How To Learn How To Skateboard

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How to Skateboard (with Pictures) - wikiHow

How To Learn How To Skateboard

We all learn at different rates – in school, at work, and throughout our life. And skateboarding is no different.

For instance, some people improve their surfing skills faster and then struggle with basic skateboarding maneuvers.

Others have started skating since they were kids and then absolutely failed in their wave riding baptism – that’s natural and fine.

No one is good at anything when they start, but your second skateboarding session will likely be much better than the first one.

One of the great things about skateboarding is that you can actually start riding confidently, turning and stopping your board after a week of practice.

However, there are some tips you should follow to make it a pleasant, fun, and highly addictive outdoor experience.

Remember that you’re never too young or too old to start skateboarding.

So, grab a board, be smart, and don’t forget that repetition is key to improving and riding safely.

Take a look at the following tips. They will make you a better skater.

1. Get the Right Skateboard

Visit your local skate shop and ask for advice. They will help you choose the best board for your weight/height and riding level.

You can pick a complete skateboard or put together the parts you want (deck, trucks, bearings, and wheels).

In the end, you’ll get a skate that suits your needs.

2. Wear Thick Socks

Protect your ankles from getting bashed by your skateboard. Wear a pair of thick and long socks that will cover your shins.

You can also roll them over to cover the ankle. It’s a simple yet handy tip that will minimize unnecessary pain.

3. Get the Right Skate Shoes

Footwear is an essential part of skateboarding – not only because they’re cool and stylish, but because it’ll definitely boost your progression.

Also, you’ll want to put on a pair of skate shoes that are comfortable and don’t wear out after a couple of sessions.

4. Wear a Helmet

Everybody falls and gets hurt while skateboarding – it’s inevitable.

If you’re still finding your balance and getting used to rolling over flat surfaces, wearing a helmet is a smart safety option.

Pros wear helmets and knee pads. Moreover, it will increase your confidence levels.

5. Don’t Skate in the Rain

Skateboarding and water don’t usually mix. If you’re still getting used to a skate’s motion, slippery surfaces could be your worst enemy.

So, avoid skating on wet days or after a lot of rain. Water is also not a good thing for a wooden deck, metal parts, and bearings.

6. Feel Comfortable Riding a Skateboard

Start small.

Spend time riding your board around without thinking of tricks and maneuvers – just cruise around a lot around your neighborhood, on the boardwalk, or at a skatepark during less busy hours.

7. Learn to Fall Safely

Don’t be afraid. You’ll fall, but most of the time, it won’t hurt too much.

One of the things that might help is actually training and developing a proper falling technique.

Try skating at low speed toward a grass field, step off the board, and run or roll over the cushioned surface.

8. Consolidate the Basics

First things first – when you first step on a skateboard, you must learn how to push, turn, do tic-tacs, and slow down/stop.

Without mastering these basic riding skills, you should not progress towards skateboarding’s first and most important trick – the ollie.

9. Practice the Ollie Stationary

The ollie is the foundation of skateboarding. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced skateboarding tricks derive from the lessons learned with the ollie.

Although it might take time to land it for the first time, there’s one thing that can dramatically accelerate the learning process – practicing it stationary, for example, on the grass.

10. Practice Your Nollie, Switch and Fakie Stance

Everybody has a natural stance – regular or goofy foot. However, skateboarders are often challenged to adopt a nollie, switch, or fakie stance on many occasions.

It happens all the time, especially after performing a 180 or skating down a ramp. The faster you get used to these unnatural riding positions, the faster you’ll progress.

11. Set Realistic Goals

Make a mental list of tricks that you think can easily be performed and attained, and avoid raising the bar too much.

Otherwise, frustration will take over, and you might even consider quitting skateboarding.

Achievable milestones are boost motivators – adopt that mindset.

12. Ask for Advice

You can learn and improve your skateboarding skills faster by talking to fellow skaters.

Ask for advice. They’ll gladly tell you and point out what you’re doing right and wrong and help you fine-tune your overall posture, feet positioning, and upper body balance.

13. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Everyone learns at different rates. You might not be very good with the pop shove-it, but your ollie is probably better than most beginners you know.

Focus on what you’re doing, and don’t compare yourself to others.

14. Consolidate Your Progress

Make sure you land your tricks more than once before moving on to the next challenge.

Consistency is key to good skateboarding. Once you land a difficult maneuver, repeat it over and over again until it’s muscle memory.

15. Stay All-Rounded

Once you’re able to pull off four or five tricks, keep practicing and training them on skateparks, flat and smooth surfaces, on the streets of your town.

Just because you’re now practicing a new move, don’t forget to bring older achievements into your present runs.

16. Don’t Try to Impress Others

The number one goal is skateboarding is riding for the pure pleasure of doing it.

One of the most common mistakes beginner skaters make is trying to show off while they’re still in the early learning stages.

It’s a silly and immature behavior that often comes with consequences. Remember that the more you show off, the more you’ll injure yourself.

You don’t want to kill yourself doing something you’re not obviously prepared to do. Be humble and discrete – wanting to look cool is totally uncool.

17. Develop Your Own Skating Style

There’s an old saying that really applies to skateboarding – don’t imitate, innovate!

Developing your own skating style is paramount. You don’t need even need to think about it – just let yourself go and unleash your creativity.

Typically, the more skaters try to mimic their idols, the more they fall and get stuck in a frustration zone.

Free yourself from the standards and remember that there are no rules in skateboarding.

18. Film Yourself

Whether you’re using an action camera or a smartphone, it’s always a good idea to film your early skateboarding moves.

You can use them to ask for tips and advice and correct your tricks and body postures. It’s a great learning tool.

19. Have Fun

There are many good reasons to start skateboarding, but the number rule for embracing it 100 percent is definitely to have fun.

It shouldn’t be an obligation or something you must be good at. Even at a competitive and professional level, skateboarding should be something that brings you joy.

So, go out, skate with friends, and meet new people – that’s what (skateboarding) life is all about.

20. Never Give Up

There are good and bad and good days. Just because today was not a good day, it shouldn’t mean you’re giving up on skateboarding.

Don’t forget this – never get discouraged by something you can’t do because practice will get you where you want to go.

Trial and error are part of the game. Embrace it, progress, and get your skating skills to a whole new dimension.


Getting Started

  1. 1.       


Get some appropriate footwear. Skate shoes are typically sold by brands such as Vans, Airwalk, Converse, or Etnies. They have sturdy sides and flat bottoms, perfect for gripping the board. While you can always skate with regular sneakers, it’s a lot easier to maneuver around the board with skate shoes.

  • Never try to skate in sandals or flip-flops. You need to be able to move your feet around easily and feel comfortable. Without these, you can hurt your ankle easily and are a lot more likely to fall.
  • 2.        


Find a board appropriate for your interests. Skateboards can be cheap or expensive and come in a variety of sizes and styles. The two most basic are regular classic skateboards and longboards. Visit your local skate shop or a skating website to check out some affordable options.

  • Classic skateboards have curved noses and tails, and have a concave to help with tricks. They come in a variety of sizes, and most are about 31″ or 30 in length long and 8″ wide. These are the boards to buy if you want to skate at the skatepark or on the street and to do tricks, eventually.
    • Longboards or cruisers have a longer and flatter body. The length of the board varies, but they can be up to twice as long as a classic skateboard, making them much more stable and rideable for beginners. You can’t really do tricks, but if you’re interested in skating as a way of getting around or bombing hills, it’s a great option.
    • Penny boards are good for somebody who wants to leisurely ride a skateboard down the sidewalk, but are bad for somebody who is taller than the average five-year-old and/or want to do tricks. They’re small so they’re difficult to balance easily on.[1]
    • A beginner skateboard should cost between $50-$150. Try to have your board set up for you at the skate-shop with the right kinds of trucks and wheels for what you’ll be doing. Just remember, NEVER buy a Walmart board. They will snap quickly and are hard to learn on. Go to a real skate shop.
  • 3.        


