In This Article, You'll Learn How To Speak Skateboarder
Skateboarding is one of the most unique activities on the planet. Naturally, it comes with its own language, lingo and nomenclature.
With words like, “shredding, fakie, goofy, mongo” and infinite variations used to describe tricks, obstacles and inside knowledge, for a novice learning these terms it can mean the difference between remaining an outsider or being accepted into the crew.
Luckily for you, skateboarders are some of the most accepting people on the planet and GOSKATE is here to help you learn skateboarding terminology with our Beginner’s Guide to Skate Lingo.
In this article, we’ll go over:
Top 67 Skateboard Trick Lingo
Top 55 Skateboard Culture Lingo
Top 42 Skateboard Obstacle Lingo
With over 150 skateboarding terms sourced from hundreds of lifelong skaters, you’ll be well on your way to joining a skate crew and having the most fun of your life. Now, let’s GOSKATE!
Top 67 Skateboard Trick Lingo
What makes up a skateboarding trick? That’s a good question.
A skateboarding trick is a maneuver a skater does to manipulate the board in ways that produce complex combinations of movements.Tricks are precisely what gives skateboarding its artistic and innovative nature along with each skater’s pursuit of self expression.
While there are more basic tricks in skateboarding like the Ollie, Drop In and Kickturn, once you master the basics, the possibilities are infinite! But in order to understand how tricks are defined, we’ve got to master the words that make up the skateboarder language revolving trick terminology.
Deck: The deck is the wooden part of the skateboard, usually made from 7 layers of compressed maple wood. Decks also generally have a Pro Model with a pro skater’s name on the bottom and custom graphics made by an artist. Buying a pro deck from your local skate shop is a great way to support your favorite skaters and brands.
Trucks: The trucks are the metal facets beneath the skateboard connected to the deck by 8 screws with two wheels on its axles. Trucks come in multiple sizes but the most common are 139s and 149s.
Baseplate: The baseplate is the metal base of the truck that the screws socket to go into the deck. The kingpin and bushings are connected to the baseplate by bolts and can be adjusted to fit the skater’s preference.
Kingpin: The kingpin is a bolt connecting the axle of the trucks to the baseplate and is accompanied by bushings and bolts to complete the truck.
Bolts (hardware): Bolts are the same as conventional bolts in any industry but specifically go on the truck’s baseplate to connect the trucks to the deck but then also on the axle of the wheel to screw over the wheels.
Bushings: The bushings are the parts of the trucks that absorb impact and allow the skateboard to turn on an axis. They are placed around the kingpin capped by washers and are available in different degrees of firmness and colors. Many times, the bushing will be replaced than actual trucks.
Axle: The flat metal part of a skate truck to which the wheels and bearings are attached. The axle is where the magic of ‘grinding’ happens, hence terms like axle stall or axle grind.
Washers: Washers are little metal rings that go on the end of the truck axles to reduce friction from the wheels and bearings. Skateboards also have larger washers on the top and bottom of the kingpin to reduce wear on bushings.
Bearings: The bearings are within the wheel that produce the turning and speed of the wheel. They come in abec form of 3-5-7-9.
Grip: The grip tape or ‘grip’ is the sandpaper-like overcoat on top of the skateboard deck. Grip allows a skater to produce an ollie and flip tricks, making itself one of the most essential elements to any skateboard.
Nose: The nose of your board is the ‘front’ or leading end of your skateboard deck. The nose is generally larger, more rounded and concave to better catch the flicks of front foot skate tricks. When tricks are performed on the nose, it will change its name to ‘nosegrind’ or ‘nose pick’ or ‘nose manual’, etc.
Tail: The tail of the board is the back of the skateboard deck where your back foot pops off the ground to produce an ollie. Tails are generally flatter to be closer to the ground for faster pop.
Ollie: The ollie is when a skateboarder produces a ‘popping’ of the skateboard to ‘pop’ into the air while jumping, bringing the board up with them. The ollie is the foundation of most skateboarding tricks and is considered one of the hardest for a beginner to learn. However, it is also the most satisfying.
Goofy: Goofy is the term used for when a skater skates with their right foot forward.
Regular: Regular is the term used for the skater skates with their left foot forward.
Front foot: Your front foot is what interacts with the nose of your board when you perform tricks like the ollie or a kickflip. It should not be your pedal foot as the extra time taking off your front foot to pedal not only looks ugly, but will inhibit your ability to do tricks in the future.
Back foot: Your back foot is your popping foot and interacts with the tail of your board. It is also the foot you pedal with.
Flick foot: Your flick foot is your front foot and flicks off the nose when you perform tricks like kickflip or heelflip. You might reference your flick foot when describing an injury or teaching a trick to someone else.
