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How to Skateboard for Beginners

Ratnashri Dutta
If you are new to the art of skateboarding, and are a little apprehensive about it, worry not. After reading this you will be good to go.
You have seen your friends riding their skateboards and doing tricks so easily. Even you want to join them. But unfortunately, not only do you not have the right gear, but you also do not know how and where to start. Don't be disheartened.
Given are some simple steps to help you out. Go through them and you will be a champ in no time.

Essential Gear

Before you step onto that skateboard, there are certain things you need to have in order to protect yourself from getting hurt when you fall down, which is bound to happen. While learning to skate, or even when you are an expert in this sport, you need to wear protective gear for your own safety.

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The first thing that you need is a good pair of skate shoes. If you want, you can also skate wearing your regular shoes, but they will be a lot harder and may sometimes prove dangerous. So, it's best that you get the best skating shoes available. They have a large, flat bottom, which grips the skateboard better.
Never forget to wear your helmet. Do not think that people who wear helmets are delicate. Not at all. The helmet protects your head from major injuries when you fall down. So, it's mandatory that you wear your helmet whenever you are skating.
The other thing that you need is protective pads. But that depends on what you are doing. If you are skateboarding on a driveway, then you need elbow pads. But if you are doing tricks on the ramp, then you need knee pads. They protect your elbows and knees if and when you fall down.
The final thing you need is a good skateboard. It's better that you buy a cheap one first when you are just learning, because the expensive ones are good, but they are too fast, so it will be difficult to learn to skateboard. Also, sometime later, if you do not feel like skateboarding, then it might be just lying around, thus a waste of money.

Useful Tips

Now that you have all the gear in place, let us see how to use the skateboard.

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The first thing that you need to know is to stand on the skateboard. You have to get comfortable with the skateboard before you perform any tricks on it.
Place the board on the grass or on the carpeted floor, and try and stand on it. Try balancing only on the front or back wheels. Move your feet in different positions, to get used to the size of the board.

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Regular or Goofy

You now have to decide what your skateboard stances are; regular or goofy footed. By goofy we mean that you skate with your right foot forward, and by regular we mean that you skate with your left foot forward. Most right-handed people are regular footed, while it's the opposite for left-handed people.
There are various ways to find out whether you are regular or goofy. Kick a ball, note the leg with which you kicked it. That foot is your back foot, it goes back while you are skating. You balance yourself on the board. Another trick to know your stance is to go climb a flight of stairs. The first foot that you put out while climbing up is your back foot.

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First Ride

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Once you have decided on the stance, take the board to a more concrete area and set it down. Make sure there are no cars or people you might bump into. Put your front foot (whichever foot it is) on the front truck, or just a little behind it. Now, with your back foot, push off, so that your skateboard moves.
Once you start moving, put your back foot back on the board. If you feel that you are slowing down, use the back foot again to push off. If you want to turn while you are on the board, just lean in the direction you want to turn. But this will only turn you slowly.
The best way to turn is, balance on the back wheels for few seconds and then swing your front wheels in the direction you want to turn to. Sounds difficult, but on practice, you learn how to skateboard well. Keep doing this quite frequently. Do not try any tricks until you are comfortable on the board, and the risk of falling down or hitting others reduces.

Stop It!

You now know how to start a skateboard, well and good. But how do you stop a moving skateboard? Well, there are several ways in which you can do this, the first one being foot breaking. This is the easiest way to stop a skateboard. Just take your back foot off the board and drag it on the ground. It needs some practice and focus.

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The second step is heel drag, where you put the heel of your back foot out, in such a way that it sticks out of the back of the board. Now lean back in a way so that the front of the board goes up in the air, but your front foot should remain on the board, and then step down on your heel. Drag it for a short distance and then stop.
This step will need some practice, and endorsed that beginners do not try it until they are comfortable with the board. Bail is the next way to stop when all the other steps fails. Keep your knees bent while riding, then it will be easier for you to jump. Try and jump forward, your skateboard stops automatically. Try all your steps on a cheap skateboard.

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Try, Try and Try Again

Another important tip is that never give up. No one can be an expert with just one try. If you give up the moment you fall down, thinking that you cannot do it, then you are wrong. You fell down, get up and try again.  Only then will you learn how to skateboard. Never give up. But first learn the basics, tricks and techniques will follow later.