Connect with us

HOWTO

How to Skateboard for Beginners

A skateboarder in action at Venice Beach Skate Park in Los Angeles, California, USA

For some, learning to skateboard is as daunting of a task as asking their crush out for the first time. For others, they just want enough coaching to be able to ride without falling every three seconds. 

Whether you’re looking to become the next Nyjah Huston or simply want to learn a few tricks you can do in your spare time, it all starts with this question: “Just how the heck do I stand on this thing?”

We’ve all been there before. If not with skateboarding, with something else. 

Sometimes our interests and innate talents don’t always align. Nevertheless, there are helpful guides out there that help catch us up to speed and get the balls (or wheels) rolling.

And this is one of them.

1) Choosing Your Skateboard

When it comes to beginning your skateboarding journey, the first thing you’re going to want to do is to choose your board. Now, of course, you could always practice on your friend’s or sibling’s skateboard, but if at all possible, it’s best to get your own so that you get used to it. 

Board Measurements

Okay, so while getting a skateboard from a brand you like or with a design that matches your personality is great and all, the main reason you want to pick out your own skateboard is to ensure it’s the right size for you. 

Advertisement

While it mainly comes down to preference and style of riding, there are three main measurements to keep in mind: width, length, and wheelbase. 

Width – The most important measurement of a skateboard’s deck and numbers you’ll often hear when people are referring to their boards. 

Most decks fall between 7.5” and 8.5” wide. The width of your board should fit your foot size and skating needs. 

Riders who are taller/ those with bigger feet, generally tend to pick wider decks. The same goes for people who want to skate vert ramps. This is because the wider surface both gives them more stability as well as more room to land on. 

Smaller riders and street skaters usually go for shorter widths. The smaller size, of course, makes sense for smaller bodies and smaller feet: less work to control. 

Advertisement

The main reason, however, why street skaters often prefer smaller boards is because it’s easier to flip their boards with the smaller stature and lighter weight. There’s more maneuverability. 

Length – Measuring from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail, most skateboard lengths come in between 28” and 32”. For most riders, board length won’t be a major concern. 

Wheelbase – The wheelbase refers to the distance between the inner front and inner back mounting holes. 

Wider wheelbases provide more stability while also making your turns wider. While some skaters may benefit from the extra stability, others enjoy making sharper turns. To achieve this, they use narrower wheelbases. While they do have less stability, they’re afforded more maneuverability which can help when performing quick turns. 

Again, remember that the most important aspect of your board is its width. That, and how it makes you feel. 

This video by Braille Skateboarding does a good job of explaining the importance of width and preference. Check it out to get some more insight on measurements. 

Advertisement

2) Figure out Your Stance

Speaking of feels, you’ll definitely have to get a feel of how to comfortably stand on the board.

There are two, sorta three…but two main stances: regular and goofy. 

In regular stance, your left foot leads and you push with your right. In goofy stance, your right foot leads and you push with your left.

Then, there’s mongo. 

Advertisement

Mongo stance, which is less common and less encouraged, refers to when you push with your front foot instead of your back. You can push mongo either regular or goofy, though it’s often better to learn one of these rather than stay mongo. 

The Slide Test

If you’re unsure which stance works best for you, an effective way to figure it out is by performing the slide test.

Doing so is mad simple with low risks.

  1. First, put on a pair of smooth socks.
  2. Secondly, find a smooth surface like a hardwood floor
  3. Finally, build up a little speed then land and slide across the floor

Generally, the foot that you lead that slide with will be your lead foot. 

Another, fairly low-risk way to figure out your stance is by hopping on a board and having a friend gently push you forward. While it may seem a little scary if you’re brand new, do your best to use this as a learning experience. 

Lean back and forward while on the board and see how your body feels when leading with your left vs leading with your right. 

Advertisement

After a few minutes of this, you should have a good idea of which stance is right for you. If not, you should at least have an idea of which one you’d like to learn the basics in. 

3) Getting on Your Board

All riigghht, look at you. You made it to the fun part: getting on your board. 

Now, if you figured out your stance with the help of a friend, then you’ve already beat this level. Congrats.

Next thing though, those training wheels come off.

To get on your board by yourself:

Advertisement
  1. Grab your board and go near a wall, bench, or something that you can use to support you while you practice.
  2. Place the board down with the nose facing the wall. 
  3. With your knee slightly bent, place your lead foot at the front of the board near the front truck bolts. 
  4. Using your bent knee and the wall for support, lift your back foot onto the back of the board. Place this foot perpendicular (width distance) to the board.
  5. Now that both feet are on the board, turn your front foot so that it’s also perpendicular.
  6. And now, balance!
  7. Once you’ve got this down, repeat the same steps without support and golden, Ponyboy. 

If you need a visual, as most of us do, check out this video here

4) Pushing

Now here comes the kicker…or pusher. 

As a beginner, pushing on a skateboard might feel impossible. “How am I supposed to put my foot down while this thing is moving?” 

It can be difficult to imagine. 

Learning to do this, however, is essential to mastering the basics of skateboarding. Well actually, it is skateboarding. It’s not like you’re looking to become the next best balance boarder. 