Pop: Pop is the term that describes when you smack your tail on the ground to perform an ollie or trick. It is also used as an adjective when someone has a high ollie. “That dude has pop!”
Grind: Grind is the term that describes when your trucks ‘grind’ on an obstacle, generally in the form of a rail, ledge or coping. Depending on how your board is positioned and what other parts of your trucks are interacting with the obstacle, tricks earn different names. Like the 5-0 grind, where a skater only grinds on their back truck, or a smith grind, where a skater grinds only on their back truck but their front truck is dipped below the ledge.
Slide: Slide is the term that describes when the deck of your board ‘slides’ on an obstacle, generally on a rail, ledge or coping.
A slide will often be accompanied by another part of the board, as in nose slide, tail slide or a board slide. Noseslide for when your nose is on the obstacle and so on.
Stall: A stall is when you are ‘stalled’ on the coping of a quarter pipe, essentially you’re ‘stalled’ in a slide or a grind. Stall tricks will also be referred to as ‘lip tricks’ as you will see below.
Frontside: Frontside is the descriptive term for when you’re performing a trick with the face of your body or the front of your body leading your momentum. Essentially, your shoulders and hips have opened up toward the obstacle with the action of the trick happening in ‘front’ of you, hence frontside.
Backside: Backside is the descriptive term for when you’re performing a trick with the back of your body leading your momentum. Essentially, your hips and shoulders have turned you backside to the obstacle.
Many times, skaters will have certain preferences or abilities when it comes to skating backside or frontside. Much like how a basketball or baseball player has certain places on the field where for some reason they perform better.
Switch: Switch is the term for when a skater performs a trick but with the other foot forward, as in if you’re naturally a goofy skater but you perform the trick regular. This is like someone who is right handed begins writing with their left hand instead. Some skaters will be better at skating switch than others but most skaters will learn some switch skating to increase their bag of tricks.
Fakie: Fakie is when you ride on your board backwards but continue forward momentum. As in your momentum is leading your tail with your back foot now acting as your front. Imagine you stand to perform an ollie and you start rolling backwards… You’re rolling fakie!
Nollie: A nollie is when a skater performs an ‘ollie’ while popping off the nose of the skateboard, hence the combo – “n-ollie.”
The nollie, like the fakie ollie, opens up an entire new foundation for skate tricks. Because once you learn to nollie, you can do a nollie stance kickflip, or nollieflip. Or you can do a fakie stance kickflip, fakieflip, or even fakie ollie into a grind.
Manual: A manual is when a skater rides on their back wheels or front wheels for an extended period of time – like a wheelie on a bike. The manual allows skaters to string together a complex combination of tricks for some of the most difficult ‘technical’ tricks in skateboarding. In example, kickflip manual kickflip out or kickflip nose manual, nollieflip out.
Nose Manual: A manual that is performed on the front two wheels and nose of the board. A nose manual will commonly be referred to as a nosemanny.
180: 180 is the term that describes the degrees of rotation during the performance of a trick. 360 is a full spin, 180 is half. Frontside 180 kickflip for example is a kickflip that also rotates 180 degrees. 180s like all spins can be performed backside or frontside and from normal, fakie and nollie foot position.
270: 270 is that rare in-between rotation between 180 and 360 that is generally reserved for going into or out of a slide. As in a 270 backside lip slide or a tailslide 270 out. Essentially, the obstacle or trick has positioned you at 90-degrees already and you complete the rotation to 360.
360: A 360 is a full spin of the board or skater during the performance of a trick. A 360 kickflip is when the board does a 360 and a kickflip at the same time. While it might be difficult to imagine from reading this article, there’s tons of videos online for you to discover how these tricks look.
Flip Trick: A flip trick is describing those tricks that are flipped, like kickflip, heelflip and 360 kickflips. While all flip tricks are first performed on flatground, they can be done on any obstacle and into grinds, slides, stalls, and manuals.
Grab: A grab or grabs are those tricks where a skater grabs their board. More akin in bowl, pool and vert skating. Some tricks that are grabs are mute grab, melon grab, indy grab and nosegrab, and all make contact at different parts of the board and sometimes with different hands (front or back).
Pop Out: Pop out is a description for when you pop out of the obstacle when performing a trick. The ledge or rail might go on but you popped out of the obstacle early. Sometimes the ledge doesn’t end and goes on for a really long time, so skaters will have to pop out of the ledge in order to land a trick.
Kickflip: A kickflip is when the toes of your front foot flick off the nose of your board to produce a single complete rotation or flip of the board. The kickflip is arguably the most iconic trick in skateboarding, and while it can be one of the hardest to learn, it is also considered the most satisfying.
