Skateboarding for Beginners

Now that the ski season is over and spring is here, many people may be looking for an activity to fill these warm spring days.  If you are looking for a thrilling and rewarding activity then I would recommend you try skateboarding.  When getting into skateboarding one might get overwhelmed by all the aspects.  What’s the best equipment to buy?  What tricks should you learn first?  Where are the best skateparks? The answer to these questions might be more simple  than you think.  

When getting into skateboarding, I was very overwhelmed with getting the best equipment possible.  I spent forever trying to find the correct setup.  Here are my recommendations on what to buy.  Let’s start with the board itself.  The first part of a skateboard that you should buy is the deck.  The deck is the surface you stand on when riding.  Decks come in many different sizes ranging from as small as 6 inches across to up to 9 plus inches.  

For sizing I would recommend starting with a 8.0 inch board.  It is the most standard size and a great place for people to start to figure out what works best for them.  In terms of the brand I would recommend Revive or Goodwood as they are both solid companies that offer affordable options in an otherwise expensive sport.  

On top of the deck is grip tape.  It is hard to mess up getting griptape- I would just avoid clear tape as it tends to lose its grip much quicker.   Now there are trucks, wheels, and bearings.  Trucks are attached to the bottom of the board and allow the rider to turn.  Bearings are put in the wheels and then attached to the truck so that the board will roll.  For trucks I would recommend Thunder or Independent, both very good brands that will last you multiple boards.  Make sure that you buy trucks that match the size of your board.  My only recommendation for bearing is don’t buy cheap.  Look for bearings in the 15 to 20 dollar range.  

For trick skateboards, make sure to buy harder wheels around 99a.  Fortunately, if you are confused with anything, a local skate shop would be happy to help you set up a board.  

Lastly there is shoes, the most expensive part of skateboarding.  If you skate consistently, a good pair of shoes might only last  you a couple of months.  Constantly buying shoes can end up costing a lot so try not to spend too much money on a pair.  Remember that you are not aiming for shoes that look the best, but more so shoes that are the most functional.  Make sure when finding shoes that they are flat bottomed and are made out of suede material.  Suede shoes last the longest and will save you the most money.  I do not personally have a preference on shoes, but look for shoes that are marketed as skate shoes and avoid brands that are trying to appeal to skate culture, as opposed to skaters themselves.  

Now that you have a board setup, it is time to learn some tricks.  When learning to skate, some people skip some essential steps that end up hurting them later on.  Most people want to jump straight to the kickflip without getting the basic tricks down first.  It is tempting since it is a staple of skateboarding, but knowing a few tricks first makes it much easier and quicker to learn.  

Before you learn any trick though, the first and most important thing is getting comfortable on your board.  Spend a week or so just learning how to ride your board.  Many people underestimate how hard it is just to ride a skateboard so getting this down is essential to progression in the future.  


After you have that down, the first two tricks to learn should be the ollie and the shuv-it.  The ollie is the most important trick in skateboarding as it is the basis for getting your board into the air.  I highly recommend you spend the most time on this trick as having a good ollie is a solid foundation for learning many tricks after.  

The next trick is the shuv-it.  This is a very simple and easy trick in which the board does a 180 degree rotation under your feet.  Progression from here is a little bit more open ended.  If you would like a guide, I would recommend checking out Braille Skateboarding on YouTube.  They are one of the best channels for beginners and have a comprehensive guide on how to progress.  

Once you feel comfortable on your board you might want to start going to skateparks.  Going to skateparks is a great way to progress and meet new people who will be happy to help you learn.  At a skate park you can learn how to roll down ramps, ollie down stairs and maybe even learn a few rail tricks. It can be intimidating at first, but trust me, skaters are some of the nicest people and most of them really want to see you progress.  

In terms of close skateparks, there are two that I recommend.  The first is Vale Street skatepark in Clinton.  This is a skatepark built entirely by skaters in the area.  There are many beginner obstacles as well as more advanced ones.  The community here is friendly and it is a great place to advance your abilities.  This park is also only 10 minutes from Nashoba.  

The next skatepark is a little further.  TJ O’Grady Skatepark is roughly 20 minutes away at  Acton Boxborough High School.  This park is equipped with everything: ledges, rails, stair sets, ramps, a quarterpipe, and even a bowl.  This is a great place for skaters of all skill levels and I would highly recommend checking it out.  

Don’t worry that you’re a beginner.  Everyone starts somewhere and if you stick to it, progress comes much quicker than you might think.  If tricks aren’t for you try a longboard and explore the world.  In the end, it’s really all about staying active and having fun.