5 Unusual Things Only Skaters Understand: An Insider’s Guide

Explore the skateboarding universe through a skater's eyes, from unique lingo to busted shoes. It's a ride you won't forget.

Ever wondered what makes a skateboarder tick? The congregations at local skate parks, the shredded jeans, and the inexplicable fear of small rocks make sense when you’re part of the skateboarding community. In this article, we’ll dissect the world from a skateboarder’s perspective, breaking down the things only skaters understand. We know that the skateboarding world might seem bizarre to an outsider. But don’t worry; by the end of this article, you’ll feel like a seasoned pro, or at least as if you’ve been a fly on the wall at your local skate park.

What are the things only skaters understand?

Do you ever have a friend consistently scouting ledges, railings, and curbs as potential trick spots? Or have you heard them lamenting about worn-out shoes or an irrational fear of small rocks? Read on as we delve into these quirky habits and give you the lowdown on what only skaters are privy to.

Image of a skater riding a skateboard on a bridge. Source: pexels
Image of a skater riding a skateboard on a bridge. Source: pexels

1. Multidimensional perspective on everyday objects

Before you start skating, a handrail is just a handrail. To a skater, it’s an invitation for a front crook. That curb across the street? It’s not just a curb; it’s an enticing challenge to execute a perfect boardslide. Skateboarding revolutionizes your perspective, turning mundane urban architecture into a veritable playground of potential skate spots.

“Ask any skater, and they’ll tell you that once you start skating, everything else looks like something you could potentially shred.”

Skaters develop this unique sense of space and possibility. Ask any skater, and they’ll tell you that once you start skating, everything else looks like something you could potentially shred. It’s like being bestowed with superhero vision, where you can see opportunities that simply elude the non-skater’s eyes. It’s always an eye-opener to a surreal world where the cityscape morphs into an endless skatepark.

2. The parts and tribulations of skate shoes

In the realm of fashion-conscious millennials, you might buy shoes because they’re tired, dirty, or old. But in the skateboarding community, you buy shoes because they’re worn to the point of disintegration—literally. Skaters’ shoes suffer from an unnatural fast track to deterioration and tend to get trashed on one side. Your left shoe might be fresh enough to hit the club, while the right one has clearly seen better days. Or vice versa.

Plus, not every shoe can go from the mall to the mini ramp. We’re not talking about your “Damn, Daniel!” white Vans here. A real skate shoe is built to withstand the rough and tumble world of skateboarding. To a non-skater, this might seem excessive. But once it’s your skin meeting asphalt, durable footwear seems like a solid choice. Well-worn shoes emerge as badges of honor, a testament to the hours spent perfecting tricks.

3. Fear of cracks and small rocks

Unlike the general public, skaters have a strange phobia that could be classified as ‘street debris fright.’ One tiny pebble on the street is not something you’d worry about during a casual stroll. But, to a skater, these small obstacles can spell disaster, swiftly transforming an enjoyable skate into a quick trip to the asphalt.

Why? Well, the physics of a skateboard comes into play here. Those tiny rocks can jam up the wheels, instantly stopping the board and launching the unsuspecting skater into a possible faceplant situation. It’s not something you think about until you’ve experienced the sudden and often painful stop a tiny pebble can inflict. It’s common for skaters to scan the ground up ahead, not out of paranoia but as a necessary precaution.

4. Wheel bite

Every culture has its folklore, and skateboarders are no exception. In the skating world, the term ‘wheel bite’ is whispered with a mixture of dread and frustration. It’s not as deadly as it sounds, but it’s pretty darn annoying. Wheel bite occurs when you turn fast with loose trucks, and your wheel touches the deck. The result? You stop instantly.

Imagine cruising, feeling the wind whip through your hair, and suddenly, you’re meeting the pavement. Ouch, right? Experienced skaters know that a bit of wax in the right spot or tighter trucks can help avoid such a scenario. It’s one of those skateboarding experiences that’s best learned the hard way. ‘Wheel bite’ won’t necessarily make it onto a list of phobias any time soon, but it’s definitely on the skater’s list of things to avoid.

5. The exclusive language of skating

If someone asks you if you’ve seen that sick nollie varial heelflip P-Rod land and your reaction isn’t one of recognition, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Skaters talk differently, drenched in terms like ‘fakie,’ ‘nollie,’ and ‘heelflip.’ But this lingo isn’t just cool slang; each term describes specific tricks, stances, and parts of a skateboard, all essential pieces of the skating puzzle.

