Skateboarding Basics

skateboarding basics

Skateboarding is a sport that started around the 1940s. When the waves were subpar, surfers began to attach wheels to wooden boards and ride them by the beach. At first, it was known as sidewalk surfing but it eventually was called skateboarding because the original wheels were taken from roller skates and were put on wooden boards. Today, boards come in all shapes and sizes. People can get longboards, cruiser boards, skateboards, or even miniature cruiser boards. The boards used in competition are regular skateboards that range from seven and a half inches to eight and a half inches in diameter. These boards allow skaters to do difficult flip tricks, but they are harder to land on because of their narrow diameter.

The Basics

Before putting yourself into the sport, it is important to know some basics. Most people skateboard for leisure. Whether it is in the streets or a skatepark, skateboarding is a pastime that eventually turned into a competition. Competitions range from freestyle, transition, street skating, and more. The most famous skateboarding competitions are held in the X Games and Street League Skating. In these competitions, skaters compete to have the best score and advance to the next round. Eventually, they can make it to the finals where they have a chance of winning a championship.

Skateboarding is more than just competitions though. Skateboarders are often stereotyped as being lazy and rebellious, but this is far from the truth. The sport is extremely difficult and requires constant practice to improve. With this practice comes a sense of community, because people who get into skating generally find a group they can progress with.

Basic Movements

Skateboarding Positions

When you start skateboarding the first thing you want to figure out is what stance you are in. People who ride with their left foot forward are regular, and people who ride with their right foot are goofy. Generally, your dominant foot is in the front because it provides more stability and allows you to do tricks more efficiently, but it is different for everybody. To steer your board you can either go heel to toe or kick turn. The simplest way to turn is to put your weight on your heels or toes. This will turn your board either left or right depending on your stance. The kick turn is much harder because you have to press down on the back of your board (the tail), and turn the front (the nose) with your front foot.

Another basic movement of skateboarding is the ollie. The ollie is the foundation for most tricks. This is because it allows you to get up in the air with your board. To do the ollie you must first be comfortable riding your board. This means riding around your neighborhood, riding off of curbs, and being able to steer.  After that you can learn the steps of the ollie. The steps are as follows:

  • Position your front foot just underneath the front bolts and your back foot on the tail
  • Bend your knees and as you jump use your back foot to pop the tail and your front foot to drag towards your nose
  • Once in the air, kick out with your front foot to level out the board then land
  • Make sure your shoulders are not turning because your board will turn with them

Types of Skateboarding

The great thing about skateboarding is that there are multiple variations of it. Some of these include street skating, transition, park, competition, and longboarding.

Street skating involves skating obstacles in cities and towns. Obstacles can include stairs, handrails, benches, ledges, and curbs. This may seem like a lot of fun, but many places prohibit skating on their property because of liability issues, so make sure it is legal to skate there before you do.

Transition skating is where skaters are in ramps and bowls doing aerial tricks. Tony Hawk is the best transition skater ever, and is famous for his 900 degree spin in the X Games. This means he spun two and a half times in the hair before he landed back down on the ramp with his board. Transition skaters often skate at parks where there are ramps or bowls.

The safest variation of skating is in parks. This is because parks generally have street skating obstacles such as handrails and stairs, and do not have cars that can potentially hit you. They also may have transition obstacles that you can practice on as well.

Competitions are where the best athletes compete, and they can be either transition or street competitions. Here, your skills are put to the test among other skaters and the winner can possibly take home a cash prize.

Lastly, many people participate in longboarding. The last three boards to the right in the picture at the bottom are considered longboards. They are mostly for cruising, but some people can still do tricks on these. They are easy to ride because of their length but are also hard to maneuver on sharp turns.

Difficulty To Learn

Learn Skateboarding

Skateboarding is hard to learn, but it should not deter you from starting. Many people think that you must start at an early age in order to get good at skateboarding, and this is far from the truth. First, skateboarding is to have fun, and for some people that can be just learning the basics and that is okay. At first, you may find it hard to balance on whatever skateboard you do have, but that is just your body trying to adjust to something new. With practice, you can learn skateboarding by yourself through online tutorials or through skate lessons. Either way do not let the difficulty of the sport prevent you from having fun! It is all part of the process.

Skateboards For Beginners

The best type of skateboard for beginners is probably a cruiser board that is about the same size as a regular skateboard, but with thicker wheels. Cruiser boards are generally wider than regular skateboards, and the wheels are thicker so it allows for a smoother ride. This will help you learn to get comfortable in your stance and riding around. Eventually, you can progress to a smaller board and wheels.

Another key difference between cruiser and regular skateboards is that cruisers do not have a nose. Regular skateboards have a nose and a tail so you can do tricks from either end of the board. This is why they are labeled cruiser boards, because they are not really meant to be used for tricks.

Beginner Skateboarding Tips

Skateboarding is difficult, but can be fun if you make it. At first, you may feel intimidated to go to a skatepark and learn, but just know that most skaters are just minding their own business and may even help you out if they see you are struggling with a trick.

To continue to progress, you should first get the basics down. Riding around and ollying are an essential part to almost every other skateboard trick, and allow you to have more control over the board. You should also skate with other people, especially those who have more experience than you. This allows you to have fun with friends, and learn from individuals who are better. Lastly, make sure you have all the right safety equipment when skating. This includes a helmet, and a pair each of elbow and knee pads. There is a stigma behind using safety equipment because people think that they will not look “cool” to other skaters. However, others are just minding their own business, so look out for your safety, and do not be afraid to ask for help if you need it!