20 Dec A Beginner Skateboard Trick Guide by Cruisin City
Grab your board!
This skateboard trick tip guide is best used when you’re really out skating! Pull it up on your phone, tablet, or whatever and practice tricks as you read.
This guide will cover beginner flatground, ramp, and even a few slide and grind tricks.
Before you begin: if you’re still learning how to stand, push, and turn on your skateboard, please check out our article 5 Tips to Start Skateboarding! Our “5 Tips” article will help you get comfortable on your board before moving onto the tricks below.
Remember, it takes most skaters several months of practice to learn the basics.
Practice every day, push yourself, and most importantly – have fun!
Important: the foot placement diagrams for each trick show a skater with a “regular” stance (left foot in the front). Reverse the foot placement if you are more comfortable with your right foot in the front (goofy stance).
Easy Flatground Skateboard Tricks
How to Manual
Manuals or “wheelies” are done by lifting the front (or back) wheels off the ground and balancing on two wheels. They can be done while stationary but are best done while rolling.
When you have your balance, simply shift your weight to your back foot and lift up slightly with your front. Hold the board in position so your front wheels are off the ground without letting the tail of the board touch the ground.
Tip to hold manuals longer: Once you’re doing a manual, tense up all your muscles! Literally just freeze your body in place mid-manual. Naturally, you’ll need to react a little when balancing, but hold your ankles, legs, and torso in place and you should be able to hold a rolling manual for much longer.
You can also try a nose manual! This requires the same process as a regular manual but with your feet on the nose of the board. Be careful though, if you lean too far forward while doing a rolling nose manual, the board will catch the ground and you can fall forward.
A common skatepark obstacle is the “manual pad”. This is usually just a flat box on the ground that’s either a couple inches high to a few feet tall. Once you know how to ollie, try jumping up onto the manual pad, manualing across it, and then dropping off the other side.
How to Pop Shuv-It
The pop shuv-it, or simply “shuv-it”, is when you rotate (not flip) the board 180 degrees around. Your body stays in the same position, but the board will be rolling in the opposite direction when you land.
First, practice by placing only your back foot on the tail of your board with your other foot planted on the ground.
Pop the board with a “scooping” motion, sliding your foot backwards while simultaneously pressing down. This motion should make the board rotate around so that the nose of the board lands where your tail once was.
Once you have the one-foot rotation motion down, stand on the board and try to do a light jump upwards as you do the same scooping motion on the tail.
Your front foot will do very little, lift it up and keep it out of the way while the board spins around. Try to land over the bolts of the board and bend your knees to stabilize when landing.
Tip: Try to first learn the shuv-it while riding fakie. Fakie is when you are rolling backwards with your back foot on the tail, while the tail leads your direction of travel. A fakie shuv-it requires less scooping force to get the board to rotate around.
How to Ollie
Ollies – one of the most important skateboard tricks!
This trick is how you “magically” get the board to jump off the ground. Ollies are the building block for nearly all other tricks. Don’t worry, there’s not really magic involved, it just takes practice to learn!
Keep in mind that an ollie is done in one smooth motion. However, we will describe the process in steps.
1.) Place your back foot on the tip of the tail to get the most precise pop. Your front foot should be near the center of the board or the front bolts.
2.) Press down with your back foot, the moment the tail hits the ground, your front foot will turn sideways at the ankle and slide up the board vertically.
3.) The friction of your front foot sliding up the griptape will cause the board to pull up into the air. Jump into the air off your back foot and bend your knees as you jump so the board can float up with your feet.
Eventually, your timing will get more precise with the pop and slide motion. You can then experiment with popping harder, jumping higher, and bending your knees more mid-air to ollie higher.
Tip: Who could be better to teach you how to ollie than Tony Hawk? Follow this young girl as Tony attempts to teach her the ollie (even though she’s never skated before).
Hint – Tony explains how to ollie in detail 1:50 into the video:
How to Frontside (or) Backside Ollie 180
Once you have the ollie down, the next step is learning to add a 180 spin to it.
A frontside 180 is where you spin towards the heel side of your board.
A backside 180 will turn towards the toe side of your board.
In both cases, both your body and board will do a full 180 turn so that you land rolling the opposite direction.
