10 Best Skateboarding Rail Tricks: Ultimate Record-Breaking Feats

Dive into the 10 best skateboarding rail tricks, from Hoban's massive grind to Hawk's mind-blowing 900. Get stoked for jaw-dropping feats.

When it comes to skating, few things match the sheer thrill and challenge of mastering the metal rail. Over the years, skaters worldwide have pushed the boundaries of what’s possible, constantly redefining the limits and leaving onlookers in awe. Buckle up because we’re about to dive deep into the world of rail skating and showcase the most mind-bending, gravity-defying, and ultimately record-breaking feats ever performed. Whether you’re new to skateboarding or a seasoned vet, these tricks will surely leave you inspired and hungry for more. Let’s roll!

What are the best skateboarding rail tricks of all time?

If you’ve ever dreamed about becoming a pro skater, you’ll know mastering rail tricks is a crucial chapter in that journey. While daunting, the adrenaline rush and eventual satisfaction are second to none. Read on to explore the five most insane, mind-bending rail tricks ever performed in skateboarding history.

Image of a skater performing a trick on a rail. Source: pexels
Image of a skater performing a trick on a rail. Source: pexels

1. Braden Hoban’s 194-foot rail grind

First up is Braden Hoban’s insane skateboarding rail trick. Known for his long, grinding stunts, this one tops them all. A feat that stretches nearly the length of two basketball courts, Hoban’s record reminds us that the only limit is our own imagination.

Performed on a round rail with multiple deceptive twists, this trick displayed balance, focus, and sheer willpower. Hoban’s lengthy grind wasn’t a life-threatening drop or a near-impossible trick but a testament to perseverance and determination. He wasn’t the flashiest skater, but he was patient enough to conquer something truly monumental.

Before attempting this trick, Hoban knew success wasn’t guaranteed, underlining the immense mental strength required. Every unsuccessful attempt meant walking back to the start of the mammoth rail, stuck in a feedback loop of never-ending grind rehearsals. Despite the odds, Hoban managed to ride away, marking his name in skateboarding folklore.

2. Gabriel Summers and the king rail

For Gabriel Summers, it wasn’t just about overcoming physical barriers but about winning personal wars. The Aussie skater battled not one but two of the most feared spots in the world of skateboarding—the king rails. Ultimately, his stories of intense struggle captured the hearts of skateboard fanatics worldwide.

“Railing tricks can result in painful falls, and the king rail proved no exception for Summers.”

Railing tricks can result in painful falls, and the king rail proved no exception for Summers. Gritting through countless slams, Summers showed the world that determination and courage could achieve incredible feats. Despite the repeated blows and enduring pain, he never gave up, making this one for the books.

As if one king rail fight wasn’t enough, Summers went on his second challenge, arguably even worse than the first. This rail was certainly bigger and more unfriendly, amplifying the amount of punishment he had to endure. Despite the physical and emotional toll, Summers finally conquered it, proving that talent can only get you so far in skateboarding.

3. Jamie Thomas’s leap of faith

Jamie Thomas’s infamous “Leap of Faith” ranks third on our list. It wasn’t so much a grind or a slide but a monumental drop that was never landed successfully. Sure, it wasn’t a traditional rail trick, but the spectacle and the surrounding mythos deserve a nod in our countdown.

The Leap of Faith was a massive 18-foot drop that very few dared attempt. Thomas was the only one brave enough to face the daunting challenge. While he never managed to stick the landing, it became a symbolic trick that pushed boundaries, breaking open a world of possibilities in the skateboarding community.

The leap of faith became synonymous with the audacious spirit of skateboarding. Even though Thomas couldn’t quite complete the trick, the sight of him propelling off the edge of that high ledge embodied the skateboarding ethos—pushing the limits no matter how insane the challenge.

4. Kareem Campbell’s ghetto bird

As our countdown continues, we feature a trick that has firmly found its dedicated spot in our collective skateboarding memory. The Ghetto Bird, performed by Kareem Campbell, is a hardflip late 180 that eventually became his signature move.

Campbell first premiered this stellar technique in the 1999 X-Games best trick competition, which he rightfully won. The Ghetto Bird requires an exceptional degree of control, timing, and swift reflexes for the skater to pull it off smoothly. Campbell, known for his smooth style, introduced this tricky maneuver and significantly influenced street skateboarding.

The true beauty of the Ghetto Bird lies in its graceful amalgamation of a vertical flip and a late body spin. It’s a complex trick that, when executed perfectly, exhibits the fluidity and rhythm inherent in skateboarding. In the words of Rodney Mullen, a pioneer of modern-day skateboarding who you can read more about here, the Ghetto Bird is “poetry in motion.”