Advertisement

Here’s how to push:

  1. Put your front foot straight (length distance) on the board just a little behind the front truck bolt. Leave your knee slightly bent
  2. Keeping your balance with your front foot, use your back foot to propel yourself forward
  3. Practice this walk-pushing a few times before putting both of your feet on the board
  4. After getting comfortable with walk-pushing, pick up your back foot and place it perpendicular (width distance) on your board.
  5. Right after, turn your front foot so that it’s also perpendicular to the board. Your feet are now in the standard riding position. Holding out your arms may help with balance.
  6. To push again, turn your front foot so that it is straight again
  7. Bend your front knee, and with your back leg, slightly kick out in front of you and land your foot on the ground as if trying to do a light scoop
  8. Once you regain momentum, repeat the first five steps.

And there you go. As a beginner, it can take some time to get into a groove. It’s all good.

Just take it slow and with practice, you’ll get it down. 

Check out this video here if you need more help. 

5) Turning

Learning to turn on your skateboard is the next step you’ll want to take..well you already took steps when you learned to push.. so, it’s the next turn of events. 

Advertisement

Puns come and go.

Just like obstacles and people that you may have to dodge with your new turning abilities. 

There are two ways: leaning to turn and kick-turning

Leaning to Turn

If you’ve already learned to balance on your board while moving, leaning to turn should be fairly simple. 

To do so:

Advertisement
  1. With your feet perpendicular to the board, apply pressure on either your toeside or heelside to begin leaning in that direction
    1. Toeside = Where your toes are
    2. Heelside = Where your heels are
  2. To maintain your balance while turning, bend your knees slightly and lower your center of gravity. 
  3. Use your arms to help keep your balance

Kick-turning

Kick-turning helps when you want to do quick turns. Before trying them while moving, learn how to do them while standing still.

To perform:

  1. Start with your feet perpendicular to your board
  2. Move your back foot to the tail of your board. Be careful not to apply pressure until you’re ready to turn. 
  3. Slightly apply pressure to your back foot. This will raise the board and your front foot with it. Remember to evenly distribute the weight between both feet and avoid having the tail hit the floor.
  4. With your shoulders guiding your movements, steer your board either toeside or heelside. 
  5. Just as with leaning to turn, using your arms may help maintain balance.

The same rules apply to doing kick-turns while moving. Just remember to start slow until you build up your confidence and comfortability. 

The tightness of your trucks dictates how sharp and wide your turns will be. It’s up to you to decide how tight or loose you want them to be. Know that, however, there are certain benefits and drawbacks to either side.

Tighter trucks will feel more stable but offer less turning capability. And looser trucks do the opposite; more turning capability at the price of some stability. 

It’s best to test out some boards to get a feel of what you want. 

6) Stopping

Now that you know how to go, you gotta learn how to stop.

Advertisement

And, for some, doing so effectively takes just as much practice as learning to push. 

Because of that, pay close attention to these four beginner-friendly stopping methods. 

That way you learn the basics all the quicker.

Foot Brake

Foot braking is the most common form of stopping and is easiest to perform at slow speeds. 

There are two versions of the foot brake: stomping and sliding.

Advertisement

To perform a stomping foot brake:

  1. While moving, make sure your front foot is straight and slightly bent at the knee.
  2. Turn your back foot till it’s a little over a 45-degree angle with your front foot and the board.
  3. Bending your front knee, lower your center of gravity as you prepare to carefully stomp on the ground with your back foot.
  4. Stomp on the ground with your back foot. Be careful not to place too much pressure on the floor where your back foot is now stuck, leaving your front foot (and the rest of your body) to get pulled by the still moving skateboard.
  5. Do this until you come to a complete stop.

To perform a sliding foot brake:

  1. While moving, make sure your front foot is straight and slightly bent at the knee.
  2. Turn your back foot till it’s a little over a 45-degree angle with your front foot and the board.
  3. Bending your front knee, lower your center of gravity as you prepare to carefully slide on the ground with your back foot.
  4. Carefully apply pressure with your back foot while keeping most of the weight on your front foot. 
  5. Do this until you come to a complete stop.

The sliding foot brake is a helpful stopping method when you’re going too fast to do a stomping foot brake and you’re not quite comfortable with other stopping methods. 

Still, it’s important to note that performing sliding foot brakes will quickly wear down your shoes. 

Heel & Tail Scrape

The tail scrape takes what you learned in kick-turning and applies it to halting your forward momentum.

To perform:

  1. While moving forward, have your feet perpendicular to the board.
  2. With your front foot near the middle of the skateboard, move your back foot onto the tail.
  3. Press down on your back foot until your board begins to scrape against the ground. This is an indication that you’re slowing down.
  4. Once you stop, you can either hop off the board or lean forward to begin rolling again

Note that performing tail scrapes often can lead to razor-tail. It’s when the tail of your board begins to lose its protective coating and starts to thin out. 

If it gets too thin, pieces of your tail can begin to chip off. 

Advertisement

A heel scrape is very similar to a tail scrape, but instead of using the bottom tail of your board to slow yourself down, you use the heel of your shoe. 