Set your feet up as if you were going to do an ollie, but move your back foot up onto the board a little more so you have more control/grip with this foot during the spin.
Your shoulders will play a big part in causing your spin during an ollie 180.
Just as you are about to pop the ollie, you want to have your shoulders starting to turn in the direction of your spin.
As you pop, do an ollie as usual, but do a light scooping motion with your back foot in the direction of your spin and let your shoulders continue with momentum through the spin.
As you land, it’s often helpful to land slightly on your front (back when landing) wheels to do a slight pivot on them before rolling away in the opposite direction.
How to Boneless
At Cruisin City, we like to keep it a little old school! That’s why we’ve thrown in this special old school trick that just about anyone can do with practice!
The boneless is a trick that was done to get your board off the ground before skaters knew how to ollie.
To do one, you will first reach down and grab your board as if you were doing an Indy grab (back hand grabbing the front edge of the board).
Pull the board up with your hand while simultaneously taking your front foot off the board and planting it on the ground.
With your front foot on the ground and your back foot still on the board, jump into the air with the foot that’s on the ground while still holding the board with your hand.
While in the air, place your front foot back over the board and remove your hand before you come back down and land with both feet on the board.
Tip: Check out the video below to learn how to boneless from one of the best to ever do it – Mike Vallely! Then, check out any Mike Vallely pro model gear we may have in stock.
Beginner Skateboard Tricks on Ramps
How to Kick-turn
A “kick-turn” is simply the name for going up a ramp, turning 180 degrees around, and coming back down the ramp in the same direction. It’s a simple yet important skill to have when riding ramps!
Approach the ramp straight on or at a slight angle. As you go up the ramp, you’ll reach a point where you slow down just before the board will want to start moving backwards down the ramp.
Just as you begin to slow down, lightly shift your weight to your back foot and lift your front wheels off the ground.
Twist your shoulders in the direction that you want to go back down the ramp. With your front wheels gently lifted off the ground, rotate at your hips to turn the board around while pivoting on your back wheels.
Lightly set the front wheels back down in the direction you want to keep going. Bend your knees and ride back down the ramp!
Tip: Practice kick-turns by simply turning around in circles on flat ground before taking it to the ramp.
How to Drop-In
Your first drop-in on a skateboard is arguably one of the scariest tricks to learn. While it’s not terribly dangerous, you absolutely must approach it with confidence.
The best way to learn how to drop-in is to work your way up to it – Start small and flat!
Find a small, flat banked surface and place your back foot on the tail of the board with your front foot placed standing on the top of the ramp.
When you’re ready, place your front foot over the front bolts of the board and press down, stomping the front wheels down onto the ramp.
Shift your weight evenly over the top of the board and angle your body to the same angle of the ramp you’re dropping into.
Bend your knees and stabilize as you ride down the ramp.
Drop-in many times on a small ramp before moving up to bigger and bigger ramps. Before you know it, you’ll be dropping in on the biggest ramp in the park!
Remember, take your time moving up to bigger ramps and be confident!
Hesitation will cause more injury than anything else. You’ve got this!
Tip: Sometimes, it helps to focus on the bottom of the ramp you’re dropping into to keep properly balanced.
How to Rock to Fakie
A rock to fakie is one of the most basic “lip tricks” to learn on a quarter-pipe.
Lip tricks are a type of trick that is done on the metal bar at the top of a quarter-pipe or ramp. This bar is called the “coping” and your trucks and board will slide along it.
A rock to fakie is simply going up the ramp, letting your front wheels go over the coping, tapping your board down in the center, and then lifting the front wheels back over the coping before rolling back down in the reverse direction.
Go up the ramp with just enough speed to get the front wheels over, but not so much speed that you fly out of the ramp.
Gently lift your front wheels up as you approach the coping and set them back down on the top of the ramp.
After stalling for a moment with the coping on the center of your board, shift your weight back into the ramp.
As you roll back into the ramp, press down on the tail to lift your front wheels back up over the coping as you ride back down in the opposite direction.
Don’t forget to lift your front wheels up over the coping when rolling back down into the ramp!
Tip: Combine a rock to fakie and a kick-turn to do a rock-and-roll! After your front wheels have gone over the coping, turn your shoulders and press down on the tail to bring the front wheels back over the coping before doing a kick-turn out of the stall and riding back down the ramp in the same direction you came up.
