I figured it’s time to write up some skateboard tips for skateboarders that are just starting out. So I sat down with my old skateboard buddies and we came up with 111 skateboard tips for beginners. Some of these tips might seem obvious to you but I bet there are a few you never heard of.
We had to stop at 111 and probably could have added anothger 50, but for now this should be fine.
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Start slow, don’t go for ollies and kickflips just learn to ride first.
You’re never too old, don’t let your age discourage you from learning to ride a skateboard. Are you over 18 and think you’re too old to skateboard? Think again? Sure skateboarding in your ’30s is a bit more challenging, but c’mon you’re in your prime. You have the ability to become a great skateboarder, and if not? You’ll have a ton of fun and there’s a trick you’re good at which nobody else can do. Find your trick and master it!
Don’t skate in wet conditions, you’re likely to fall and injure yourself.
Make sure you figured out if you’re regular or goofy.
On your first day of skateboarding, you should make sure to find a spot without rocks, twigs or cracks. Try a BB or tennis court or a smooth parking lot.
When visiting a skate park make sure you know the rules. Get yourself familiar with skateboarding etiquette, it will help you make a few friends.
Hard (small) wheels are great for tricks, big soft wheels are great for cruising. Want both? Go with something in between.
Don’t let others ride your board too often, your bushings will start to deform because not everybody rides the same.
Want to practice ollies or 180s without popping a deck? Get an old innertube (bike) and wrap it around the center of your deck. Jump and pull at the same time.
Low on cash? At least pick a decent deck and trucks (Indy, Venture, Thunder, Ace). Low-quality wheels are a pain but it’s not something to worry about when you’re a beginner. Mini logos are cheap and you can go for Bones or Spitfire when you got the basics down.
When carrying your board make sure the grip tape doesn’t come in contact with your clothing. Grip tape is like sandpaper and friction will destroy your clothing.
Got a chip sticking out of your board? You can push it back by slamming it (gently) on the ground.
Get suede shoes from a reputable skate brand, canvas won’t last a day.
New trucks and bushings require some time to break in, wait for a few sessions until you adjust your trucks.
Don’t be discouraged by skilled skateboarders, everyone was a beginner once.
Act nice and ask for tips, most skateboarders love to help out.
Skate with friends or make skate friends at your local park, skating alone can be demotivating and it’s harder to progress on your own.
Don’t throw your board around out of frustration. It’s bad for your equipment and it makes you look like a tool.
Don’t let anyone tell you how to hold your board, mall grab, pushing mongo is just gatekeeping. You be you and do what feels natural, though pushing mongo has some cons.
If you feel awkward riding a board, see if you can practice in a basement, garage or visit skateparks early in the morning. There’s nobody there and if someone shows up it’s easier to interact with a single person than a group.
Don’t scratch your board or trucks to make it like you can board/tail/nose slide or grind rails. I had a friend who did that when I was 16 and he was soon busted because he made vertical scratches on the bottom of this deck. My friends and me still talk about it. Don’t be that guy lol.
Not a popular opinion but please wear a helmet. Helmets can save your life and beginners and kids should always wear one.
If something feels natural to you and others criticize your style, just let them. Not everyone approaches a trick the same way so just go for it. If it somehow makes you trick look sketchy, work on your style and improve along the way.
Some tricks need preparation if you want to kickflip learn an ollie first. Know how your board responds, learn how it behaves and feels. Want to trey flip? Make sure you know how to pop shuvit and ollie. Once you got that down move on to more sophisticated stuff.
No place to sit down? Use your skateboard. Sweaty butts may leave an imprint.
Hate to scratch the graphics? Just let it go. Boards are meant to be destroyed, it still sucks and I wish I bought some deck in pairs, one to hang on my wall and one to destroy. Not everyone has the luxury or a budget to do this. Go for a blank if this bothers you, though graphics really motivate to go out there and skate!
Clean the area you skate when possible, make sure to remove rocks/pebbles, glass, twigs or anything that will make you eat shit.
Stay away from crowded areas if you’re a beginner, if you can’t control your board someone is going to suffer. It can be either you or a pedestrian or even worse like hitting a car. The most severe injuries are head injuries and it usually involves a vehicle.
Older skater? Warm-up. Stretch before and after, I usualy am a bit sore the next day if I don’t.
Once you want to go for a trick, practice over and over again. If you get frustrated, move on to something you already master. Failing all over again is very demotivating. Once you find yourself in that place, do something else and get back to your trick, maybe even skip it for that day. Your muscles need time to adjust and your brain needs to take it in, I often popped a trick the next day when stuff didn’t really work the day before.
