Spacewalk: a skateboard maneuver or technique that combines the manual and the tic tac | Photo: Creative Commons

The spacewalk is an unconventional yet striking trick that serves several purposes.

It is one of the most underrated maneuvers in modern skateboarding, and it was originally practiced in the freestyle decades, especially between the 1950s and the 1970s.

Contemporary skateboarders then brought their four wheels to the streets and started a riding revolution.

Today, the spacewalk is less a technical flat ground trick and more a link move between tricks that can be added to any skater's routine.

Stacy Peralta, Guenter Mokulys, Bob Schmelzer, Erwin Schuijtvlot, Takashi Suzuki, and Lillis Åkesson are known for performing it regularly.

Sometimes, it's also a show-off physical movement that highlights someone's style and can be seen here and there in skateparks.

"The spacewalk combines a manual with a tic tac. Your manuals should consistently be five feet (1.5 meters) or longer, or you may struggle with this trick," notes Per Welinder, author of "Mastering Skateboarding."

According to the legendary skater, there are two styles - or types - of skateboard spacewalks.

"One relies on rapid back-and-forth wiggles of the nose of the board while you are in a manual with the board traveling in a forward path," adds the legendary skater.

"The other requires deep back-and-forth S-turns with the rear wheels while you are in a manual. The refined version of the spacewalk is the latter - deep and smooth."

The spacewalk looks easy to perform but should never be underestimated. It requires physical prowess, leg power, and full-body balance.

It's a great warm-up exercise, a superb skill-building technique for manuals, and a fun and funny move simultaneously.

Spacewalk: a link move between tricks that can be added to any skater's routine | Photo: Red Bull

Spacewalk 101

The spacewalk is a maneuver that requires a lot of balance and leg strength.

The ultimate goal is to shift your weight to the back of the skateboard so that you lift your front wheels without the tail touching the ground.

Simultaneously, you should be moving forward at a slow speed, getting the nose of the board from left to right and vice-versa, from one side to the other at a 90-degree angle.

Here's how to do a flawless spacewalk on the concrete:

  1. Push on your skateboard at slow speed;
  2. Position your feet in a manual position, i.e., with your back foot on the tail, near the edge, and your front foot slightly above the middle of the deck;
  3. As you start to move forward, bend your knees slightly and slowly push on the tail by applying pressure with your back foot until the front wheels get off the ground;
  4. Time to use your lead foot to point the nose of the board out to your frontside and then quickly back to the center;
  5. Immediately following, push the nose of the board to your backside and then back to the center;
  6. The whole sequence should be completed quickly, without losing the manuals, and within the space of three or four feet (one meter);
  7. Connect the frontside and backside manuals together to move the skateboard in a serpentine fashion, like a snake;
  8. Try to maintain as many back-and-forth motions as you can before canceling the manual and resuming normal riding;

Extra Tips

The good, well-performed spacewalk will require your shoulders and hips to work efficiently and coordinately.

The shoulders should be pointing where you want to go, not where you are, and your arms should follow the lower and upper body movements.

"Try slowing down the back-and-forth sweeps so that the board actually swerves through each turn," underlines Per Welinder.

"Eventually, the turns should be slow and deep so that it feels as if you're going through a slalom course while doing a wheelie."

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