Heelflip: A heelflip is when the heel of your front foot flicks off the nose of your board to produce a single rotation or flip of the board. Some skaters will be more akin to heelflips than kickflips but most really good skaters can do both.
Popshuv: A popshuv is when the board is popped into the air and then the nose is rotated around to become the tail. The shuv describes the motion as it looks like the back foot shuvs the tail. A popshuv is combined with other flip tricks like the kickflip or heelflip to expand the base of tricks into the next tier of combinations. So learning this essential trick is important and is often the first trick a skater learns.
Carve: A skater carves upon a ramp, quarter pipe or pool when they ‘carve’ up the wall like a surfer on a wave. The carve is produced by leading their nose over an obstacle or a point on the ramp to turn the skater around to go back down.
Aired: Aired is when a skater produces air above the coping of a vert or transition obstacle. Tony Hawk aired out the ramp in order to land his 900.
Stuck It: Stuck it is a term used when a skater lands on their board while attempting to perform a trick but even though they ‘stuck’ the trick, they fell. A skater will generally stick or stuck the trick a few times before landing it, so don’t give up!
Bailed: Bailed is a term that is used for when a skater during the trick ‘bails’ on the trick, often kicking the board away because attempting to land the trick would result in injury. Learning how to bail is just as important as learning how to land.
Slammed: Slammed is when you fall especially hard, generally unable to slow down your fall in any way and resulting in you not being able to bail or prepare for impact.
Kicking out: Kicking out is when a skater kicks out the board in the air instead of attempting to land on the board.
First Try: First try is when a skater lands their trick the first time they attempt it. “Dude, I landed it on the first try.” The term is used as a barometer for how hard or how skillful a skater was able to perform the trick.
Hung Up: A skater will say they hung up on the coping when they failed to get their second truck over the coping and got caught while going back down the ramp. The skater gets ‘hung up’ on the coping. See obstacle terms for details on coping.
Slipped Out: Slipped out is when a skateboarder is attempting a slide or a grind and ‘slips out’ instead of locking into the trick and often leads to a bail.
Slappy: A slappy is when a skater rides up the face of a curb and grinds or slides a distance. More common in aging skaters but considered one of the most fun tricks.
Handrail: A handrail is a rail that goes down a set of stairs a skater will skate in the form of grinds and slides. It takes a brave skater to skate handrails as they are found in the streets and can go beyond 20 stairs.
Flatground: Flatground is when a skater does flip tricks on flat ground and makes up the foundation of skate tricks. Rodney Mullen alone invented scores of flatground tricks both with flip tricks and freestyle tricks.
Bonk: Bonk is when you ‘bonk’ the front wheels of your skateboard onto the obstacle in a quick tap, generally transferring from one side to the other.
Kiss the rail: Kiss the rail is when a skater’s truck just barely hits or ‘kisses’ the rail.
Buttery: Buttery is an adjective to describe a delicious style of how a skater performs a trick. “Dude, that was buttery!”
Steezy: Steezy is another adjective used to describe someone’s style. Steezy skaters usually dress with great fashion and land buttery tricks.
Rails (referring to board): Rails on the bottom of a skateboard are plastic ‘rails’ that go under the board to help with slides. Originated in the 80s and generally reserved for shaped boards, like fishboards.
Skitch: Skitching is referred to when a skater holds onto a moving car or bus. This is very dangerous and the top 3 reasons a skater ends up in the hospital.
Heel Drag: A heel drag is when a skater is performing a trick and their foot doesn’t land cleanly on the board and the heel hangs off the board touching the ground. During a game of skate, this produces a redo and often when filming a trick, a skater will want to redo it as well.
Toe Drag: A toe drag is when a skater is performing a trick and their foot lands poorly on the board producing a toe drag on the ground. During a game of skate, this will be a redo. During a game of skate, this produces a redo and often when filming a trick, a skater will want to redo it as well.
Bomb A Hill: When a skater ‘bombs a hill’ they skate down a steep hill at very fast speeds. This was made famous by San Francisco hill bombers, however, hill bombing gone wrong is the number one reason skateboarders end up in the hospital.
To Fakie: When a skater lands “to fakie,” they are landing with their bodies ‘backwards’ but with their momentum continuing forward and their back foot now landing on the front of the board as the new front foot.
Landing ‘to fakie’ is generally produced when a 180 is added out of a stall or a slide. As in a tail slide to fakie or blunt stall to fakie.
Back to Switch: When a skater lands ‘to switch’ it’s almost the same as to fakie but the previous back foot doesn’t land on the front of the board. Rather it lands in a normal stance but switch. Usually ‘back to switch is preceded by a 180 in which caused the stance to switch in the first place.
Trick Tip: A trick tip is when someone gives you advice or a tutorial on how to do a trick. Trick tips are how skaters will teach other skaters new tricks.
