Skateboarding: a sport with its very own lingo | Photo: Shutterstock

The world of skateboarding has its own culture and vocabulary. Explore our comprehensive glossary of skating terms and expressions.

As an urban sport, skateboarders developed a unique and specific list of words and slang that can be heard in the streets or out in the skatepark.

The skater's lexicon is vast and sometimes difficult to decode, especially if you're not a member of the tribe.

There are dozens of tricks, several skateboard parts, spot features, and appreciation/depreciation words used in multiple contexts.

The definition and usage of skateboarding jargon may vary depending on the location and situation, but the following terminology is universally accepted and understood among skateboarders.

Drop into an alphabetically arranged list of the most common skateboarding terms, expressions, and meanings.

180: a half skateboard and body rotation performed either frontside or backside;

360: a complete skateboard and body rotation performed either frontside or backside;

540: a one-and-a-half skateboard and body rotation performed either frontside or backside;

720: two complete skateboard and body rotations performed either frontside or backside;

900: a two and a half skateboard and body rotations performed either frontside or backside;

1080: three complete skateboard and body rotations performed either frontside or backside;

ABD: acronym for "Already Been Done";

Acid Drop: to skate off the end of an object without touching the board with the hands and without ollieing;

Air: an aerial trick;

Airwalk: an aerial trick in which the skater grabs the nose of the board, kicks the feet out while in the air, and then quickly back on when he's about to land it;

Alley-Oop: an aerial transition trick in which the skater moves his body sideways in the opposite direction of the rotating movement;

Am: a short for an amateur;

Anchor Grind: a grind trick performed on the board's front truck that leaves the tail pointing back, down, and away from an obstacle;

Axle: the metal rod running through the skateboard truck's hanger on which the wheels are mounted;

Backside: a trick or turn executed with the skater's back facing the ramp coping or the obstacle;

Bail: to jump or step off the board safely when a move goes wrong;

Bank: an elevated, sloped, under 90-degree surface or area used for riding skateboards up and down and performing tricks;

Baseplate: a flat piece with four holes that mounts the skateboard truck to the deck;

Bearings: a set of six, seven, or eight balls enclosed in races between two shields that allow for the turning of a wheel on its axle. Each wheel features two bearings;

Benihana: a grab trick in which the skater performs an ollie, pulls the board forward with the front foot, leaves the back foot hanging in the air, and grabs the tail before pulling it back under the feet;

Blunt: a trick in which the skater lands the tail of the board on the coping or edge of an object and then resumes riding;

Boardslide: a sliding trick in which the bottom of the skateboard deck slides along an object;

Boned: a mid-air move in which the skater pushes the board out in front and points it downward;

Boneless: a trick in which the skater takes the front foot off the board, grabs it with the hand, then jumps up with the back foot still on the board before placing the front foot back on the board and landing;

Bowl: a concrete or wooden swimming pool-like structure installed in skateparks featuring a flat bottom and coping;

Box: a rectangular box that is usually made of wooden or concrete with grindable and slidable edges and a platform in which skaters perform several tricks;

Brain Bucket: a helmet;

Burly: a high-risk trick that might lead to severe injuries if it is not successfully completed;

Bushing: a ring-shaped polyurethane component that surrounds a truck's kingpin and helps the board turn and pivot;

Caballerial: a trick invented by Steve Caballero in the early 1980s in which the skater performs a 360-degree ollie in a ramp while riding fakie and without grabbing;

Carve: a maneuver in which the skater makes a long, curving arc;

Casper Flip: a trick in which the skater performs a half-flip and then uses the back foot to grab the tail and whip it;

Catch: when you catch your board while it is still spinning with your feet and then land it;

Complete: a skateboard with all its components: deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, and grip tape;

Coper: an old school covering that is installed in the truck's hanger to protect it against grinding;

Coping: the metal pipe or edging fitted to the lip of a ramp or halfpipe;

Crooked Grind: a grind performed where the deck is not directly over the obstacle;

Curb: the raised edge of the sidewalk beside a street;

Darkslide: a trick invented by Rodney Mullen in which the skater flips the board onto an obstacle, lands on it upside down with one foot on the nose and the other on the tail, and slides the area before landing on the flat ground;

Deck: the wooden area of your skateboard that you stand on;

Delamination: a defect in the skateboard deck's plywood that results in the layers starting to come apart from each other;

Demo: a skateboarding event with riding and gear demonstrations usually held in skateparks and skate shops;

Double Set: a stairway with two sets of stairs connected by a flat section or platform;

Downhill Skating: a skateboarding style in which the rider skates down steep roads at high speed;

Drop-In: a way of entering a bowl or halfpipe from the top;

Durometer: a measurement scale that identifies the resiliency, or hardness, of urethane wheels;

Escalator: the part of the coping found in the quarter, mini and vert ramps, and bowls that slopes from one height to another and is not parallel to the ground;

Extension: the part of a ramp where the transition extends higher than the remaining area;

Face Plant: to fall off the board with the face on the ground before any other part of the body;

Fakie: to ride your skateboard backward;

Five-O (5-O): a type of grind;

Flat Rail: a flat metal rail;