Get the appropriate safety gear. When you’re first starting out learning to skate, you’re going to fall down. Probably a lot. Consider investing in safety equipment such as a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads to protect you from falls and accidents. This is especially important for beginners. Some states, like California, require all skaters to wear helmets on the street.[2]

  • Make sure to get a helmet that fits your head properly. Before you go to the store, use a tape measure to measure the circumference of your head, just above your eyebrows, in a straight line around your skull. Buy a helmet that fits snugly.
    • There’s nothing lame/childish about pads. It’s important to protect yourself from serious head injuries.
  • 4.        


Find a good place to skate. A level, concrete driveway or parking lot is a good place to start getting comfortable on the board. Make sure there isn’t anything in your way and be wary of cracks, loose stones and potholes. Running over a little pebble can account for a whole lot of crashes, especially with hard wheels.

  • When you’re just beginning, you can practice balancing on grass or carpet first so your board won’t be rolling everywhere.[3]
    • Skateparks are great places to skate once you’ve got some experience. If you’re just trying to get the board to stay under you without falling down, parks might be a little intense. If there’s one in your area, go watch some skaters for tips, but stay on the sidelines.
  • 5.        


Consider getting someone you know that’s good at skateboarding to teach you. Your dad probably can’t shove it or anything, so ask someone from a local shop or park if you can watch them. Bring some beginners and ask if what he’s doing is intermediate to advanced skating, if it is, perfect. You have a teacher.

  • Skating with friends is a big part of what skating is all about. If you’ve got some skater friends, get help learning from them. Learning from friends is infinitely better than learning on your own or on the internet.

Mastering the Basics


Stand on the board properly. Put the board flat on the ground and stand on it to learn to place your feet properly, and get your balance without falling down. Stand with your feet angled sideways on the board, your feet lined up roughly with the truck screws that attach the wheels to the board.

  • Regular foot means that you’ve got your left foot forward and your right foot in the rear. This usually means that you’ll use your right foot to push.
    • Goofy foot means that you’ve got your right foot forward and left in the rear. Usually, this means you’ll use your left foot to push.
    • Rock back and forth a little to see how the wheels move and how much sway you’ve got on the trucks. Just get comfortable.


Try pushing off very gently and placing your feet on the board. Turn your front foot slightly so it’s more straight with the board, instead of sideways on the board. Use your other foot to gently push off, going very slowly at first. You don’t want to have an accident just because you were going too fast before you were ready.

  • After you get some momentum, practice putting your back foot into place on the back of the board, just ahead of the tail curl, around the trucks. Get your balance and ride, bending your knees some to keep your balance.
    • Mongo foot means that you feel more comfortable pushing off with your lead foot, and riding with your back foot. Some people see it as acceptable, but it will hinder you later and it’s an awkward motion to swing your front foot around. If you find yourself pushing mongo, try switching from regular to goofy or vice-versa.
  • 2.      


Give yourself another push when you slow down. Keep practicing, making little push-offs, and pivoting your feet to ride on the board until you slow down. Then pivot your riding foot straight, push off with your other foot, and pivot back. The more you do this, the more comfortable you’ll become at riding the board.

  • Try speeding up, but just a little. Like a bike, some riders find it actually quite a bit easier to keep your balance when you’re moving a little quicker.
    • If you start speed-wobbling, you can tighten your trucks. This will make it harder to turn but you can practice with tight trucks until you get your speed wobble under control. Shifting your weight forward usually helps.


Flex your ankles and shift your weight to turn. Once you’ve got the hang of pushing off and riding some, try turning the board gently by shifting your weight. Ride with your knees flexed, keeping your center of gravity low to the ground. Then, shift your weight forward some to turn right (if you’re riding regular foot), and rotate your ankles back to turn the board left.