Powerslide: A powerslide is when a skater leans back but pushes forward with their weight to make the wheels of the board skid perpendicular to the motion. Think of how a surfer carves up a wave and makes a splash or a biker who swooshes around their back tire to stop. Powerslides help skaters slow down without taking their foot off the board.
Freestyle Skater: A freestyle skater is a skateboarder who participates mainly in the freestyle of flatground skate tricks. This is akin to what the earliest skate contests saw in the 60s and 70s and consists of handstands, primo’s and other tricks.
Primo: A primo is when a skater props their skateboard up to its side so they can stand on the side of the wheels with the other side of the wheels on the ground. Made famous by Rodney Mullen, you can watch our video below for a detailed tutorial!
Flip In: The term flip in is used to describe when a skater does a kickflip or a heel flip into a grind, slide or manual. This term is generally used with tech skaters and adds a combination to the trick making it much more difficult to land.
Flip Out: The term flip out is used to describe when a skater flips their board via kickflip or heelflip ‘out’ of a grind, manual or slide. This term is also used generally with tech skaters and is a very hard maneuver to produce.
Darkslide: a trick invented by Rodney Mullen in which the skateboarder 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.
Big spin:a trick in which the skater and his skateboard both rotate along a vertical axis, but the skater rotates 180 as the board rotates 360. Alfonso Rawls named this trick after its inventor, Brian Lotti. Rawls thought Lotti sounded like “lottery”, and since the board was spinning so much during the trick he named it after the California Lottery’s Big Spin.
Hurricane:a grind trick starting with a 180 onto an obstacle landing on the back truck (which is now in front) with the nose pointing back, down, and towards the obstacle; essentially a 180 to fakie feeble.
Impossible:a trick in which the skater wraps the tail around their back foot 360 degrees, essentially a vertical 360 shuvit.
Judo:a grab trick in which the rider grabs the heel edge of their board near the front wheel with their front hand and kicks their front foot off in front of them.
Madonna:a grab trick in which the skater grabs the heel edge of his skateboard near the front wheel with their front hand and kicks their front foot off behind them; this trick is often done to tail smack on the way back into the transition.*Tony Hawk named this trick after the singer who at the time was as trendy as the trick itself.
Method Air:a grab trick that entails the rider grabbing the heel edge of their board with their front hand and pulling that edge up towards their back.*named by Neil Blender who described this grab as the method for getting higher air.
Top 55 Skateboard Culture Lingo
Skateboarding culture is one of the most beautiful aspects about skateboarding. It’s what invites us in to be one of the crew and contribute to something we love. But it can be tricky for the newcomer to have a seat at the table when it comes to talking about skating.
Well, that is until now. Enjoy!
ABD: ABD is an abbreviation for ‘Already Been Done’ and is a term skaters use to compare what other skaters have filmed at skate spots. Skaters, especially pros, want to avoid doing the same tricks as other skaters as it can be seen as almost a form of disrespect or jock-like. It also goes against the natural desire to be self expressive in skating.
NBD: NBD is an abbreviation for ‘Never Been Done’ and is used for when a skater produces a new trick on a street spot. This is what skaters strive for when filming a video part because it not only helps progress the sport, it helps the skater stand out and make a name for themself.
Video Part: A video part is what a pro skater produces for their brand after filming clips in the streets. This is how skaters express themselves in the industry and produces the most meaningful media engine in skateboarding. Non-sponsored skaters can also film video parts and can be one of the most rewarding aspects about being a skateboarder.
Full Length: A full length video is when a company or brand produces a skate video by combining video parts from their team riders. While they are not as common as they used to be, watching full length skate videos are essential to understanding skateboarding.
Sponsor Me Tape: A sponsor me video is what an amateur skateboarder produces in hopes of getting sponsored by a company or brand. They film at least 2 minutes of skate clips filmed on street skate spots and send the reel of clips without music to said brand. In the past, skaters would send an actual VHS tape, sponsor me tape, has since been replaced by sponsor me video. While the way skaters contact brands is much more accessible than in the past, the sponsor me video has remained a right of passage for any gatekeeper or hopeful skater.
Solo Part: A solo part is when a skater films their own video part and the company or brand puts it out without featuring other skaters in a full length or collaboration project.
Homie Vid: A skate video produced by local skaters without a brand or skateshop affiliation. Homie videos are some of the strongest forges of community bonds.
Banger/Ender: A banger or ender is the last trick in a video part, usually the best. It ends the part with a bang and features the hardest trick the skater had to land. It will always be an NBD as well.
Opener: An opener is the first trick in a skate part that sets the tone of the part. There is also an opening part that usually sets the tone as well and is considered a badge of honor. Many times a brand will introduce their new rider or new pro with the opening part.