5. Tony Hawk’s 900

Finally, we can’t talk about iconic skateboard tricks without mentioning Tony Hawk’s groundbreaking 900. Introduced at the X Games in 1999, Hawk’s 900—roughly two and a half turns (900 degrees) mid-air—was a trick people had thought was impossible.

Image of a skater doing a grind trick on a rail. Source: pexels
10 best skateboarding rail tricks: ultimate record-breaking feats | image of a skater doing a grind trick on a rail pexels | skateboard salad

Being the first person ever to land this insanely demanding trick, Hawk revolutionized vert skateboarding. The 900 requires an extremely high amount of lift from the vert ramp and perfect body control mid-air. Taught to Hawk by his fellow legend, Danny Way, it inherently boasts an immense risk factor which makes its execution truly spectacular.

Breaking a decade-long boundary, Hawk’s 900 epitomized everything skateboarding stands for—the relentless pursuit of progression, the courage to break away from tradition, and the creativity to make the impossible possible. If you want to know more about this legendary skateboarder, you can dive into his life here.

6. Jaws Homoki’s lyon 25

Boy named Jaws? Well, that’s what you call Aaron Homoki, known for his guts-out approach to massive gaps and stairs. The Lyon 25 stair set that he sailed down is no exception.

Lyon 25 requires a huge commitment, as missing the trick can end up seriously hurting the skater. Homoki’s insane leap of faith down this notorious staircase shows the extremes of physical agility and mental fortitude. At such a high altitude, there’s no room for error, making this trick a standout in skateboarding history.

Despite the heavy consequences, Homoki’s determination to conquer this massive beast truly embodies the spirit of pushing beyond capabilities. Whether stairs or rails, Homoki exhibits how these structures, existing in everyday spaces, become platforms for pushing boundaries.

7. Bob Burnquist’s loop of death

Next stop, we’ve got the prodigious Bob Burnquist with his spectacular Loop of Death. This daring feat involves completing a full 360-degree loop on a massive ramp—the kind of stuff that feels too intense even in video games!

Burnquist’s ‘Loop of Death’ isn’t a traditional rail trick, but the audacity and talent involved in executing this skill force its inclusion in any conversations about epic stunts. The loop, with its gravity-defying rotation, required stellar body control and unparalleled balance, something only a skillmaster like Burnquist could manage.

Whether it’s the X Games or his backyard vert ramp, Bob Burnquist has always pushed the skateboard’s possibilities. His Loop of Death was a trick that defied conventional skateboarding norms. A true embodiment of the sport’s adventurous spirit, wouldn’t you say?

8. Chris Cole’s 360 flip on stairs

Chris Cole’s 360 flip down a huge staircase is next on our compilation. Considering the flip’s technical complexity and a relatively hard landing, this trick is no walk in the park.

Despite the difficulty, Cole manages to execute it flawlessly, landing smoothly and cruising away. In fact, the flow and precision make it seem as if this was an everyday trick! No rail in sight, but an epitome of technical prowess and courageous spirit.

Cole’s sheer excellence in controlling his skateboard and maintaining his balance throughout the flip is remarkable. Landing such a trick down a large staircase demands grit, skill, and an intimate understanding of your skateboard’s dynamics, elements which Cole brilliantly showcased.

9. Nyjah Huston’s kinked rail grind

Nyjah Huston’s kinked rail grind makes it to the penultimate spot on our list. Huston is no stranger to railing tricks and is known for his technical finesse and unbelievable consistency. This specific grind required exceptional handling to maintain balance on the rail’s kinks.

Huston’s trick is a feat of precision, fearlessness, and adaptability, qualities that underscore the art of skateboarding. It highlights the technical aptitude a skater needs in order to conquer tricky spots like a kinked rail.

10. Rodney Mullen’s darkslide

Finally, how can we make a list of the greatest tricks without mentioning the Mutt himself, Rodney Mullen? We’re wrapping up Mullen’s iconic and groundbreaking maneuver, the Darkslide. In this maneuver, Mullen flips his board upside down and slides down the rail on its top surface. While the crowd goes wild, Mullen lands perfectly, flipping the board back over and cruising away smoothly.

Mullen’s Darkslide is both technically complex and visually stunning, making it an evergreen favorite in the skateboarding community. The sheer novelty and innovation of this trick have had a monumental impact on how we perceive skateboarding, highlighting the creative freedom at its core.

