Does It Matter Which Way You Ride A Skateboard?
A skater riding on flat ground.

Many beginner skaters have trouble telling the difference between the front and back of a skateboard. This, in turn, often leads to the question: Does it matter which way you ride a skateboard? An honest answer to this question is somewhere between yes and no.

The way you ride a skateboard is largely a matter of personal preference. It doesn’t really matter if you choose to ride the tail of a skateboard over the nose, as long as you remember to switch from time to time. However, if you continually ride only one end, that particular end will wear out sooner, affecting your skateboard’s performance. 

In this article, we will help you differentiate between the front and the back of a skateboard. We will teach you about different skateboard stances and tell you more about the different ways you can ride a skateboard. If you are just starting skateboarding, you may want to check out our blog to find out 10 reasons why skateboarding is good for you.

How to tell which way you ride a skateboard?

The front of your skateboard is often called the nose, whereas the back of your skateboard is often referred to as the tail. To tell which way you ride a skateboard, you first need to be able to differentiate between the nose and the tail of a skateboard. Depending on the skateboard’s design, differentiating between the tail and the nose can be tricky.

Generally speaking, traditional skateboards, sometimes referred to as old-school boards have a nose that is a bit broader than a tail. The nose is sometimes called a front kicktail and it is flat and round. The tail is referred to as a rear kicktail and is slightly curved upward.

On the other hand, plenty of modern skateboards, especially shortboards, seem to have identical noses and tails. However, if you take a closer look, you will see that there are some differences between the front and back of the skateboard that might seem identical at first glance:

  • Take a look at the graphic – lay your board down and take a look at the graphic head-on. The right side of the horizontal graphic is typically the nose. In the case of a vertical graphic, the top is the nose, whereas the bottom is the tail.
  • The difference in shape – if you take a good look at your skateboard, you should notice the nose which is bigger and wider to better catch your foot, which is particularly handy when you do certain tricks, such as an ollie. Check out our blog to find out if risers help you ollie higher.  The tail is typically smaller and shorter and a bit closer to the ground for better pop and faster response.
  • No difference between the front and back of the skateboard – if you can’t tell the difference between the two ends of a skateboard, chances are that you have a twin-tail skateboard. This skateboard never feels like it’s backward because it has the same amount of pop on both sides.

Does it matter which way you ride a skateboard?

Choosing to skate the nose of a skateboard over the tail is largely a matter of personal preference. However, if you tend to skate one end all the time, whether it’s a nose or a tail, chances are that particular end will wear out sooner. This one-directional ride can eventually affect your skateboard’s performance. Read our blog for more info on when you should replace a skateboard deck.

Skating the tail allows for a nice pop, which is important when doing tricks such as ollie. Skating tail first is often referred to as riding fakie. It’s an important trick when riding side to side in a half-pipe, as well as when performing tricks such as fakie ollie and rock to fakie. More on riding fakie a bit later. You can also check our blog on how to ride a skateboard backward.

What is the normal way to ride a skateboard?

There is no such thing as the normal way to ride a skateboard. All ways are normal, as long as they feel natural to you and as long as you are safe. Speaking of safety, try to make a habit of wearing a skateboard helmet.

There are two natural stances for skateboarding: regular and goofy. They refer to the most comfortable position that you should adopt as soon as you start out with skateboarding. Unless you are ambidextrous, you are likely to have a dominant foot. In the case of skateboarding, you will use your dominant foot to push a skateboard.

What is the regular way to ride a skateboard?

If you naturally have a regular skateboard stance, it means that your dominant foot is your right foot and you will push your skateboard with it. Your left foot will be forward on the deck, holding most of your body’s weight. This is the regular way to ride a skateboard.

What is the goofy way to ride a skateboard?

A goofy way to ride a skateboard means that your natural stance is goofy, with your right foot in the front and your left foot pushing the skateboard. Your natural stance is relative to your dominant foot, which is something that is innate, but if you have trouble figuring it out, you can try these things:

  • Ask a friend to gently push you from behind – whichever foot you land on to catch yourself is your dominant foot.
  • Climb the stairs – whichever foot leads first is your dominant foot.
  • Kick the ball – put a ball on the ground in front of you. Whichever foot you kicked the ball with is your dominant foot.

A girl in white socks and Vans riding a skate.

How do you skate nollie?

The term nollie is short for nose ollie. It refers to a stance that is very similar to your natural stance. However, there is one important difference when you skate nollie – both your feet are closer to the front, or the nose of a skateboard. This stance is slightly more difficult than your natural stance, but your body and feet will still face the same direction.

The nollie stance will help you with tricks that will require popping off of the nose of your skateboard. Such tricks are the nollie kickflip, the nollie heelflip and the nollie 180. The nollie tricks are all about the skateboard lifted into the air and a skater being able to catch it with their feet, before landing on the ground. Skating nollie requires a lot of patience and a lot of falling off a skateboard. Make sure you first learn how to properly fall off a skateboard.

These are some steps to help you learn how to perform a nollie:

  • Place your feet in the right positionYour front foot should be on the nose of your skateboard and your back foot in the middle of the board.
  • Learn how to balanceBefore attempting the next steps, make sure that you can stay in this position on your board without losing balance.
  • Bend your kneesThis will prepare you to explode upward.
  • Lift the boardPush down on the nose of the board using your front foot. Hop off your front foot to cause the wheels to come in the air. Slide your back foot towards the tail end of the skateboard.
  • Level out the boardCatch the board and land with your feet in the original position, parallel to the ground.

How to ride fakie?

When you ride fakie, your feet are in your natural stance, whether it’s regular or goofy. However, you ride your board backward and your tail is facing the direction where you go. This technique is often used when you ride back down a ramp. Read or blog to learn how to ride up a ramp on a skateboard.

Before you ride fakie on any type of ramp, you should first learn how to ride fakie on flat ground. It goes without saying, that first, you need to learn how to push forward. This is how you ride fakie on the ground:

  • Place your skateboard on the ground with the tail facing forward.
  • Place the foot that is normally your back foot on top of the tail, that is now facing forward.
  • Push off the ground using your other foot.
  • Once you’ve gathered some speed, put your pushing foot on the nose that is facing backward.
  • Move your leading foot closer to the tip of the tail.
  • Look forward in the direction you are going. You will notice that you have the exact same stance that you normally ride in, but that you are leading with the tail of your skateboard.

To conclude

In this article, we talked about different ways how you can ride a skateboard at some length. We’ve also mentioned different skateboard stances. Skateboard is all about experimenting and there are no wrong or right ways of riding a board. If you would like to learn more about skateboarding, whether you are a beginner or a pro, check out these MasterClass skateboarding lessons taught by legendary skater Tony Hawk.

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