Brakesliding, and in turn Extended Brakesliding, is a trick that preserves Link's speed for a long period of time by having a very low deceleration. This can be tricky to pull off in an RTA run; however, using a trick described below involving unplugging the controller can make it more feasible.
During a Brakeslide, Link is sliding forwards. This decelerates much faster than an Extended Brakeslide, during which Link is sliding backwards. However, facing forwards is advantageous for Brakesliding through sand/snow or when Brakesliding towards something Link needs to face to interactwith, like a door or ladder. In a TAS, Brakesliding to a door where you’d normally be forced to walk due to roll spacing saves about 2-3 frames; this can also apply to ladders and other similar situations.
Extended Brakesliding works differently, as it changes Link's speed value from positive to negative. Link's speed is determined by the slope of the terrain Link is on and whether Link is travelling up or down the slope, so when using an Extended Brakeslide to go up slopes, Link achieves higher speeds that normally occur when travelling down slopes because of the negative speed value. It also follows that doing an Extended Brakeslide down a slope will make Link travel slowly as if he were travelling up the slope, but this is not known to be useful.
To perform a Brakeslide or Extended Brakeslide, a position on the control stick known as ESS must be understood. ESS stands for "Extended Superslide," which originally comes from Ocarina of Time but has become useful in many of the 3D Zelda games.
On the control stick, there is a small circular area around the center (neutral) position that is known as the deadzone. If you slightly hold the control stick away from neutral but still within the deadzone, then the game will not register the input and will treat the input as if you are not touching the control stick.
Outside this deadzone, there is a small band known as the ESS position. When holding the control stick in this position, the game will register the very slight input. When standing still and holding ESS to Link's right or left in Twilight Princess, Link will slowly turn on the spot.
When considering the control stick inputs as a 2D array, there are 256 position values on both the X and Y axis, with the center being (128,128) and (0,0) being top-left. The deadzone for Twilight Princess has a radius of 18 units across the center, meaning that the smallest ESS-Up position is (128,110). The outer radius of the ESS band is +/- 29 units, so the maximum ESS-Up position is (128,157), although it should be noted that a Brakeslide with an ESS position farther from the deadzone will have greater deceleration than a Brakeslide with an ESS position closer to the deadzone.
To execute a regular Brakeslide, while Link is moving in a direction, hold L (target) and the ESS position in the opposite direction on the same frame. (Normally the camera is behind Link and therefore this means L+ESS-Down, but with different camera positioning the ESS direction will change.) It is possible to do a Brakeslide as human, as wolf, and out of an Epona Slide, where the Brakeslide's initial speed would be the same as Epona's speed at the time of the Epona Slide. It should be noted that ESS-Down can work for Brakeslides even if Link isn't facing away from the camera due to the L-target acting as a correction. Brakeslides are impossible right after a wolf dash during the animation of Midna bouncing on Link's back.
Switching from holding a full direction to ESS in the opposite direction on the same frame is difficult, but it is possible to buffer the L+ESS input for a Brakeslide in multiple ways. First, if Link is in an animation such as a roll or Epona Slide where the control stick doesn't influence his speed, then the player will achieve a Brakeslide as long as L and ESS are input by the time the player regains control at the end of the animation. Second, the player can open the item wheel while Link is moving to buffer the inputs, holding L+ESS as the item wheel closes to achieve a Brakeslide. In the video below, buffering is also used on the Epona Slide to wait for the burst of forward momentum. It is possible to steer Link slightly left by shifting from ESS-Down to ESS-Down-Right and to steer Link slightly right by shifting to ESS-Down-Left. The closer you hold to minimum ESS, the better the slide.
By executing a Brakeslide in sand or snow, one can maintain high speed through the sand. Link still sinks at the same rate during the Brakeslide, though.
This does not work with Extended Brakeslide, as Link enters a high-speed waddle animation in the ESS direction instead of moving away as usual.
To execute an Extended Brakeslide, execute a Brakeslide as defined above and then let go of L (target). This will make Link turn around and start to decelerate even slower than in a normal Brakeslide. To perform the longest-lasting Extended Brakeslide, hold L for the least amount of time possible before releasing it, as Link will decelerate at the rate of a normal Brakeslide the entire time L is held. It is possible to steer Link slightly left by shifting from ESS-Down to ESS-Down-Right and to steer Link slightly right by shifting to ESS-Down-Left. The closer you hold to minimum ESS, the better the slide.
The videos below use TAS and therefore are unlikely to be copied without item buffer, but the trick described after these videos can make these Brakeslides more feasible RTA.
When Brakesliding as wolf, the Brakeslide will have lost too much speed to be faster than dashing after about 2-3 normal wolf dashes in distance, but one can perform another Brakeslide at that point.
When plugging the controller in during gameplay, whatever position is held on the control stick is treated as neutral until the controller is replugged or reset using the GCN combination of X+Y+Start. If you hold ESS-Up when plugging the controller into the console, the game will treat an untouched control stick as ESS-Down (due to ESS-Up being the “new” neutral position). This makes it significantly easier to execute Brakeslides without buffering: When the controller is in this state and Link is moving forwards, let go of the control stick and tap L at the same time, resulting in inputs of ESS-Down and L.