Image of two skaters sitting on the stairs while talking to each other. Source: pexels
5 unusual things only skaters understand: an insider's guide | image of two skaters sitting on the stairs while talking to each other pexels | skateboard salad

This language can be confusing and inaccessible to the uninitiated. But just like any other language, envelop yourself in it, and you’ll start picking it up. Part of the skateboarding culture is this shared language that binds the community together and sets them apart. It’s a kind of secret handshake, a way for skaters to identify fellow enthusiasts, crafting an incredible sense of camaraderie and exclusivity.

Dos and don’ts of understanding skater culture

Like any culture, skateboarding has unwritten rules—the do’s and don’ts—that shape interactions within the community. These rules aren’t to alienate beginners but rather to instill respect for the sport and those participating.

Try to appreciate the nature of skateboard cultureDisrespect the skating space
Keep an open mind about the world through the skater lensStereotype skaters
Learn the basic lingoInterrupt or stop others from skating
Opt for skate-friendly shoesIgnore or play down other’s achievements
These are the guiding principles a non-skater should adhere to when interacting with the skate community.
My favorite shoes (at the moment):

DC Cure Casual High-top Skate Shoes

5 unusual things only skaters understand: an insider's guide | 71 8annbgbl. Ac ux695 | skateboard salad
My favorite shoes (at the moment):

DC Cure Casual High-top Skate Shoes

These have lasted me probably the longest of any skate shoe I’ve had. I love high-tops because they protect my ankles. I got the gray ones, but they get dirty quickly. If you care about that, you might want to invest in a darker tone version.

A rookie’s perspective on skateboarding culture

As a relatively new skater, my personal take is that skateboarding culture is juxtaposed on the line between complexity and sheer thrill. The beginner’s road is undeniably marked with twisted ankles, scuffed-up knees, and some serious shoe degradation. But then, one fine day, when I landed my first pop-shuvit, the worth of every scrape and bruise solidified.

“The beginner’s road is undeniably marked with twisted ankles, scuffed up knees, and some serious shoe degradation. But then, one fine day, when I landed my first pop-shuvit, the worth of every scrape and bruise solidified.”

The most enthralling aspect, in my opinion, is viewing what we conventionally see as obstacles (like stairs, curbs, or handrails) as opportunities for the next killer trick. The change in perspective is pretty striking, akin to Neo seeing the Matrix, minus the leather trench coat. For a deeper understanding and enjoyment of this journey, I recommend you to watch some of the greatest skateboarding moments. It’s been a wild, worthwhile ride so far, and honestly, I’m stoked to see where it leads!

If you are a visual learner, check out the video below from YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

As we delve deeper into the skateboarding culture, you might have some queries popping up. Don’t fret; here are the answers to some commonly asked questions that newcomers often have about this exhilarating realm.

What is a skate spot?

A skate spot refers to any area or object that skaters perceive as a place to perform skateboarding tricks. They can range from stairs, curbs, railings, banks, or even specially designed areas in a skate park.

Is skateboarding an expensive sport?

The cost depends on various factors, such as the type of skateboard you choose, protective gear, and maintenance. However, it’s worth noting that skateboarding, while having upfront costs, does not require ongoing fees like many other sports.

How does skateboarding influence fashion?

Skateboarding has heavily influenced urban streetwear trends. From durable, comfortable shoes, loose-fitting clothes, and graphic tees to beanies and caps, many fashion statements have their roots in skateboarding culture.

Are all cities skateboard-friendly?

Unfortunately, not all cities are welcoming to skaters. Zoning laws, ordinances, and attitudes can vary significantly. Some cities have skateboarding spots and parks, while others may restrict or outright ban the activity in certain areas.

Final thoughts

Peeking into the skateboarding world offers a glimpse into a specialized and passionate culture, rich with its language, perceptions, and peculiar quirks. Highlighting the skate community’s unique attributes, we’ve revealed aspects that may appear obscure to the uninitiated but are integral to a skater’s life experience. Nevertheless, we hope you feel more enlightened about this fascinating subculture and perhaps even inspired to grab a board and give it a shot.

Are you now seeing those pedestrian handrails in a new light? Are you now more aware of the plight of every pebble or crack on the tarmac? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below. I read and reply to every comment. If you enjoyed this article, share it with your friends, and for more insights into the skateboarding world, check out my full blog. Thanks for reading, and keep shredding!

Key takeaways

This article has taken you on a journey into the heart and soul of the skateboarding world. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Skateboarding shifts your perspective, making regular objects potential skate spots.
  • Skaters wear their shoes unevenly due to the asymmetric stresses.
  • Small rocks and cracks, seemingly innocuous, are skaters’ worst enemies.
  • Wheel bite is an annoying skateboarding phenomenon where wheels touch the deck, causing an abrupt stop.
  • Skateboarding has its own language that is incomprehensible to the uninitiated, fostering a sense of exclusivity among skaters.

Helpful resources

Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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