10 Top Tips for Learning to Skateboard

Skateboarding is a great way to get yourself and your kids outdoors for some active fun. Here are the basics to get started…

1. Work out your stance

Knowing which foot to keep on the board is quite tricky. So ask yourself this: if you were going to run and skid across a slippery floor, which foot would you put in front?

That one is your lead foot, and the one to keep on the board. If you lead with your right foot you’re ‘goofy footed’, and left, you’re ‘regular footed’.

2. Soft setting

Get used to the feel of the board by standing on it on soft ground such as grass, or even a carpet. Keep your knees loose and gently rock back a forth. Keep your front foot over the front bolts and your back foot over the back bolts.

3. Pushing-off

Place your lead foot just behind the front bolts. Both legs should be parallel, as though you’re walking, then just push-off the floor with your other foot. Take small baby pushes to start with.

4. Balance

You’ve practiced pushing off and you’re ready to balance on the board. Place our pushing-off foot over the back bolts. Now quickly swivel both feet sideways as though you’re surfing. So if you’re regular footed, both feet are facing right.

5. How to stop

You’ll start off quite slow, so the easiest way to stop is to brake using your foot on the ground. Once you’ve got the hang of that, try a tailstop: just put all your weight into the tail end of the board, and bend your front leg. The friction brings you to a stop. In an emergency – just jump off!

6. Steering

Once you’ve got some pace just practice gently leaning some weight into your heels or toes. The skateboard will gently turn left or right as you lean.

7. The lingo

There’s a whole new language to learn and Skate to Live have a comprehensive dictionary, but here are some basics:

Nose: the front of your board.
Tail: the back end.
Ollie: a jump where your feet stay on your board.
Bail: when you jump off your board just before falling off.
Fakie: riding backwards, in the opposite stance.
Pop: hitting the tail of the board against the ground to thrust the board upwards.
Shove-it: spinning the board 180 degrees under your feet.

8. Board maintenance

Always check your board before you skate. Check that all the nuts and bolts are tight. If a wheel seems wobbly, stop immediately; it could be a broken bearing. Check your board for splits and splinters, and clean it regularly.

9. Safety

Riding a skateboard can be dangerous. Start off on a flat spacious area away from traffic. It’s worth investing in a helmet, shoes and knee and elbow pads before venturing onto concrete. Skateboarding is not recommended for children under 5, and it’s important to supervise children at all times, especially whilst they’re learning.

10. Some basic tricks

Skateboarding is harder than it looks, and if you’ve managed to do all of the above confidently, then give yourself a pat on the back. Keep practicing, and when you’re ready, have a go at some of these beginner’s skateboarding tricks.

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