For those of us lucky enough to fall in love with skateboarding, our drive to get more skilled and learn new tricks is part of the fun.
However, whether you’re a fresh young buck or an adult learning how to skate, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Have no fear! GOSKATE is here to teach you some of the very first skateboard tricks you’ll master with our classes.
While these are the best skateboard tricks for beginners, through the kick turn, revert and tic tac, you’ll learn the foundations for learning harder tricks like the ollie and the drop in.
But first, let’s go over the different areas of the skateboard you’ll need to identify so you can understand our tutorials with ease.
In this article we’ll be covering:
- Know Your Stance
- Identifying the Nose and Tail of your Board
- Proper Safety Equipment
- How To Kick Turn
- How To Tic Tac
- How To Revert
Know Your Stance
Knowing your stance is the first step in learning how to skate. It will set you up for the rest of your life. There’s two different stances – goofy footed and regular footed.
Goofy footed is when your front foot is your right foot forward.
Regular footed is when your left foot is your front foot forward.
Some skaters have rumored left handed people should be goofy but in reality, nothing really determines which foot is your front besides instinct. But how do you know which foot to put forward?
Have a friend or loved one (Or better yet, GOSKATE Instructor) stand behind you, place your feet together and have them gently but forcibly nudge you from behind. They need to nudge you enough for you to instinctively take a step.
Whatever foot you step out with naturally is your front foot.
Once you get really good at skateboarding, you can even skate with your other foot forward; it’s what skaters call, skating switch. Switch style is one of the many styles of skateboarding that make riding a skateboard as much an art form as a sport.
Identify the Nose and Tail of Your Board
You might be surprised at the amount of beginner skaters who don’t know there’s a designated nose and tail for your skateboard.
While in today’s age, skaters like Ishod Wair, might skate symmetrical boards, the majority of skateboards are constructed with a designated nose and tail. But how can you tell?
Generally, the nose of the board will always be bigger to catch your front foot for tricks and your tail will be smaller and flatter to hit the ground faster for larger pop. These shapes didn’t happen overnight but you can review our other articles regarding the history of skateboard shapes.
Again, even the graphic on the bottom of the board will help you tell which end of the board is the nose. Usually the graphic is designed to be looked at upwards. You can also make a mark in your grip tape to remind you while you’re on the fly.
You’ll want to skate with your nose leading you but some skaters will skate with their tail in the front when they’re skating fakie – which is essentially rolling backwards towards the obstacle. (Don’t worry we’ll get there). And skaters will also often use their nose as their tail when skating switch. Again, don’t worry – you’ll get there.
Proper Safety Equipment
You know the saying by now, proper preparation prevents poor performance: but proper safety equipment improves performance for several reasons.
One, you’ll be more confident to try these tricks, and two, you won’t get injured as easily and thus be less deterred by falling (which will happen). Remember, skateboarding is all about having fun while getting good.
Here’s a list of the proper safety equipment:
- Proper skate shoes: closed, never open toed with ample support of foot, achilles, bridge and ankle.
- Helmet: for skaters under the age of 18 or anyone committed to a safety first mentality.
- Knee pads: are great for learning how to skate all types of skateboarding like park, vert and bowl. Perfecting the kneepad slide especially for kids will provide a huge advantage in training.
- Elbow pads: are perfect for anyone who has a background in other sports and knows how easily it can be to scrape an elbow.
- Wrist guards: are arguably the most important as most beginners instinctively reach out with their wrists first to stop a fall.
How to Kick Turn
While you can technically learn how to kick turn on flat ground, you’ll want to try this on some sort of slope. This can come in the form of a skatepark obstacle, like a quarter pipe or ramp, or something in the neighborhood like a driveway or elevated sidewalk curb.
A kick turn is essentially you going up the obstacle and lifting your front wheels in order to produce a full turn. It’s the basis of how you’ll skate at a skatepark from one obstacle to the next, eventually learning how to gain speed in the process to catch air.
