Skateboarding has been a favourite sport for many young people and adults and is growing in popularity as the knowledge of the sport spreads. For the purpose of clarification, skateboarding is the act of riding a skateboard. It is a popular recreational activity but has also been used as a means of commuting by many people.
So what are some skateboarding techniques for beginners? If you are new to skateboarding or just a skateboarding enthusiast, there are a number of things you should know. There are a number of skateboarding techniques, and safety measures you need to practice to get started on this sport.
Surveys have shown that interest in skateboarding is growing rapidly as younger males (and females) below 18 years are gravitating towards this sport.
Let us start with the basics
Get a Skateboard and Gear Up
One of the key skateboarding techniques for beginners and the first step when learning to skateboard is to purchase the right gear. This mainly means getting yourself a skateboard and buying the appropriate protective gear. Due to the risk factor associated with skateboarding, you would need to kit up properly with skateboarding shoes, helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist brace that will protect you in the event of a fall.
When choosing a skateboard, you need to get a board that is thick, has a heavy deck and has less curvature. The reason you need this kind of skateboard is to keep you from falling off when you start skateboarding. As you progress in skateboarding, you can begin to explore different skateboards with unique shapes and curvature to suit your preference.
Longboards are a great option for a starter; it is easy to hop on, manoeuvre and move easily from place to place. You can also pop into a skateboard shop close to you and ask for advice from sellers or people with experience; they will definitely point you in the right direction.
Find a good practice location
The best place to learn skateboarding is in a neighbourhood or community park. But if you don’t have that, you can find alternative locations with flat and smooth surfaces. Make sure there are as few obstacles as possible because you are still practising so you need things to be as easy as possible.
You also need to avoid wet and slippery places because you need your board to stay dry to function properly.
If you cannot seem to find somewhere to skate, perhaps you should ask around for skateboarders in your area and find out where they skate. You can visit skateboarding clubs around you if you have those, or go online and search for skateboarders close to you. One of these options should work for you.
It is also very important to get a teacher or friend to skate with you in the beginning because you need someone to support you, and help you in case emergencies occur.
When looking for someone to skate with you, make sure they are patient and can go at your pace. You don’t need persons who will push you too fast and lead to mistakes or accidents.
Don’t be in a hurry to join a group of skateboarders who are already experienced because you would find it nearly impossible to cope with them. Stick to one person who won’t mind making out time to teach you all you need to know.
Choose a Stance
skateboarding techniques for beginners A stance refers to choosing what foot to forward first, and what foot to push with when you start riding.
There are two stances you can use when you start learning to push; they include the goofy stance and the regular stance.
For the regular stance, you will put your left foot in front and push with your right foot. For a goofy stance, you will put your right foot forward and push with your left foot.
Learn How to Push on a Skateboard
After getting a comfortable stance, the next thing to learn is how to push on a skateboard.
To push, the first thing you need to do is to balance your front foot. Once you are able to achieve that balance, you can push with ease.
When you start learning to push, start by pushing on a flat and even surface, then move to a shallow edge as you progress. It is better to start on an even surface because you might fall on your first attempts, so you should be safe.
One trick you can use is to maintain your balance and push while you are walking. If you are confident, you can also push forcefully and then ride until the skateboard stops. If you want to go further, you can push again once the skateboard starts losing speed and continue as many times as possible.
After learning to push, you need to shift into a riding position as soon as you start moving.
To do this, you need to place your pushing foot on the board alongside your front foot that had been on it. To achieve this position, shift your riding foot to the side, and then place your pushing foot at the tail of the board to rest lightly.
Your ideal position should be upright, with your back straight and your knees slightly bent. Your forward foot should stay on the front of the truck screws or just behind it, your back foot should be near the tail of your board or slightly on it. This will make it easier for you to make a turn.
It is usually not easy for a beginner to achieve this stance; that is why you have to practice continuously in a safe place so that you won’t get injured if you lose footing.
Learn to Turn
To turn correctly after getting into the riding position, shift the weight forward or backward from your ankle depending on whether you want to turn left or right. If your trucks are tight, you would need to use a little more pressure than you would need if your trucks are light.
There are two common turns you should practice as a new skateboarder; carving turns and kick turns.
Carving turn is quite natural and easy to achieve; it is the basic turn we have described above and simply requires you to direct your weight to one side, while your trucks help you redirect.
To make a carving turn, ensure that you bend your knees before leaning towards your direction. Make sure you relax your body and your joints to achieve a fluid motion.
