Over the recent years, longboarding has gained so much popularity. This is because it offers a gateway to a world of exciting tricks. From basic tricks like the Kickturn to intermediate and advanced, the world of longboarding tricks is very diverse.
As if that’s not enough, the evolution of longboarding as a sport is also a captivating journey. Since the sport’s invention in the 1950s, a lot has changed. For example, more riding tricks have been created, and efficient boards have been designed, making the sport more thrilling.
Unfortunately, finding a step-by-step guide that talks about all these tricks in detail is not possible. This makes it challenging to determine the different tricks available and learn how to perform them. Don’t worry, though, because I’ve got you covered.
If you are riding a longboard for the very first time, there are several basic tricks you can try out. Let’s check them in detail.
This trick entails raising your board’s front wheels off the ground and then spinning the board around the rear wheels.
To execute the kick turn trick, here is a step-by-step guide for you:
- Step 1: Ride your board on a flat surface at slow to moderate speed. Your front feet should be near the board’s center, while the rear foot should be on the tail.
- Step 2: As you draw near the point you want to make the turn, shift your weight to the back foot.
- Step 3: Next, elevate your front foot off the longboard and veer your shoulders and hips in the turn’s direction.
- Step 4: Then rotate the board around the back wheels.
- Step 5: Land back on your board with both feet after completing the turn. Then, continue to ride in the new direction.
Below is a video of how to perform this trick on a skateboard which also applies on a longboard:
Importance of Kickturn in Maneuvering
The primary benefit of this trick is to let you easily change direction while riding. This is very useful, especially when navigating through crowded areas. Simply, it ensures a smoother and safer rider.
Kickturn is also crucial in maneuvering as it helps you avoid obstacles like debris, curbs, and cracks while street longboarding. Additionally, this trick makes carving more efficient, especially when cruising at higher speeds.
There are two types of manual tricks, including tail and nose. Tail manual requires you to balance on your board’s back two wheels while riding.
As for the nose manual, you balance on your board’s front two wheels. And from my experience, you can perform the trick on a flat ground or an obstacle.
Tips for Mastering Manual Tricks
The manual trick can seem intimidating at first. But with constant practice, anyone can master it. Below are tips for mastery.
- Always start small and increase the length of the manual trick gradually as you gain more confidence.
- To balance on the two rear wheels, shift your weight to the back foot and lift the front wheels off the ground.
- If you want to balance on the front wheels, transfer your weight to the front foot and lift the back wheels off the ground.
- Always bend your knees slightly when performing the trick to absorb bumps in the pavement.
- Use your hips and shoulders to steer the board and maintain balance.
- If you want to complete the trick, just transfer your weight forward. Then, drop the front wheels back to the ground using your rear foot.
- Never lean too far back or shift your weight abruptly since you could lose balance.
Watch this video to learn how to balance manuals and become a pro:
As the name suggests, this trick involves sliding your board across the road or ground at 90 degrees. Consequently, the wheels will stop spinning and start to slide. I recommend trying the trick on flat grounds, hills, and steep hills until you master it.
Initiating and Controlling the Slide
The Powerslide trick is commonly used for changing direction and speed control. I will discuss how you can initiate and control the slide below.
- Step 1: Get a little speed on a slight slope or flat ground.
- Step 2: Place your feet in a comfortable stance. The front foot angled slightly forward, and the rear foot near the board’s tail.
- Step 3: Slightly bend your knees to achieve a low stance as you approach the slide.
- Step 4: Push your feet and the board forward while keeping your shoulders aligned.
- Step 5: Slightly lean your upper body backward and open your arms to help with balance and control.
- Step 6: Let your board slide across the ground 90 degrees.
- Step 7: As the board loses speed, begin centering your body back over the board.
- Step 8: Next, bring your back foot back to reverse to get out of the powerslide and resume longboarding.
Here is the video tutorial of how to perform this trick:
This longboard dancing trick entails shifting your weight forward and backward along your board. I consider cross-step the most basic footwork you can do on your board. Besides being easy to learn, this trick has a low injury risk.
How To Achieve Graceful Footwork
Generally, the trick to achieving graceful footwork while performing the cross-step trick is timing and balance. With that said, I will guide you on how to do the trick.
- Step 1: If you’re just starting out, try the trick while holding onto something like a rail.
