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Know Your Spots: Skateboarding Obstacle Guide

By Andres Pachon

A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.


This is a basic skill EVERY skater must have in order to be able to move up on the skateboarding food chain, believe me, it would be very funny if you were trying to describe a trick on “that thingy with the metal edge” that is why today we are going to check out most of the skateboarding obstacles you will be able to find on a skatepark and in the streets!

This is something that could take time to learn, but once you take a look at this guide you will be able to identify them as easily as you identify a goofy from a regular!



Photo: Tamas Pap (Unsplash)


No, my dudes, it has nothing to do with the places where they make money and take your money, Banks are basically slanted walls that you can skate up and do tricks on!

You can find them almost everywhere in the streets and they are very popular on indoor skateparks, one of the most iconic spots that consisted almost entirely on this obstacle, was “The Brooklyn Banks” a very popular NY location which, unfortunately, seems to have come to an end as new constructions have started on the site.

This obstacle is ideal for you to practice flat ground flip tricks and take them to the next level with some height and if the banks have an edge or one is attached to it, you can also practice your grinds, slides, or stalls.







Photo: Obed Hernández (Unsplash)


This is an obstacle created solely for the purpose of skating it so 80% of the time you can only find them in skateparks, the other 20? One of your dudes took into his own hands to DIY a transportable version of the rail which is pretty simple to do, given the fact that it is only a metal pole that sits horizontally on the ground.

There are several heights and lengths for flatrails, and altho they look simple and you might think you can skate them pretty easily but it takes skills to be able to ride them. All of your slide and grind tricks can be performed on these babies, keep in mind that there are variations of the rails and you might encounter rounded or a little elevated versions of the plain flat one.

BS Boardslides, BS Nosegrinds, and FS Lipslides are some of the go-to tricks for advanced skaters looking to get the most out the this particular obstacle.



Photo: Keo Oran (Unsplash)


Probably one of the most popular street skateboarding obstacles out there, altho you can find them on skateparks, they are only adaptations from the first non designed SHIT® skaters started to shred, from office buildings to schools, these are kind of a passage to skateboard maturity since not everyone would dare to go down one of them.

If you are planning to skate them, you probably already have the skills necessary to do so, but make sure you had your time practicing on the fall trails in the park before you even consider going down one of these, ’50-’50s are the way to go, after these, you can move to even more complicated tricks!


Bowls And Pools

Photo: Jan Kopřiva (Unsplash)


These obstacles also imply having a better skateboarding level than you average tricks, the reason why some skaters dedicate solely to this particular kind of skating which is also one of the oldest forms and styles of skateboarding.

One thing you will need to dominate for sure is the drops, not many people get to dominate them and same as the rails some skaters are terrified of the drop from a bowl because let’s face it, it is not easy to stand on the edge of it and take a leap of faith towards the unknown, however, there are some that have no trouble doing it and could be considered even naturals on this particular discipline.

Once you have your drops down, you can really start and getting some air time on your tricks transition tricks will be the first step on this learning process flips, grabs and rotations will come with time, it’s a whole different deal to do this tricks of the ground that why not all skaters try to master them. An increased sense of orientation is necessary to be able to succeed in this field.






Curbs And Ledges

Photo: Seyi Ariyo (Unsplash)


Elongated blocks with edges to do slides or grind tricks on, another big obstacle in the street skateboarding scene, once skaters realized that a little wax would do the trick, plazas, and parks all over the world became the playground of street skateboarders.

Along with the handrails, curbs and ledges are two of the obstacles that took skateboarding to the next level, one of the best examples we could give is The West Los Angeles Courthouse, that since the ’80s has been one of the Californias skateboarding landmarks for the abundance of these 2 obstacles, t became so popular among the skateboarding community that by 2010, Nike SB took over the spot and updated and fixed the obstacles (originally not made for skating) making them even more precious to the skateboarding community in LA, after this particular happening, skateboarding became legal in this particular spot.

MACBA is also one of the most popular spots worldwide for the practice of trick in these obstacles.



Photo: Ari He (Unsplash)


They are unique in the way that wallride is not only an obstacle but also a trick in itself and the name pretty much sums it up, there are usually accompanied by small banks that make the wallride a more accessible trick



Photo: Alex Perez (Unsplash)


It’s an upward ramp with a flat surface that basically “KICKS YOU UP” to the air, its mainly used as an aid to get more air while performing a trick!

This is also a very easy obstacle for you to DIY, some put together gaps and rails along with the kickers that will help you conquer the previous ones.



Photo: Ben Allan (Unsplash)


As it names describes it, these are mainly used to perform manual tricks, if accompanied with metal copings you can also perform and practice your grinds before moving up to bigger street obstacles, these are mainly used by skater looking to learn the basic skills to then take on more complicated obstacles and tricks.

They are designed in a way that the surface is super smooth and there is no chance your front or back wheels would get stuck midway, once you have your manuals down you can attempt to land your flip tricks onto manuals, which is also a very stylish way to end up a line!


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Photo: Hector Bermudez (Unsplash)


These are also pretty self-explanatory and as the handrails, are one of the first street skateboarding obstacles to be born and adapted to skateparks which some consider a limiting territory for this particular obstacle.

They are referred to as the amount of spets they have, a “2” would be 2 stairs a “5” would be 5 stair steps, and so on. In skateparks, you can find tops a “7” which once again, could be very limited by what more risky skaters try to accomplish!

El Toro (Spanish for The Bull) is probably one of the most feared and famous stair sets in the world, with not 5, not 10, but 20 freaking stair sets! Many decks, trucks, ankles, wrists, and more have been broken in this particular spot, only the most gnarly, experienced skaters have attempted (and succeeded) to land a trick from the top of El Toro, Chris Joslin and Aaron Homoki are a couple we can think of.



Photo: Victor Erixon (Unsplash)


A basic obstacle that could be misleading, you must definitely have your Ollies down before attempting a gap, there are usually built not very bing, but as always, skaters find the way to transform regular places into skatable obstacles were people just see a regular concrete spot to sit on.

As the name describes it, its a gap between two surfaces that typically have a difference in height. In most skateparks, there is a kicker at the beginning and at the end of the gap to ensure s good landing, there is, however, spots that do not have kickers, and much less a “safe distance” in-between landing ground, for street skaters, anything can become a gap and flip tricks are the best way to overcome them, once you have your ollies down of course.

The Leap of Faith in San Diego its a pretty good example of how gaps could go from basic park obstacle to some crazy street SHIT, look it up!

There you have it my dudes and dudettes, we are pretty sure we missed a bunch, but don’t worry we will probably make another delivery on this subject! For now, let us know once you have all of these down so you can move further up!


Read also: Top 5 Best Skateboarding Decks

Read also: Best Sites To Learn How To Skate Online


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