There are tons of reasons why people get into skating. Whether it’s from watching Tony Hawk at the X Games pulling an insane 360 varial McTwist or seeing your friends get into the sport, any reason to pick up your first board is an excellent reason. As exciting as it is to get ready for a first ride, it can also be overwhelming. Seriously, what even is an alley-oop backside bluntslide, or a Bertlemann slide?

Skateboarding offers a lot of room for creativity. With so many options, you may have a million tricks on your dream checklist before you even buy your first oversized skate t-shirt. So, where do you start?

Beginner Skater Skills and Tricks

(Timur Saglambilek/pexels)

Don’t worry; we are here to help. We’ve put together a list of the best skills and tricks for beginners to start with to help build the best foundation. These skills will help you master some of the more difficult tricks in the future or create some new ones of your own.

The Basics

We know that this probably isn’t what you want to hear, but it’s true: you have to master the basic skateboarding skills before you can attempt any tricks. The most important skills to have in your back pocket are:

• Pushing

The foundation of skating. Mastering your ability to push the board forward with your feet while keeping your balance and controlling your speed is critical to nailing more advanced tricks. This is also crucial for safely going for rides with your friends.

• Controlled stops

More than just being able to get your board rolling, you need to be able to stop it. Whatever the speed and terrain, getting your skateboard to a halt safely is one of the most important skills to perfect.

• Riding switch

In skateboarding, it is normally the strongest foot that does the pushing. If you’re right footed, your right foot will be on the ground to push. This is called your regular stance. Riding goofy is when you push with your non-dominant foot. Being able to alternate between the two stances is called riding switch.

Once you’ve mastered these basic skate skills, you can get more creative and move on to some beginner-friendly tricks.

The Pop-Up

This simple trick is sure to be a staple in your bag of tricks and is easy to nail. All you need to do is remove one foot from your board and push down the tail (the end of the board that curls up) of your board hard. When the other end pops up like a seesaw, you grab onto the board with your hand. Boom. Easy.

This trick is all about reaction time. You’ll need to be able to match the timing of your kick to snag the deck before it falls back to the ground. It’s a great trick to use at the end of a run, and let’s be real, it looks pretty sick.

The Manual, or “Manny”

Pulling a manny is an awful lot like popping a wheelie on your scooter or bike. It involves pulling up the front wheels of your board while keeping your balance, momentum, and bottom wheels on the pavement. To nail this trick, you need to press down on the back tail of your board while keeping both feet on the deck and leaning back a bit. The key to mastering this trick is working on keeping your balance.

Pro tip: When you first try this trick, you will probably fall quite a bit. Make sure you wear a helmet, elbow and knee pads and baggy skate clothes to help you avoid getting too scraped up.

Kick Turns

The next step up from a manual is a kick turn. Essentially, this trick involves pulling a manny and then pushing your momentum to one side or the other, sharply moving the front tail in a direction to turn. This skill makes sharp turns a breeze and is the foundation for many other tricks.

The Tic Tac

To perform a tic tac, you need to perform a kick turn, but instead of putting a ton of force into changing your direction, you move back and forth in a less aggressive pull forward. The faster you move your board from left to right, the faster your board will propel ahead. This fun trick is a super important skill to learn that can help you bail on more complex tricks down the road.

The Ollie

The last trick we’ll talk about today is the ollie. Maybe the most well-known skateboarding trick there is, this is what every air trick is based on. In your best baggy skater outfit, rocking a cool skater boy shirt and hoodie, nailing this trick is key to future success.

First, you gotta get the foot placement down. Your back foot must be on the back tail of your deck, while your front foot should be closer to the middle of the board. To get the movement right, push down quickly on the tail until you feel the board touch the ground. As soon as the board touches the ground, immediately jump up. The pressure on the tail should cause your board to go airborne. Bend your knees and prepare to land back on the board.

This trick is about timing your movements, so be patient while practicing. It can take some time to master, but once you’ve got it, you can start trying more advanced skills.

Pro tip: Often, when people are trying to master an ollie, they lean backwards, which can make the trick more difficult. Think about jumping over something, and keep that forward leaning in mind while you ollie. This can help keep your momentum in the right direction.

Remember, skateboarding is about having fun and being creative. These skills are a great place to start when you are first learning the ropes and can give you an advantage when learning more complicated tricks. Be patient with yourself, put in some time on your board, and you’ll be skating like a pro in no time.