Buying a Skateboard

A modern complete skateboard

A modern complete skateboard

First thing you want to do here is find a skateshop. If there isn’t one near you, try an online skateshop (if you don’t know any ( Find one on our Skater Owned Shops page). You should be able to buy a good beginners Skateboard for about fifty to sixty quid. Another option you have is to buy a cheap Skateboard (usually less than thirty quid) from a sports shop, but one of these will be heavier, weaker and generally more difficult to learn to skate on. Furthermore, it is likely that it will have some cheesy graphic saying something like “WIPEOUT!!” – do you want to be seen carrying that under your arm?! So, now that you have your pretty new Skateboard, you need to get to know it.

Get Moving

Yes, that’s right, Skateboards can move. Shocking, I know – everywhere I go these days all I see is 12 year old kids learning to Ollie on the spot. You heard me – ON THE SPOT! Of course, if you’re that eager to be the next Tony Hawks then I can’t stop you from following their lead… my advice to you, however, is to get comfortable rolling around on your Skateboard first. Find an empty car park, plant your feet on your Skateboard and get pushing. When you fall off, pick yourself up and try again. Fun, isn’t it? Now find a hill and bomb down it. Laugh at the Tony Hawk kids as you zoom past them. However, if you just can’t find your balance, chances are you might be standing the wrong way. This leads me to my next topic… Stances.

Stances

The term ‘stance’ simply refers to the way you stand on your Skateboard. To work out your stance, just get moving on your Skateboard and see which way feels natural to stand. If you tend towards standing with your right foot at the back of the Skateboard, you are a ‘regular’ skateboader. If you prefer to have your left foot at the back, you are a ‘goofy’ skateboarder. Honestly… I’m not making this up. You may also be one of those weird skateboarders who feel equally at home skateboarding either way round – lucky bastard! If the opposite holds true – i.e. you can’t Skateboard either way – why don’t you try taking up chess instead? No, sorry, I’m only joking… keep trying!

Turning

Get practicing on the skateboard

Practice makes perfect

OK, if you haven’t already, you may want to try to turn. It’s useful to avoid crashing into stuff – walls, curbs, pedestrians… you know, all those things that get in your way while Skateboarding.

There are two ways to turn – left and right. [No, really, stop me if I'm being obvious.] However… well, you know how in the navy they call them ‘port’ and ‘starboard’ just to confuse people? In skating it’s even worse! Turning towards the side your ass is pointing to is called ‘frontside’, and turning the way you are facing is called ‘backside’. Confused yet? There’s actually a simple explanation – these terms originated from surfing, where frontside and backside refer to where you are in relation to the wave. Think about it for a while – I’m sure you’ll get it eventually.

Learning How To Do Skateboarding Tricks

The most important piece of advice I can give here is:

Practice, practice, practice and practice some more.

Skateboarding isn’t easy – that’s the fun of it. So don’t worry if a trick doesn’t come right away, it just means you be all the happier when you finally do learn it. Don’t give up! If you get exasperated, try a different trick, or maybe just roll about or speed down a hill – the feeling you get will remind you of why you started skateboarding in the first place.

The first time you land a trick after months of trying is an ecstatic moment. Just focus on your goals and ignore what everyone else says. You wanna learn a no-comply? Go for it! Who cares if your friends say it’s a crappy trick? As long as you’re having fun, keep skating.

Now get up off your ass and go learn some skateboarding tricks!

How to Ollie

Learn how to Ollie

Learn how to Ollie

Aha, the Ollie. Named after Alan ‘Ollie’ Gelfland, this is the basis of all ‘new school’ Skateboarding tricks and is probably the most important trick you will learn. An ollie is the act of propelling yourself and your Skateboard up, up, and away from the ground using only the fundamental principles of physics. Does that sound difficult? That’s because it is! Only joking – it may take you a while to get this technique on lock down, but once you have it, it becomes second nature! Remember – practice makes perfect!

Foot Position

Back foot [that's your right foot if you're regular, left if you're goofy] wants to be right on the very tip of the tail, with just the ball of your foot pressing down. This means you can exert the maximum possible pressure when it comes to getting the all important ‘pop’.

Your front foot should be somewhere between halfway and two-thirds of the way up your board. Don’t put it too far up as you’re going to have to ‘scrape’ your foot up the griptape.