How to Axle Stall
The axle stall is a slightly more advanced lip trick, but very useful when cruising the skatepark.
An axle stall is done when you stop on top of the ramp with both trucks resting on the coping in a 50-50 position. If you move across the coping in this position, it would be a 50-50 grind.
Start by approaching the ramp straight on or at a slight angle. Go just fast enough to reach the coping, but not too fast that you shoot over it.
As you approach the coping, shift your weight over your back truck. Ride up until you feel your back truck lock onto the coping.
Now, you need to shift your whole body weight directly up and on top of the coping. Don’t lean too far forward into the ramp, don’t lean too far back onto the flat top of the ramp.
When you feel your back truck lock onto the coping, gently set your front truck down so the trucks are in a 50-50 position.
Stabilize and pause for a moment.
Shift your weight over your back truck again and slowly rotate 90 degrees at your shoulders back into the ramp. Shift your body weight forward into the ramp and ride back in.
This video from Skate Hacks does a great job of explaining how to axle stall:
Basic Skateboard Grind & Slide Tricks
How to Boardslide
A backside boardslide (sliding forwards) is generally the first skateboard grind rail trick to learn. It’s done by sliding across the rail with the rail in the center of board between the two trucks.
Before you begin, test the grind rail you intend to skate by rubbing your board across it using your hands. If the rail is very grippy to the board, you will need skateboard wax to make it more slippery for your boardslide.
Approach the rail at a medium speed and a slight angle.
Do a slight ollie, just enough to get your front trucks over the rail.
Land down on the rail with it centered between each of your trucks. You should land perpendicular on the rail. So, at a 90-degree angle on the rail during the slide. Your shoulders should also be in the same position as the board, facing straight forward, not turned sideways.
Lean very slightly on your heels during the slide and bend your knees. You’ll have to carefully get used to how quickly each individual rail slides.
Hold the slide until the end of the rail. Just as you get to the end, turn your shoulders sideways to anticipate the position they’ll be in when you land.
As you fall off the end of the rail, your lower body should follow your shifted upper body to turn 90 degrees and land straight again.
Tip: Sometimes, beginners will try to learn how to boardslide on a ledge (instead of a grind rail). While it’s possible to do this, this is not the right obstacle to learn boardslides on. Your front wheels will grip the top of the ledge and it’s really a different feeling trick than doing it on a rail.
How to 50-50 Grind
The 50-50 grind is the staple grind trick to learn before nearly all other grinds.
A 50-50 is done by grinding across a ledge or rail with both trucks centered over the obstacle, grinding on the edge of it.
We recommend learning to 50-50 on a metal ledge instead of a grind rail (especially a round rail, which is considerably harder to 50-50).
Like with boardslides, make sure that what you’re skating has been waxed with skateboard wax before trying to grind it.
These instructions are intended for a frontside 50-50 grind (The obstacle in front of you, not behind you).
Approach the ledge or rail at a medium speed and slight angle.
Focus on what you’re trying to grind and ollie slightly higher than the obstacle.
The hard part is, when you ollie onto the obstacle, you must have enough control of your ollie to guide both trucks equally over the obstacle. In the air, you are basically making a very subtle “forward” motion that guides the board in a sideways direction in the air.
Land on the grind with your weight directly over the top of your board.
Stand balanced on the board as it grinds down the obstacle.
As you approach the end, you must shift your weight over your back truck to slightly lift the front truck off the obstacle. You will then evenly fall off the end of the obstacle and roll away.
Tip: After you’re comfortable with 50-50’s, simply shift your weight over your back truck like you’re doing a manual to do a 5-0 grind. The same also applies to a nosegrind, which is essentially like doing a nose manual.
Skate Hacks does a great job of explaining how to frontside 50-50 in this video:
You’ve reached the end of our skateboard trick guide!
Remember, skateboarding takes a lot of practice to improve. For skaters that live in colder regions, you may like to read our article How to Survive Winter as a Skateboarder for some cold season skate ideas!
As you skate, you’ll need to maintain your board a bit. An important part of skateboard maintenance is cleaning your skate bearings. Check out our guide Keep on Cruising: How to Clean Skateboard Bearings for a step-by-step process of keeping your bearings rolling quick!
Text by Skatetexter.