- Step 2: Next, look for a flat, paved ground and start rolling on your board at moderate speeds. Your front foot can be slightly behind the front trucks and the rear foot on the tail.
- Step 3: As you ride, move your front foot towards the board’s tail and use your arms to balance. Over time, you will learn to do the balancing with your body only.
- Step 4: To initiate the cross step, slowly shift your weight by swinging the front foot from the back to the front.
- Step 5: Next, swing your back foot behind your front foot to locate your board’s nose. As you cross-step, slightly bend your knees to lower your center of gravity and maintain balance.
Watch this video to practice how to do the cross-step trick:
After mastering the basic tricks of longboarding, you can learn the intermediate tricks, which require more skill. They include the following:
Also known as the jumping trick, this longboard freestyle trick is where you leap into the air with your board.
I always see Ollie as a foundation of most longboarding tricks, such as heelflips and kickflips. This is because to master the technique, you must learn how to get the timing right.
Timing and Technique
Below, I will discuss the timing and technique for performing the Ollie trick on a longboard.
- Step 1: Position your front foot behind the front truck bolts and the back foot on the tail. Your toes should hang slightly over the board’s edge.
- Step 2: Start riding your board at moderate speed.
- Step 3: To perform the trick, pop the board’s tail down onto the ground using your back foot. This technique will create a spring-like motion, raising the board off the ground.
- Step 4: As the board starts to raise, slide your front foot up towards the board’s nose. This should elevate the board higher.
- Step 5: Just as your board reaches its highest point, that’s the time to jump off the ground with your feet. Your knees should be tucked up towards the chest.
- Step 6: Use your feet to level out the board as you come back down. Your shoulder should be parallel to the board.
Below I have included a video tutorial to help you learn how to perform the ollie:
For this trick, you simply spin your board around 180 degrees frontside or backside by sliding all four wheels.
If you spin the board front, the trick is called heel-side 180 slide. However, by rotating the board backside, you will do the toe-side 180 slides.
Commitment and Slide Control
The 180 slide is not an easy trick. It requires lots of commitment to master. So, I suggest starting with small slides before gradually increasing the angle and speed.
Additionally, to slide your board 180 degrees while changing direction, you must maintain balance and control. And here is how to do it.
- Step 1: Place your front foot near the board’s front truck and the back on top or front of the rear truck. Keep your knees slightly bent.
- Step 2: Start riding your longboard at moderate speeds and then carve across to the opposite side of the road.
- Step 3: With the feet positioned flat on the board and the knees arched, turn your head in the direction you want to slide.
- Step 4: Initiate the slide by carving hard over. Place your front arm low and swing your back arm around.
- Step 5: Control the slide by leaning into your heel or toe edge and balancing as all the wheels slide across the road. The trick to get all the wheels sliding is to push your legs out while holding yourself facing the downhill.
Check out this short video of how to correctly execute this trick:
This trick is all about footwork and board manipulation. It involves popping up your board in the air with the back foot while the front foot is stepping off the board. The trick was invented in the 1980s by a pro skater, Neil Blender.
Adding Style to Your Riding:
The no comply is an excellent trick to learn if you would like to add style to your riding. This is because it has many variations, including the straight and frontside 180 no comply. The latter is the easiest to master, even though the setup for both is the same.
To practice the no-comply trick, here is a guide to help you:
- Step 1: Put your front foot just a few inches behind the board’s front truck. Your heel should hang off the board.
- Step 2: Position the back foot across the board’s tail like you’re preparing to do the ollie trick.
- Step 3: Start riding your longboard at fair speeds.
- Step 4: While riding, gradually put pressure on the front foot. Then, slide the foot sideways until it slips off the deck and lands on the ground.
- Step 5: Next, scoop your board up using your back foot by pushing it backward in the opposite direction of your travel.
- Step 6: After scooping, the board’s nose will go up and move toward your back leg. Then, move your back knee out of the way and catch the board’s nose with your inner thigh.
The video below shows how to perform this trick:
The Coleman or 180-degree heel slide is an advanced sliding technique ideal for intermediate riders. It was invented in the 1970’s by Cliff Coleman.
This trick allows you to come to a quick stop as you do a 180-degree turn. To achieve this, one of your hands must be on the ground.