Clean your bearings every season, dust and dirt will find a way in and at some point they will make a rattling or squeaky noises, time to bath them in nail polish remover and lube them with silicone-lubricant. A Toothbrush also works, don’t brush your teeth afterward.
Occasionally inspect the nuts on your truck axle and kingpin and make sure they aren’t about to fall off. Check your nutz!
Use self-locking nuts on wheels and kingpins. You can recognize them by the plastic ring embedded on top. These type of nuts won’t come off easily, safety first!
Place spacers between your bearings, they help to keep out some of the dust and dirt and you won’t crush your bearings when you tighten the hex nut on your truck axle.
Make sure to also use washers on your truck axle, they reduce friction on your bearings. Washers come standard with trucks but it’s easy to lose them when you remove your wheels.
Want to replace your grip tape? Use a hairdryer and heat the grip tape. The easiest way is to start at your nose or tail.
Got some air bubbles after applying new grip tape? Puncture them and smooth them out.
Don’t use water to clean your grip tape or any component on your skateboard. It will get your deck waterlogged and lose its pop and your bearings will oxidate. If your grip is dirty, just use a brush. If it’s really dirty, you already made a mistake by skating at places or conditions you should have stayed away from. Leave it out in the sun (not on extremely hot days) and use a brush to clean your deck.
Want to cruise and do tricks? Go with wheels around 56-58mm with a durometer between 80a and 92a.
Just want to cruise? Remove those small wheels, add riser pads, and slap on some 60/63mm wheels (78A).
If you want to slap a few stickers on the bottom of your deck, make sure to place them nerar the trucks. Avoid the centert, noise and kicktail because sliding on stickers is a pain.
Skateboarding is often about commitment and physically you got it but something in your brain tells you you can’t. You really need to just do it instead of bailing out. Make sure you’re ready and if you don’t master the technique, it’s better to wait. If you are ready, it’s just a mental barrier, commit an do it!
Don’t skate and listen to music on our phone while you’re cruising, or turn the volume down. You need to be aware of your surroundings and it could end badly.
Phones, you need them but where do you leave ‘m? Get a protective case or just store it on a backpack. It really hurts when you land on your phone and it could also be costly. I prefer to skate without a phone. Some tips: Keep it in your rear leg front pocket or a pocket with zippers.
Got an injury? Rolled ankles, heel bruise? Make sure to properly recover before you jump back on your skateboard. I ignored this when I was younger and my ankles are a mess. Sure you recover much faster when you’re 16 but your 35-year-old self would like to have a word with you. You probably don’t care, all the power to you (shut it, gramps!).
First time dropping in is a scary experience, but it’s so easy. All you have to do is lean backward. WAIT! No lean forward, not backward…gawd. We used to tell this to annoying skateboarders, “just lean backward!” and had a good laugh, but only if they were really douchy. Usually, we guided people and even caught them and told them to kick their front foot, try touching the nose and lean forward. It almost always worked, and if not we made sure they didn’t hurt themselves. You might want to wear a helmet.
Don’t skate in icy conditions, I know winter sucks but all that ice and snow is a recipe for disaster. Find someplace which isn’t affected by the weather. Parking garages, basements, indoor skate parks, subways. Just be aware that ice and slippery roads are not your friends.
Stay positive, sure skateboarding can be frustrating but freaking out isn’t going to help you and will make you look like an idiot. Sometimes you need to let go of that frustration, just do something you’re good at. The feeling will go away. If not, well release the anger (wait I just told you not to).
Does your skateboard turn on its own? Do you hear weird noises or does your board not respond well? Check your trucks! It’s usually your bushings or some broken bearing. Skateboards never go in a straight line, don’t worry if your skateboard goes to the left or right. If it still has a mind of its own when you ride it, it’s time to check your trucks and bushings.
Skateboarding is a great way to make new friends, be nice, polite and respectful. You’ll make friends for life and run into people from all walks of life sharing the same passion. In my opinion, this is one of the most valuable aspects of skateboarding. I still hang out with my friends I made in 1996, in fact two of them helped me write this list!
Don’t stress about trick names, I often get backside and frontside confused but who cares, I still have a hard time recognizing a trick when I see one. My friends and I had our own local lingo and people from outside had no clue what we’re talking about. Just skate, no need to be a scientist just yet.
People will make remarks, it just happens. I even get remarks about riding a skateboard and I’m near my forties. There must be something wrong with people that feel the need to tell you to not enjoy yourself.
Skater trainers work for some but aren’t required to learn an ollie. Don’t buy into the marketing hype.
