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, let’s go!
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 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 bearing 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 wheels and kingpin and make sure they aren’t about to fall off.
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 nuts on your truck axle.
Make sure to also use speedrings on your truck axle, they reduce friction on your bearings. Speedrings 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 63mm Hawgs wheels. Cruising will be like never before.
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 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 might or might not work. This stuff wasn’t around at when I was younger but I remember locking my board in pavement cracks so why not give it a try. Some hate them, some love them. There is no consensus.
Want to get stronger? Are you really dedicated? Work out in the gym and train your core. The most important thing about skateboarding isn’t about being muscular or a cardio fanatic. You’ll benefit from a strong core! Do some yoga, not the ‘all hail mother earth’ type of yoga, but the stuff that makes you strong.
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, the fear will go away (not always though).
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 than others and comparing yourself to others isn’t very motivating.
On that subject, skateboarding is about having fun (to most), if you feel like you’re not having fun it’s often a good idea to take a short break. Your other options are to visit 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. Do this on a piece carpet or on a yoga mat.
A deck can last for about 6 months depending on how often you skate or which style you prefer. If you only skate transition your deck can last over a year. Hardcore street skaters sometimes have to replace a deck after two weeks.
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 months.
Trucks are the most durable components of your skateboard, again depending on the brand. Indys last the longest.
Trucks come in low, mid and high. Some prefer highs, some prefer lows and 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, bushings and even knee pads. It just takes some time to get everything to work properly and your board needs to adjust to your style. Eventually, you just need to get used to your new parts or setup.
Pick a deck based on its manufacturer, not just the brand. There are a couple of great woodshops that make decks for many brands. Dwindle, Chapman, BBS, PS stix are a couple of manufacturers that come to mind. I must admit that I also look at the graphics.
Skateboarding is a healthy exercise and not as dangerous as perceived. You’re more likely to injure yourself playing basketball.
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 technology, sponsor skateboarders and organize contests. Think about it.
Lighter skateboard trucks won’t make you ollie higher, it’s all 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.
Use sho 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.
Break boards often? Consider a Powell Flight deck. 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 use runners or basketball shoes. You need to feel your board and often these type of shoes don’t provide much. Skate shoes have flat soles which makes them ideal to quickly move your feet around. Runners don’t provide much stability on a skateboard and make riding a board feel sketchy.
If you want a setup for transition skateboarding, go for a wider board (between 8.25″ and 9.0″) with large wheels and high trucks (Independent).
Technical street skating requires a more responsive setup. An 8.0″ is the standard nowadays and wheels should be around 52 or 53 MM, durometer between 96a and 100a. Get low trucks like for example Thunders.
A mini ramp setup should be similar to a transition setup. Wider deck, larger wheels, and high trucks
Heavy riders should ride a wider deck and preferably one that can take an impact like the Powell Flight decks. Your setups should also consist of harder bushings and solid 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 though some still prefer an 8.0 is generally advised to go with a deck between 8.25″ and 8.5″.
Having a hard time getting a trick down? Slowly work your way up. 3 stairs ollie? Start with one stair. Pop shuvit? Start with a regular shuvit.
Want to teach your child to skate? take it slow and let them enjoy themselves. It should always be about fun.
Wearing knee pads or elbow pads over abrasions will slow down the healing process.
Raining all day? Find a parking garage, a basement, an old abandoned building or 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.
If you want to grind curbs make sure to wax them, it’s the oldest tip in the book. Waxing metal is a bad idea as it might become too slippery. I don’t recommend it, especially waxing coping might get you in trouble. Your fellow skaters don’t appreciate that.
Don’t want to drag your skateboard along? Place it between the straps of a backpack but make sure the grip tape doesn’t come in contact with your clothes.
Store your board somewhere dry and preferably not on the ground. Someone might step on it.
Practicing a manual? Put your back feed a bit too the front of your tail, not all the way back. It makes a huge difference
Empty your pockets! It really hurts when you land on your keys. Even a few coins can hurt.
Avoid sand, dust, and grass. It will destroy your bearings.
Don’t put anything heavy on top of your skateboard. It will lose its flex. I must admit I used my skateboard when moving heavy objects, 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.
Local mini ramp or quarter wet? Use a floor squeegee to get rid of the water. Once done, ride it a few times and it will dry up in no time. This doesn’t always work when it’s really cold though, usually, it does the job.
Check your skate spot for puddles, easy to slip and your gear won’t like it. I remember popping my shoulder once because of a puddle on the platform of a mini ramp.
Lots of rough roads in your area and you get that tingling feet sensation? Get softer wheels. Not too soft though
Try to roll when you fall, it will take away some of the energy of 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!
Don’t drink and skate, some seem to get away with it but you will eat shit eventually. A cold one is great after a session and you open a bottle with your trucks.
There are laces out there that are stronger than regular laces, you could also bring an extra pair.
You can file your nails using your grip tape (I’m grasping at straws here).
You can sand down new grip tape using your old grip tape, new grip can cut your fingers.
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.
Don’t tick tack too often when you have low-quality wheels, the front wheels could deform and become useless.
Make sure your trucks match the width of your deck.
You can stack skateboards and ollie over them.
Don’t brake with the tail of your deck. The edges will become sharp and it will cause razor tail.
Cheap bearings suck, just get some Bones Reds and make sure to clean them regularly. Don’t go for nameless brands, they will break after a couple of weeks.
Be careful when you skate with a backpack and don’t store glass in it. You’re more likely to lose balance and fall backward. Chad Muska might disagree though.
Try to land on your bolts, it’s easier said than done but landing in the middle of your deck will snap it in half.
High skate shoes protect your ankle from razor tail, not from rolling them though.