Last Part: Last part honors is reserved for the best skater of said full length skate video and usually features the skater who went the hardest filming for that period of time. Producing the last part in a skate video is how skate legends are made as they produce the most mind melting NBDs on the biggest obstacles.
Cover: A cover is in reference to landing the cover of a skate magazine. Covers are coveted and are a mark of honor that you landed one of the hardest tricks in skateboarding that month, especially for Thrasher Magazine.
Sketchy: Sketchy is an adjective to describe a trick that was not landed cleanly, usually with a heel or toe drag.
Complete skateboard: A complete is in reference to your entire skateboard versus just the deck, trucks or wheels. Many times local skate shops will sell complete skateboards at a discount, and around christmas time, skaters will laugh about the new ‘christmas completes’ flooded throughout the skatepark.
Bolts: Bolts is a reference to when a skater lands directly on the bolts of their skateboard (connecting the trucks to the deck) and is largely considered the best way to land. “She landed bolts!”
Rebate: Rebate is what a skater will ask their filmer when they landed a trick sketchy. Or when their run in a mini ramp or obstacle was cut short. “Can I get a rebate on that?”
Filmer: A filmer is someone who is documenting the skate session or producing a skate video of some sort. A quick way of calling someone a videographer. FIlmers are some of the most important people in skateboarding and are often the most creative.
Getting Robbed: Getting robbed is referred to when you are trying a trick and sticking it, even landing bolts, but for some reason you don’t land the trick. Getting robbed is more jovial but can be frustrating because a skater knows they can land the trick.
Snake: A snake is someone who doesn’t understand skatepark etiquette and cuts in line or gets in your way. This is generally reserved for kids or new skaters who are unaware. We teach our students to learn the lines of a skatepark and when to wait their turn to avoid snaking seasoned skaters.
Skate Spot: A skate spot is when an obstacle in the streets attracts skaters on a regular basis. While it can be multiple spots in one place, like a plaza or school yard, it can also be in reference to a single obstacle. “Where is that skate spot?”
Kook: A kook is someone who is acting a fool at a skatepark or skate spot or someone who is doing something outside the normalcy of skate culture.
Cutty: Cutty is a description of a skate spot or skate park that has weathered obstacles or was constructed by brute architecture. Imagine big cracks in the sidewalk or crusty asphalt leading up to a skate spot.
Hesh: Hesh is a description of a skater or skate trick that is somewhat punk in origin and nature. Someone is hesh when they wear ripped pants, a leather jacket and loves to do tricks out of the 80s.
Hessian: A hessian is a description of someone who is dedicated to being hesh.
Poser: A poser is someone who acts like they skateboard or dresses like they skateboard but in fact does not actually skate.
T-Dog: A T-dog is someone who is skating for the sake of trend. T-dog is short for trend dog.
Mall Grab: A mall grab is a description for when a skater holds the board incorrectly or in a way that is not cool – holding the front truck of your board instead of the deck part and sideways.
Goon: A goon is a local at a skatepark that spends an ample amount of time participating in antics and shenanigans. While they might not skate as much as really dedicated skaters, sometimes they are beloved by locals almost as a form of protection and camaraderie.
Game of Skate: A game of skate is the most common game skaters play to increase their flat ground skills. A skater produces a trick like a kickflip and if the other skater fails to land the trick, they receive the letter S. It is the H.O.R.S.E. of skateboarding and the most common game played by skaters.
Bag of Tricks: A bag of tricks is the tricks a skater has learned they can produce relatively consistently–especially in games of skate. As you will find, skaters become adept to certain tricks and styles, everything from preferring their nose over their tail or frontside over backside.
Tech Skater: A tech skater is a skater whose bag of tricks is more technical in nature than brutal commitment. Tech skaters prefer to skate manual pads and ledges versus rails and stairs and enjoy combining complex lines of tricks in a single maneuver.
Rail Skater: A rail skater is a skater whose preferred obstacle is a rail and usually handrails going down stair sets. While most skaters will skate rails in some fashion, a rail skater is particularly adept, sometimes grinding down 10-15-even 20-stair handrails. Rail skaters are some of the most brave skaters on the planet.
Transition Skater: A transition skater is a skater who prefers to skate obstacles found in a skate park that are not akin to street spots. This usually comes in the form of quarter pipes, mini ramps, snake runs and vertical obstacles. Transition skaters help make sure the bowl and pool skating of skating’s roots stay alive and healthy.
Local Park: A skater’s local park is a skateboarder’s local skatepark and their go-to for meeting up with friends to skate. A local park acts like a training facility or gym for skaters, as well as a community hub to promote art and local skate media.
Ripper: When someone is a ripper, they are being complemented by their skills as a skater. “That girl rips!”