First things first, study your obstacles. Try and find its peak and the limit in which you would like to do the kick turn. Our certified GOSKATE instructors are masters of all obstacles and can help you navigate the most successful path to learning any obstacle. One thing we always remind our students is to remember, you can always work your way up and some skateboarders will go higher than others.
Next, you’ll want to approach the obstacle with moderate speed. While you don’t want to go too fast, you’ll need momentum to eventually turn around.
Ride up the obstacle until you find yourself at the peak or the zenith of your ride.
This can be as small as an inch or two on a small sidewalk curb outside your driveway or several feet up a small ramp or quarter pipe. Identifying where the top of your momentum hits is how you’ll know when to start the next step.
Once you’re at the top of your momentum, you’ll want to lead with your shoulders for your turn, followed by your hips. Think of how if you were standing in one place, swinging your shoulders around to move your arms, followed by your hips in an almost dancing fashion.
Pick up your front wheels and swing your hips and shoulders around to make the turn. Since you’re hopefully at the top of your momentum, you’ll be strategically weightless.
When you book a one on one skate lesson with a GOSKATE instructor, our instructors will actually hold your hand through this entire process, reducing any risk of falling or mis-turning.
Lead with your head to finish the turn, followed by your hips and legs. Ride down from where your momentum took you up or a 45 degree angle on the other side of the rainbow, so to speak, and congratulations – you just landed your first kick turn.
You can attempt to learn a front side kick turn but generally learning how to backside kick turns is much easier. You want to ideally practice kick turns on a mini ramp as with any of these basic tricks.
You can practice the kick turn on flat ground as well. Essentially picking your front trucks up and swinging around anywhere from 45 to 180 degrees. However, the kick turn is technically a trick when it’s on an obstacle, otherwise it’s simply just maneuvering.
That being said, remember, where’ learning the foundation of skateboarding in order to eventually skate skateparks and produce tricks like the ollie and the drop in.
How to Tic Tac
The Tic Tac is every skater’s first honorary trick. It’s one of those tricks that is really done to satisfy your desire to learn tricks immediately, but down the line it’s biggest benefit is the skater becoming comfortable with lifting your front and back wheels.
All pro skateboarders learned how to tic tac at some point, so you’re in good company.
To get started, place your front foot on the nose and your back foot on the tail either on or right above each set of bolts. Have your legs spread apart farther than your normal stance.
Essentially, you are standing on both ends of the skateboard. You also want to be facing frontside, with the motions happening in the front of your skateboard. Pay attention to where the center of your balance is. Our certified GOSKATE instructors can help you identify and maintain your center balance. This is key when learning tricks which involve a lot of moving parts (both literally and figuratively).
Start shuffling your front and back trucks and wheels as if you were wearing your skateboard like a pair of boots. Yeah, you’re trying to walk with your skateboard one truck after the other.
This should come in the form of a tic and then a tac like motion, hence the name. Keep lifting and keep moving and ‘walking’ or covering ground. Congratulations, you’re tic tac is already getting better!
Safety note: Know when to stop! Don’t try to go too fast as you might slip out and fall on your hip. Be responsible when learning and always wear proper pads and skate shoes.
How to Revert
The revert is a little harder to learn as generally you’ll either need to be skating a quarter pipe or ramp or rolling fakie. However, it is also one of the most rewarding tricks and coolest feeling tricks to learn as a beginner.
The revert is similar to the kick turn except your wheels do not leave the ground as much. This produces an awesome sound of your wheels skidding on the pavement, something you’ll grow to crave.
We’ll start with the regular revert before the fakie footed revert.
With the kick turn, the emphasis of the trick is from lifting your front wheels, whereas the revert the emphasis comes from sliding your wheels with the pressure being on the back wheels. We’ll show you how to do it rolling on flat ground but if you have access to a skatepark you might find it easier on an inclined obstacle.
