5 Best Skateboard Tricks for Beginners: Ultimate Start-Up Guide

Master 5 best skateboard tricks for beginners with our easy guide. Turn skatepark into your stage, no ollies needed!

Have you been searching for the best skateboard tricks for beginners? You’ve already laced up your skate shoes and are stoked to shred some concrete, right? Well, you’ve come to the right spot! In this guide, I’ll share my journey as a novice skateboarder and break down the first five basic skateboarding tricks you should get your wheels on. These are your go-to tricks if you’re starting to feel comfortable on your board but still haven’t got your ollie on lock. But don’t worry; you don’t need to master the ollie for these tricks.

What is a skateboarding trick?

A skateboarding trick is a maneuver performed on a skateboard while the rider is rolling, typically involving a combination of balance, spins, flips, or aerials. Tricks can be performed on flat ground, over obstacles, ramps, or terrain.

Image of a skater performing a basic skateboarding trick on the road.
Image of a skater performing a basic skateboarding trick on the road.

As a beginner, these tricks are simple words that help you craft early sentences. Mastering tricks like riding switch, manual, kick turns, pop-up, and running start is what lays the groundwork for becoming a proficient skater.

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My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

5 best skateboard tricks for beginners: ultimate start-up guide | 61vn95mf7ql. Ac sl1184 | skateboard salad
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

I had my board stolen a few years ago and was forced to quickly replace it with a complete. I got one with an Enjoi deck and loved it so much that I still buy the Whitey Panda deck each time I need a new deck. This complete with budget-friendly, beginner-friendly parts, but I still swear by it.

So, what are the top 5 basic skateboard tricks for beginners?

Skateboarding isn’t just about cruising around. Sure, it’s a big part, but the fun begins when you add tricks. As someone who’s been there, I know it can be a bit of a head-scratcher to figure out where to start. Seriously! There are so many tricks; it’s like picking a Netflix show on a Friday night. You don’t want to dive in with something over your head, right?

Allow me to share with you the first set of tricks that I’ve found to be a solid foundation for any skater just getting started with tricks. They’re focusing on balance, control, and a bit of style. Bonus: No ollies required! So grab your board, and let’s dive right in!

1. Riding switch

It might feel like trying to sign your name with your non-dominant hand, but learning to ride a switch is a solid choice. Also, it gives your primary pushing leg a well-earned break, so it’s a win-win. It means riding your board in the opposite stance from your usual one.

At first, it’s bound to feel as awkward as a new pair of shoes. The trick? Practice and repetition: That magic recipe will transform this into a smooth glide rather than a rough slide. You switch up your stance by shifting your foot position. If you’re goofy (right foot forward), try regular (left foot forward), and vice versa.

Put in the time and push past the initial discomfort. You might find the riding switch as natural as your original stance before you know it! The ability to switch things up on the fly adds a dimension of agility and versatility to your skating, and that, my friend, is what takes you from a beginner to an all-round rider.

2. Manual

If you’ve ever noticed a kid at the park on one wheel, looking as content as a cat on a sunny window sill, that is a manual. Manuals are like the Swiss Army knife of skateboard tricks—it doesn’t matter if you’re starting or have been skating for years; they never get old.

Here’s your step-by-step: Place your back foot on the board’s tail, shift your weight to that foot, and slightly lean back. With some momentum, you’ll feel the front wheels lifting off the ground, and that’s the manual. The real challenge is maintaining that balance and stretching it for longer periods. Once you’ve got a feel for it, start taking them to different surfaces like manual pads, curbs, or stages.

Remember: It’s all about finding a rhythm with your weight shifts to keep those front wheels hovering. And when you finally pull it off, I promise, it feels just as awesome as successfully tossing pizza dough!

3. Kick turns

View kick turns as an extended family of manuals. If you’ve got your manuals down, you’re already in a prime position to tackle kick turns. They’re like dance moves on a skateboard, where all the flow and turns come from your shoulders and head.

Here’s the blueprint: Set up your feet for a manual, lean on your back foot, and then turn your head and shoulders in your desired direction. Keep practicing this on flat ground, and once you’re comfortable, bring it to the ramp. The only tweak needed here is getting the timing right and adjusting to the ramp’s transition.

Once you nail the kick turn, it’s a new world of freedom and maneuverability. Suddenly, you’re more skater, less the ball in a pinball machine hitting every obstacle in your path.

4. Pop up

Imagine your body as an extension of your body. Elisha Otis (the guy who invented the modern-day elevator) might not have thought about this when he said, “Pop up,” but who knows? The pop-up is about making your board jump, well… up!

Start by removing your front or back foot off the board and onto the ground. Pop the tail, catch the board mid-air with your hand, and have a pop-up. It’s almost like making your board do something somersault, minus the dramatic hands-in-the-air finish. Running smoothly with pop-ups can be a bit of a puzzle, but when you unlock it, it’s one smooth and show-worthy trick for any skateboarding beginner.

5. Running start

Picture a running start as your entry ticket to every skate obstacle ahead. It’s more than just a trick; it’s a way to gear up swiftly and go full throttle towards anything that comes your way. Look at it as the skateboarder’s version of Superman’s take-off, minus the cape and tights.

Hold your board’s nose, run forward, dip it low enough for the back wheels to touch the ground, and then leap onto it—skateboarder meets runway! It’s a quick way to build up speed, and honestly, it can feel as exhilarating as hitting the big red “launch” button on a spaceship!