Shred: “Let’s go shred!” Essentially means – “Let’s go skate!” A common term you might hear is, “Shred the gnar!” Meaning, shred the big stuff.
Clips: Clips are when a skater films a trick in the streets for their compilation of clips which will produce their video part or sponsor me. Skaters ‘stack clips’ in the streets until they have 2-3-4 minutes and can sometimes take years to get the NBDs of high caliber skating.
Footage: When a skater references their clips, they will be talking about their ‘footage’. “How much footage did you get?” Is a more common question your sponsor will ask you then having you describe the clip count.
Single Trick: A single trick is when a skater and a filmer film a ‘single trick’ instead of a line. Single tricks are usually down stair sets or gaps and are usually harder than tricks in a line.
Line: A line is when a skater strings together a sequence of tricks in one video clip. A skater might first ollie down a set of stairs before veering off to grind a ledge before launching down a handrail. The harder the tricks you string together, the more impressive. Tech skaters will often produce really insane lines with ledges and manual pads to showcase their control skills, versus a hesh skater who jumps down big rails or stair sets for single tricks.
Fish Eye: A fish eye is a wide angle lens that creates a bulb-like effect on the clip or photo. The term fish eye refers to how distorted the edges of the frame will be, almost like looking through a fishbowl. Skaters love how fish eyes look as they remind them of the earliest skate magazines and generally make obstacles appear larger.
Long Lens: A filmer will film a trick ‘long lens’ as in, they will film the trick without a fisheye. Single clips are usually filmed with long lenses whereas lines are generally filmed with fish eyes. Video parts will be a combination of long lens single tricks and fisheye lines.
VX: A VX is the most notorious video camera in skateboarding, aka, a Sony VX1000. While the grainy 1080p of a mini DV tape is somewhat impractical in today’s skate media landscape; the VX endures with a cult following for its amazing color schemes and audio capabilities. The VX also films in a 4 by 3 ratio, making street skating appear faster and more vibrant.
Streets: The streets mean skating obstacles and places that are not skateparks, essentially not designed to be skated on. Street skating is the rawest form of skateboarding and is considered by skaters the most sacred nexus of skateboarding culture.
“It’s a bust:” A skater will describe a spot as ‘a bust’ when it is heavily monitored by security or police. “It’s a bust before 5.” When a spot is a bust, skaters won’t be able to skate there because why get kicked out or receive citations or tickets. If you skateboard for long enough, you will get a ticket eventually.
“Got the Boot:” A skater will tell another skater they ‘got the boot’ when they get kicked out or asked to leave from a skate spot. If you’re lucky, you’ll just get the boot and skate away before anything significant happens. Remember, security can’t detain you, they can only call the cops. If you see security, skate away before they even talk to you or play dumb to the no skateboarding signs!
Plaza: A plaza is generally when a skate spot takes the form of an open space with plenty of ledges, manual pads and even handrails. It’s suggestive of the name by both skaters and non-skaters usage, but it also describes the specific plaza architecture found in the streets which have since become the framework for many skateparks. LOVE Park in Philadelphia was the most famous skate plaza in the golden age of skateboarding (1990s-early 2000s) but was destroyed in 2016. Plazas are harder and harder to come by but nonetheless remain as special skate spots to skateboarders.
Pay-To-Skate: A Pay-to-skate is referencing a skatepark or ramp that costs money to skate. These references are generally found in more affluent areas and are a subject of debate among skaters, who believe skateboarding should always be accessible.
Freshy: When a skateboarder has a fresh deck to skate they will “set up a freshy.”
Contest Skater: A contest skater is referred to as someone who is known for doing well in contests and generally has a focus on contests versus other areas of skateboarding. The highest echelon of skaters will do everything, from contests to street skateboarding. A good representation of a contest skater is Nyjah Huston or Tony Hawk.
Core Skater: A core skateboarder is someone who is most focussed on having fun on a skateboard without certain professional goals. However, pro skaters can be core when they focus on producing video parts in the streets rather than social media or contests. This philosophy is up for cultural debate and has varying opinions on authenticity since many of the largest skate brands are no longer owned by skaters and the ones that are generally struggling to compete with the larger tycoons. That’s why it’s always important to support skater owned brands.
Core Brand: A core brand is considered core when it is owned and operated by skateboarders. A brand like Nike for example is a large corporation, whereas WKND skateboards or even GOSKATE, is run, owned and operated by skateboarders. Skaters do their best to support skater owned brands but the product of any company needs to support those skaters who buy it. However the nature of the skate industry has many factors that make owning a brand very unpredictable. As we’ve seen some of our favorite companies close business.