Flip: to turn the skateboard on a lengthwise axis;

Frontside: when a trick or turn is performed with the skater's front facing the ramp coping or the obstacle;

Fruit Boots: a derogatory expression for inline skates and roller blades;

Full Cab: an alternative name for a Caballerial;

Funbox: an alternative name for box;

Gap: the distance between two rideable objects, areas, or surfaces that are usually used by skaters to ollie over and perform other aerial tricks;

Gnarly: an awesome or amazing thing or trick;

Goofy-Foot: a skater that rides with his or her right foot forward;

Grab: to use the hand or hands to hold the board during a trick;

Graphics: the artwork that is displayed on the bottom of a skate deck;

Grind: a trick that involves scraping the skateboard's trucks along an object;

Grip Tape: sandpaper-like material fitted to the top of a deck to give riders more grip;

Grom/Grommet: a young skater kid;

Halfpipe: a U-shaped ramp featuring a flat bottom section between the opposing concave transitions that lead to vertical areas on both sides;

Handrail: the urban feature in which skaters perform several grinding and sliding tricks;

Hanger: the largest part of the truck that is mostly exposed to grinding;

Heelflip: a trick in which the skater flips the board with his or her heel in the opposite direction of a kickflip;

Indy Grab: a trick in which the skater grabs the board mid-air with the back hand;

Kick Turn: to turn your board by shifting the weight to the tail of the board and twisting;

Kickflip: a trick invented by Curt Lindgren and later modified by Rodney Mullen in which the skater flips the board around its lengthwise axis using his or her front foot;

Kingpin: the bolt that holds the hanger, cushions, and baseplate of a truck together;

Kink: a rail that goes straight and down and straight again;

Land: to successfully complete a trick;

Landing Bolts: to land a trick perfectly with the board secure and balanced under your feet;

Lip: the top edge of a bowl or ramp;

Longboard: a longer skateboard that is used for downhill skating, commuting, and cruising;

Mega Ramp: a huge vert ramp made of a metal scaffold with a wood surface featuring a roll-in, a gap jump, and a vert quarter pipe section;

Mini Ramp: a small-scale version of a halfpipe that is usually six feet tall and features smooth transitions and no vert sections;

Mob: to have bad style;

Mongo: a not-so-well-accepted technique that involves pushing the skateboard with the front foot while the back foot remains on the board;

Nollie: a short for a nose ollie;

Nose: the front of the skateboard;

Nosegrab: to grab the nose of the board with the leading hand;

Ollie: a trick in which the skater uses his or her feet to pull the skateboard up into the air;

Pivot Cup: the raised and hollowed plastic cup that prevents the hanger from coming into contact with the baseplate;

Pop Shove-It: a trick that combines the ollie with shove-it and enables the board to get into the air and rotate along its vertical axis;

Poser: a skater who tries to pretend to be what he or she is not;

Pumping: moving your body weight on your skateboard to build speed without your feet touching the ground;

Pushing: to propel the board forward by keeping as much weight on the lead foot as possible and getting the rear foot to push against the ground;

Pyramid: a pyramid-shaped obstacle with a flat top often found in skateparks;

Quarterpipe: a quarter section of a pipe that has a curved piece leading to a vertical ramp;

Rad: a short for radical;

Rail: a round metal rail;

Regular Footer: a skater that rides with the left foot forward;

Sesh: a skateboard session;

Sidewalk Surfer: another term for skateboarder;

Sidewalk Surfing: another term for skateboarding;

Sk8: one of the most popular abbreviations for a skate;

Skatepark: a public or privately owned, outdoor or indoor area featuring a broad range of obstacles and objects in which skateboarders perform tricks and maneuvers;

Sketchy: a not-perfect or poorly executed trick;

Slide: a move where the underside of your deck slides along an object;

Snake: to steal or cut off someone's line at a skatepark;

Steez/Steezy: a combination of the words "style" and "ease" meant to praise a stylish and perfectly executed trick or maneuver;

Stick: to land a trick;

Stoked: to feel excited;

Street Skating: a skating style that uses street furniture, such as curbs, benches, and steps, to perform tricks;

Switch Stance: to ride a skateboard and perform tricks and maneuvers not using the normal or natural stance;

Tail: the back end of a skateboard;

Tail Slide: a trick in which the skater slides the underside of the tail end of the board on a lip or ledge;

Technical (Tech): a skateboarding style that involves highly complex freestyle tricks and maneuvers performed on flat surfaces;

Thrasher: an avid or enthusiastic skater;

Tic Tac: a series of short kickturns performed in a row. It can give a skateboarder the momentum needed to travel across a flat area;

Trick: a skateboard maneuver;

Truck: the metal attachment bolted to the deck which connects the axles and wheels to the deck;

Vert: a short for vertical;

Vert Ramp: a specially designed ramp for skateboarding with a horizontal area at its top;

Vert Skating: a skating style in which the rider performs moves and tricks in a halfpipe or ramp. It usually involves getting air above the rim of the ramp or pipe;

Wheels: the four rounded polyurethane devices sized between 39 and 70 millimeters that allow skateboards to roll;

Wipe Out: to fall off the skateboard;

Words by Luís MP | Founder of

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