This is also why in the future the revert will be an addition to other tricks, as in ‘front tail revert out’ or ‘disaster revert out’. Don’t worry, it will all make sense eventually. And we’ll have some guides to help you understand.
Imagine you’re riding up the ramp or the incline of a sidewalk driveway and instead of lifting your wheels at the point of your zenith, you slide yourself and your board in a 90-180 degree turn *whatever is needed to get back down the obstacle or turned around to maintain momentum. Don’t worry, our certified GOSKATE instructors will be with you every step of the way and can guarantee you’ll be able to master the revert, kickturn and tic tac with just a handful of lessons.
You still lead with your head, shoulders and then your hips. But you swing your hips around harder and use more force to produce the revert or wheel sliding to fulfill the turn. Skrrrrrrrt!
You generally want to learn this trick backside as frontside reverts are a lot more advanced. Reverting backside also is more instinctive as you can see more of what you are doing.
While the description might sound complicated, it’s actually rather instinctive and easier with our video tutorial. However, the best way to learn how to revert (as with all skateboard tricks) is from a certified GOSKATE instructor.
The fakie revert will actually be easier for some of you learning your first skateboard tricks. Something about rolling backwards makes it easier to lead with your shoulders and hips. So when you’re standing fakie and beginning to roll, do the natural motions of leading with your head and shoulders and remember not to pick up your wheels but slide them on the ground so you’re now rolling back in regular formation.
Eventually once you learn the fakie revert, you can start adding a pop shove it for a fakie big spin. You can also attempt to revert nollie on the nose of your board. But this is generally considered much more advanced in terms of skateboarding tricks.
Doing a revert while riding forward is also a revert but is generally harder for beginners because of the force it takes and the unnatural instincts of throwing yourself dramatically off balance to complete the turn.
But hey, if you think you can do it, go ahead and give it a try. You’re the chef, we’re here to give you the ingredients!
Words of Advice
Be Methodical with Hips and Shoulders: So much of skating is from how you execute your hip and shoulder movements. If you want to be a butcher with the speed and courage you have, you want to be a surgeon with how you move your body. Remember skateboarding is a craft, it takes both the brutal and the beautiful.
Leaps and Bounds: Some skaters will learn inch by inch, but most skaters will learn in leaps and bounds. This is why it’s always a great idea to enlist in a package of classes. One day you might feel like you just can’t do anything right, then you go to sleep and wake up the next day and learning new tricks just comes with ease. You’ll hear more advanced skaters talk about this phenomenon, one day it clicked. That’s why establishing foundations is so important.
Remember Skatepark Etiquette: For some of you, these tricks might seem like the perfect first tricks to learn at your local skatepark. So if you do find yourself piling in the van to head to the local training facility, always remember proper skate etiquette. Take turns on the ramp and be careful where you stand.
Don’t Compare Yourself: Don’t worry if your friends are already landing their first kickflip or heelflip. We all learn at our own pace and perfecting the basic skateboarding tricks will provide dividends when learning more advanced tricks in the future.
Enlist a certified GOSKATE Instructor: With learning these beginner skateboard tricks, you’re well on your way to learning how to nose stall, board slide, nose manual, caveman and even pop shove it or kickflip. But want to learn a way to expedite the process?
While it is hard to find instructors who can teach all skill levels, GOSKATE has the most experienced training, including in competitive vert skating. We allow you the option of finding the best skate instructor for you or your loved one, where you can find a skate instructor who skates just like you; park, vert, street or cruising.
Skateboarding is one of the most creative outlets on the planet. At GOSKATE, we give our students the tricks to go out and create their own combos. We give you the tools to accelerate in the direction you want. In other words, we give you the ingredients to craft your own masterpiece.
The more lessons you get… the more ingredients.
Want to Learn How To Ollie?
Want to learn how to Ollie? We’ve broken down skateboarding’s most fundamental trick with our How To Ollie article equipped with videos and pictographs.
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