By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
If you are just now starting to skate or you've been at it for a while, you might ask yourself, “okay what's next?” There is not really a step-by-step in skateboarding, everyone has their own learning process as they go, but there are some things to keep in mind; There are different difficulty levels in skateboarding which you will get to see as you go, but just as a brief example for this is that you are not going to attempt to grind a ledge before you know how to ollie right? There IS a learning curve you should follow in order to have your skills developing in the right way, this curve will give you the skills you need to know to move forward and attempt the next trick, if you don't follow the curve or you skip levels of difficulty you WILL most likely get hurt and end up giving up skateboarding altogether.
So let's check this SHIT® out, we will start with the basics so you can get yourself an idea of where you are when it comes to skateboarding level!
Basic Skateboarding Skills
Ride your board:
This seem obvious right? But this is the FIRST thing every skateboarder has to learn before they can move any further in skateboarding! You will need to be able to feel completely comfortable cruising around on your board. Some people might think that this is silly and if you do, just remember the first time you stepped on one, it is not so difficult, but it is not a piece of cake either! Finding your balance and center is very important, learning how to push and stop the board, turn, avoid obstacles, raise the nose, all of these have to be on the bag before you consider you can “ride your board” and get to the next level which is actually attempting tricks!
Ride off and on curbs:
Another one you might think is easy but one that you need to know in order to be able to move freely and develop all of your other skills!
Understand Skateboarding principles:
Vocabulary is very important in this one, once you have all of the previous ones in the bag you need to learn the most basic terms of the skateboarding dictionary, “the pop” and “the scratch” being the 2 motions that will actually allow you to perform next-level tricks!
Once you have all of the above in the bag, you can pretty much consider yourself a beginner in skateboarding, having all of the skills necessary to be able to move to the next level which is attempting actual tricks!
Basic Skateboarding Tricks
This could be a very debated one, as some people have faster development than others, but once again this is just to give you an idea of how the skateboarding learning curve goes and what to expect next!
Now we are talking! Some people will consider this the “basics” but trust us, if you want to get one of these, you must already be able to do all of the above! The Ollie is the base of most skateboarding tricks and as basic as it seems, there are people that could take weeks or even months to get the ollie right, as there are other that could get it in a day or two, don't get discouraged if it takes you a while because actually this is a trick that will continue to evolve as your skills grow, later on, you will want to get higher and longer ollies which will also take a while.
Backside and front side 180’s are ollies, combined with a 180-degree spin turning towards the toe-side and the heel-side of the skateboard respectively, this is one of the hardest easiest skateboarding tricks (HAHA) it will take a while for you to get these in the bag but once you do it will come as easy as riding the board.
Pop Shove Its:
Pop Shove Its are achieved by using your back foot to pop and spin the skateboard around 180 degrees in the air while you stay neutral above it, and it is probably the last trick you must have in the bag before going any further!
Now, this is when you start seeing progress, but this is also one of the parts in the curve where people start to get discouraged, DON'T let this happen to you, just stay focused and practice as much as you can!
If you are going to attempt flip tricks you must already be comfortable riding and doing ollies over some SHIT®, you already gained height on your pops and you already have a pretty good understanding of the physics of skateboarding.
We recommend you start attempting your flip tricks already on the move, although some will prefer them on the grass or static, but this could also delay your learning process since it is not the same doing a static kickflip as to doing one while moving, still, don't rush into it and take it slow, a little push and a trick at a time!
The Kickflip and Heelflip are the first ones you want to start with.
This is when it really starts getting tricky and if you are on this, you are no longer just a beginner and you must be looking to get to the next level, these are pretty much a combination of ollies, flips and rotation degrees that takes the difficulty level up a notch, you have your varials (kickflip and heelflip) front side and backside 180s (kickflip and heelflip) to your 360’s and “impossible” tricks, from here, tricks just continue to evolve into an almost endless list that we are pretty sure you will be able to find out as you go.
Grinds And Drops
By now you are no longer an AM and you could already consider yourself an avid skateboarder, once you start grinding ledges, rails and even dropping 5’s 7’s or more (stairs) you are completely into this, you might be even able to hit some competitions and win some SHIT®.
This is basically the sum up of all of your previous experience so don't rush it since it could take even 2 or 3 years before you get to this level, you can mix up all of your skills and start leaving ledges with a nice flip or manual on it, by now you are not attempting to land a trick, 90% of the times you get your lands, now you are just looking at how clean your landing is and the difficulty of the obstacles you are trying to ride! You are now out of the park and looking at that long ass rail from that office building you pass every day and thinking to yourself “could I grind it?, I should totally grind it!”.
Once again, skateboarding is not something you can learn from a book, it takes time and effort and you WILL fall and you WILL get hurt, it is up to you and to which level you want to take your skateboarding!
Again, this is just an overview of how you could somehow measure your level, but there is SO MUCH MORE in between all of this that we would not be able to fit in, but we hope you get the idea.
- Practice and don't give up until you get it
- Try to learn something new every day
- Watch a lot of skateboarding videos online
- Embrace a healthy lifestyle, eat well and stay hydrated
- Don't push yourself too hard and try to attempt tricks out of your league to impress people.
- Hit the skateparks, make friends and be part of the crowd
- Record your progress and check what is it that you need to improve
- HAVE FUN!!
- HAVE A SHIT® LOAD OF FUN!
There you have it my dudes and dudettes! We hope this was of help and that this brief article gave you some insight into what the process and progress of a skateboarder would look like, just keep on practicing and learning something new every day! And just have fun while doing some sick SHIT®.
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Read also: Top 5 Tips to Start as a Skateboarder