Boardslide: one of the fundamental tricks in intermediate skateboarding | Photo: Red Bull

The boardslide is the first rail trick an intermediated skateboarder should learn to perform. Here's how to do it without hurting yourself.

If your skateboard's deck is too clean, then you've probably not yet entered the world of boardslides. Your time is now.

There are basically four main slide tricks: backside boardslide, frontside boardslide, backside lipslide, and frontside lipslide.

But what is the difference between a boardslide and a lipslide? It's a subtle one.

"In both tricks, the skater ollies onto the rail, lands with the board straddling it, and then slides until the end," explain Per Welinder and Peter Whitley, authors of "Mastering Skateboarding."

"In a boardslide, the skater ollies straight up onto the rail, so the front wheels go across the rail."

"In a lipslide, it's the back wheels that cross the rail. In other words, a lipslide is the simpler, easier version because it requires less rotation in the ollie."

In a backside boardslide, you are sliding forward; in a backside lipslide, you rotate the board in a backside direction, so you'll slide backward.

Frontside Lipslide: when the back wheels cross the rail | Photo: Red Bull

The Approach

Let's focus on boardslides.

A skateboarder can perform boardslides on rails, ramps, ledges, curbs, flat bars, and wherever you can get onto.

Ideally, practice your first boardslides on a flat, square rail, leaving curved or sloped rails for when you're comfortable with the trick.

A rounded rail is faster; square railings offer more surface to balance the board onto.

Remember that you must learn to ollie before trying slide tricks for the first time, as you'll be jumping onto a rail that is around ten inches high.

So, your ollie should be clean, at least as high as the flat bar, and with a 90-degree frontside rotation.

Finally, start with the backside boardslide - it's easier and more comfortable than the frontside backslide.

Fronside boardslide: a trick in which the skateboarder ollies onto the rail and then slides until the end | Photo: Red Bull

Backside Boardslide 101

Find a smooth, obstacle-free riding surface with a flat rail. Ready? Go.

  1. Push the skateboard at moderate speed and adopt the ollie stance;
  2. Approach the rail on your backside almost parallel to it;
  3. Pop your ollie while turning your shoulders and upper body toward the rail;
  4. Get centered, find your balance, and don't move your feet;
  5. Let the board slide across the rail at a 90-degree angle;
  6. As the board reaches the end of the rail, rotate the skateboard in whichever direction you prefer to prepare for the landing;
  7. Slightly bend your knees and spread out your arms;
  8. Land in either a forward or switch direction and skate away;

Remember that if you lean too far back, you'll slip out. If you lean too far forward, you'll faceplant.

It's your body momentum that will allow you to get to the other side of the rail, so make the necessary adjustments while sliding along the bar.

The ollie's motion will also help you clear the flat bar and land the backside boardslide.

Frontside Backslide 101

The frontside boardslide is slightly harder to master, as you'll need to ollie higher than the rail and will be sliding backward.

You'll feel that it is more difficult to control speed while sliding backward on a rail because your knees don't bend in the right direction.

In other words, you're not facing the direction you're going, so keeping a low stance and maintaining a good balance is key to success.

The trick is to have enough speed to keep the motion going, approach the rail at a slight angle, pop up high, keep your head and shoulders straight, and kick your front foot back when it's time to land.

Also, make sure the board makes contact with the rail at a 90-degree angle, with your feet set in a wide stance.

Let's break the frontside boardslide down:

  1. Push the skateboard at moderate speed and adopt the ollie stance;
  2. Pop an ollie that is high enough for your front wheels to clear the bar easily;
  3. Land across the flat rail at a 90-degree angle;
  4. Let the board slide along the bar as far as you can;
  5. At the end of the rail, rotate your lower body only to land the skateboard smoothly;

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