We’re not going to lie, getting on your skateboard for the first time can be an interesting experience if you don’t have the correct instructions to follow. It’s highly likely you won’t be aware of which steps and techniques to practice when you initially start. Don’t worry, thats’s exactly what were here for. Below we have a step by step guide for you to follow when you attempt to ride your board for the first time.
Step 1 – Skateboard Stance
First things first, lets talk about our skateboard stance. Your stance is going to be crucial in helping you balance, so its highly important you take your time finding which one is best for you. So what do we mean by stance? Stance means what foot we place at the front or goes forward on our skateboard. There are two stances you can have, either skating regular or skating goofy. Skating regular is skating with your left foot forward on the board, or alternatively skating goofy with your right foot forward on the board. No stance has any advantage or limitations over the other. There are no tricks you can’t practice depending on your stance. The only difference is simply how you ride and which technique is the most comfortable for you. Remember there is no right way to skateboard and it’s all down to personal preference, so take time getting comfortable with your preferred method.
Step 2 – Skateboard Balance
Once you have your stance perfected, you need to get to grips with how to balance correctly on your board. Speaking from experience, the majority of beginners will step on their board on a concrete surface and soon fall off. At this point we are going to advise that you take your board to a grassy area. Once you’ve found a great spot, place both feet shoulder width apart on the bolts of your skateboard. Spread your body weight, bend your knees and get comfortable on your board. Balance is key so spend time working on your balance.
When you’re confident with your stance on the grass, you’re ready to hit the concrete – hopefully not literally! Find an area where you have lots of space and something you can hold onto to begin with. For example a street light or basketball pole. Hold on to the pole and step onto your board. Using the pole to keep your stability find your central balance. Bend your knees and get stable. Once you are stable, use your arms to push off the pole and generate momentum. You should now be effectively travelling on your skateboard.
Step 3 – How To Stop On A Skateboard
We think it would now be the perfect time to tell you how to stop on a skateboard. Who wants to ride a skateboard and not be able to stop? The answers no one! We advise you to stop in either one of the following two ways. The first technique would be to use the foot you push off with, and put the sole of your foot/trainer on the ground. You will find that you use the ground to slide yourself to a stop. This is the easiest and safest way to stop on your board. Alternatively, you can simply jump off bringing all momentum to a stop. If the speed is reasonable, you can jump off your board in the direction you are travelling and run with the pace you are travelling at. This way you have full control of the situation and can stop yourself crashing. Practice these two techniques at a very slow speed to begin with and find which method you are most confident with. As with anything, practice again and again until you have perfected how to stop on your skateboard.
Step 4 – How To Turn On A Skateboard
It’s all well and good travelling in straight lines. But getting from A-Z or getting round the skatepark, it’s pretty much inevitable that you’re going to have to turn at some point. So I bet you’re asking, how do I turn on a skateboard? Well there are two ways to turn. The most common way to turn is to use a technique called carving. Carving involves dipping your heels or toes to swerve left and right. Dipping your heels on your board is called ‘Heel Side Outwards’ turning and your board will move outwards. Dipping your toes on your board is called ‘Toe Side Inwards’ turning’, making your board move inwards. Whether you turn left or right is totally dependant on your stance. If you skate regular and dip your heels you will move left. Alternatively if you dip your toes you will turn right. The direction will change around if you skate goofy.
When you’ve mastered carving and find yourself in a situation where you need to redirect yourself faster you can use a technique called Tic Tacing. Tic Tacing involves leaning back on the tail of your board and moving your front foot and twisting your body in the direction you want to go. When you’ve found your correct direction, you can stop leaning back on your board. Perfecting this will allow you to turn sharply and efficiently while keeping a steady momentum.
Step 5 – How To Push on a Skateboard
Now you’ve got balance, turning and stopping under your belt, you need to generate momentum right? It’s easy really, pushing can be considered the simplest bit. Our first bit of advice is to not push with your front foot. Known as mongo pushing – using your front foot will make you lose your balance and you won’t exactly have the coolest style on the skatepark. Instead push with your rear foot. Push off by pushing the floor 2 to 3 times and return to your stance with your chin, knee and toe alined. Easy as that!
Well there you have it. Follow these steps and you will soon be on your way to riding your skateboard. At this point we encourage you to stick at it, and keep practicing and riding your skateboard will soon become second nature. Who knows, you could be the next Tony Hawk?
Is longboarding your thing instead? Find our how to ride a longboard starter guide here.