Skateboards are seriously cool and a great way to show off your skills and style. A skateboard is also a great method of transport. Skateboards have been around since the 60’s when surfers wanted to try surfing on land. In the 70’s, skateparks began appearing where you could go to discover what you could do with a skateboard.
The design of the skateboard has changed over the years. With the evolution of skateparks and ramp riding, the skateboard changed. Early skateboard tricks had consisted mainly of two-dimensional manoeuvres (e.g. riding on only two wheels (wheelie, a.k.a. manual), spinning like an ice skater on the back wheels (a 360 turn), high jumping over a bar (nowadays called a “Hippie Jump”), long jumping from one board to another (often over a line of small barrels or fearless teenagers lying on their backs), and slalom. Skateboarding is a cool, fun activity to do outdoors where you can test your skill and courage.
The skateboard has various parts that affect its performance. You can tinker with these yourself to discover how to improve how your skateboard handles.
The deck is the platform of the skateboard that you stand on. This is usually made of wood, however some are made of plastic. A skateboard with a large deck is called a longboard, and is used for street cruising. For stunts and tricks you will want a smaller deck.
The trucks connect the wheels to the skateboard deck. They consist of hangers, base plates, rubber cushions and king pins.
- Base Plate
This is used to connect the trucks to the deck.
The hangers are used to hold the wheel axles. These are mounted onto the trucks via rubber cushions.
- Rubber Cushions
The rubber cushions allow the trucks to turn smoothly. The type of cushion you have on your skateboard will affect how easy it is to turn. Stiffer cushions mean that more force is needed to turn.
The axles are metal rods that have the wheels on each end
- King Pins
The king pin is a long bolt that holds all of the truck assembly together. The tighter you screw up the king pin, the stiffer the trucks are to turn as they compress the rubber cushion tightly. To make it easier to turn, you can loosen the king pin a bit, you can make the turn rate better. Do not loosen it too much or you may find that your skateboard falls apart.
The wheels go on the end of the axles. Each wheel has ball bearings in it that make it spin freely. You need to keep these lubricated to keep the wheels spinning freely. The wheels are held onto the axles using a locknut. The nylon bush inside the locknut allows the locknut to stay in place without having to tighten it up against the wheel. If these are too tight, they stop the free turning of the wheels.
Places to go Skateboarding
There are two places where you can go skateboarding. The streets or a skate park. Using your skateboard in the street means that you will have to watch out for pedestrians. Also, some people don’t like you skateboarding in certain places.
Skate parks are designed specifically for testing your skills with a skateboard. There will be ramps and half pipes, grind rails and jumps. Skateparks range from small indoor places to massive outdoor skate parks with concrete bowls and street sections.
Good skateparks have a range of different shapes to ride and have rails and edges for grinding like street kerbs. There will will ramps and half pipes for getting airborne. The best skatepark in France and possibly the world is the Marseille skatepark. It is the home of the annual Bowlrider Competition, and has inspired a new skatepark in Vancouver Canada. The USA leads the way with many of the world’s best skateparks. Check out the Burnside skatepark in Portland. This skatepark featured in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater game.
To ride your skateboard straight off something and drop to the ground.
When your skateboard leaves the ground.
To leave your skateboard in order to avoid a crash.
To slide your skateboard on a kerb or grind rail using the middle of the underside of the deck.
Metal pipe or edges fitted to the lip of a ramp or halfpipe to provide extra grip.
To enter an obstacle from the top.
Riding on the skateboard with your right foot forwards. Regular stance is riding with your left foot forwards on the skateboard.
Scraping one or both axles on a kerb or grind rail.
Self adhesive tape with a surface like sandpaper for grip. This is stuck to the top side of the skateboard deck for grip.
A large U shape ramp that sometimes has a flat section in the middle.
An Ollie where the skateboarder spins the skateboard suing their heels.
An Ollie where the skateboarder kicks the skateboard into a spin before landing on it again.
A 540 degree turn performed on a ramp. Named after Mike McGill.
A jump done by tapping the tail of the skateboard on the ground.
Moving your bodyweight on your skateboard to get more speed.
A hard crash or fall off of your skateboard.
A complete spin on the spot on the skateboard with the front wheels up in the air and the back wheels on the ground.
Transworld Skateboarding is a skateboard magazine providing skateboarding tricks and tips, skate parks in your area, photos and videos of skateboarding.