How To Ride A Skateboard
So you’re ready to take your first ride? Make sure you have the proper safety gear (helmet, pads, and proper clothes) and let’s get ready to ride.
Finding Your Groove
As you get started it is important to remember that no one is an expert at anything in the beginning. If your dream is to one day stand among Rodney Mullen, Tony Hawk, or Nyjah Huston as one of the greatest skateboards alive, be prepared to put in some work. Even if you are just looking to become decent at the sport it will take a steady progression of starting with the basics and then working your way up to the tougher things. The best things in life are only earned when you conquer your fear, set your mind to something, and never give up.
The following steps below might seem rudimentary, but if you understand the basics as you progress further and further over time these steps will take you to the next level. Therefore, take your time to get a solid understanding of the foundation and never give up.
All board sports require that you place one foot in front of the board while the other is placed in the back, and skateboarding is no exception. The front foot is for providing balance while the back is used to steer and power your movement. Before you start skating be sure to get a solid stance. The knowledge of “your stance” can be transferred to surfing and snowboarding. Sense is all about what you personally are most comfortable with.
A good way to learn which foot is better for your balance is start by riding slowly. Whichever foot you naturally land on when you eventually fall off is more than likely the foot that should be up front. A majority of riders finds that their right foot is best for steering and their left is better for balancing. But again choose whichever works best for you.
Starting off it is best to get comfortable being on the board. A good way to achieve this is by setting your board on a softer surface, such as a patch of carpet or grass. Stand on your board, then try to find a stance you are most comfortable with. Beginners will benefit from this especially. Ensure that your front foot is in front over the front truck bolts and your back foot is on the back foot bolts. Doing so will help provide balance and should be the usual way you place your feet. Your stance will of course shift based on the trick you are performing.
After you have gotten comfortable with your stance try rocking back and forth on the board on your toe edge to your heel edge. While doing so make note of the stiffness of the trucks and the motion of skating. Try bending your knees little as you do it and maybe try jumping a little. After you have done another thing to try is to balance on just the back wheels, then follow it up by balancing on the front wheels. Practicing these tips will make you more comfortable on the board and prepare you for riding on harder surfaces.
Now that you have become more comfortable on your skateboard find an empty parking lot or another safe area to practice. Hop onto your board and get your stance figured out while you’re at a standstill. Feel out your balance again as you get comfortable with the way your trucks flex. Remember to lean your weight forward onto your toes and backwards onto your heels. As you get more use to the board try bouncing on the board a bit, until you feel confident to go into a full jump.
The goal of this exercise is for you to get to know your board. If you can balance on your board without thinking about it you will be able to ride and perform tricks much easier.
Place your front foot over the front truck bolts. Your foot should be angled toward the nose of your board, if you intend to move forward, with your toe pointing in the general direction you’re going. While your back foot should be placed in the common position over the back bolts of the truck. This foot should be straight across the width of the deck.
Remember pushing off is not complicated, it is simply a matter of balance. When pushing off your weight shifts to the front foot on the board, remember to maintain stability on just that one foot.
Begin by standing with both feet on your board in the position we stated above. To push off, take your back foot off the board, lean forward on your front foot slightly with your knee bent, and push off the pavement. When you begin rolling, place your back foot back onto the board, by turning it straight across the width of the board.
When you get used to this try pushing your back foot a couple times in a row before placing back onto the board. As you get used to the push and roll you will begin causing!
Set your feet in the correct position, push off, and begin to roll. Your shoulder should be pushed back in the opposite direction of the turn you’re trying to make. Slower turns require the rider to start by rolling in a straight line. Add a little speed behind you and the turn will come naturally. Remember to lean in the direction of the turn you would like to make. Lean forward for a toe-side turn, lean backwards for a heel side, turn, and use your shift in weight to help you complete the turn. Following these steps will cause you to make a long, sweeping arc.
For sharper turns place your front foot across the front bolts and set you back foot on the tail of the board, where it slopes upward. The leverage that you will need to make a sharper turn will come from the back foot. Now set your feet in the proper position. Pull back your shoulders in the opposite direction of the turn you’re about to make. Add some pressure to the tail as you raise the front portion of the board off the ground. Follow the momentum with the rest of your body as you swing your shoulders with the rest of your skateboard. Balance your weight correctly over the tail so that when you rotate you’ll complete the turn.
While the lesson on stopping may seem redundant it can be key to keeping the pavement from fusing into your face. There are many ways to stop, however the easiest method is to use the foot brake. Use your front foot to balance, as you remove your back foot from the board and let it run along the ground as you roll. Remember not to stomp down hard on the ground, this will not stop the board automatically instead it may cause you to fall off the board. The idea is to apply an even pressure over some distance to slow you down smoothly.
One of the first tricks you should attempt is the Manual. The trick is all about balance, to accomplish the trick you will need to constantly shift your weight in unison with the movement of the board. To accomplish this trick you will need to place your front foot across the width of the deck right behind the front truck bolts and your back foot will cover most of the tail of the board. When first practicing this trick be sure to find a soft place to land in case you fall, such as a grassy or carpeted area. Now put your weight over the tail of the skate, try not to let the board touch the ground. As you do this the nose of your board will lift and you will have to concentrate on keeping your balance. A critical note to make is that if you is that if you put too much weight on the back end you will loose the board from under you. To avoid this you must lean your body to create stability, while you maintain on your back foot.
Now that you have read how to skate it’s time to take what you learned and the pavement. Remember to keep practicing, never give up, and never let fear take hold. Skateboarding is one of the greatest sports in the world and if you keep at it eventually it will pay off.
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