So let’s talk halfpipe riding because it’s kind of a lost art these days with so many people avoiding the pipe in favour of jumps and rails.
I consider halfpipe riding to be both one of the hardest and easiest skills to learn because high level halfpipe riding is insanely hard, but learning the basics of pipe is actually pretty safe and easy.
Why you shouldn’t be scared to learn halfpipe
Everyone looks at this and gets scared when they see a superpipe with walls 3-4 times as tall as them:
It’s intimidating at first, but keep in mind that you don’t have to go all the way to the top of the 22 foot walls. When you’re starting out you can just start by going 1 foot up the walls until you get used to the feeling of riding pipe, then you can go 2 feet, then 3 feet, then 4 etc. etc. until you’re riding out of the pipe and getting air.
It’s pretty safe to learn basic pipe skills because you have full control over how high up you go.
Controlling your height/speed in the pipe
Controlling how high you go is as simple as controlling how much speed you take into each section of the pipe.
- If you want to go higher, make less turns and take more speed into the walls
- If you want to stay lower, make more turns and take less speed into the walls
So for example, if I wanted to go slow and stay low on the halfpipe walls, I might make 10 turns as I ride down the pipe, but if I wanted to go fast and get high/air out of the pipe I’d be making maybe 4-6 turns down the pipe.
This is what the different paths might look like as I travel down the pipe:
By making more turns as we ride down the pipe, we reduce the amount of speed we pick up from the downward slope. On the flip side, by making less turns down the halfpipe, we increase our speed which sends us higher up the halfpipe walls.
This is why you’ll notice in superpipe contests most riders will only take 4-6 hits down the pipe to keep their speed up and maintain good height in their airs.
So basically when it comes to halfpipe riding you’re 100% in control of the height you get, which means you can keep it mellow and safe while you get used to the halfpipe, then slowly increase the height as you get more comfortable.
Don’t be afraid to give the pipe a go, it’s one of the few terrain park obstacles where it’s this easy to progress your skill level step by step.