Skateboarding: riding the streets will improve your surfing | Photo: Whittaker/Creative Commons

Surfing came first, but the sport of riding the streets ended up developing its own culture and technicalities. Here's how skateboarding can improve your surfing skills.

Initially, before skateboarding started gaining traction in urban America, the board with four wheels was seen as a warm-up piece of equipment for the flat days.

If there were no waves in the ocean, surfers would step on a skateboard and cruise the boardwalk, waiting for the perfect swell to kick in.

But as they explored its potential, surfers discovered an exciting new sport.

Skateboarding was born in the 1940s, but it only really conquered the hearts of millions of youngsters in the late 1960s and mid-1970s.

And as decades went by, the action sport developed new tricks and maneuvers.

Many skateboarding moves were fueled and inspired by surfers' maneuvers in the waves.

Today, it is fair to say that surfing and skateboarding do influence each other in many ways. Skateboarding is a $5 billion industry with ramifications in the surfing business.

If you own a skateboard, you can spend quality time improving your surfing skills on terra firma. And you don't need to be a pro or even an intermediate street rider to perform the following tricks.

The more you ride a skateboard, the better surfer you become. Try these skateboarding tricks, and then hit the surf. You'll definitely notice the difference.


Turning and carving are basic skateboarding and surfing maneuvers. When on a skateboard, all you need to do is lean and adjust your balance by applying pressure on your heels and toes.

Find a smooth surface free of obstacles and zigzag down a gentle slope for a few minutes. It will improve your bottom turn and carving in the waves.


Stopping a skateboard: learning this technique will help you get barreled in surfing | Photo: Mendes/Creative Commons

In skateboarding, you usually apply the breaks because you're going too fast, and you need to slow your speed.

In surfing, you stall to get barreled or to get back in the energy zone of the wave.

While on a skateboard, get moderate speed and then gently press the tail until it touches the hard surface. The friction of the board's deck against the concrete will slow you down.

The trick is to shift your body weight to the tail without losing balance or falling off the skateboard.

The more pressure you apply on the tail, the faster you'll stop. And that is valid for surfboards, too.


Surfboards don't have wheels, but they have fins.

And pragmatically speaking, when you kick turn a skateboard, you're also training many surfing maneuvers like the off-the-lip, closeout re-entries, and even cutbacks and tail slides.

In skateboarding, the two back wheels act like pivots and allow the nose of the board to swing 90, 180, or even 360 degrees in any direction.

You may practice the rotation on horizontal surfaces and also in small ramps.

In any case, the goal is to get your hips moving, your knees bending, and your eyes looking toward the way you want to go.

The Ollie

The ollie: a skateboarding trick that will help you get airborne in surfing | Photo: TobiasK/Creative Commons

The ollie is one of the most critical maneuvers in skateboarding. It is a simple yet fundamental trick that separates absolute beginners from first-level intermediate skateboarders.

An ollie in skateboarding opens a new world in surfing: aerial moves. It may take you time to do it well, but once you get it, it will always happen.

Start trying it on a carpet or grass so that the board doesn't move so much.

Put your back foot over the tail of the skateboard and your front foot halfway between the center and the nose of the plank.

Then bend your knees, jump into the air, and kick down the tail of the skateboard with your back foot. As the board pop, slide your front foot toward the nose.

The Boardslide

The boardslide is a classic skateboarding trick. It can be performed on ramps, rails, ledges, curbs, etc. The maneuver will test how much balance you have.

And that is good for surfing, especially if you're into tail slides. Skateboarding's boardslide requires you to master ollies. Without a well-executed ollie, you cannot get on the sliding object.

If you lean too far back or forward, you're going to slip out and fall.

The same scenario occurs in surfing. The trick is to keep the arms up and spread out and the knees slightly bent.

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