Frontside and Backside are the terms used to describe which direction a skateboarder is facing while approaching an obstacle or attempting a trick.

‘Frontside’ and ‘Backside’ originated from surfing, where Frontside and Backside referred to where you were in related to a wave. If you’re facing the wave it’s called frontside and if your back is to the wave it’s called Backside.

Frontside Boardslide

Frontside Boardslide

Grinds and Slides

For a grind the same rule applies, if the skateboarder is facing the obstacle he is approaching it would be Frontside or Backside if the skateboarder approaches with his back to the obstacle.

With his in mind a grind depends on how the obstacle is approached and how the skateboarder lands and grinds the obstacle, for example if a skateboarder approaches frontside but ollies 180° and 50-50′s it would be Backside as the skater turned before the grind was executed.

Slides are the same, if your facing the rail when you approach it then it’s frontside.

Rotations

For tricks where you rotate, like a 180° Ollie, if you are facing forwards after the first 90° that would be frontside. For example a skateboarder doing a Frontside 180° ollie would spin in the direction the skaters heels are facing. The exception to this is when a trick is performed in fakie, for which the above would be reversed. For example a fakie frontside 180° ollie would spin in the direction the skateboarder toes are facing.

Flatland Tricks

Frontside and Backside are used to explain the direction the board spins when doing tricks such as a 360 flip (a backside 360° pop-shove-it with a kickflip). A 360 flip is backside because of the way it’s spun. The skater uses his/her tail foot to scoop the tail of the skateboard behind the skater, in the direction the skaters back faces making it Backside. You can apply this to all tricks where the board spins horizontally, the trick is defined Frontside or Backside by the way the board is spun, in the direction the skater is facing.

Nollie, Switch, Fakie

For Nollie, Switch and Fakie the same rules above apply. The only difference is with Nollie and Fakie you will be traveling backwards so a Frontside 180° Nollie or Fakie Ollie would spin in the direction the skaters toes are facing.