Bump drafting and riding close in heavy packs is one of the addicting elements of downhill skateboarding. It is desirable to sit in someone’s draft-pocket for a number of reasons. If you can keep your shit together close behind someone, you have the power to pass them fairly easily; this can be very valuable in racing, and a good skill to possess in free-riding. Drafting also allows you to be lazier and not have to focus on your tuck as much—relax a bit and let the rider in front do all the sweatin’ until you desire to blast ahead. Swoop! Regardless of why you are riding close, there are proper ways and improper ways to “get your draft on”.
I want to talk about the improper way to draft which can plague even highly skilled riders, and is a common mistake I like to call Draft Tackling. When you get Draft Tackled it is kind of a bummer because you were previously just raging hard trying to hold position, spotting your line with your hands behind your back tuck-style. Then WHAM!, another rider comes all up on your shit and gets in your personal skate-space; then either loses balance, rub your rear wheels, or clip the back of your board and send you flying. The Draft Tackler/Slacker usually ends up tackling you Reggie White Style. Clipping the back of the draftee’s board is common because many downhillers now ride boards that are much longer than their respective tucks, and that makes the back of the board a target to run into. Funny thing is, all the times this has happened to me it’s been on account of another highly experienced rider, proving that this is not just a rookie mistake.
In the end, as long as nobody gets seriously injured its all good—people make mistakes and you gotta roll with it because we’re a family.
Basically, we just gotta live and learn, have fun and be safe while drafting.
Here’s an example of a Draft Tackle situation at this year’s Buffalo Bill race:
This is an example at a big local session at “The Whip” courtesy of SkateHouseMedia (starting around 1:51):