To perform:

  1. Do steps 1-2 of the tail scrape. Instead of using your tail, move your back foot further back until it’s slightly hanging off your board. 
  2. Apply pressure to your heel until you come to a stop.
  3. Use your arms to help maintain balance.

Also, it’s important to note that repeatedly doing heel scrapes will eventually wear down your shoes so keep that in mind. 

Carve to Slow Down

Carving refers to performing a series of turns repeatedly, alternating between toeside and heelside each turn. 

While it is a method of gaining speed, carving while moving is also a great way to slow down. 

To perform:

Advertisement
  1. With your feet perpendicular to the skateboard, repeatedly perform toeside and heelside leans, alternating between the two
  2. Instead of propelling yourself forward in a scooping-like manner, think of applying slow, yet smooth pressure to both of your feet as you perform each turn
  3. Your speed will eventually reduce giving you time to perform a foot brake, heel or tail scrape, or jump off your board safely. 

Use Grass or Gravel

Another, surprisingly practical way to stop on a skateboard: roll onto some grass or gravel. 

Now, if you’re going pretty fast, this method might send you flying forward if your momentum stops too abruptly. 

Remember to bend your knees and sort of scoop the board forward as you slow down, using your arms to help keep your balance until you’re fully stopped. 

7) Learning to Fall

Yeah, it’s going to happen people. 

Whether by rock, curb, or crack, or during high jumps and wild stunts; at some point or another, we’re all going to fall off our boards. 

What’s important though is that you get back up. 

Advertisement

That, and learn to fall better. 

Oh yes, there’s a science to this. 

Try Not to Panic

“What do you mean? ‘Try not to panic.’ I’m falling. Like, towards the ground. That’s high-velocity impact we’re talking about man.” 

Understandable, yes. 

But, it’s even more important to remember that if in the face of dirt that’s preparing to meet your face for an evening’s lunch that you might have missed; if you can, instead, keep your cool and position your body in a way that minimizes the overall damage or avoid eating dirt entirely, then you’d be much better. 

Advertisement

Right?

So, when it comes to those panicky moments, do your best to remember that you still have time to adjust your posture. Don’t just give up. 

Brace yourself.

But Don’t Use Your Hands too Much

High impact falls can fracture or break the bones in your hands and wrist. Of course, there are certain wrist guards like the 187 Killer Pads Derby Wrist Guard that will help minimize the damage. 

Still, if at all possible, perform a quick shoulder roll or tumble to protect your body from severe harm.

Advertisement

Now, once again, if your face is about to collide with the unforgiving pavement, toss this out the window and use your hands.

Just don’t lead your falls with always bracing to use your hands. 

Use your momentum, instead, to propel yourself to a better falling, or standing, position. 

Use Protective Gear

As a beginner skateboarder, using protective skating gear is a great way to increase your safety while still helping you learn the craft.

Helmets like the Triple Eight Dual Certified Helmet or the Montana Skateboard Helmet are excellent choices for headgear. 

Advertisement

The Triple Eight helmet meets the ASTM F-1492 Skate safety standards, making it an ideal selection for riders looking for protective gear with a trustworthy back record. 

It features an adjustable chin strap and two sets of moisture-wicking Sweatsaver Fit Pads

The Montana Skateboard helmet is CPCS certified and features an open vent for breathability, moisture-wicking fabric to reduce sweat in your eyes, and adjustable straps, and an adjustable dial system to enhance the comfort and feel of the helmet.

Falling on your skateboards is one of those things you have to experience to learn.

As scary as it sounds, employ these tactics and protective gears and you’ll be more prepared for the falls that eventually lead to the great tricks.

Advertisement

Looking for more info on how to fall properly? Check this video out here. They do an excellent job of explaining what to do, and what not to do. 

8) Practice and Perfect the Basics

Once you’ve got all the basics down -pushing, turning, stopping, and slowing down - it’s important you practice these often to keep your move fresh. 

Try different speeds, new terrain, and even introduce some obstacles to add some extra flare.

Whatever you do, practice, practice, practice. That way, you’re ready for the next step.

Advertisement

9) Try Beginner-Friendly Tricks

Now that you’re a master of the basics of skateboarding, it’s time to reap the sweet benefits of your diligence and do some tricks!

Here’s a video with five of the easiest tricks to learn as a beginner.

On top of that, and the trick everyone wants to pull off once they learn to stand on the board, here’s a video on how to ollie. 

Two Beginner-Friendly Boards

1) Krown Rookie Complete Skateboard

Coming in at 7.5-inches wide x 31-inches long, the Krown Rookie Complete is a good starter board for people who want a quality skateboard without breaking the bank.

Advertisement

It comes with a deck made out of sturdy maple wood, heavy-duty aluminum trucks, 52mm 99A high-rebound urethane wheels, and ABEC-7 bearings. 

Anyone just getting into skating who wants to test the waters and still have a worthwhile board should check out the Krown Rookie Complete. 