Also, take note of how tight or lose your trucks are; while tighter trucks are important for stability, they make turning a bit difficult, especially for a learner. Looser trucks will help you turn easier, but you need to have gotten a hang of your stability to use loose trucks.
Kick turns also help you avoid obstacles, change directions or make sharp turns while moving at slow speed.
To make a kick turn, place your back foot on the tail of the skateboard and then lean back so you lift up the front of the board from the ground. While the front is off the ground, you can change the direction of the board by moving your body.
Point your head, shoulders, and hip towards the direction you want to go, and the board will turn in the direction you are pointing towards.
Learn How To Stop
After learning to move, the next thing is to learn how to stop safely; especially when you are moving at high speed.
The easiest way to stop is to first slow down if you are going fast; after slowing down then you either tail stop or stop by putting your foot on the pavement to slow down as you move.
To tail stop, you need to shift as much weight as possible to your back foot standing on the tail of the skateboard and use the tail to bring the board to a halt.
To protect the tail of your board, you can get a protective cover for the tail from a skateboard shop.
Learn How to Fall
Perhaps one of the most important things for you to learn as a beginner is how to fall. The reason for this lies in the fact that you are going to fall a number of times while practising. The best skateboarders still fall sometimes, so it is not something to rule out. This is also the reason you need helmets and other protective gear to make sure you don’t get hurt.
Back to falling… it might interest you to know that you need a few tricks when falling off a skateboard so you are as safe as possible.
First thing is to fall in a way that you don’t hurt your wrists or ankles either from falling wrongly or trying to brace yourself with your hands. It is instinctive to try breaking a fall by spreading out your hand, but that act is very dangerous as you might end up breaking your arms badly as a result of the impact; especially if you are moving at high speed.
You need to learn how to bring your arms in towards your body when falling instead of reaching out. You also need to tuck your chin in when falling so you don’t break your jaw in the process.
The quickest way to achieve this is to stay calm whenever you are about to fall. It is not the easiest thing, but it is very important to you as a skateboarder as panic will only make things worse for you.
You also need to practice rolling when you fall so that you land on the softer and less delicate parts of your body.
Start practising as soon as possible on soft surfaces or areas filled with grass; that way you don’t get injured while learning how to not get injured.
The earlier you are able to control your falls and land safely, the better for your skateboarding career.
Learn How to Drop-In
This skill will come in handy when you have properly mastered all the other tricks we have considered above. This technique is quite scary for learners, but once you get a hang of it, it gets pretty easy.
Once you get into the skate spark, you would definitely need to do a drop into the ramps, and you need to do it right.
To drop in properly, place the tail of your skateboard at the top of the ramp so your wheels are hanging off the edge. Pin the skateboard down with your back foot and keep your weight there.
Then, place your front foot on the skateboard near the front bolt, but make sure your weight is still on your back foot.
Lean your body forward towards the ramp and angle your body towards the slope. Press the front wheels down in a swift motion as you go down.
Continue leaning forward until you reach the end of the ramp.
To maintain balance when dropping in, you should crouch lower on the board and keep your ankles as still as possible. You can also use your arms to maintain balance.
Some other tricks to practice
As you get comfortable mastering the basic skills, you can consider learning a few other skateboarding tricks for beginners.
Watch Skateboarding Videos
One sure way of picking up skateboarding techniques for beginners is by watching tutorial videos online; it will also help you make more sense of everything you are reading right now. As you move on, you can also pick up more advanced skills from these videos.
Watching videos is not an alternative to face to face learning; they are both important so you can do the two side by side.
When searching for videos make sure you watch the ones that are easy to understand and catch up to.
There are a number of renowned skateboarding videos on YouTube and other channels that are very important to beginners; let me give you a quick list.
- Andy Schrock YouTube videos
- Nike SB – Nike Skateboarding Channel
- NKA Vids Skateboarding Channel (Nigel Alexander)
- Braille Skateboarding YouTube Channel (Aaron Kyro)
- RIDE Skateboarding Channel
- Daily Skate Tube Channel
- NSI Skateboarding Channel
- VL Skate Channel
The secret to learning skateboarding techniques for beginners includes building up on your confidence, keeping an open mind and constant practice. Trust me, it can be quite difficult when starting out. But if you want to do this, you need a whole lot of patience, passion, and gut.
If you have all of those, then you are well on your way to learning all the important skateboarding techniques you should know.