How to Skateboard For Beginners
Want to learn how to skateboard? Here is a comprehensive guide for you. It covers how to skateboard for beginners and empowers you with knowledge and skills that you can’t get anywhere else.
This step by step guide contains everything that you need to know from the moment you acquire a skateboard until you become an expert.
Step 1: Set Up Your Skateboard
As a beginner, you might want to ensure that your skateboard is designed and configured perfectly for a novice rider. For instance, a light and wide skateboard are better because it requires little energy and has a wide surface for you to balance on.
If you are using a brand new board, then the first thing that you should probably do is loosen the trucks. Very tight ones make it amazingly stable but they will deter you from turning.
Finally, make sure that the top of the deck has a grip. If it doesn’t then, you might be forced to buy and attach a grip tape because it increases friction between your feet and the board thus making it easy for you to maintain your balance.
Image Credits: Reddit
Step 2: Determine Your Stance and Work On Balance
The position of your feet will determine your stance, which in turn will determine your balance. So which foot should you put in front? There is no general rule for that. However, it is recommended that you put your stronger foot first so that you can respond instinctively whenever you fall off the board.
Alternatively, you can test yourself to determine the stance that makes you comfortable. There are two types – a regular stance and a goofy stance. For a normal position, place your left foot on the front part of the board and then push it with your right foot. Do the opposite for a goofy position (right foot on the board and push with the left). Now determine which one feels more natural.
Once you have decided your position, you can proceed to develop balance. Stand on your board and push it slowly while doing a penguin walk. You will learn how to adjust after a couple of attempts.
Step 3: Push Off
Now that you have made some reasonable steps in ensuring stability it is time to start pushing off. The best way to do it is to either go uphill (a shallow hill) or on a level surface. The trick to learning this level effectively is confidence.
It is important for you to position your feet properly. The skateboard will roll away from you if you place your feet on the same level or if you put your pushing foot behind the one that is on the board. The right way to do it is to ensure that your pushing footsteps in front of the skateboard and then use some energy to push back.
Every single push should be a smooth and powerful movement rather than a short and stuttering one. Whereas the former will allow you to increase speed quickly and with little energy, the latter will exhaust you and might even compromise the smoothness of your ride.
You need to get on your board once it has picked up enough speed. To do so, start by twisting the foot that is on the board so that it faces sideways and not forwards. Next, step firmly and confidently on the skateboard’s fishtail. For easy control, make sure that your feet are positioned behind the bolts. If they are in front, try to shuffle them into the correct position as quickly as possible.
Step 4: How to Stop
Now that you know how to ride, you also need to know how to stop. There are several methods of bringing your skateboard to a stop. However, most of them (like boneless and powerslide stops) are for advanced riders. The best method for you is the tail stop.
The tail stop involves grinding the skateboard’s tail on the ground until the friction caused brings it to a stop. All you need to do is shift most of your weight to the back foot and that will force the board’s tail to drag on the ground.
Another alternative is doing the reverse push. In this case, use your pushing foot to slow yourself gradually by taking small steps onto the ground. For them to be effective, you must push them against the direction in which you are travelling. It is worth noting that this is not the best method for you; especially if you are riding at high speed.
Step 5: Turning
You might need to turn your skateboard a few times in between the first push and the stop. It is the simplest thing to do. Simply lean the skateboard gently to the right or left. Put more weight on your toes and heels and use them to direct the board to whichever direction you want it to turn.
Step 6: How to Do Tricks on a Skateboard for Beginners
You have now learnt all the important basics of skateboarding. That is the adequate groundwork for you to start practising tricks. Some tricks are fun and worthwhile. Here are a few that are good for beginners:
# Ollie: to perform his trick, you need to snap the board’s tail with your back foot and then slide the front foot forward to the desired altitude. That will make the skateboard jump by letting the front wheels leave the ground first.
# Flips: there are many flip tricks (like kickflip); all of which are modifications of the Ollie. They involve spinning the board around while jumping. When you finish the jump, the board should be on the ground so that you step back on it. There are no restrictions on the number of flips. However, as a beginner, you should start with few flips and then progress to many.
# Indy Grab: this trick is like a flip; except for the fact that you don’t flip the board. Instead, you float in the air and either holds it with your hand or use your feet to apply constant pressure so that it doesn’t float away. Just as is the case with flips, the skateboard should be on the ground as soon as your feet land.
# Slides and grinds: a slide involves getting the skateboard on a rail or ledge and sliding it as you ride. On the other hand, a grind involves the same concept except for the fact that it is the trucks that will be in contact with the rail or ledge (and not the board itself). You can perform slides and grinds on parking blocks, swimming pools, stairway handles, and any other edge that is good enough.
Other tricks include freestyle tricks, lip tricks and twists among others.
That is pretty much everything that you need to know as a beginner. Remember that practice makes perfect and the more you practice, the better you become. So don’t shy away from trying something new as long as you have observed all the safety measures. You can always get more inspiration and tutorials from your skateboarding friends and other online guides on how to skateboard for beginners.