The First 3 Skateboard Tricks You Should Learn
Getting on a skateboard for the first time can be both thrilling and terrifying. Even more dangerously intoxicating is the thought of landing your first trick. You’re hoping you’ll land it but know it’s more likely you’ll eat the pavement your first few (or 50) times. But when you finally nail it, it's totally worth the pain. Here are 5 tricks to get the basics down pat so you can move on to the bigger and bolder.
The most game-changing trick in skateboarding is the ollie. Invented by Alan Gelfand in 1978 and later adapted on flat ground by Rodney Mullen, this simple trick was the birth of an entirely new kind of skating. Flip tricks and grinds both utilize the ollie as their basis, so learning this one is a no-brainer if you’re hoping to advance down the road.
To do an ollie, there are just a couple steps that need to take place. First, your back foot pushes the tail of the board down all the way to the ground. Don’t take this lightly, because for a portion of time you’ll be balancing on two wheels. Make sure you’re comfortable with this element before you move on. Next, drag your front foot from the center of the board up to the nose. Lastly, lift your back foot from the tail into the air. All of these motions combined gives you an ollie.
Although the kickflip is the most common trick that skaters try to learn second, getting a few others down first can actually help you learn better control and make trick skating way easier down the road. Once you’ve landed an ollie, a frontside 180 takes it one step further by turning the board 180 degrees in the air.
To do a Frontside 180, the most important thing to remember is that you need to move your entire body to be able to land. Don’t just move your feet. Just before you turn your board, you should turn your head and shoulders. This makes sure that your shoulders are facing the same way as your feet when you land.
This trick can be a little complicated when you’re just starting out because it requires you to move your body opposite to the direction your moving. But after you’ve landed the Frontside 180 and have practiced it enough to be comfortable doing it over and over again, tackling this one really helps you develop more control of your board in unnatural situations. It may take more time to learn, but it’s worth the effort in the long run.
The biggest difference between a Frontside and Backside 180 is that in a Backside, you’re turning toward the tail of the board instead of the nose. This can feel awkward for new skaters, especially upon landing because you’re moving backward. But just like the Frontside, it’s essential to move the top half off your body before you move your legs. As a reference, you should be at about a 90-degree angle when you’re at the highest point in the air.
These three tricks are the most basic—but most important—ones to know as you’re starting out. Learn how to land these with your eyes closed and you’ll be on your way to becoming a serious skater.
- Outdoors Staff