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Using the Grass to Save Your...

How to do a Grass Stop - by Allan Wright

An article by Zephyr Skate Tours owner Allan Wright explaining how to stop or slow down on inline skates by skating into the grass.

Picture this. You are cruising down your favorite path on inline skates, your mind in autodrive and your thoughts on the evening ahead. The trail winds along a stream, the river bank on one side and a grassy field on the other. Up ahead the path crosses a road and sports one of those stop signs you wish wasn't there. Knowing you would rather get home for dinner that night than end up in the hospital, you decide to stop.

How to go about it? You have an array of choices in the stopping category. You can use that brake they put on the back of one of your skates. Not an intuitive maneuver, perhaps, but the most effective form of stopping once you master it. You can also drag one skate behind you in a T-stop as many advanced skaters do. For many of you, though, the sound of the brake grinding on asphalt or your wheels sliding on concrete somehow gives you the sensation of leaving so much rubber on the trail that you soon will be making a trip to the skate store for replacement parts.

Looking for another stopping technique? How about making use of that friendly grass on the side of the path to do a grass stop? No, a grass stop is not an enter-the-grass, start-running-until-your-feet-can't-keep-up-with-you tumble. It is a smooth, effective way to stop when you can see in advance that you will need to stop and have a handy patch of grass on the side of the trail.

To perform a grass stop, follow these steps:
  • Continue rolling forward on the pavement in a "ready position" as you angle toward the grass. The "ready position" involves bending at the knees and lowering your center of gravity.

  • "Scissor" your feet so that one skate (not the one with your ABT brake if you have one of those) is ahead of the other skate (the last wheel of the front skate should be ahead of the first wheel of the back skate). Both skates are still on the ground pointing forward with about four inches width between them; i.e. don't start spreading your skates apart.

  • Roll straight into the grass, lowering your center of gravity even more and sitting back with your weight on your heels as you enter.

  • Roll to a stop.
Why the ready position? The bending at the knees gives you more control to absorb little bumps. Lowering your center of gravity and leaning slightly back is a counter to the desire of your body to keep flying forward while your skates slow in the grass. Why the scissoring? The scissoring helps you with forward-backward stability in addition to your natural side-to-side stability.

Try this a few times at slower speeds and with large grass areas. As you get the hang of it, increase your speed. It might help to watch a friend who has already mastered the grass stop.

The best thing about the grass stop is that as you get better, you can use the "grass stop" to improve your skating in all sorts of ways. Crossing railroad tracks or skating through gravel patches on roads involves the same skills.

Mastering the grass stop will not only give you another stopping technique but will improve your overall skating.
~ Allan Wright

About the author...
Allan Wright is the owner of Zephyr Adventures, a company creating tours and beginner camps for inline skaters. In addition to skating, Allan Wright loves to bicycle, mountain climb, kayak, and do almost anything involving the outdoors.

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