The Very Basics of Skateboarding: Picking Up Speed

After you’ve gotten comfortable standing on a skateboard and rolling around, there are a few intermediate techniques you’ll find yourself doing without needing to be taught.


Carving Turns: A carving turn is most of the turning you’ve probably been doing. Leaning forward or backward on the board points turns the wheels, and the harder you lean the faster you’ll turn. Be careful not to lean too hard, or you’ll get wheel bite, which is where the wheels grind against the board. Wheel bite makes your board stop moving, so it can ruin a trick or even just a turn.

Kickturns: A kickturn is where you put the ball of your back foot on the tail, and shift your weight back, lifting the front wheels off of the ground, and then placing them back on the ground in the direction you’re turning. It sounds complicated, but it is an essential skill to learn so that you can turn sharply. 


Once you’ve figured out your stance-goofy or regular, and you’ve gotten comfortable riding around in the regular foot position, it’s time to start practicing other variations. For this guide, I’m going to explain the positions from the perspective of a regular skater; for goofy skaters, just switch “right” and “left.” Also, for each stance, try to push with your back foot. Even if it’s your weak foot, it’s a safe habit to get into, and will provide better balance on the board.

Regular- With your left foot on the front bolts, and your right foot on the tail, you’re ready to pop with your best foot off the tail. This stance is the easiest way to do ollie (in the air) tricks for most people.

Fakie- Fakie is the exact same as regular, except you’re rolling in the opposite direction. Your right foot is in front, on the nose this time, and your left foot sits on the back bolts. It can be hard to get accustomed to rolling on the nose, and with your right foot forward instead of your left. When you get comfortable with it, however, you’ll find that it is easy to do shove (board spinning) tricks with your best foot popping, and your momentum going into the nose.

Switch- Exactly what you think. It’s just the opposite feet of regular. Put your right foot on the front bolts, and your left foot on the tail. You’ll probably have a hard time with this at first, but it comes with practice. This is what it’s like to be a goofy skater! Switching stances entirely is the hardest and most impressive way to do tricks, hands down.

Nollie- Nollie is the opposite of fakie, and could redundantly be called fakie switch. Your left foot is on the nose, ready to pop, and your right foot is on the back bolts. This feels a lot like riding the board normally, but you have to be careful to keep your feet under you, because your weight is shifted so far forward. Like fakie, nollie lends itself to shove tricks, because the momentum going into the nose, but it’s done with your weak foot. Strangely enough, a lot of people are better at nollie tricks than fakie, even though it requires you pop with your off foot. Practice rolling in all of the positions and you’ll be ready for tricks in no time.


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