2) Cal 7 Complete Standard Skateboard

Another sweet board that will serve beginners well is the Cal 7 Complete Skateboard

It comes in various widths so pick one that matches your foot size and skating needs. It includes 52mm 99A wheels, 5-inch tumble finish trucks, ABEC-7 carbon bearings, and risers pads to prevent wheel bite. 

It’s slightly more expensive than the Krown Rookie, but the quality of the board is worth the extra money. 

Advertisement

If you’re a beginner looking for a good starter deck, consider giving the Cal 7 Complete a buy.

Conclusion

In the end, learning to ride a skateboard takes time, practice, and a desire to do some really cool stuff. It’s a lot of fun but it may not happen overnight for everyone. 

But, a little elbow grease, and elbow pads, goes a long way.

Remember to perfect the basics before trying more difficult tricks; use protective gear to prevent severe damage; and, most importantly, to have fun.

You have the tools now. 

Advertisement

Go out there and be awesome.  

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

HOWTO

A Guide to Buying and Caring for Your Skateboard Bearings 

Skateboard and surfskate maintenance concept. Selective focus on the bearing.

Ahh bearings. They may be small, but they’re an important part of your skateboard setup.

When it comes to skateboarding, bearings are a critical aspect of how fast and smooth your riding experience will be.

And because of this, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions like: What are they made of? Are some better than others? How do I remove and clean them? And more.

In this guide we’ll cover all that so when you’re shopping for your next pair of bearings or your next complete skateboard, you can do so confidently.

What are Bearings?

Bearings are small circular objects put inside the wheel which are usually made of steel or ceramic material. They have a big impact on how fast and smooth a board rides.

Every bearing is made up of five basic components: the shield, inner race, outer race, balls, and retainer. Each of the four wheels will have two bearings placed inside it.

The shield serves two purposes: it retains oil inside the bearing and prevents debris and dust particles from entering it.

Advertisement

The balls of the bearings are housed in the outer and inner races and are what allows the wheels to turn. They sit on the bearing retainers which ensure the balls don’t rub against each other. This reduces wear, limits heat build-up, and overall promotes the longevity of the bearings.

Bearing spacers are also often used for the same reason. Spacers are small metal cylinders placed inside the wheel that limit the amount of force applied to bearings. This extends the bearing’s life and makes turns smoother and more stable.

Steel vs Ceramics vs Titanium

Most bearings are made from steel, ceramic, or titanium.

Steel Bearings

Steel bearings are very common.

They’re more durable than ceramic bearings but they tend to rust with exposure to moisture. These are good options for high-impact skating like jumping stairs, however, you’ll want premium ones if you’re opting more for speed.

Advertisement

While some do perform well for speed, steel rotating often quickly results in a build-up of heat. This causes the metal to expand resulting in more friction between the moving parts, and ultimately slows down the wheels.

Steel bearings are often on the cheaper side so they’re a good investment if you’re not looking for speed and don’t mind cleaning or replacing them more often.

Ceramic Bearings

Ceramic bearings are harder than steel bearings, but more brittle.

They roll extremely well, making them great for speed. And, they’re heat-resistant and won’t corrode with exposure to water.

These go well with any form of skating that has to do with speed, like downhill and even some vert skating. However, for crazy stair jumps where you’ll be landing with high-impact, steel or titanium bearings work better.

Advertisement

Ceramic bearings are often the most expensive kind so keep your budget and your preferences in mind here.

Titanium Bearings

Titanium bearings are similar to steel bearings in their durability.

Where they shine is in their corrosion resistance and heat resistance, making them an overall longer-lasting buy.

They’re generally a bit more expensive than steel bearings but still significantly cheaper than most ceramics.

Best Bearings for Speed

Ceramic bearings are the best for speed.

Advertisement

Their heat-resistant features enable them to spin at high speeds with less metal expansion. When the metal in bearings expands, there’s more friction between the different moving parts. As mentioned earlier, this friction ultimately causes the wheels to slow down.

Because of this, ceramic bearings are a better option if you’re looking to go fast.

Here are a couple of great sets of speedy bearings.

1. Bones Swiss Ceramic Skateboard Bearings

The Bones Swiss Ceramic Skateboard Bearings are highly regarded as some of the fastest bearings available. Being made of ceramic, they’re heat-resistant and won’t corrode with exposure to moisture, giving them more speed and longevity.

2. Bronson Speed Co, G2 Skateboard Bearings

Another set of corrosion and heat resistant bearings, the Bronson Speed Co, G2 Bearings are ceramic made and built for speed.

Advertisement

Best Bearings for Cruising

Choosing a great bearing for cruising comes down more to preferences than it does the benefits of steel vs ceramic or titanium.

Depending on your environment, how often you skate, and how much money you want to spend, certain bearings will serve you better.

For example, with steel bearings being cheaper, they’re a great option if you don’t plan on skating that often.

If you prefer to cruise at high speeds often, investing in ceramics would be your best bet. They’re also a great choice if you want to avoid your bearings rusting from rain or mist.

Advertisement

Ultimately, it depends on your style of cruising. So, consider what that is or what that may be before buying a set.