The Pop

Now we come to the motion of ollieing. Bend your knees so you are crouched over your board, spring loaded and ready to leap. Remember, as I said earlier, “An ollie is the act of propelling yourself and your Skateboard up”, so don’t concentrate too much on your Skateboard alone – you need to get up in the air too! What I’m trying to say is JUMP. As you perform your almighty leap, you want to hit down with your back foot, causing the tail of your Skateboard to smack off the ground. This is what skateboarders call the ‘pop’, and getting a good pop is 50 per cent of your ollie.

The Drag

This is the part that everyone gets wrong. At the same time as the tail is hitting off the ground, you want to be ‘scraping’ or ‘dragging’ your front foot up your Skateboard. This is what causes the back wheels to lift off the ground and makes the whole thing an ollie rather than a half hearted attempt at nothing. So remember – scraping your front foot up causes the back of the Skateboard to come off the ground. Try to keep the entire motion fluid – pop, jump, and scrape all in one silky smooth combination of muscle movements. Imagine you’re a ballet dancer or something. Don’t wear a tutu.

Hangtime

Your first ollies are likely to be less than an inch high, so you don’t need to worry about this too much. However, as you begin to whittle down that ollieing motion, you will need to balance yourself out in the air. Trying to keep centered above your Skateboard at all times is the most important thing, as this will prevent you from falling off when you land. Another point is not to lift your feet off the Skateboard – try and keep the soles of your trainers in contact with the griptape at all times, as this will give you a more stylish, more controlled ollie.

Make it look smooth – do it like it’s easy and it will be easy.

Landing

The easiest part, would you believe it. Again, keep your weight centered above your Skateboard and, if you can, land with your feet directly above the trucks as this will decrease the chances of your board snapping.

So, now you can ollie! ‘What shall I do now?!’, I hear you cry – well, put it to good use! Ollie up curbs, ollie down curbs, ollie over coke cans, ollie over your mates’ Skateboards, ollie off ledges, ollie out your bedroom window… whatever takes your fancy! Live life on the edge!

Learning Flip Tricks

Flip tricks come in all different shapes and forms, from the humble shuv-it right up to the aptly named impossible. Some of these may take you a good while to get done – it took me a year to kickflip – but believe me, it’s all worth it in the end. There’s no better feeling than that moment when your feet catch your slowly rotating Skateboard right at the peak of it’s upward movement and stamp it cleanly back to the ground. Mmm…

The Pop-Shuv-it

Probably the simplest of flip tricks, it often goes overlooked in favour of better known tricks like the almighty kickflip. This is a great trick to learn as it can lead you into many variations as well as more difficult tricks like varial flips and 360 flips.

Foot positioning here is much the same as for an ollie, but maybe with the front foot moved back slightly. Again, you want to crouch down in a spring loaded stance ready to jump. However, this time, as you jump up, move your back foot so it kicks out behind you. This should cause the Skateboard to spin round, although it will take a good bit of practise before you get it just right.

Now we come to the important part – you must not jump away from the Skateboard, but rather stay centered over it so that you can land back on top of it. Try to land on all four wheels simultaneously as this will prevent you from falling or sliding out when you touchdown.

The Kickflip

The big one. The one you’ve all been waiting for. The holy grail of the Tony Hawk’s generation. I bet you’ve tried this a good few times already, haven’t you? Any luck? Well, here’s our definitive guide to kickflipping to give you a helping hand.

Set up your back foot right on the tip of the tail, just like you do for your ollie. Your front foot, however, should be moved over towards the edge of your Skateboard and turned to an almost 45-degree angle.

The movement here starts the same as that for an ollie – popping the tail while jumping. However, it’s in the scrape of the front foot that the difference occurs. To get your Skateboard to flip, you scrape your front foot not only forward [as you do for an ollie] but off to the side at the same time – it should trail off the edge your Skateboard just where the nose begins. A good pop and a fast flick of your front foot should give you a good kickflip spin.

The most important thing here is not to jump away from your Skateboard. You want to stay centered above it with your feet floating nicely just above that rotating deck. As soon as you see the black of your griptape re-appear, stamp it down! Again, try to land on all four wheels at the same time and, if you can, get your feet over the bolts as this will minimize the risk of your deck snapping.

Now roll away with a big grin on your face, secure in the knowledge that you are a better skater than all your friends.