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How to Skateboard – All You Need to Know as a Beginner

Whether you see it as a way of transport, part of the entertainment industry, or recreational activity, you can’t deny this action sport is also a form of art.

We are here to introduce you to all you have to know to learn how to skateboard.

If you want to master a new skill, perform all the tricks you saw in the movies as soon as possible and enjoy the process without unwanted injuries; this article is all you need.

Let’s jump right into it.

How to skateboard - the full guide for beginners.

A Short History of Skateboarding

When the waves were flat on the West Coast of the United States along the Pacific ocean, surfers had to come up with a new occupation. This invention was called “sidewalk surfing“.

We don’t know who made the first board, but all the skateboarders in the early 60s were pioneers – they were first.

Today, skateboarding is more like a lifestyle, and its history is being written now (you can be a part of that!).

This sport has gone through many stages, adapting to the needs and creativity of people all around the world. Now even dogs do it, like this cute little fella:

Now let’s move on to what will help you most easily learn how to skateboard. We will show you the necessary basics before you start riding like a professional.

#1 – Choose the Right Board

Choosing the proper skateboard.

Learning to skateboard may be challenging, but with the right equipment, everything becomes easier.

In the first place, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the components of a skateboard. 

  • deck: this is your base, the wooden board on which you will stand
  • adhesive sandpaper: it is located along with the board and blocks your feet from sliding off the board
  • pair of trucks: you can see them under the board, and they attach the wheels and the bearings 

The front side of the deck, called the nose, is a little wider than the back, which is called the tail.

There are different sizes of the skateboard appropriate depending on your age. The thing is, you should choose the board proportional to your shoe size and not your weight or height, as happens with snowboarding.

Also, you can buy all the components separately. Still, it’s better for you as a beginner to find one complete skateboard.

A ready-made entry-level board should suit you perfectly because it’s designed specifically for a newbie.

They are more than enough for you to learn all the all-around riding styles. Also, they are a lot less expensive, and you won’t make a mistake by choosing something that isn’t right for you at the moment. 

#2 – Don’t Skip the Safety Gear

You have only one life and body, so don’t mark it for a few minutes of joy.

Skateboarding includes many falls, especially for beginners, so choose the right skate pads and helmet and prevent unwanted injuries.

Helmets

Helmets are a crucial piece of equipment for skaters. They cover the most important part of your body, which is your head.

The first thing you need to figure out is what size do you need. The helmet can’t be uncomfortably tight, but it has to be cozy. One way to make sure you have chosen the right size is to measure your head before going to the store.

There are two types of helmets:

  • classic helmets – which you think of when you start looking for them. They cover your head from the middle of your forehead to your neckline. Also, they are more light-weight and comfortable than full-cut helmets, which are very similar.
  • full-cut helmets – the main difference is they will weigh slightly more than the classic ones, but they will provide you better protection.
Classic and full-cut skateboard helmet.

Guards & Pads

The most common places of injuries, scratches, and fractures are on the elbows and knees. So, don’t forget wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads. You will need them more than you think, especially as a beginner.

They are more than necessary because they will help you prevent injuries when you go down awkwardly until you learn how to fall.

Gloves

The last but not least part of your gear should be gloves. They are built to stand up to concrete and open you up to a whole new world of tricks.

#3 – Find the Right Shoes 

Choosing the right shoes for skateboard.

Shoes are not just a part of your outfit. They are purpose-built pieces of skateboarding equipment.

You have to pay attention to their:

  • comfort,
  • durability,
  • and protection.

You could choose a pair of shoes with a flat sole and shock absorbing ability. Furthermore, they can be of different materials such as leather, suede, or textile.

Now that you have all the necessary equipment, let’s move on to the mental preparation, which is equally important, and the basics skills to practice.

#4 – Develop the Right Mindset

Developing the right mindset.

You might feel inclined to skip this section, but we promise – your mindset is just as important as the safety gear!

Tip #1: Set Your Goal 

Before you start boarding, it’s important to know what you want to accomplish.

Do you have the aspiration to master all the tricks, go on a competition or just enjoy the ride and have fun with your friends?