Grip and Body Positioning
Learning the Coleman slide is particularly essential if you frequently ride downhill. But to execute the trick, proper grip and body positioning are crucial. Below, I will explain how exactly to do this.
- Step 1: Put on slide gloves with pucks on the hand you will be sliding with for maximum grip.
- Step 2: Position your front foot near the nose of the board and the back foot near the tail. Then, begin riding your board.
- Step 3: Next, slightly arch your knees and squat down. Then, lean forward so your weight is shifted to the front.
- Step 4: While leaning forward, place your front hand between your legs on the side of the board.
- Step 5: Place the other gloved hand on the ground, reaching backward while applying pressure. This will make the board slide. Similarly, the glove’s pucks will provide friction against the road, bringing the board to a stop.
Learn ow to do this trick as demonstrated by Cliff Coleman himself:
If you are an experienced rider looking to push your skills’ boundaries, I suggest trying these advanced tricks.
As the name suggests, this trick involves doing a controlled slide while in a standing position on your board. The slide is usually in the direction of your heels.
Typically, the heelside stand-up slide is fundamental for downhill and freeride riding. So, I recommend the trick to riders looking to master different slides at speed.
Check out this tutorial video of how to perform this trick:
Balance and Puck Control
If you want to execute the heelside stand-up slide with precision, proper balance and puck control are critical. So, check out these tips for maintaining balance and controlling the puck.
- Your front foot should be close to your board’s front truck at around a 45-degree angle. The back foot can be on top or in front of the rear truck.
- For better balance, you must keep your center of gravity low by lowering your torso and bending the knees.
- Distribute your weight evenly on the board to maintain balance as you execute the slide. This will also enable the 4 wheels to slide on the ground.
- Always ensure your shoulders are facing downhill while doing the slide and you’re looking where you want to slide.
- Maintain an upright body position with your hips and shoulders lined up with the board for added stability.
- For puck control, place your puck hand close to your board’s edge and maintain contact between the ground and the puck. The fingers should be close to the ground.
Here is another stylish longboarding technique for advanced riders looking to take slides to the next level. The key to this trick is how you slide on your truck and how much weight you put on it.
To perform the slide, your board’s trucks and wheels should touch the top of the ledge as you slide. On the other hand, the board’s tail should hang down.
Precision and Body Movements
Executing this longboarding slide requires precision combined with deliberate body movements. But how do you achieve that? I will discuss some tips to help you.
- Always approach the slide with a moderate to high speed.
- Practice the correct foot placement, whereby you place your front foot across the deck. Your back foot should be near the board’s tail.
- Slightly shift your weight toward the back foot as you get closer to the point you want to execute the slide. This will help raise the front wheels a little off the ground.
- Put more pressure on the back foot when ready to initiate the slide. This will allow you to slide with the rear wheels.
- During the slide, you should bend your knees slightly and keep your upper body centered. Then, turn your hips into the slide movement.
- Your shoulders must always remain straight towards the direction you are sliding.
- Use your body movement when you want to carve out the slide and take back control.
I have included a video below of how to execute this stylish trick:
Shuvit, or shove-it, is yet another flip trick you can incorporate into your longboarding. The maneuver will enhance your riding style and enable you to perform many more advanced maneuvers.
The shuvit trick involves spinning your board 180 degrees parallel to the ground without changing your position.
Executing the Shuvit
If you are interested in learning how to execute the shuvit trick, check this step-by-step guide.
- Step 1: Put your front foot on the board’s bolts with the toes slightly pointed out. As for the rear foot, place it on the edge of the board’s tail with the toes hanging off the side.
- Step 2: Start rolling on your board at moderate speeds.
- Step 3: Shove or scoop your board’s tail in the direction you want it to spin using your back foot. Then, use your front foot to guide your spin.
- Step 4: As your board begins to spin, jump in the air but not too high with both legs.
- Step 5: While the board is completing its spin, put your feet and body in their original stance. Then, land on the board.
Here is a video tutorial to help you learn how to execute the trick correctly:
These are a category of tricks that necessitate spinning or flipping your longboard mid-ride. As a professional rider, I love board flips because they add an element of complexity and style to longboarding maneuvers.
Variations and Styles
Board flips come in many styles and variations. Below, I will list them and discuss what each entails.