Work out in the gym. A strong body helps a lot recovering from a session. I started training with a personal trainer over a year ago and the difference is night and day. Sure I still feel sore the next day but I recover a lot faster and can skate for a longer period of time. If you’re over 30, definitely consider working out.
Sometimes it good to listen to your gut. Fear is a part of skateboarding and sometimes your fear is right. If you know you are skilled enough to land a particular trick, fear is often holding you back. Sometimes you’re not ready and you need to practice a little more.
There is no such thing as a trick learning order, getting the basics down is important but beyond that go with whatever feels natural.
Don’t focus on others, focus on you. Some progress faster and comparing yourself to others isn’t very motivating. I still suck after 20 years, but I love skateboarding anyway.
Skateboarding is about having fun, if you feel like you’re not having fun it’s often a good idea to take a short break. Consider visiting other skate spots or check some videos to get stoked again.
There are ways to practice your balance if you can’t go out and skate. You can fill a plastic bottle with water and place your deck (remove the trucks) on top, or buy a dedicated balance board. Practice on a piece carpet or on a yoga mat.
A deck can last for a few weeks to months depending on how often you skate. If you only skate transition your deck will last a long time. Hardcore street skaters sometimes have to replace a deck after two weeks. Flight decks, Santa Cruz VX, Lithe NeX, and Dwindle Impact are the most durable decks.
Wheels can last for a long time but it depends on the quality of the urethane and how often you skate. Cheap wheels could wear after a few weeks of intense skating. Bones and Spitfire wheels are recommended.
Trucks are the most durable parts of your skateboard. IMO, investing a little bit more in quality trucks is worth it. They are the heart and soul of your board and getting used to new trucks is a pain.
Trucks come in low, mid and high. Some prefer highs, some prefer lows. Some brands advertise their trucks as high, but are mid compared to other brands highs. It’s confusing, the lack of standards in the industry is frustrating at times.
New trucks can make squeaky noises, the cause is often the bushings. Sometimes it helps to just go skate and break them in, sometimes a bit of silicone lubricant does miracles but if your bushings are old, you probably have to replace them.
On the subject of breaking in. This goes for trucks, shoes, and bushings. It just takes some time to get everything working properly. I have a friend who hates riding new decks because it takes time to get used to a slightly different shape. Stop whining Rob, you got the board for free!
Pick a deck based on its manufacturer, not just the brand. There are a couple of great woodshops that make decks for many brands. The PS Stix woodshop, for example, offers great quality boards.
Skateboarding is a healthy exercise and not as dangerous as perceived. You’re more likely to injure yourself playing basketball. I realise I’m typing this while recovering from a heelbruise, yay!
Buying a blank deck can be cheap but you’re not always supporting the skateboard industry. The extra earnings from graphics are used to develop and improve technology, sponsor skateboarders, and organize contests. Think about it.
Lighter skateboard trucks won’t make you ollie higher, it’s mostly about technique.
Complete skateboards are often cheaper but you won’t get any high-quality components. Go to your local skate shop and see what they do with your budget.
Even though skateboarding is on the rise again, local skate shops are suffering. The rise of eCommerce and shops like Zummies make lots of skate shops go out of business. If you can, buy local. Update: Not sure if this is still the case after the recent skateboarding boom.
Use Shoe Goo to increase the lifespan of your skate shoes. Check out my post about how to make your skate shoes last longer and save yourself some money. Ripcare is also great for patching holes and tears.
If you often snap decks consider a Powell Flight deck or Santa Cruz VX. These decks are one of the strongest you can get. Got a lot of money to splurge? Check out Lithe skateboards, they make the strongest decks in the world.
Don’t skate runners or basketball shoes. You need to feel your board and often these type of shoes don’t provide much boardfeel. Runners don’t provide much stability and feel really sketchy when riding a skateboard.
If you want a setup for transition skateboarding, go for a wider board (between 8.25″ and 8.75″) with slightly bigger wheels and high trucks.
Technical street skating requires a more responsive setup. An 8.25″ is pretty the standard nowadays and wheels should be around 52mm or 53 MM, durometer between 99a and 84b. It’s about preference so take this with a grain of salt.
A mini ramp setup should be similar to a transition setup. Wider deck, bigger wheels, and high trucks.
Heavy skaters should ride a wider deck and preferably one that can take an impact from brands previously mentioned. Your setups should also consist of harder bushings and quality trucks.
There is some correlation between the size of your feet and the width of a deck. If you have large feet, go with a wider deck. An 8.25″ deck is usually a safe choice. It’s not exact science, I know skaters with huge feet who skate 8.0 decks.
