mph.
You WILL FALL. And you will
scrape against the ground even if you don't come
off comepletely. All of your skin needs to be
covered with a durable material before you ride. Or
it will be covered with road rash for weeks
Leather gloves are absolutely
manditory. Pros wear out good gloves by touching
the ground while riding. Without gloves you'll take
your knuckles off at even walking speeds. Your
hands are mere inches off the ground when you
Elbow pads will extend
the life of whatever kind of jacket you
are wearing. Elbows scrape the ground
frequently. Jeremy Gilder added sparking
sliders to his elbows so you can tell when
they hit. To the right is Jeremy in a race
in Wales. He probably doesn't know he is
touching the ground, but he sure would
find out if he didn't have
If you ride slowly, you
can wear thick demin shorts under a pair
of thick denim pants. Some people put old
empty wallets in the back pockets for
another layer. This gives some protection
against abrasion. But the denim wears out
quickly, and you'll find that $300
leathers are probably cheaper in the long
You always need a
jacket. Pads help the jacket last. But
what's going to keep the jacket from
riding up your back when you crash? Maybe
a set of workman overalls over
You can make some
decent protection by layering a bunch of
regular clothes and taping seams closed.
Tape in bits of leather and/or sheets of
plastic. It might last for a few slow wipe
Until you can get some
leathers, please don't go too
19. Are Buttboards faster
than a Street Luge?
This is a myth.
The fastest Buttboarders are
faster than the average Street Luger. So if they
ride together, the Buttboards may seem to have an
advantage. But if you look at comparative
qualifying times, the fastest Buttboarders are even
a little faster on their luges.
A competiton Buttboard will be
faster than a poorly designed Street Luge (and
there are many of those). There are also courses
which favor the smaller wheels, lighter weight, and
shorter wheelbase. But a World Class Luge (like the
Roger's Brothers) will be still be faster, if only
because of the extra traction provided by four
Interestingly, many of the
fastest Lugers started winning regularly AFTER
taking up Buttboard. So rather than slowing down by
dividing their practice time, these guys learned
something valuable, making them even
20. Do Buttboarders use a
different riding style?
Not too long ago there was a huge debate
centering on the notion that Buttboards forced a
radically different style of riding than Street
Luge. Photographic evidence suggested
In this composite photo
we have Gerhard racing his luge against
Gerhard racing his buttboard. No matter
what you put him on, Gerhard's style is
very consistant for Gerhard. The
two boards might feel different to him,
but to someone watching, Gerhard's
distinctive style over shadows any
difference between his luge and
Darren's style is also
recognizable. He rides very differently
than Gerhard. Gerhard sits up through the
turns while Darren keeps his back very
low,transfering weight to the back
The composite picture
is nice, because we can distinguish two
separate styles. But instead of the
expected "Luge Style" and "Buttboard
Style", the obvious distinction is a
"Gerhard Style" and a "Darren Style."
This also works for
photos of other riders with distinctive
styles such as Bob Ozman, Tom Mason, and
(bonus) Where can I get more
answers about Street Luge?
For more valuable information on the Web, check
AuldOverTheRoad.com's excellent Street