  • Depending on how loose your trucks are, you may have to only shift your weight very gently, or really bend into it. You can loosen your trucks by turning the large bolt in the center of each truck (lefty loosy, righty tighty). This puts more (tight) or less (loose) pressure on the bushings and makes turning easier (loose) or harder (tight).
    • If you have trouble balancing or falling while turning, shift your upper-body weight in the opposite direction. What really matters is that your feet pivot the deck so the trucks do the turning.


Put your foot down to stop. To stop, you can simply put your pushing foot down when you’ve slowed down some, and halt your momentum. However, don’t just jam your foot down hard at a fast speed. Start by dragging lightly and drag harder when you’re going slow. Keep your riding foot on the board, or it’ll just keep going.

  • You can also shift your weight back and scrape the tail against the ground if you want to stop. Some longboards have built-in plastic “brake” pads along the back lip of the board, while others won’t. This is usually a bit more difficult, and will scrape away at the back of the board. An alternative that won’t damage your board is to put your heel behind with your toes still on the tail when you do this. Your heel will drag on the ground instead of the tail.
    • You should practice getting on and off before you start skating at high speeds. One exit strategy if you’re riding on flat without pads is to take your back foot off in front of you and walk or run away from the board.


Try riding switch. Once you get very comfortable just riding your board, try switching around and riding with your back foot in front and your front foot in back. If you want to be a really good skater, you’ll learn to skate equally comfortably from both directions, if you get switched around for a trick. This comes in handy when you try a half-pipe, or any number of different types of skateboarding tricks.


Learn to fall properly. All skaters fall early and often. It’s a part of skateboarding. It’s important to wear the proper safety gear at all times, and learn to fall properly. To keep yourself from getting injured more seriously than the regular scrapes and bruises that are the skaters calling card, you can learn a few little tricks to keep yourself safe.

  • Put your arms out, but keep them loose. If you’re very rigid, you risk breaking wrists and ankles more seriously than if you use them to cushion your fall.[5]
    • Roll out any time that you fall. You might scrape yourself up, but it’ll hurt a lot less than if you’re landing with a splat.
    • Bail out if you see something going bad. If you’re going too fast and can’t control your board, just jump off and land on your feet, or roll into the grass. Don’t stick on a board that you’ve lost control of.


Watch more experienced skaters to learn tips and tricks. Find some other skaters to skate with. It helps you to learn from their styles or different skill levels. If you don’t know anyone, just talk to some other skaters at the local skate park. They are usually friendly, and will help you out. Experiment, make a higher ollie, read about how to do another trick, whatever your heart desires. Your teacher is more a friend than an instructor now, share skills with him, and anyone else you want to show off to.

  • For tips on how to do the moves, you can always watch a move in a video in slow motion and pay attention to the foot movement. Sequential photos are another great way to learn.
    • The more you practice, the better you will be. Don’t get discouraged because you can’t land a trick the first or second try. Just practice and have fun, and you will get the trick eventually.

Learning to Ollie

  1. 1.     


Start by popping the front up with your back foot on the tail. An ollie involves popping the board up into the air and landing on it safely. The first part of this trick is to get comfortable shifting your back foot for the tail of the board to hit the ground, so you can pop it up and into the air. Get used to this motion, it can’t be stressed enough.

  • As you stand on the board, practice rocking back, popping the nose up into the air and staying balanced. You can even try it in motion if you work up the nerve.
    • Before you even try the first motion of an ollie, it might be a good idea to just stand beside the skateboard and practice popping it up into the air. Use your foot to stomp on the tail and see how much pressure it takes to pop it up in the air. This is also useful to pop it up to your hands and pick it up easily.
    • One common mistake is to push too hard down on your tail, which prevents your board from going up in the air. Instead, flick down with your ankle to send the board to the floor, then lift later.


Try to pop up the board while you’re stationary. Stand on the board and flex your knees quite low, shifting your center of gravity down over the trucks. Shift your back foot back so it’s on the tail. Pop the tail back, as you would while you’re doing a manual, except all the way to the ground. Then pop it up into the ollie.

  • Don’t start in motion just yet. Before you can nail an ollie on the ground, it’s quite dangerous to try one while you’re skating. You’ll probably wipe out.