This is the most common board flip variation, created in the early 1980s by Rodney Mullen. It entails flipping your board mid-air, 360 degrees by kicking it off from the tail end using your front foot.
Here is a tutorial on how to perform this trick:
- Ghostride Flip
The ghost ride flip is one of the most straightforward board flips you can learn despite being an advanced trick. In this flip, you simply jump off your board while it is moving. Then, let it roll on its own before jumping back on again.
Below I have included a video demonstration of how to execute the trick:
The heelflip trick requires that you spin your board using your front foot heel. Unlike kickflip, which involves rotating the board with your toes, you use your heel in heelflip. And to initiate the flip, you use your back foot instead of your front.
Watch this video tutorial to gain better understanding of how the trick is executed:
- Varial Kickflip
This board flip combines two tricks, including the kickflip and pop shove-it techniques. To execute the flip, you need to pop up the board using your back foot as you would in the shove-it trick. Then, flip the board over before catching it.
Here is how to perform the trick:
- Big Flip
Like the varial kickflip, the big flip also incorporates two tricks into one flip. It combines a big spin and kickflip, which you do while spinning backside at a 180-degree angle.
This is how you perform the trick:
Freestyle and dancing tricks are a combination of dance movements and maneuvers you perform while the board is in motion. Some popular tricks under this category include the following.
This is one of the basic steps you can learn in longboard dancing. It entails performing graceful dance moves on your board by swinging your body sideways.
Footwork and Flow
The Peter Pan dancing trick involves lots of footwork and flow. Here, I will explain how exactly to perform it.
- Step 1: Place your front foot at the board’s center or as close to the tail as possible.
- Step 2: While riding, step across your board with the feet parallel to the board’s length. Be sure to step toe to heel.
- Step 3: Initiate a cross-step by bringing your front foot to the other side of the board.
- Step 4: As you cross over your front foot, ensure the back foot follows the front’s movement. Simply allow your feet to cross over each other.
- Step 5: Proceed to cross-step while moving your feet in a circular flow.
Check out this video of how the trick is performed:
As the name implies, the G-turn freestyle trick demands you ride in balance, trying to draw the letter ‘G.’ You can also perform this trick in a figure-8 pattern through smooth-flowing movements.
Balance and Coordination
The key to mastering the G-turn trick is knowing how to ride your board in balance and coordinate your movements. I will tell you just how to achieve this below.
- Step 1: Step on your longboard with the front foot pointed at a 45-degree angle. The foot’s arch should be over the fore-truck bolts.
- Step 2: Initiate the trick by carving frontside at a moderate to fast speed.
- Step 3: Lock your front leg straight and moderately bend your back foot knee to control the board’s angle. This should make the rear wheels lift.
- Step 4: Shift your weight to your front foot’s heels to keep the board carving. You can also squat a little through the carve.
- Step 5: For enhanced balance, ensure your chest is facing the direction of your ride.
- Step 6: Start slowing down and spin at the center of the spiral. To do this, allow the board’s nose to hit the floor. Then, bring your arms in to help tighten the spin and complete the G-turn.
Learn how to perform this riding technique in the video below:
This trick combines two elements, including the cross-step and no-comply, to create a stylish longboarding style. So, you get to enjoy dance and freestyle tricks in one unit.
The footwork involved in the cross-step and no-comply trick can be complex due to combining two sought-after maneuvers. To help you learn the trick, I will explain how to execute it.
- Step 1: Step on your board with the front foot positioned forward and the rear on or close to the tail.
- Step 2: Initiate the cross-step trick by transferring your weight slightly to your back foot.
- Step 3: Swing your front foot across the board so it is on the opposite side.
- Step 4: Initiate the no-comply trick by stepping off your board with your front foot. Your back foot should stay on the board, causing the front to pop up.
- Step 5: Kick the board’s back out using your front foot so the tail spins away from you. This should make the board jump into the air.
- Step 6: While your board is in mid-air, hop back onto it and land with your back foot on the bolts.
Here is a video demonstration of how this trick is executed:
The tiger claw is another trick that can help elevate your freestyle game. This is because the technique combines the use of hands and foot maneuvers. To perform the trick, you must jump off your board. Spin it 360 degrees with your hand, and jump back on it.
Spins and Board Control
Performing the tiger claw freestyle technique requires excellent board control and precise spins. Let me explain how exactly to achieve all this.