Be realistic and have patience. Everything takes time, especially if we do it for the first time. Don’t make huge goals that drive you to frustration and make you think about quitting skateboarding.

Tip #2: Ask for Help

Skateboarders are like a big family. They will be more than happy to have a chance to help you and bring you into their world.

You will learn skateboarding skills faster by talking or practicing with skaters.

Moreover, there are better chances they will notice what you are doing wrong. This way, they can tell you how you could improve your overall posture, feet positioning, and upper body balance.  

Tip #3: Be Confident 

Don’t worry about how good or bad you are. Everybody started from the exact place where you are now.

Skaters love seeing someone pushing their limits, working hard, and becoming better.

Consistency is the key. Once you learn one trick, repeat it several times until it becomes muscle memory, then move to the next one. Practice and dedication are the best tricks to remember while riding a skateboard.

There is no way you won’t be better day by day, just focus on what you are doing.

Besides that, don’t be afraid to fall. All the safety gear we talked about before will protect you from injury.

You know how Abraham Lincoln said – “It’s not about how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up”.

Tip #4: Don’t try to impress others

Yes, be confident but not above your abilities.

This is the mistake we all make no matter what we are doing. But skateboarding is specific. You can’t learn to fly with your board if you don’t know the right way to step on it.

Be patient with yourself and avoid unwanted consequences doing something you are not prepared to do.

Not only that – if we are honest, nobody likes people who try too hard to look cool.

#5 Wait for the Big Skatepark

Two girls in a blue skatepark.

Choosing the right environment is important as well.

Don’t start skating on a concrete floor or in the park right away. Practice on the grass or the carpet in your room. It will help you improve your balance and control over your body and the board.

After you can go outside on a smooth, non-crowded street or parking – these are great places for learning.

Going to a skatepark could be dangerous at the beginning. There are often big ramps, half-pipes, funboxes, and many people practicing skateboarding, bicycle motocross, scooter, or aggressive inline skating on a professional level.

Pro Tip: Skip the Rain

Rest on rainy days. Skateboarding and water don’t mix well. Slippery surfaces could be your biggest enemy. Also, it’s not good for your wooden board and metal parts.

#6 Learn Your First Skills

Learning your first skateboard tricks.

In the end, we will show you what the first skills you could practice are.

#1 – Learn How to Start Skateboarding 

You can’t move with your board if you can’t push.

After placing your front foot on a deck at a 30-degree angle, the only thing you have to do is to push off the ground with your back foot and then step back onto the board. 

The more you repeat this action or the bigger your pushes are, the faster you’ll go. 

If the board begins to turn in the unwanted direction, bend your knee to the inside or outside, and this should bring you back on the right track.

#2 – The Best Way to Stop

One of the first things in your process of learning how to skateboard should be – understanding how to stop.

As opposed to pushing – softly drag the sole of your shoe on the ground while keeping most of your weight on your front foot.

When you make contact, you can use more pressure to slow down quickly.

Don’t move from this position if you want to stop completely, or put your foot back on the board when you’ve reached the required speed.

#3 – Carving

If you want to turn your board, you can do it by leaning in the direction you want to go. 

To turn inwards – push forward with your toes and your upper body. To turn outwards – lean back on your heels and tilt backward slowly. 

If you have an issue with balance, spread your front arm out and point in the direction you want to go. 

#4 – Kickturns 

A step forward from carving is kickturns

They will allow you to change the direction of the board so much faster. This is the most important skill to learn if you want to avoid unexpected obstacles and advance to the skate park quickly. 

When you have learned the carving technique, here is one thing to add – try turning the board while it’s popped up and your weight is on your back foot.

Master these most basic techniques first. Building a proper foundation is crucial. When you feel brave and confident enough, you will be more than ready for the first tricks. 

Bonus Tip – The Best Way to Improve

How to improve at skateboarding?

Now we are going to give you a huge tip! It will allow you to follow your progress and plan what you can do the next day in the park.

Film yourself.

Film your early steps – in a few years, it will be a lovely memory, and now it can help you see what you are doing wrong, what is good, and what you can improve.

Your Turn

Now, we would like to hear from you.

Which part of this guide do you find the most useful? Will you try skateboarding anytime soon?

Please let us know by leaving a comment below. 

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