Here’s our pick to get you going…

Bones Reds Skateboard Bearings 8 Pack

As an industry leader, bones create some of the most highly rated bearings available. Their classic, the Bones Reds, is an excellent set of bearings at a great price.

How to Clean Skateboard Bearings

A great way to increase the lifespan of your bearings is by cleaning them every once and a while.

Thankfully, it’s a fairly short process with just a few tools needed.

Advertisement

Here’s what you need:

  1. A T-tool/Skate tool OR a Socket Wrench
  2. A thin tool like a small metal pin, thumbtack, or the tip of a razor
  3. A bowl or towel to hold the removed parts
  4. A cleaning solution made of acetone, isopropyl alcohol, or mineral spirits
  5. A Tupperware bowl for your cleaning solution
  6. Rubber gloves
  7. Paper towel
  8. And a rag or old toothbrush

If you don’t have a Skate tool already, here’s one you can order.

Zeato All-in-One Skate Tools

Directions

Remove the Bearings

  1. To get to the bearing, you must first take off the wheel. Loosen the nuts holding the wheel in place with the socket wrench or Skate tool. If it’s stuck in there, firmly hold your board in place and give it a little elbow grease.
  2. Place your first nut and washer in your storage pile: either the rag or bucket you brought with you. Repeat this when you get to the other wheels.
  3. Begin removing your wheel. Angle your wrist as you lift your wheel and use the end of your truck’s axle to snag the bearing off.
  4. Remove the other bearing from that wheel with the same technique or using your selected thin tool.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for the remaining wheels and bearings.

Remove the Shield Caps

  1. Take your thin tool and place it in the open space of the shield cap.
  2. Pry open and remove the shield caps from all eight bearings.
  3. Place the shield caps in your storage pile.

Use the Solvent

  1. Put on your rubber gloves.
  2. Add your solvent to the Tupperware bowl.
  3. Place the bearings in the Tupperware bowl and cap the lid.
  4. Shake and swirl the bowl to strip away the grime. Leave the bearings in the solvent for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove the bearings from the solvent and place them onto a paper towel.

Dry and Lubricate

  1. Gently smack the open side of the bearings onto the paper towel to get the excess solvent out.
  2. Pat dry the bearings with a paper towel.
  3. If you have bearing lubricant, drip 2-3 into the bearing and then spin it to spread it around.
  4. Add lubricant to the remaining bearings.
  5. Put the shield caps back on. Make sure they click in place.

Bearing lubricant is an essential part of revitalizing bearings. Bones Speed Cream is a high-quality lubricant that increases how fast and long your wheels roll. Get your hands on some to give your bearings the better cleanse they need.

Rebuilding the Wheel

  1. Put the first washer onto an open axle.
  2. Put two bearings with the shield facing down on top of the washer.
  3. With your wheel in hand press down on the bearing until it clicks into place.
  4. Turn the wheel over and repeat on the other side. Once completed, the shield caps of both bearings should be visible on either side of the wheel.
  5. Add another washer on the axle followed by a nut.
  6. Using your Skate tool, tighten the nut. Be sure to leave some wiggle room for the wheel to spin freely.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 for the remaining wheels.

After that, you’re done!

When to Replace Your Bearings

Cleaning your bearings is a great way to get some extra life out of them. There will still come a time when they need to be replaced altogether, but cleaning will help them go the extra mile.

Generally, when bearings begin to rust, show significant reductions in speed and smoothness, or begin making noises you’re sure you didn’t hear before, that’s a good indication that they need to be replaced.

Damaged, dirty, and dry bearings can lead to a bunch of trouble. A build-up of dirt on the balls and races of the bearings can create excess friction and heat. This can cause the bearing to freeze up, which can happen out of nowhere, possibly leaving you flying off your board.

The same goes for damaged or extremely dry bearings, which are usually byproducts of dirt and corrosion.

Advertisement

It’s best to play it safe and replace your bearings when they begin to show signs of failure like cracking noises and significantly lower speeds even after cleaning and lubricating them.

Shielded vs. Sealed: What’s the Difference?

Bearings typically come with a detachable shield cap or one that’s sealed on. These are designed to prevent small particles like debris, dust, and water from entering the bearing–things that generally cause damage over time.

Sealed bearings are better at keeping substances from entering the bearing, but they often reduce the wheel’s rolling speed a bit.

My Bearings Got Wet. What do I do?

Rain, puddles, tears of joy when you finally land a 360 Treflip. It happens.

When it does, disassemble your wheel and dry the components as soon as possible.

Advertisement

Excess exposure to water will eventually rust your bearings, so do your best to avoid water when possible.

ABEC and Skate Rated ratings

The Annular Bearing Engineers Committee, ABEC, develops dimensions, geometry, tolerances, and noise requirements for different bearings in order to assist bearing makers in their manufacturing and selection of general bearing applications.

However, a report by Bones Bearings notes that they don’t cover, “Sideloading, impact resistance, materials selection and grade, appropriateness of lubrication, ball retainer type, grade of ball, the clearance between the balls and the races, installation requirements, and the need for maintenance and cleaning.”

