Is Skateboarding Easy?
Skateboarding is not an easy sport to learn. In fact, it’s probably one of the most difficult sports to learn, requiring lots of timing, balance, and coordination skills.
If you’re going to learn how to skateboard, you need to master basic skills such as kickflips, shuvits, and ollies. Then, you can move on to advanced skills such as varial kickflips, backside pivots, 180 ollies, and more.
Over time, it becomes easier to pick up and add new tricks to your repertoire. But you’re going to have to invest a lot of time and practice before you get to that point. Below, we’ll explore the relative time and commitment it takes to learn different levels of skateboarding skills.
Learning Basic Skateboarding Tricks
There’s a pretty steep learning curve to master even beginner tricks, which can take months to learn. But don’t get discouraged, as most people pick up the most basic skills in a few days to a few weeks.
Learning Basic Riding Skills
A lot of getting started on a skateboard is just confidence and balance. Believe it or not, you could learn to ride around on a board in as little as one day or several hours.
This is called “cruising” and involves four wheels on the ground. Once you get this down, you can start making turns, stopping, pushing, and going up and down inclines. These skills are a gateway into learning slighter more difficult tricks.
Once you’re comfortable with inclines, you can even combine your turning skills with ramps. For example, a kickturn is when you ride up an incline and use your foot to turn in order to ride back down.
You could even graduate to a manual in this beginner stage. This is where you shift your weight to the front or back of the skateboard to lift one side of the wheels into the air. It’s kind of like popping a wheelie.
On average, it takes most beginners a few months to learn an ollie, but it could take up to six months. However, if you’re already proficient at basic moves like riding and kickturns, you could get to an ollie sooner. An ollie is when you and your board both leap into the air without you holding the board with your hands.
And if you’re really dedicated to practicing – putting in a few hours a day consistently – you could master an ollie in just a few weeks.
Once you get past an ollie, you need to be prepared to have patience. Learning a kickflip is harder than you might think. You have to flip the board 360° along the axis extending from the nose to the tail of the board deck.
According to Skateboarders HQ, skilled skateboarders could learn a kickflip in as little as a few weeks or months. But for many beginners, it may take a few years to get this skill down.
Shuvits (a.k.a shove-it’s) are skateboarding tricks where you have to spin the board while it’s flat. You essentially turn it 180°+ in the air. Whichever foot is your “front” foot will stay put, while your “back” foot will shove the skateboard to spin it.
It’s not quite as difficult to learn as a kickflip, and you might actually pick it up in several days if you’re dedicated. But, it requires a lot of balance and coordination between each foot.
Learning Intermediate Skateboarding Tricks
After you master the basics and start to graduate to some simple tricks, that’s when things start to get a bit easier. This is because the more advanced tricks are pretty much just variations of the basic tricks. So, you’re just taking what you already know and tweaking it slightly.
For example, a varial kickflip is just a combination of a kickflip and a shuvit. At this point, it shouldn’t take you as many months to learn intermediate tricks.
Learning a Pop-Shuvit
A pop-shuvit is a shuvit trick with a “pop” added in. Essentially, you also pop the board into the air by combining the shuvit with an ollie. It takes around a few weeks to master the pop-shuvit if you’re already proficient at ollies and shuvits.
Learning a Varial Kickflip
Once you know the pop-shuvit, you can advance to a varial kickflip. A varial kickflip is when you do a kickflip but add in a pop-shuvit at the same time. In this trick, you only spin 180° on the board’s Y-axis.
On average, it takes just a few days to master the varial kickflip if you really have your pop-shuvit and kickflip down. Most people just pass on this trick because they’d rather learn the 360 kickflip.
Learning the 180 Ollie
Think of the 180 ollie as a variation of the beginner ollie trick. It’s a bit more difficult, but if you’ve mastered the regular ollie, you can learn this one in time. There are both frontside and backside 180 ollies.
The frontside 180 ollie is when you ollie and add in a 180° turn. Not only do you and your board lift off the ground hands-free; but you and the board also turn half a rotation in a frontward motion. The backside 180 ollie is when you ollie and add in a 180° turn, but this time turning by exposing your backside first.
It generally takes quite a bit of practice to get this variation down, and you may need to put in up to 20 hours of practice.
Note that it’s an advanced trick, so you still might not land it 100% of the time once you learn it. However, many people believe that trying it at least 1,000 times will get you to a solid landing of the trick.
Moving Up to Advanced Skateboarding Skills
Once you’ve gotten the hang of intermediate tricks like ollie and kickflip variations, you can move on up to advanced skills. There are some tricks that you can’t expect yourself to learn until you’ve put years of introductory work into the sport.
Advanced Skateboarding Flip Tricks
- 360 flip (tre flip) – when you combine a 360 backside shuvit and a kickflip
- Gazelle Flip – combines the 360 flip, backside 360, and bigflip (takes months to years to learn)
- Hardflip – a kickflip + a frontside shuvit (takes a few months to learn if you know flips well)
- Laser flip – varial heelflip + a 360 shuvit (one of the hardest advanced tricks to learn)
Keep in mind that the most advanced skateboarding tricks are easier to pick up if you’ve put in the years of practice with basic and intermediate skills. Once you’re at the point where you consider yourself a good skateboarder, it shouldn’t feel so impossible to land these flip tricks.
However, sometimes, even experienced skateboarders have to spend months or even years perfecting the advanced tricks.
When we consider the question “is skateboarding easy?”, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not your typical sport. Skateboarding requires a level of balance, concentration, and coordination to master. At first, skateboarding can be really difficult to learn, with a steep learning curve to overcome. But as time goes, on it does get easier.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to try to master the hard stuff right away. You’re not going to have much luck landing a kickflip or ollie if you don’t first understand how to push, turn, cruise, and handle inclines. Furthermore, it’s difficult to learn really advanced tricks if you haven’t mastered the basic tricks that make them up first.
Skateboarding is pretty difficult when you’re a beginner, requiring a huge time investment for practicing skills. However, as time goes on, it becomes easier to learn tricks, and you’ll notice that it doesn’t take as much time to do so.