Dos and don’ts of learning skateboard tricks

Beginning your skateboarding journey can feel like setting foot on a dance floor for the first time—there’s a rhythm to discover, a balance to find, and some missteps along the way. To make your ride smoother, remember some dos and don’ts.

DosDon’ts
Practice consistentlyDon’ts
Do wear protective gearDon’t rush the process
Do start small and slowDon’t neglect your safety
Stay positiveDon’t try advanced tricks too soon
Do keep the board maintainedDon’t get frustrated easily
Your journey to becoming a versatile skater starts with understanding these basic principles. Remember, every pro was once a novice.

Basic skateboarding: additional tricks and tips

If you’re paving your way to becoming the next Rodney Mullen, these additional tips are something you’ll want to soak in:

  • Start by finding a comfortable place to practice, like a driveway or empty parking lot.
  • Try to visualize the trick before starting.
  • Film yourself; it’s a great way to analyze your form.
  • Don’t be afraid to fall; it’s part of the learning journey.
  • Remember to check your skateboards for beginners regularly to ensure your board’s condition isn’t hampering your progress.
Image of a skater practicing skateboarding.
Image of a skater practicing skateboarding.

Steven’s Skateboarding Tricks Journey

I remember my early days of skateboarding. I would spend hours just trying to get a simple trick right, often ending up on my back more often than I’d like to admit. But with each passing day and each attempt, it felt less like I was slap-fighting gravity and more like chiseling my way to becoming a skilled skater.

One trick that kicked my butt? The manual. Here’s some honest skateboarding advice: Always keep your cool. Because trust me, man, just balancing on two wheels while rolling sounds pretty basic, right? But it turned into my Mt. Everest. I fell and stumbled, but I got a step closer with each failed attempt. In hindsight, my attempts at mastering the manual helped me learn more about balance and board control than any other trick.

“Embrace the challenge, every fall, and every triumph. They’re all part of your skateboarding journey.”

So, my advice? Embrace the challenge, every fall, and every triumph. They’re all part of your skateboarding journey. Allow me to hit you with a statistical curveball to help you grasp the impact of mastering these basic tricks. The following table presents the average time a novice skater might take to get the hang of these tricks:

Basic Skate TricksAvg. Practice Time
Riding Switch7-10 days
Manual15-20 days
Kick Turns5-7 days
Pop Up10-15 days
Running Start3-5 days
Timeframes are averages and depend on individual progression and practice.

Advantages and disadvantages of learning basic skateboard tricks

Every coin has two sides, and the art of skateboarding isn’t an exception. Let’s take a ride on the ins and outs of learning basic skateboard tricks.

Advantages

Kick-starting your adventure with skate tricks is similar to stepping into a virtual reality combat game—it’s that extra edge that lifts your experience beyond the ordinary. Here are some stand-out perks:

  • Improves your overall balance and core strength.
  • Enhances your board control skills.
  • It gives a solid foundation for learning advanced tricks.
  • Adds style and fun to the regular riding experience.
  • It opens the door to experiencing different skating styles.

Disadvantages

While the journey can be fun and exciting, certain aspects might throw a spanner in the works. Remember, it’s better to always be informed.

  • Risk of injuries, especially without proper safety gear.
  • Progress can feel slow and frustrating.
  • Practicing tricks can lead to wear and tear on the board.
  • Requires consistent, structured guidance and feedback.

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

So, you’ve started to flex your skateboarding muscles, and naturally, a few queries must be spinning around in your head. Hold your horses! I’ve rounded up some of the most common questions I hear from fellow skaters, hoping that the answers help you carve out your path on the ramp.

What’s the best skateboard for performing tricks?

The best skateboard for tricks is typically a standard street deck. These are versatile, allow for tighter control, and are perfect for performing various tricks. If you’re wondering what skateboard to start your journey with, check out some recommendations here.

How optimally should I space my practice sessions?

The simple answer here is to practice regularly but in moderation. Don’t burn yourself out; take breaks. Also, multiple short sessions work better than one long, intensive one. As I often say, skateboarding isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.

What’s the most difficult trick on this list to learn?

For most beginners, the manual can be the most challenging to get the hang of. Maintaining the board on two wheels requires significant balance control and precision.

Final thoughts

There you have it, my skating aficionados—a breakdown of the first skate tricks you should add to your arsenal. They’re like the first set of tools in your skating toolbox, ready to take your ride from a simple commute lookalike to something that would have Tony Hawk giving you a nod of approval. And hey, always remember, practice makes perfect, and safety should never be skimped on.

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 found this guide helpful, share it with your fellow rookies, and don’t forget to check out my blog for more killer tips and updates on the skateboarding scene. Thanks for reading, and keep skating!

Key takeaways

This article tiptoes through basic skateboard tricks, unwrapping essential tricks necessary for a novice skateboarder to learn. Here are the key insights:

  • The riding switch engages your non-dominant side, enhancing your versatility on the board.
  • Manuals require balance and control, leading to better board management.
  • Kick turns add agility to your movement, enabling more precise maneuvers.
  • Pop-ups provide style points and an efficient way to get the board in your hand.
  • Running is your quickest route to getting a headstart on speed.
  • Mastering these beginner tricks lays a solid foundation for more advanced ones.

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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