While folks tend to associate quality bearings with ABEC ratings, Bones Bearings argues that it doesn’t accurately depict the quality of different bearings, as their tests don’t cover several important aspects of overall bearing performance.

Here are a couple ABEC Rated and Skate Rated options

Advertisement

Yellow Jacket Premium Skateboard Bearings (ABEC)

Bones Big Balls Reds (Skate Rated)

Ride on

Buy quality bearings for your riding style, give them a little love now and then and you’ll be golden. Need help deciding on the right pair of bearings? Feel free to hit us up anytime at hello@skatenewsire.com. Always happy to assist!

Continue Reading

HOWTO

Beginners Tips for Skating at a Skatepark

Gritty and scary city skate park at night in urban Chicago.

If you’re a beginner skateboarder who’s thinking about taking their first trip to the skatepark, or if you’ve been before but want to learn more about them, this guide is just for you.

It’ll cover the beginner-friendly tips you should know before your visit so that you’re all the more prepared to shred and have fun.

1) Learn the Basics First

Skateparks can be busy areas where tons of people come to hone their skills. Because of this, it’s best to learn the basics of riding a skateboard - that being pushing, turning, stopping, and holding your balance - before taking on the obstacles and ramps at a skatepark.

That way, you’re both more prepared for the twists and turns of the skatepark and less likely to trip up any other riders with falls and board slips.

If you’re new to skating and want some helpful tips on how to get started, check out our tutorial here.

2) Learn Skatepark Etiquette

Most skateparks have both written and culturally embedded rules to them.

An example of a written rule would be for all people to wear a helmet while skating at the skatepark. Although, this rule is more lenient at some parks than others so it’s best to gauge the area first and consider your riding abilities before deciding NOT to ride with a helmet.

Advertisement

An example of a culturally embedded rule would be to not “snake” behind other skaters. Snaking refers to when you either cut someone in line before they drop in or interrupt their run before it’s complete. It can often lead to collisions and beef with other skaters, two things you don’t need at a place where people go to have fun and practice their passion.

The written rules you can find at your local skatepark, likely on a gate or wall near the park. The other ones will be covered here so you can skate more confidently and only ask questions if you really need to.

Do’s

✅  Be Vigilant

Skateparks take time to digest. There are a lot of moving parts. So when you first go to one, look around.

Scan the park and observe how other people are using it; where people begin and end different obstacles; how people engage one another; and where people sit down when they take breaks.

✅  Get in Line

As we covered earlier, no one likes a snake. So to avoid causing trouble for your fellow riders, be sure to first look for the flow of riders already taking on the course. Then, take your turn after the last person in line.

Advertisement

✅  Ask Questions

Sure, you don’t want to look like a total newb if it’s at all avoidable. But hey, if you’re new to something, there’s no shame in getting more knowledge about what’s proper and what’s not.

So, before assuming something’s okay, just ask other people who might be affected by whatever you’re going to do.

When you’re hopping in line and considering using wax to grind a rail or ledge, for example, asking questions is extremely important. It ensures all parties are aware which helps them plan accordingly.

You never want to be the reason someone gets hurt. So, always ask “Who’s the last person in line?” and “Is it cool if I wax that ledge?” before you just go ahead and do it.

✅  Be Friendly

Riding at a skatepark can sometimes feel like working out at a gym. Some people may say what’s up and converse for a bit, but many people keep to themselves and listen to their music.

Advertisement

Being friendly encourages a healthy environment for all participating parties so do your best to socialize and be kind to people.

Having people who cheer you on and are happy to see you will make your time there an all-around better event. And, if not obvious, having a happier mindset helps with learning new tricks.

Don’ts

🚫  Don’t Practice Tricks in the Way Obstacles

If you see people are riding a certain path on an obstacle, or planning on jumping a flight of stairs, don’t practice your tricks there. Instead, find some flat ground somewhere else and practice over there. This way you’re not blocking traffic and being a hazard to anyone.

🚫  Don’t Sit on Obstacles or the Coping

Once again, you don’t want to be a hazard or a hassle to other people. Sitting on obstacles blocks their path and can lead to them hitting you or hurting themselves. If you need to sit, find a place on the side that’s out of the way of other skaters. Most skateparks have benches or standing areas so this shouldn’t be hard.

Also, don’t dilly dally on the coping. The coping refers to the metal pipe that covers the ledge of the bowl. Skaters ready themselves near the coping before dropping in, as well as grind it or pass it while maneuvering through the bowl. By hanging your board off the coping while others are riding, you run the risk of injuring them. So, don’t do it.

Advertisement

🚫  Don’t Litter or Leave Your Personal Items Lying Around

Both of these should be a given. You don’t want to litter because you don’t want to trash up the park which can bring down its overall image and feel and create unnecessary obstacles people should not have to deal with.

And, you don’t want to leave your personal items lying around because people can easily crush them accidentally. And at that point, who’s fault is it? More than likely, the person who decided to put their phone on the ledge where people grind all the time.

And finally:

🚫  Don’t Show People Up

If you see someone practicing a trick and they’re having trouble landing it or just failed, don’t be the person who goes right after them and lands the trick right in their face. It’s discouraging and disrupts the feng shui of the environment.