Dos and don’ts of skateboarding rail tricks

Executing skateboarding rail tricks is no easy task, and it’s essential to approach them with the right techniques and mindset. Here are some dos and don’ts to consider when attempting these tricks:

Maintain a centered balanceRush into trying tricks
Practice your timingSkate beyond your competency level
Wear protective equipmentNeglect pain or injuries
Table outlining the Dos and Don’ts of Skateboarding Rail Tricks
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

10 best skateboarding rail tricks: ultimate record-breaking feats | 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.

What are some tips on nailing skateboarding rail tricks?

Ready to try some rad rail tricks on your own? Here are a few more tips to set you off on the right path:

  • Begin with easy rail tricks first. Starting simple will give you the fundamentals needed for more complex moves.
  • Make sure to learn to fall. Falling is part of the game, and learning how to fall can prevent serious injuries.
  • Use wax on the rails. This helps your grind slide better and reduce friction.
  • Always maintain a slight lean backward when sliding or grinding. It aids in balance.

My brush with skateboarding rail tricks

Since the days I was a novice on the skateboard, I’ve always admired the audacity and fluidity of rail tricks. My first attempt at grinding a rail was when I was 15. The rail was a scrawny flat bar at our local skate park—a far cry from the monstrous beast’s pros face.

Here’s how it went down in my own non-expert words: I bit the dust. Hard. But I was just so stoked to finally throw myself into it. I tried and fell countless times for weeks until I finally landed on a rocky boardslide. Such was my brush with rail tricks, and that feeling, my folks, was top-drawer!

I’m totally aware. My attempt was an amuse-bouche of an affair next to the giant feast served by the pros like Braden Hoban and Gabriel Summers on real deal rails! But as a beginner, hearing their stories and seeing their sheer willpower really helped me understand the heart, soul, and knee-scrapes of skateboarding. If you’re also at the start of your skateboarding journey, don’t miss out on this guide, tailored just for you!

“You don’t have to be the most talented skateboarder to do something special in skateboarding… you can make it happen. I had to do it; I owed it to myself to do it.”

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Always down to address the queries of my fellow skaters. Here are some commonly asked questions about skateboarding rail tricks that may be on your mind.

How can I start practicing rail tricks?

The best way to start practicing rail tricks is by beginning with smaller, less intimidating rails and simpler tricks. Grab quality protective gear and find a spot where you’re comfortable. Practice your timing and balance before attempting to skate on rails. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from seasoned skaters or check out some of the beginner’s guides available like this one.

What’s the most difficult rail trick?

The difficulty of rail tricks can largely depend on the individual skater’s skill and style. However, tricks like the Darkslide, where you grind the rail with the board upside down, and the elongated grinds along kinked or winding rails are often considered particularly challenging.

How can I improve my balance for rail grinds?

Balance for rail grinds can be improved by consistently practicing your tricks. Start with flat ground tricks, then gradually introduce obstacles. Off-board exercises, such as balance boards, yoga, and core strengthening workouts, also help improve stability and body control.

Who holds the world record for the longest rail grind?

The world record for the longest rail grind goes to Braden Hoban, who crushed a mind-boggling 194-foot grind on a round rail. To know more about his grind and other sick rail tricks, you might want to check out this post on insane skateboarding world records.

Final thoughts

Skateboarding rail tricks are an exhilarating world of adrenaline, creativity, fear, pain, and ultimate satisfaction. They’re about pushing boundaries, overcoming personal battles, and leaving your mark on skateboarding. The tales of Braden Hoban, Gabriel Summers, and other skaters provide us with motivation and awe, reminding us all why we chose to step on that board in the first place.

So, are you inspired to grind your local rails, or will you stick to mastering flips and grabs over gaps? 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 this post got you stoked, why not share it with your skate crew? Explore my blog for more handy tips and kick-ass stories from the world of skateboarding. Thanks for reading, and keep shredding!

Key takeaways

Hey, skater, it’s been a wild ride talking about skateboarding rail tricks. Here are some key takeaways from our epic grind:

  • Braden Hoban holds the record for the longest rail grind at 194 feet.
  • Gabriel Summers showcased grit and resolve by conquering intimidating king rails.
  • Traditional and ground-breaking tricks like Tony Hawk’s 900 and Mullen’s Darkslide were pivotal in skateboarding history.
  • Skateboarding rail tricks involve high risks, but they also showcase the sport’s remarkable creativity, resilience, and progression.
  • Safety is paramount before attempting any rail tricks: always use protective gear and practice under supervision if you’re a beginner.

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.

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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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