How to do tic-tacs on a skateboard

September 18, 2020 | Skateboarding
Tic-tacs: a series of consecutive heelside-to-toeside kick turns that, when chained together, will help you pick up speed | Photo: Shutterstock

Once you've managed to find your balance on a skateboard, it's time to start moving around. The tic-tac technique is one of the two ways of getting speed in skateboarding.

There are two ways of gaining speed on a skateboard. You either push off on the ground or do tic-tacs.

Tic-tacs are a series of consecutive heelside-to-toeside kick turns that, when chained together, will help you pick up speed.

Unlike pushing off, when performing a tic-tac your feet are always on the board.

You may also use tic-tacs to change direction while gaining speed.

The secret of a good tic-tac technique is on your shoulders - you will use them to turn and shift your weight into your hips.

It's your hips' movement, from one side to the other, that will make your feet accelerate the skateboard.

The trick is to do a backside kickturn, quickly followed by a frontside kickturn.

In other words, push your body momentum in the direction you want to go by leading with your shoulders.

Tic-tac: a fundamental skateboarding technique that will help you gain speed | Photo: Shutterstock

Tic-Tacs 101

To get things started, grab your skateboard and lay it on the grass, backyard, or local public garden.

Now, step on the board and simulate a few kickturns. The goal is to exercise your muscle memory before practicing it on the go.

Once you're comfortable with frontside and backside kicturns, you're ready for the tic-tacs.

Let's break them down for easier understanding.

1. Starting by placing your back foot on the edge of the board's tail and your front foot in the middle;

2. Press gently down on the back of the board to lift the nose;

3. Twist your hips to turn the nose of your skateboard;

4. Apply some weight over the nose to bring the board down

5. Repeat the hip movement the other way;

Extra Tips

Tic-tacs will allow you to move forward almost indefinitely, but remember to keep the board's nose relatively near the ground.

The trick is not to lean too far back. And always look forward to where you want to go.

Also, avoid wide-angle tic-tacs, i.e., keep the amplitude below 90 degrees when going from left to right and vice-versa.

You don't want to go too far to the right or too far to the left. Otherwise, you won't get much speed from your skateboard.

Twist your upper body in the same direction the nose is turning. When the front wheels touch the ground, start twisting toward the opposite side.

The whole body movement is similar to a pendulum's oscillation.

Practice your tic-tacs around your neighborhood and try to ride around the block without putting your foot down.

Start from a stationary position and try to gain speed.

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