Skate Rat: A skate rat is someone who loves skateboarding and indulges in the street lifestyle of skateboarding. This can also be reserved for a skatepark skater who cares more about skateboarding than anything in their life.
Grom: A grom is what adults or older skaters will refer to when speaking about a child skateboarder. The term is not inherently negative or positive but neither endearing or an insult. Groms, depending on their mentors or how they’ve been taught, can be some of the worst snakes at a skatepark and we’ve all seen the horror videos of negligent kids colliding with adults.
Social Media Skater: A social media skater is a skateboarder who is focussed on producing their skate media for social media. They often are associated with brands who are heavily invested in social media and make up their own niche in skateboarding. Social Media Skaters are generally looked down upon but nonetheless have achieved a moderate level of success for themselves.
YouTube Skater: A YouTube skater will produce skate media conducive to YouTube in the form of video blogging or vlogging. While YouTube skaters make up a very specific body of skateboarding media, they have helped introduce thousands of people to skateboarding through their trick tip videos or daily life videos. Whale YouTube skaters are often the subject of jokes, they put themselves out in the limelight.
“Olympics:” With the Olympics being such a topic of debate and discourse in skating, the contest itself evolved into a full-fledged entity within skating. While the term “Olympics” is generally in reference to the actual event, it also is used to encapsulate the skaters who are involved in the Olympics – as well as the brands and people.
DIY: DIY stands for as many of us know, Do It Yourself. But in skateboarding it’s referencing when skaters have constructed a skate spot by their own means. Skaters will use cinder blocks, rails, and cement to construct all types of skate obstacles somewhere out of site. Since these spots are out of the public eye, DIY skate spots are some of the most awesome places a skater can skate and often require a trusted right of passage.
Top 42 Skateboard Obstacle Lingo
Obstacle lingo can be one of the hardest terminologies to learn for skateboarding. While so many obstacles were invented by skaters with obscure terms, you’ll be pleased to learn many are rather simple and intuitive. Well, you can be the judge!
Ledge: A ledge is an obstacle that looks like a bench or something you would normally sit on. It can also be a ledge that is higher than something you would sit on but it’s generally characterized by its 90 degree angle, hence the ‘ledge’ name and the ability to lock into grinds and slides.
Manny Pad: A manny pad is short for manual pad for the manual trick in skateboarding. A manny pad requires a skater to ollie onto and has a finite end, hence the ‘pad’ adjective. Tech skaters love manny pads and ledges.
Rail: A rail is what you find going down a stair set, what bystanders call a handrail. But in skateboarding a rail can come in many forms, as you will see below.
Handrail: A handrail is specifically when a rail goes down a set of stairs and is found in the streets.
Steep Rail: A rail is steep when it’s down a large set of steps versus other rails like flatbars.
Flatbar: A flatbar is a rail that is horizontal and does not generally go downward steeply like handrails found on stair sets.
Box: A box is generally a constructed obstacle that combines a ledge with a manual pad. It’s basically large enough width wise to perform manual tricks with coping on both sides of the box for two ledges. Many skateparks will feature boxes.
Vert: Vert is a description for the ‘vertical walls’ half pipes and larger ramps that a skater must launch off of to skate.
Coping: Coping is a term to describe the grantable part of a quarter pipe, pool, bowl or mini ramp. Often they are metal rails for better grinds and slides.
Pool Coping: Pool coping is a coping all on its own as it is made of cement and has brick like attributes.
Lip: The lip of a ramp is also referring to the coping or when the ramp essentially ends. This allows skaters to do lip tricks in the form of stalls.
Transition: Transition is the term used to describe the part of a ramp or obstacle that goes from flat to vert – think of the curvature in a vert ramp before it goes straight vertical. Skaters who enjoy skating transition are usually park skaters or vert skaters who skate skateparks more than street.
Extension: An extension is a raised or lifted part of the ramp that ‘extends’ a few more feet higher. Often a mini ramp will have transition and then a single extension with vertical walls for those gnarly skaters.
Tombstone: When an extension is thin or just in a small spot on the ramp, it will be referred to as a tombstone.
Deathbox: A deathbox is that little box under pool coping where the chlorine normally filters out from. Grinding over these is often sketchy as your wheel can get stuck inside. Hence the attached term death.
Shootout Ledge/Rail: A shootout ledge or a shootout rail is a description for when a rail does not go steeply down the stair set but instead extends outwards maintaining its original height.
Quarter Pipe: A quarter pipe is a ‘quarter’ because it’s a quarter of a full circle. Imagine a ramp built on this aspect ratio and since it can stand alone anywhere, it’s singled out as a quarter pipe. If they are combined face to face, that is the beginning of a mini ramp.