If you know other tricks, try those. If you don’t, it’s a great conversation starter to let the other person know that you’re also practicing that trick. It’s also a great opportunity to give someone some encouragement which helps with making friends.

Advertisement

There are several other rules of engagement and some parks may have their own that you’ll have to pick up on when you visit them, but these here give you a basis of how to operate at a skatepark.

For more information on skatepark etiquette, check out this video here.

3) Bring Protective Gear

If you’re new to skating at a skatepark, you should definitely consider wearing protective gear. We’re talking full-on protection: a helmet, wrist guards, knee pads, elbow pads, and the right shoes.

Your health is a top priority. Be safe rather than sorry as you learn the flow of the skatepark.

Advertisement

Consider decreasing the amount of protective gear you wear as your skills and confidence improve.

If you’re looking for quality protective gear, here’s a list of products worth checking out.

Helmet

JBM Skateboard Helmet

Wrist Guard, Knee Pads, & Elbow Pads

JBM Adult/Child Knee Pads Elbow Pads Wrist Guards 3 in 1 

Shoes

DC Men’s Court Graffik

4) Get to the Park Early

Not only does the early bird get the worm, but they also get the skatepark to themselves often.

If you’re looking to practice without having to worry about other people disrupting your rhythm, get to the skatepark before other people show up.

5) Bounce Back

Falling is a natural part of skating. Even so, when you’re at a skatepark, it’s important to do your best to bounce back up as soon as you can.

Staying on the floor too long prolongs you in danger from other riders; and their danger from you.

Advertisement

So although it may hurt, or although it may feel embarrassing, when you fall do your best to get up ASAP.

6) Get the Right Tools for the Right Job

Depending on what kind of skating you plan on doing the most, you’ll want to have the right skateboard set up to meet the needs of the task.

Vert Skating

Vert skating, for example, is best done with wider boards. Although it’s commonly associated with large ramps, vert skating is simply a style of skating where the rider transitions from a horizontal plane to a vertical one. Like going from the flat part of the middle of an empty swimming pool to the top part of it near the coping: that’s vert skating.

Wide boards help with stability and give your feet more room to land on. This will help you keep your balance and improve your board control while you skate. It depends on your shoe size and preference, but for many people, you want to think 8.25”+ in terms of deck width.

High-sitting, loose trucks also help with bowl skating. These features help you turn more easily. And, although you won’t always need them, large wheels that are on the harder side are also helpful. They’ll roll longer which will help maintain speed more effectively. Think 56mm-60mm tall, with a durometer of 96a-100a.

Advertisement

This combination of parts ensures you’re as prepared as possible for the challenges of vert skating. What’s more, these components arm you to have the most fun while doing it.

Lewis Farley does an amazing job of explaining why vert set-ups require the materials they do.

If you’re looking for quality parts for vert skating, check out these suggestions below.

Deck

ICE DRAGON Canadian Maple Skateboard

Wheels

Spitfire Formula Skateboard Wheels

Trucks

Independent Stage 11 Skateboard trucks – Set of 2 (144(8.25″))

Bearings

Bones Reds Skateboard Bearings 8-Pack

Grip Tape

Mob Grip Perforated Black Griptape 

Street Skating

Street skating boards can be smaller than vert skating ones, though either choice is really a matter of preference.

Still, if at the skatepark you plan to do more street-style moves, like flip tricks and grinds, then picking a smaller, lighter board may be more beneficial.

Advertisement

Once again it depends on your size and preference, but for a general rule of thumb, a 7.75”+ board will suit most teens and adults.

Smaller wheels will be lighter as well, but they’ll also have lower top speeds. Depending on where you skate this could be beneficial or not.

All and all, consider what style you’d like to do the most and what set up will get you there the most efficient way.

Sometimes it’s having a board that’s more tailored to a specific style. Other times, it may be having an all-around board.

Advertisement

For suggestions of good street skating parts as well as one great all-around skateboard, check out these items below.

Deck

[CCS] Blank and Graphic Skateboard

Wheels

FREEDARE Skateboard Wheels

Trucks

Independent Stage 11 Skateboard trucks

Bearings

Bones Reds Skateboard Bearings 8-Pack

Grip Tape

Mob Grip Perforated Black Griptape 

All-Around Fully Complete Skateboard

Skatro – Pro Skateboard 

7) Practice at Home

The final tip on this list might seem a bit counterintuitive, but it’s helpful if you want to always be on your A-game.

Practicing at home with a grind rail or mini ramp can be a helpful way to polish your techniques when you can’t make it to the skatepark. It’s also a great way to practice before you make your first visit. Which can be reassuring to people who are shy to practice in front of people.

If you’re looking for equipment to practice with at home, here are a few products worth considering.

Ramp + Rail

Ten-Eighty

Rail

Madd Gear Grind Rail

Mini Ramp

Ramptech 3′ Tall x 4′ Wide Quarterpipe

Conclusion

Skateparks are an excellent way to take your skating to the next level and meet new people.

They do take some time to get an understanding of, but once you get the hang of them, they can be a lot of fun and broaden your scope of the sport.

