How to manual on a skateboard

November 3, 2020 | Skateboarding
Manual: a skateboarding maneuver in which the rider balances on the back or front wheels while keeping the other set off the ground | Photo: Red Bull

The manual is one of the basic skateboarding tricks. It involves balancing on the back or front wheels while keeping the other set off the ground.

The manual, also known as wheelie, requires you to feel comfortable pushing, balancing, and riding a skateboard on your normal stance.

Balancing on two wheels is more challenging than you might think, so a good riding technique is paramount.

Interestingly, it's is harder to do a manual when you're stationary than when you're moving faster.

In the end, the goal is to lift the front of the board and keep riding. It's a maneuver that requires high levels of flexibility from the rider.

Now, find an open, smooth, and flat surface and get ready to execute a flawless manual:

1. Push on your skateboard at low-to-medium speed;

2. Put your front foot angled slightly forward over the bolts and the back foot on the tail's edge;

3. Bend your front knee and keep your back straight;

4. Look at the ground just ahead of the board;

5. Slowly lift your board off the ground by pushing down on the back of the board;

6. Hold the nose of the board up for as long as you're comfortable;

Manual: the trick is to find a good balance on the skateboard, keep your arms still, and lower the center of gravity | Photo: Red Bull

Manual Practice Tips

Your first runs will be short, and you may even fall off your board several times.

But the more you practice the manual on a smooth surface, the further you'll be able to travel on two wheels.

Measure your progress by setting milestones. The trick is to get the balance down while keeping your momentum going.

Bending your front knee with your shoulders level to the ground is critical to maintaining balance.

For that, try to keep your arms still and don't move your body much unless you need to recalibrate your balance. And lower your overall center of gravity just a bit.

With practice, you'll find your sweet spot, and your manuals will be able to hold your board steady for a long time.

Another useful tip is to do the manual right as you're coming to the top of a ramp.

Why? Because your body will position itself exactly how it should be when holding a regular manual on flat concrete.

A good manual is always a go-to move whenever and wherever you need it.

When you master it, you can try mixing it up with an ollie and taking the manual, for instance, to a curb.

Make sure you don't ollie too high. Otherwise, it'll be difficult to land it.

There are several types of manuals, but the regular manual, the nose manual, and the spacewalk are the most common versions.

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