Pop the board up into the air and jump. To get the board to pop, you want to simultaneously slide your front foot backward just a little and leap into the air, bringing your knees up to your chest, while you stab down on the tail with your back foot.

  • This needs to be done in one swift motion, and it’s somewhat difficult to get the hang of at first. You want to jump up into the air and off the board at the same time as you pop down with your back foot.[7]
    • You’ll leap with your front foot just a little before you leap with your back foot. Imagine you’re running sideways and trying to jump over a cone. You want to do that kind of motion.
  • 2.        


Drag your front foot forward to catch the board. After the board pops up in the air, drag your front foot forward to flatten the board back out and keep it under control. You’ll need to start doing this pretty much as soon as you jump into the air.

  • 3.      


Push the board down by straightening your legs out. After you’ve straightened the board, push it back to the ground by straightening your legs and landing on the board in riding position. The most important thing to remember is to land with your feet over the bolts and knees bent, this improves your chances of rolling away successfully and keeps the board from breaking as often, as well as avoiding injury.

  • No shame in bailing out. If the board hasn’t stayed straight, or it just doesn’t feel right, don’t try to land on it. Land on your feet instead.
    • In fact, it’s probably a good idea to practice your first ollie by just jumping off the board and landing beside it.


Try an ollie in motion. Once you can land ten stationary ollies in a row, try doing one in motion. Push off and start skating at a low to moderate speed, then crouch down and pop the board up just as you would when you’re standing still.

  • One way you can progress from doing an Ollie is to Olly over small items, like.a stick or a curb.[8]
    • This is the fundamental skill to learn, which most other popping style tricks are based on. For more information and links to specific trick articles, check out the next section.
  • 1.     


Try a pop shove it. Do an ollie as high as you can, then as you level off your feet, give a nudge with the front foot on the board so it spins 180 degrees. You may want to use a little “scoop” motion with the back foot to make it spin easier.

  • 2.      


Try a kick-flip. Do the same thing as a pop shove it, except when you nudge the board, kick the little area where the side of the board rises. Try out a few different motions until you get it to spin. This is not an easy trick, so practice and don’t give up.

  • 3.      


Try to grind. Start with a fairly low rail (equal to or less than one foot.) This is not easy, so take it in steps.

  • Start out simply rolling up to the rail, then jump off of your board and land with just your feet on the rail, letting the board roll away.
    • Next, practice popping the board up as you jump, but don’t worry about where it goes after that. Just make sure that your feet land on the rail.
    • Make sure you roll up to the rail at a slight angle, not completely straight. This way, there’s less risk of one truck getting caught on the start of the rail.
    • Now it’s time for the real thing. Ollie as high as you can, in the direction of the rail. Land with your feet on the bolts and the board balanced on the rail.
    • If the deck is sliding sideways on the rail, it’s a board-slide. If you stay in the direction of the rail so your trucks lock in and grind it, it’s a 50-50 grind.
    • Once you get to the end of the rail, turn the board around if you’re in a board-slide (so it faces the right direction) and land over the bolts. If you’re doing a 50-50 grind, lift the front wheels slightly (by pushing on the tail, again slightly) to the front of the board doesn’t plummet down. An alternative is to ollie off.
  • 4.      


Head to the skatepark and learn to drop in. Dropping in takes guts, but it’s worth it.

  • Start with your tail on the coping (the metal on the top of the half-pipe) and your foot just behind the bolts, but far enough back to balance.
    • Put your front foot over the bolts, and slam the board down. Don’t hesitate, or you will fall. It takes confidence and power.
    • Be sure to lean forward in this motion. If you don’t, the board will slide out from under you. Your shoulders should always be parallel to the board.
    • Don’t worry about coming down on the other side, just hop off of your board at the top.
  • 5.     


Do some lip-tricks. Some good ones are a Rock to Fakie, Axle Stall, and Nose Stall. These look impressive, but are not that difficult to learn if you have several months of experience. When you go to the skatepark always be aware so you don’t get hit.

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