- Step 1: Put your front foot in the center of the board at a slight angle and the rear foot on the tail.
- Step 2: Slightly turn your body to the front side and shift your front leg to the side.
- Step 3: Shift your weight on the board’s tail with your back foot. Then, lift your forefoot off the board and step onto the ground. This will make the board fly up.
- Step 4: Use your front hand to catch the board under the trucks and swing it 360 degrees.
- Step 5: Put the board on the ground and jump back on it to continue riding.
In this video, you get to watch how to perform the trick like a pro:
Learning and mastering the various tricks of longboarding is usually a gradual process. In this section, I will discuss everything you need to know about trick progression.
The first thing you must consider while learning the tricks is your safety. After all, the movements involve a certain level of risk.
So, for safety precautions, I suggest you wear protective gear when learning the different tricks. But what is the gear’s importance? Read on to find out.
- A helmet protects your head from potential traumatic brain injuries and impact.
- Elbow pads shield your elbows from scrapes, fractures, and cuts by offering cushioning.
- Knee pads protect your knees from bruises, possible fractures, and abrasions by absorbing impact.
- Wrist guards safeguard your wrists against sprains, fractures, and ligament damage. They also offer stability.
- Protective clothing like armored jackets and impact shorts protect your chest, hips, tailbone, and butts from injuries. They also offer protection against harsh weather elements.
- Goggles prevent debris, dust, and other foreign objects from entering your eyes. They also help reduce glare, ensuring better visibility.
As part of safety precautions, choosing safe practice spots is critical. Here are some things to consider to ensure you select a secure practice location.
- Space: I highly recommend choosing a location with a lot of space to maneuver. It could be a dead-end street, an empty parking lot, or skate parks. The site should have little or no traffic.
- Surface: Look for a location where the surface is smooth with no debris or cracks. A rough surface will increase the risk of injuries.
- Inclines: For your safety, choose spots with gentle slopes instead of steep hills. Steep inclines will increase your speed quickly, making it hard to control your board as a beginner.
- Visibility: Additionally, I suggest choosing a spot with good visibility. This is very important, especially when practicing during low-light conditions.
When it comes to training and skill development, building your core longboarding skills is very important. I’m talking about skills such as proper balance, braking, and turning.
With these core skills, you can reduce the risk of falls while practicing various riding tricks. This is because you will have better control over your board. Additionally, building your core skills gives you the confidence to explore more longboarding styles and tricks.
Whether you are a beginner or advanced rider, learning longboarding maneuvers or tricks involves a step-by-step progression. Here is how you should go about it.
- Step 1: Learn the Basic Fundamental Moves
Examples of these moves include pushing off with one foot from a standstill and balancing yourself downhill at moderate speeds. You also must learn to safely stop downhill, carve, and turn on your board.
- Step 2: Balance and Control
The fundamental element to any successful trick is balance and control. So, learn to balance on your board by slightly bending your knees and maintaining a low center of gravity.
- Step 3: Master Basic Tricks
Once you have perfected your art of maintaining balance, you can begin learning the basic tricks. I’m talking about tricks like the kick turn, manual, cross-step, and powerslide. These maneuvers will help you develop the necessary skills you need to perform other complex ones.
- Step 4: Advance to Intermediate Tricks
After getting comfortable performing various basic tricks, I suggest you progress to intermediate maneuvers. These are a little bit more technical and can include the Ollie, 180 slides, no comply, and Coleman slide.
- Step 5: Progress to Advanced Tricks
Once you have mastered the intermediate skills, challenge yourself with advanced longboarding techniques. You can practice the blunt slide, shuvit, and different board flips.
- Step 6: Dancing and Freestyle Tricks
After learning the advanced tricks, I suggest you also master different freestyle and dancing tricks. My favorites are Peter Pan, Tiger Claw, G-turn, and Cross-step No Comply.
When practicing tricks, drills and exercises come in handy in helping improve your performance for all maneuvers. Examples of drills and exercises I suggest trying out include the following.
- Riding with one foot on the board.
- Steering the board on the front or rear wheels only.
- Setting up a series of obstacles and learning how to carve around them.
- Leg exercises like lunges and squats to strengthen muscles.
- Incorporate exercises like planks to strengthen your core.
