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Video:How to Skateboard: The Basics

with Jennifer Willis

Learning how to skateboard is just like - riding a bike, but without the training wheels. The more you practice, the more comfortable you'll feel riding your board, and once you get the basics of skateboarding down, you'll never forget them.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Skateboard: The Basics

Hi - my name is Jennifer Willis from Uptown Skate School - I'm here with About.com and I'm going to show you how to ride a skateboard.

Parts of the Skateboard

So, let's talk about the board a little bit: this is your deck - this wood, the deck - this is your grip tape, these are your bolts that connect to your trucks, your wheels, your bearings, this is a bushing - some people have soft bushings for better turns, some people have harder bushings - this is your nose, this is your tail.

You can usually tell the difference because the nose is usually a little bit thinner than the tail, and if you turn your board over, the graphic is usually pointing upwards. Steve Berra rocks, by the way.

Basic Skateboard Gear

There's all kind of options for shoes out there. Really, the best options for you are going to have a flat bottom, probably a thicker sole. I like ankle support - usually if you go with a higher top shoe, you have less of a chance of rolling your ankle. Some other gear to keep in mind would be protective gear - I know it's not cool, but it tends to take a lot of the pressure off when you're first learning.

You're not afraid to fall as much, and you're more inclined to try different things. A full set of gear would be wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads, and of course a helmet. They also sell a butt pad if you're interested.

Riding Skateboards: Goofy or Regular?

The first and most important thing to know when you go to ride a skateboard is whether you're regular or goofy. If you've never ridden anything like a board, then the best way to try to figure it out is to stand on your board and hold something like a gate or a wall, and to push yourself one direction, then to push yourself another direction - whichever way feels more comfortable to you, is probably the way you're supposed to be going. If you push regular, generally you're going to be pushing with your right foot, and your left foot's going to remain on the board. If you push goofy, then your right foot remains on the board while your left foot is pushing.

How to Skateboard: Stance

So, your bolts are going to be your marker points for where to put your feet. As long as your feet are there, it's not going to come up from the nose and it's not going to come up from the tail. It's good to stay loosey-goosey, which means you bend at the knees, and push your butt down just like you're sitting-standing, and the more your knees are bent, the more balance you'll have - the looser you are, the better off you are.

How to Skateboard: Pushing

So, once you feel like you have your balance down, then you're going to want to try giving yourself a push. Put your front foot on first, just behind your bolts, give it a little push and hop on your board and just roll out for the first time. In order to keep yourself in motion, take your back foot off the board, step onto the ground and from front to back you would basically sweep at the ground with your foot.

How to Stop on a Skateboard

Once you've got yourself in motion, the next important thing to learn how to do is to stop yourself. If you're using your foot to push, you'd go front to back - but if you're using your foot to stop, you would go from back to front. And you just want to be careful not to kick at the ground, because that will actually hurt your knee, and probably your ankle, too. Let your foot hover a little bit, and slide along the ground, almost like you're skiing. So you'd have one foot on your board in the front, and then one foot on the ground, and it would just be sliding across the ground until you come to a stop.

How to Skateboard Over Cracks

The one thing that's going to trip you up the most when you're skating on sidewalks are cracks, and the easiest way to clear a crack - as long as it's not any bigger than something like that - would be while keeping your front foot on the board, you would use your back foot on the ground as if you were pushing, but you would push right over the crack. As opposed to standing on the board - where you would hit the crack and fly - you're pushing yourself and the board over it. Basically you're going to clear the crack by taking a little bit of weight off the board and using speed and momentum to push your board over the crack.

So that's the basics about riding a skateboard. I'm Jennifer Willis from Uptown Skate School - to learn more, check out About.com.
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