7 Helpful Skateboard Tips and Tricks for Beginners
Beginning skateboarding is not like getting into any other sport. There are no coaches to tell you how to ride or pull off tricks. Ultimately, it’s up to you to learn. And the good news here is that we have a collection of skateboard tricks for beginners can help you to learn faster and faster.
At first, the board will not cooperate, and getting over the hump of being a beginner means practicing. Before you start skating, though, you should be sure you’ve gotten a few things squared away. Once you have the basics down, learning more complex tricks will get easier.
Tip #1 – Get a good skateboard
Learning to skate is easier if you have a decent board. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive one because it won’t need to survive the abuse you will dish out on your future boards. At first, you just need a complete skateboard intended for street skating.
Be sure you are getting a skateboard that will function correctly without breaking. Consider reputable brands with a track record, but an off-the-shelf complete is fine to start with. In this interview, pro Geoff Rowley discusses the things that determine his board specs. There is no right way. If you like it, skate it.
Just make sure the deck on your new board is made of maple, preferably hard rock maple. Then, ensure the board has solid aluminum trucks and urethane wheels. The bearings are usually slow in off-the-shelf boards, but that’s okay. You can replace them when you’re ready to go faster.
>> The 4 Different Types Of Skateboards List For Beginners
Tip #2 — What to wear
This may seem simplistic, but it is often an issue for beginning skaters. As a skateboarder, your shoes are the most important item of clothing you own. You should think of them more as a piece of equipment than a clothing item. Do not attempt to skate in any shoes other than flat-soled athletic shoes.
The classic tennis shoe is a fine place to start. You do not need skateboard-specific shoes, though they work great. What makes skate shoes different is the placing of the stitching and padding. Performing ollies and other airborne tricks tears up shoes, and skate shoe manufacturers are always devising new ways to make shoes last longer and protect the rider’s foot better. To get started, you just need athletic shoes.
Other than that, just wear whatever clothes you are comfortable wearing. Skating is great because there is no uniform or dress code. Just know that whatever you wear will likely get torn and dirty when you hit the ground. So, dress accordingly.
Tip #3 — Where to skate
If you are just beginning to skate, you do not need obstacles to do tricks on, over or across. A beginning skater should think of obstacles in the most literal sense of the word. They are in your way and will make you fall.
If there is concrete around your house, skate it. All you need at first is flat, smooth cement or asphalt. Try to avoid places with cracked concrete, though. Small cracks are okay, but if your wheel can fit in a crack, it will stop you in your tracks. Another thing that can stop your wheels cold is hitting what skateboarders call wheel bite (twigs, pebbles, broken glass, etc.) on the surface you skate. The sound this makes, “BURT!” keeps skaters up at night. Avoid it at all costs.
The kid in this video is doing fine before he gets wheel bit.
Try to avoid private property, at least during business hours. People get upset when we skate their concrete, and sometimes they call the authorities to tell us to go away. I’ve learned to just say yes sir, and move on to another spot. There is no use arguing, and they have the power any way. If you live in a small town, this same officer will kick you out of somewhere else. Remember: First impressions stick.
Tip #4 — Pushing and Stopping
This tip will keep you in good standing with skateboarders everywhere. If you are regular footed (right-foot dominant), push with your right foot. If you are goofy footed (left-foot dominant), push with your left foot. Your dominant foot is your back foot. It goes on the tail and is also the foot you push with. Pushing with your weak (front) foot is called pushing mongo. While some skaters can pull it off, it will always look wrong. If it sounds like a put down, it is.
Stand with your front foot over the front truck bolts and your back foot on the ground next to the board. Put weight on your back foot and push the board along the concrete. You can stand sideways on the board and coast or push again to go faster. Congratulations. You are now a skateboarder.
You only have three ways to stop, remember to keep in mind how to stop a skateboard to avoid from injuring. At first, go slow enough so you can coast to a stop before you run out of concrete. The next way to stop is to hang your toes off the tail and drag them on the concrete. You’ll have to press the tail and pick up the front wheels to do this, so go slowly and be patient. You’ll get it. Just don’t drag the board’s tail on the concrete, which wears it down.
