20 useful skateboarding tips for beginners

December 28, 2020 | Skateboarding
Skateboarding: you're never too young or too old to start skating | Photo: Shutterstock

Learning how to skateboard can be a simultaneously exciting and terrifying experience. Explore the 20 top tips for beginner skaters.

We all learn at different rates - in school, at work, and throughout our life. And skateboarding is no different.

For instance, some people improve their surfing skills faster and then struggle with the basic skateboarding maneuvers.

Others have started skating since they were kids and then absolutely failed in their wave riding baptism - that's natural and fine.

No one is good at anything when they start, but your second skateboarding session will likely be much better than the first one.

One of the great things about skateboarding is that you can actually start riding confidently, turning and stopping your board after a week of practice.

However, there are some tips you should follow to make it a pleasant, fun and highly addictive outdoor experience.

Remember that you're never too young or too old to start skateboarding.

So, grab a board, be smart, and don't forget that repetition is key to improving and riding safely.

Take a look at the following tips. They will make you a better skater.

Skateboards: a beginner skater should ask for advice when buying the first setup | Photo: Shutterstock

1. Get the Right Skateboard

Visit your local skate shop and ask for advice. They will help you choose the best board for your weight/height and riding level.

You can pick a complete skateboard or put together the parts you want (deck, trucks, bearings, and wheels).

In the end, you'll get a skate that suits your needs.

2. Wear Thick Socks

Protect your ankles from getting bashed by your skateboard. Wear a pair of thick and long socks that will cover your shins.

You can also roll them over to cover the ankle. It's a simple yet handy tip that will minimize unnecessary pain.

3. Get the Right Skate Shoes

Footwear is an essential part of skateboarding - not only because they're cool and stylish, but because it'll definitely boost your progression.

Also, you'll want to put on a pair of skate shoes that are comfortable and don't wear out after a couple of sessions.

4. Wear a Helmet

Everybody falls and gets hurt while skateboarding - it's inevitable.

If you're still finding your balance and getting used to rolling over flat surfaces, wearing a helmet is a smart safety option.

Pros wear helmets and knee pads. Moreover, it will increase your confidence levels.

Skateboarding: learning how to fall is one of the first things a beginner skater should master | Photo: Shutterstock

5. Don't Skate in the Rain

Skateboarding and water don't usually mix. If you're still getting used to a skate's motion, slippery surfaces could be your worst enemy.

So, avoid skating on wet days or after a lot of rain. Water is also not a good thing for a wooden deck, metal parts, and bearings.

6. Feel Comfortable Riding a Skateboard

Start small.

Spend time riding your board around without thinking of tricks and maneuvers - just cruise around a lot around your neighborhood, on the boardwalk, or at a skatepark during less busy hours.

7. Learn to Fall Safely

Don't be afraid. You'll fall, but most of the time, it won't hurt too much.

One of the things that might help is actually training and developing a proper falling technique.

Try skating at low speed toward a grass field, step off the board, and run or roll over the cushioned surface.

8. Consolidate the Basics

First things first - when you first step on a skateboard, you must learn how to push, turn, do tic-tacs, and slow down/stop.

Without mastering these basic riding skills, you should not progress towards skateboarding's first and most important trick - the ollie.

Ollie: beginner skaters should practice it stationary | Photo: Shutterstock

9. Practice the Ollie Stationary

The ollie is the foundation of skateboarding. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced skateboarding tricks derive from the lessons learned with the ollie.

Although it might take time to land it for the first time, there's one thing that can dramatically accelerate the learning process - practicing it stationary, for example, on the grass.

10. Practice Your Nollie, Switch and Fakie Stance

Everybody has a natural stance - regular or goofy foot. However, skateboarders are often challenged to adopt a nollie, switch, or fakie stance on many occasions.

It happens all the time, especially after performing a 180 or skating down a ramp. The faster you get used to these unnatural riding positions, the faster you'll progress.

11. Set Realistic Goals

Make a mental list of tricks that you think can easily be performed and attained, and avoid raising the bar too much.

Otherwise, frustration will take over, and you might even consider quitting skateboarding.

Achievable milestones are boost motivators - adopt that mindset.

12. Ask for Advice

You can learn and improve your skateboarding skills faster by talking to fellow skaters.

Ask for advice. They'll gladly tell you and point out what you're doing right and wrong and help you fine-tune your overall posture, feet positioning, and upper body balance.

Skateboarding: ask for tips and advice from fellow skaters at the skatepark | Photo: Shutterstock

13. Don't Compare Yourself to Others

Everyone learns at different rates. You might not be very good with the pop shove-it, but your ollie is probably better than most beginners you know.

Focus on what you're doing, and don't compare yourself to others.

14. Consolidate Your Progress

Make sure you land your tricks more than once before moving on to the next challenge.

Consistency is key to good skateboarding. Once you land a difficult maneuver, repeat it over and over again until it's muscle memory.

15. Stay All-Rounded

Once you're able to pull off four or five tricks, keep practicing and training them on skateparks, flat and smooth surfaces, on the streets of your town.

Just because you're now practicing a new move, don't forget to bring older achievements into your present runs.

16. Don't Try to Impress Others

The number one goal is skateboarding is riding for the pure pleasure of doing it.

One of the most common mistakes beginner skaters make is trying to show off while they're still in the early learning stages.

It's a silly and immature behavior that often comes with consequences. Remember that the more you show off, the more you'll injure yourself.

You don't want to kill yourself doing something you're not obviously prepared to. Be humble and discrete - wanting to look cool is totally uncool.

Skateboarding: in the end, it's all about having fun | Photo: Shutterstock

17. Develop Your Own Skating Style

There's an old saying that really applies to skateboarding - don't imitate, innovate!

Developing your own skating style is paramount. You don't need even need to think about it - just let yourself go and unleash your creativity.

Typically, the more skaters try to mimic their idols, the more they fall and get stuck in a frustration zone.

Free yourself from the standards and remember that there are no rules in skateboarding.

18. Film Yourself

Whether you're using an action camera or a smartphone, it's always a good idea to film your early skateboarding moves.

You can use them to ask for tips and advice and correct your tricks and body postures. It's a great learning tool.

19. Have Fun

There are many good reasons to start skateboarding, but the number rule for embracing it 100 percent is definitely to have fun.

It shouldn't be an obligation or something you must be good at. Even at a competitive and professional level, skateboarding should be something that brings you joy.

So, go out, skate with friends, and meet new people - that's what (skateboarding) life is all about.

20. Never Give Up

There are good and bad and good days. Just because today was not a good day, it shouldn't mean you're giving up on skateboarding.

Don't forget this - never get discouraged by something you can't do because practice will get you where you want to go.

Trial and error are part of the game. Embrace it, progress, and get your skating skills to a whole new dimension.

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