Advertisement

If you’re looking to go to one soon, be sure to review this list to refresh or learn some major tips on how to perform at your best. But in short: be kind, be smart, wear protective gear, and don’t snake.

Seriously, don’t snake.

It takes time to be great. But with enough practice, you’ll get there.

Best of luck to you.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

HOWTO

How to Clean Your Skateboard’s Grip Tape

Learning how to clean your skateboard’s grip tape is a great way to extend your board’s life and rejuvenate its grippiness.

We’ll cover the simplest way in this guide so that you can take all that dirt, mud, and grime and get it all off.

That way, your board’s fresh and ready for your next skating adventure. 

Tools

Cleaning your skateboard’s grip tape is thankfully a super simple job with the simple tools needed.

You need: 

  1. A belt sander cleaner, a.k.a Grip Gum
  2. A soft wire brush (or an old toothbrush)

If you don’t have some belt sander cleaner laying around, check out Prostik W1304 Abrasive Belt/Disk Cleaner

And if you’re in need of a quality soft wire brush, here’s one for you to consider. 

How to Clean Your Skateboard’s Grip Tape

1) Use Belt Sander Cleaner

First things first, take your belt sander cleaner and firmly rub the surface of your board. You want to treat the process like you’re erasing something on paper.

Just with a little more umph to it.

Advertisement

Cover the entirety of the board with close attention to the extra grimy spots. This technique should take care of most of the dirt, crud, and mud on your board.

2) Use a Soft Wire Brush

For a deeper clean of those remaining little dust particles, take a soft wire brush, or an old toothbrush, and give your board a good ol’ brushing. 

This should really put the icing on the cake, making your board look and feel new and grippy. 

Should I Use Water to Clean My Grip Tape?

It’s best to avoid using water on your grip tape. There are two main reasons: 1) Exposure to an excessive amount of water can eventually wear down the grip tape’s adhesive properties, and 2) You really don’t need it

How Often Should I Clean My Grip Tape?

As with most things, it depends. A simple answer is whenever you feel that your grip tape is too dirty or has noticeably lost some of its stickiness. 

Advertisement

Say, for example, you and some friends go skating in a new location that requires you to tread through a little dirt.

You get to your location, start skating, and you notice your tricks aren’t landing the way they normally do. 

After some time, you notice both your shoes and your board are covered in dirt. 

Well, given your ability to land those tricks before but not now, it’d be reasonable to assume your dirty shoes and board to be the culprit behind your missed tricks. 

And so, cleaning your board then would likely help improve your skating. 

Advertisement

How Often Should I Change My Grip Tape?

Either when your grip tape is too dirty to clean with the tools listed before, or when it’s too damaged from wear and whether to be useful to you.

Either way, you’ll have to make an executive decision about when that time is right for you.

Though simply riding and viewing your board should provide you with enough information to make that decision confidently. 

Also, instead of buying new grip tape, there is the option of buying a new deck or a fully complete board. It depends on what you’d like to spend your money on. 

Where Can I Find Good Grip Tape?

If you’re having trouble knowing what grip tape to use to replace your old one, or which grip tape to add to your new deck, check out the list below to learn about some quality options available now. 

Advertisement

Jessup Grip Tape

Jessup was the first company to introduce silicon carbide grip tape to the skating industry back in 1975.

Since then, they’ve been a massive influencer in the world of grip tape, having gripped over 25 million decks and created over 70 million feet of grip tape to date. 

Anyone looking for quality grip tape from a trustworthy brand should check out Jessup Grip Tape.

Their grip tape is easy to apply, has anti-bubble properties, and has a nice balance between how well it grips your shoes vs how fast it wears them down.

Additionally, Jessup sells their grip tape in a variety of colors, making them an excellent choice for skaters who’d like to personalize their boards more. 

Give them a look today if you need new grip tape. 

Advertisement

Grizzly Grip Tape

Grizzly Grip Tape was created by American skateboarding legend Torey Pudwill when he was just 12-years-old. 

Since launching in 2010, Grizzly Grip Tape has become an industry giant, same as Jessup.

Their grip tape features anti-bubble properties and perforations that make the application process all the easier.

It’s also light in terms of how much wear it causes your shoes, while still providing adequate grip for ollies and flip tricks. 

Check them out when you’re hunting for quality grip tape. 

Advertisement

Mob Grip Tape

Last on our list we have Mob Grip Tape

Similar to Jessup and Grizzly, Mob Grip Tape is easy to apply and designed so air bubbles are hard to form. 

However, what separates Mob from the rest of the crowd is the grit level, a feature most skaters enjoy as it helps them land their tricks easier.

So, if you’re someone looking for a grip tape that’s known to be extremely grippy, Mob Grip Tape is the way to go. 

Conclusion

And there you have it.

A practical way on how to clean your skateboard’s grip tape in no time flat; and, three suggestions on what grip tapes you should check if you’re in the market for some.

Now that you know what you need, go get your supplies and hop to it.

Advertisement

Soon you’ll be skating with either brand new, or like-brand-new grip tape. 

Safe travels.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video Archive

Trending