The emergency brake on a skateboard is simple: Jump off and run out to a stop. Forget the board and just run. If you skate for the rest of your life, you will always use this method in emergencies; all skateboarders do.
Tip #5 — Turning
You should work on this part of the process as you learn to push and to stop. They all work together. Remember that you are building muscle memory and developing balance that you will be using continuously as you progress in skating. Small acorns produce mighty oaks.
You should have your trucks adjusted so that the board leans when you apply pressure to one side or the other. Having a wrench to fit the kingpin nut (9/16 inch or 14mm) on hand so you can adjust the truck tightness to your liking.
Applying pressure to the heel side will make you turn left (regular foot). We call this turning frontside because the front of your body faces the direction you are turning. Applying pressure to the toe side will make you turn right. We call this turning backside.
For more detail, check out our article on how to turn on a skateboard!
Don’t forget to lean into your turns. Skateboarders call rolling and turning in this way carving, and it’s a lot of fun on its own. This Video shows longboarder Krystian Kymerson carving in slow motion.
You won’t find many videos of street or park skaters doing this, because it is just a fundamental in our skate style.
The kick turn is a more advanced way to turn. Lifting your front truck into a wheelie, pivot left or right. This very basic video shows someone putting everything togerther.
Tip #6 The Keystone Trick: The Ollie
Depending on your natural ability, learning to ollie will take up most of your free time for a while to come. It may to you three weeks, three months or longer, but keep at it. You may have a natural talent for skateboarding that is hiding behind the difficulty of learning the fundamentals.
Learning how to ollie on a skateboard while rolling will keep you from having to learn it twice. It’s different standing still. Start by placing your back foot squarely in the middle of the tail. Your front foot should be placed further back than normal, a few inches behind the front truck. The rest of the trick must be done in one fluid motion.
You’ll need to jump as high as you can using only your back foot, while taking all the weight off your front foot and lifting it high. As you get airborne, bring your back foot up to the same level as your front foot and, simultaneously, use the outside of your front foot to level off the skateboard in the air.
Watch this YouTube video of people ollieing in super slow motion .These pictures are easily worth their 1000 words.
One of the hardest parts of the ollie is learning to pop the tail off the ground at just the right moment when you jump. You will learn to love this sound. Saying a board has good pop is a serious compliment.
Tip #7 Ollieing Up and Down Obstacles – Real Skating
As you learn to ollie, begin trying it up and off obstacles. You’ll need a place where concrete sidewalks or similar platforms are bordered by lower concrete surfaces, like in a parking lot. You do not need to have ollies mastered to begin learning to do this. Some skaters’ first ollies are done jumping off a curb.
You need to approach an obstacle with enough speed for your entire board to clear it when you’re in the air. If you land on the obstacle, you will fall. Concrete isn’t like snow or water. It is unforgiving and it is not your friend.
To ollie up something, approach the obstacle with speed and, before you reach it, jump. You’ll want to be high enough in the air so your wheels clear the lip (front edge) of the curb. Remember to slide your front foot up the board. Think of your foot as a paint bush, and use the side of your shoe to paint the grip tape. This is another basic YouTube video showing how to olie up and over obstacles.
This list is meant to get you out your door and on your board. I hope it helped you feel comfortable getting started. If so, share it so other new riders can get the same benefit. Beginners often spend too much time stressing over fitting in, when they could be learning. Skating should be the opposite of fitting in.
The ollie is the most difficult trick you will ever learn because it is so foreign to someone who has never skated, but you must learn it. Almost every trick in street skating involves ollieing. You simply cannot skate street without it. You will be working on this one trick for some time, so commit yourself fully and go for it. When you fall, just know it’s necessary. If you’re not falling, you’re not learning. Welcome to the brotherhood.
If you’ve got some time, check out street skating originator Rodney Mullen’s TEDx talk on why skateboarders keep getting back up.
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