First Skateboard Tricks to Learn (When You Know The Basics)


skateboarder performing a trick

Congratulations!  You have been pushing your self around town for a few weeks and are comfortable riding your skateboard. You have killed our Beginner Skateboard Tricks and you want more. Let’s go through some of the first tricks you should learn first and why they are important.

What Skateboard Tricks Should I Learn First?

Here is a list of tricks that you should learn first:

  1. Ollie
  2. Frontside/Backside 180
  3. Backside/Frontside Pop Shuvit
  4. Kickflip/Heelflip

These are listed by their progressing difficulty, so you will likely find it easier to stick with this order.  

This list of tricks are the 4 “Simplest” tricks in skateboarding.  Once you get extremely comfortable with the very basics of pushing and riding (Basically you have mastered everything and covered the basics). These tricks are “The Very Basics” and will get you comfortable on your board and comfortable with how your board behaves when flipping and in the air.  

None of these are particularly easy to learn.   You may learn one or two of them quickly, but these tricks will take years of practice to properly master.  Neen Williams did not develop his signature Heelflip in his first session.  He worked at it for years, and is continuously working on it.

Why Learn These Tricks First?

These 4 tricks are the building blocks of every trick in skateboarding. At its very basic level, all skateboarding tricks are just variations and combinations of these 4 tricks.  A “Varialflip” is a BS Popshuvit with a Kickflip. A “Backheel” is a Backside 180 with a Heelflip.  These 4 tricks can be expanded on to make an almost infinite list of more and more advanced tricks. 

The order of tricks isn’t really that important, and a later trick may be easier for some skaters than an earlier trick.  This order is building the next trick off of the previous trick(s) on a gradient.

  1. Ollie is the first trick because it will be the first time you are getting your board off the ground without using your hands.  
  2. The 180’s are next because you need to first be able to get your board off the ground (Ollie) and rotate with your board in the air and land.  
  3. The Popshuvits are a board rotation trick.  This time your feet leave the board, but you already know how the board behaves when rotating 180 degrees.
  4. The Flips require your feet to leave the board again.  You know how it feels to disconnect your feet from the board from the Popshuvs, your are now just adding a flick

“You Keep Saying “4 Tricks”.  I See 7 Listed”

You are quite astute!  There are 7 tricks listed.  You could/should learn all of them.  You may have seen this order of tricks somewhere:

  1. Ollie
  2. Frontside 180
  3. Backside 180
  4. Popshuvit (Backside Shuvit)
  5. Frontside Shuvit
  6. Heelflip
  7. Kickflip

The above sequence is great.  Don’t get me wrong.  That is the list I worked off when learning these tricks. But, I have been so bold as to group together FS/BS 180, FS/BS Pop Shuv and Heelflip/Kickflip in this way because, from what I have noticed, some people (myself included) are more natural at frontside than backside tricks and heelflips rather than kick flips, and vice versa. 

You really should try to learn them all, but you will find you are more comfortable doing your 180’s in one direction, your Popshuvs in one direction, and either Heelflips or Kickflips. I would recommend starting with the tricks that feel the most natural to you and then go back and learn their counterparts.  

It is more rewarding to land something at the end of the day, than to beat yourself up trying a trick and not landing anything.

Breaking Down Each Trick

1. Ollie

The Ollie is a double edged sword.  It is the most important trick to learn in skateboarding, but can certainly be the most challenging for some people.  An Ollie requires you to use muscles and roll your ankle in a way that you probably never have.  

This will be your most used trick, especially in street skating, so it should become your most consistent trick and the one you practice the most to gain the muscle memory needed to be consistent. 

2. Frontside/Backside 180

The FS and BS 180 only require the ollie to do.  It is a pretty simple build off the ollie and you should learn 180’s pretty quickly.  You need to wind up and start rotating your head and shoulders while you start the ollie. Your hips and feet will automatically follow your head and shoulders through the ollie if you start the 180 before you leave the ground. 

Proper foot placement will help you land 180s.  Put your toes toe side for FS 180 and your toes more to the heel side of your board for BS 180s.  Your front foot moves side to side more than you think it will, and this placement gives your foot room to move on the board so it will stay on when you land.

Try both Frontside and Backside 180’s and it will quickly become apparent which way is your most natural way to spin.

3. Backside/Frontside Popshuvit

While I don’t know that many natural FS Shuv’ers, they do exist.  The BS popshuv seems a bit easier because the board tends to fly to your toeside while the FS Popshuv tends to go heel side.  When learning these you will find yourself having to either jump toeside or heel side to land on your board.  

Try to keep your front foot on the board for these tricks.  You don’t need to do the ollie motion for these, your front foot should act as a control point to guide the board and keep it from flipping over.

4.  Heelflip/Kickflip

 

Everyone wants to learn to Kickflip.  It is the most well know trick in skateboarding.  But there are natural heel flippers and natural kick flippers.  They are two very similar but opposite motions.  If you cannot Kickflip you might be a Heel flipper.  

If you cannot Heelflip, try Kickflips.  Odds are you will be able to flip the board easier one way than the other.  Eitherway, having a good flick is key.  You need to have jump high enough to allow the board to rotate fully so you can land on the board.  It is really scary to commit.  Having the courage to commit is 90% of the flip trick battle.

My Experience

I found that learning the tricks on this trick list, in order, gave me better confidence in my skating.  While none of these tricks were super easy for me and I didn’t learn them in 10 minutes, they were easy enough that I was able to land them at least once (usually sketchy) after a couple of hours.  

They are definitely a work in progress.  I practice these tricks every skate session to try and get more consistent.  Somedays they come pretty easy.  Other days, I have trouble landing any of them. We all have bad days, but I know the next day will be better.

Pro Tips:

  1.  Stay over your board- The key to landing any trick is committing to staying over your board. You don’t land the trick if you don’t land on your board.
  2. Know what the board is going to do- There are baby steps to learning these tricks.  You can land all of these tricks with one foot only.  That will give you an idea of how the board behaves.  But commit immediately after a few one foot landings.
  3. Play with your foot placement- If a recommended foot placement doesn’t seem to be working, try moving your foot slightly to a different position.  Foot placement is very much a personal thing.
  4. Roll Fast- Once you have the basic motions down while stationary, try these tricks rolling. While it seems counter intuitive, some tricks, like 180s, are a lot easier when done rolling faster.

 

William

I love all aspects of skateboarding. There is no better feeling than flowing through a skate park, having a curb session with a Homie, or cruising down the street. That "tick-tick tick-tick" sound of a skateboard rolling over sidewalk cracks alone gets my adrenaline up. Nothing gets me as pumped, or as energized as skateboarding.

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