Falling and making mistakes while longboarding is inevitable, especially when learning new tricks. However, you can learn a lot from the falls and mistakes, allowing you to improve your longboarding skills.
So then, how do you learn? Here are several tips you will find useful.
- After falling, analyze the cause keenly so you can correct the mistake.
- Maintain a positive attitude after every fall and remain as composed as possible.
- Practice each element of a trick at a time if you keep making the same mistakes.
- Learn how to fall safely by sliding, tucking your body, or rolling to reduce the impact.
- Don’t be in a hurry to try tricks beyond your current skill level. Instead, practice gradual progression.
Pushing boundaries is another crucial aspect of trick progression if you would like to advance your longboarding skills. Typically, you can push boundaries by gradually increasing the tricks’ difficulty level and setting long-term goals.
The secret to increasing difficulty is to start by mastering the basic skills and slowly advance to the intermediate tricks. Simply put, don’t try tricks past your actual skill level. This will help you build a strong foundation and minimize the risk of injury.
Additionally, I recommend you set clear, specific, and long-term goals. Also, set a reasonable timeline for achieving these goals. This way, you have an explicit path for your trick progression. Once you have reached the goals, set new and more challenging ones.
Longboarding originated back in the 1950s and gained popularity in the 1960s. Since its invention, there have been many influential longboarders, each with their signature tricks. These include pioneers and contemporary stars.
Before I talk about the modern longboarding stars, allow me to tell you about the notable figures that shaped the sport. I will also let you know everything concerning their iconic tricks.
- Alan Gelfand
Alan Gelfand is an American skateboarder known for inventing the iconic ollie trick in 1978. Unfortunately, he retired when he was 16 years old in 1981, having undergone reconstructive surgery in his two knees.
- Rodney Mullen
Rodney is an American skateboarder and one of the most influential skaters in history. He is credited for pioneering numerous longboarding tricks, such as the heelflip, 360-flip, kickflip, and flat-ground ollie.
Rodney Mullen invented these flip tricks throughout the 1980s. Surprisingly, he still skates to date, even at an extreme level.
- Neil Blender
Neil is also a retired American professional skateboarder. Throughout his career, he invented and conceptualized many tricks. However, the no-comply is one of his icon tricks that he created in the 1980s.
- Cliff Coleman
Cliff is a legendary skateboarder known for creating the Coleman slide, one of the best longboarding slides. He developed the trick in the 1970s, and to date, he still performs slides.
In recent years, there have also been several individuals who have made an impact on longboarding. Below, I will discuss the most popular riders, including their unique styles, signature tricks, and contributions.
- Natalie Pluto
Natalie is a talented longboarder from Los Angeles. She started longboarding around 2015, specializing in freestyle and dancing styles. Her signature trick is mostly the cross-step no compliance.
Regarding her contributions, she is known for designing the Prism Natalie Pluto Pro longboard. This is a 43.5-inch-long board, ideal for beginners and advanced riders.
- Hans Wouters
Hans is a popular longboarder from Belgium. He started longboarding in 2012. Like Natalie, Hans usually shares his longboarding journey on YouTube to inspire other young people.
Generally, his unique longboarding style comprises dancing and freestyle tricks. The Twist step is Han’s advanced signature trick, designed to help up your dancing game.
One of Hans’s contributions to the sport is the Crownboards Royal Tribe II, “Hans Wouters” signature board. The board has been redesigned in partnership with Hans to include all that Hans ever dreamed of.
- Josh Neuman
Josh, an American skateboarder, started filming his longboarding journey when he was only 12 years old. Unfortunately, he died in a plane crash in 2022 at 22 years old. His unique style was downhill riding.
As for his signature tricks, Josh would often perform the blunt slide and heelside stand-up slides. As part of his contributions, he was involved in various charitable acts, including funding water projects.
Undoubtedly, the world of longboarding tricks is very diverse. This is because there are many tricks to cater to the needs of riders of all skill levels. They range from basic to advanced, freestyle, and dancing maneuvers.
And the best part is that every riding trick or style is fun. So, I highly recommend exploring and expressing each one of the tricks. But of course, make sure to stay safe by wearing safety gear.
I also suggest you stay updated on everything about longboarding. This is because the world of longboarding keeps evolving. Therefore, new tricks and styles will continue to emerge.