Having a hard time landing a trick? Slowly work your way up. 3 stairs ollie? Start with one stair. Pop shuvit? Start with a regular shuvit. Often it helps to try a different trick you already mastered when you’re having an off day.
Want to teach your child to skate? Take it slow. It should always be about fun and spending quality time with your kid. Pushing your kid is a really bad idea, heck my son doesn’t even like skateboarding anymore and got a scooter instead. That’s perfectly okay, he’s doing fine according to his foster parents.
Wearing knee pads or elbow pads over abrasions will slow down the healing process.
Raining all day? Find a parking garage, a basement, or an old abandoned building if you don’t have access to an indoor skate park.
Do your feet hurt? It will go away. It takes time for your feet to adjust to skateboarding but if it doesn’t go away, consider different shoes. I still get sore feet when I haven’t skated for a while.
Waxing copings or ledges might get you in trouble, so make sure your fellow skaters are aware.
A common problem I run into is not being able to get axle nuts back on your trucks. Usually this is because the axle thread is damaged. Use a re-threader to fix this problem and replace the old hex nut with a new one. If you don’t have a re-threader, your local skate shop might be able to help you out.
Store your board somewhere dry and preferably not on the ground. Someone might step on it.
Practicing manuals? Put your back feed a bit too the front of your tail, not all the way back. Your foot shouldn’t stick out, it makes a huge difference.
Empty your pockets! It really hurts when you slam on your phone or keys.
Avoid sand, dust, and water. It will destroy your bearings.
Don’t put anything heavy on top of your skateboard, it will lose its flex and might warp. I must admit I used my skateboard when moving several times, not a good idea unless it’s an old setup.
You can often fit your skateboard between the seat tube, down tube and top tube of a bike depending on the frame design. Make sure it doesn’t block your pedals. This is probably a more common way of transportation over here in the Netherlands. Another option is to stick your board it between the straps of a backpack.
Check your skate spot for wet spots. I remember popping my shoulder once because of a puddle on the platform of a mini ramp.
Use a floor squeegee to get rid of water after a rainy day. I always have one in my car just in case my local mini ramp is soaking wet.
Don’t waste your money on ceramic bearings, it’s not worth it!
If you have a tingling feeling in your feet when riding a skateboard, your laces might be too tight. This also happens when you ride gritty asphalt and softer wheels often fixes the problem.
Try to roll when you fall, it will take away some of the energy from the impact. You can practice this but it will come naturally after a while. Usually, you learn this the hard way.
When visiting parks, check the direction most people are skating. Don’t sneak in front or disrupt someone’s line, be aware of the skaters around you. Also, don’t litter!
If you are having a hard time getting bearings into your wheels, use a bit of silicon lube and apply it to the bearing seat.
Bring an extra pair of laces if yours are about to snap. There are also laces out there that are stronger than regular laces (like immortal laces).
If you can, make a skate video with your friends. 20 years later you’ll thank yourself (and cringe a little).
If you sand down new grip tape, it will be less abrasive and your shoes will last a bit longer.
Don’t throw away your old skateboard. I regret that I didn’t keep my first deck, memories man.
Don’t get a cheap toy deck, they are likely to break on day one. Avoid cheap Amazon crap!
Cross swap your wheels and turn them around to make them last longer. So rear left wheel goes to the front right and vice versa. Your rear wheels wear a lot faster, don’t wait untill there’s hardly any wheel left. No point in swapping them by that time.
When buying new trucks make sure they approximately match the width of your deck. Skating 7.75″ trucks on an 8.5″ deck is probably a bad idea, a .25″ deviation is fine though.
You can stack skateboards with your friends and ollie them, always a fun way to end a good sesh.
Don’t brake using your tail, the edges will wear fast resulting in razor tail.
Cheap bearings suck, just get some Bones Reds or Bronson Bearings. Don’t go for nameless brands, they will break after a couple of days/weeks.
This reminds me of something else; don’t buy skate wheels from websites like Wish or Ali Express. Spitfire Classics for 10 bucks, Bones Reds for only 4 bucks, sounds great right? That stuff is fake, don’t fall for it. If it sounds to good to be true…
Even Amazon isn’t safe anymore, resellers sell fake stuff so make sure you buy from the right brand.
Be careful when you skate with a backpack, you’re more likely to lose balance and fall. Chad Muska might disagree though.
Try to land on your bolts when practicing tricks, I learned this the hard way.
High skate shoes (like Vanz Hi Sk8) protect your ankles partially from nose and tail impacts, but they don’t prevent rolled ankles.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.