Mini Ramp: A mini ramp is when two or more quarter pipes are facing one another for a continual carving of up and down. Mini ramps are considered one of the most fun things to skate in skateboarding once you learn how to drop in.
Half Pipe: Taking from the understanding that a quarter pipe is a quarter of a full circle, a halfpipe is one half of a circle. While two quarter pipes are also half a circle a vert ramp is different because it has vertical walls well above the transitional period found in mini ramps. These 2-3 foot of vert walls make an extreme difference in the skill needed to skate these ramps. These are the ramps Tony Hawk and others made a household term.
Launch Ramp: A launch ramp is almost like a quarter pipe but its lip is more of a launching outward for airing out of the ramp and not skating back in like you would on a quarter pipe or mini ramp.
Ramp: A ramp can be any slope or triangle like object that produces downhill or launch capable skateboarding.
Step–Up: A step up appears as a ramp that had it’s top section taken out prior to the landing area up top, so a skater must perform an ollie before reaching the top.
Euro–Gap:The step up is believed to be originally from European contests and is homaged by this fact by being called a euro-gap.
Roll In: A roll in is a special part of the ramp that instead of following the vertical walls curls over the lip of the ramp to allow the skater to ‘roll in’ to the ramp instead of drop in.
Drop In: A drop in is how a skater enters a bowl, pool, mini ramp, quarter pipe or obstacle by positioning their tail on the lip of the obstacle and with their weight leaning forward, ‘drops in’ to the ramp and rides away.
Spine: A spine is when two quarter pipes are pressed back to back with their coping attached in the middle. These are incredibly difficult obstacles for any beginner skateboard rider.
Bowl: A bowl is a transition obstacle where there is no side of the ramp unconnected. Picture the bowl you use for cereal, now put your tech deck inside it and imagine that you are skating.
Double set: A double set is referred to when two sets of stairs are separated by a flat zone but skaters still skate the entire obstacle. Imagine two sets of 3 stairs with a flat zone in between but the skater ollies over the flat surface and over all six stairs.
2 flat 2, 3 flat 3, etc: These numbers are used to describe double sets or triple sets with the number of stairs separated by the flat surface.
Triple Set: 3 sets of stairs with 2 flat surfaces in-between.
A Frame: An A-frame is when a rail or ledge is ascending and then connected by its descending mirror obstacle. Or it came be two ramps (without the curvature of a quarter pipe) to be connected in mirror as well.
Fun box: A fun box is when ledges, rails, ramps and boxes are combined into unique obstacles usually seen in contests.
Kink Rail: A kink rail is a rail that has a ‘kink’ in it or essentially after going down steeply ‘kinks’ out flat. Nyjah Huston is famous for skating these.
Round Rail: A round rail is a description of when the rail is round. Some skaters will prefer a round rail over a flat rail depending on what tricks they are doing. However, round rails are generally more used in skatepark construction and larger contests.
Flat Rail: A flat rail is a description for when the rail is flat. While plenty of flat rails can be found in the streets, the harsher angles of flat rails are not favored by skatepark creators. Also, since most transition coping is generally round rails, skaters don’t mind if flat rails are used in other instances, even if more rare.
Run Up: A run up is referring to the space or runway of a skate spot. “That spot had a really short run up.”
Thread the Needle: When a skater ‘threads the needle’ the obstacle they are skating requires them to skate through something narrow or down a very specific run up. “She really thread the needle on that one.”
Bump to Bar: A Bump to bar is when a ramp is preceded by a rail that is perpendicular to the ramp, causing the skater to have to pop over the rail. This is commonly referred to as a “Handicap Rail” since handicap ramps are constructed as bump to rails.
“Over the Rail:” Over the rail is a term for when a skater skates ‘over the rail’ instead of grinding or sliding down the rail. Often a skater will skate over a rail into a bank or down a gap.
Bank: A bank is referred to when a slope is flat and produces an angle skaters can skate up and perform an aerial maneuver. Banks are different from ramps as you always land back into a bank and a bank is derived from street spots found in the wild.
Bank to Ledge: A bank to ledge is when a ledge sits on top of a bank and a skater can ollie or flip into the bank to then slide or grind the ledge. In the streets, a skater will often put a bench on top of a bank to create a bank to ledge.
Gap: A gap is used to describe when a skater clears over an obstacle from point A to point B. Generally, the skaters go from a higher point to a lower point across a gap’. It’s the same as a stair set but without the stairs. Imagine a skater doing an ollie from one parking lot to another parking lot with grass or dirt separating the two parking lots. The middle zone the skater ollies is the gap.
Gap to Rail: A gap to rail is a term in reference to when a skater has to ollie across a gap before hitting the rail. Instead of a skater being able to ollie close to the rail, they have to gap out several feet before grinding or sliding the rail.
Did We Miss a Term?
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