Skateboarder's Start-Up: A Beginner's Guide to Skateboarding

Skateboarder's Start-Up: A Beginner's Guide to Skateboarding

by Doug Werner, Steve Badillo

Paperback(Second Edition, Second edition)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Usually ships within 6 days


Providing updated and revised chapters on safety, equipment, and basic skills, this instructional guide discusses the fundamentals of skateboarding. Presented in a helpful question and answer format, beginners will find information on buying a first board, where to plant one’s feet, how to stay safe while learning new stunts, and the history of this exciting sport. From ollies to kickturns, detailed techniques are presented on the 15 tricks every skater should know. Honest and humorous interviews with skating professionals are included, along with an invaluable list of resources—including books, camps, museums, skate parks, shops, websites, and magazines. With more than 500 new images, step-by-step instructions and photographs illustrate the foolproof methods to turn skateboarding novices into experts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781884654343
Publisher: Tracks Publishing
Publication date: 10/01/2009
Series: Start-Up Sports Series , #11
Edition description: Second Edition, Second edition
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Doug Werner is the founder of Tracks Publishing and the author of 17 books on sports and fitness, including the books in the Start-Up Sports series. He lives in San Diego, California. Steve Badillo is the coauthor of several top-selling skateboard guides, including Skateboarding: Book of Tricks, Skateboarding: Legendary Tricks, Skateboarding: Legendary Tricks 2, and Skateboarding: New Levels. He has worked as a stunt double and actor in numerous commercials and films featuring skateboarding, including Lords of Dogtown. He lives in Oxnard, California.

Read an Excerpt

Skateboarder's Start-Up

A Beginner's Guide to Skateboarding

By Doug Werner, Steve Badillo

Tracks Publishing

Copyright © 2009 Doug Werner
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-884654-94-7


Safety is in your Head

"I think you just need to watch where you're going — that's very important — to watch what's going on around you.

But there are no terms of etiquette, like Oh, is it your turn, Charles? or Did you take a number? or Please form one line!it's not really like that."

— Todd Huber/SkateLab

Safety/Courtesy: Balancing caution with aggression

Top competitors make it look easy, but it took them countless hours of relentless, calculated practice to build the confidence and expertise to perform their feats. Furthermore, they paid attention to all the rules of skateboarding safety.

It's an easy bet that without wearing the proper safety gear on their climb to the top, our top skaters wouldn't be around to impress us with their skating skills.

Safety is in your head

Know your skill level. Know what you can pull off safely. Build your expertise one skill at a time. (Image 1.1)

Protect your head, wrists, elbows and knees

Wear a helmet. Even with head protection you must be careful. If you fall on your head and feel dizzy, get a headache or experience blurry vision — you may have a concussion (brain shock). If it happens, it's very important to get medical attention right away.

Wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts helps. Better to also wear knee and elbow pads to prevent scrapes, bruises, cracked or broken bones. Tear wrist guards and sneakers with nonskid soles. (Image 1.2)


When you go down (and you will go down!) it's natural to extend your arms to break the fall. But the best way to fall is to tuck elbows in and roll on your shoulder. Kick your board away before you tumble and try to relax as you roll.

On ramps or in pools, land on your knee pads and slide. If all else fails, at least try to land on a fleshy part of your body.

Also ...

Avoid skating in the rain. Urethane wheels slip on wet pavement.

It is wise to invest in some fitness training and to stretch before you skate.

Know how to take care of your skateboard. Make sure bolts are tight (if you can loosen with your fingers, they are not tight enough). Replace wheels when necessary. Beginners can adjust trucks so they don't wobble.

Learn new tricks one step at a time. Each trick requires a set of skills. Learn each separately before trying to put it all together. Build up to it!

At least remember this:

Avoid traffic!

Avoid tows from motor vehicles!

What the experts say: How dangerous is skateboarding?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission states that in 2001, more than 104, 000 people went to hospital emergency rooms with injuries related to skateboarding. Most had sprains, fractures, contusions and abrasions. Deaths due to collisions with cars and falling also were reported. About one in 1, 000 skateboarders can expect to go to the ER with an injury.

Every year, there are about 61, 000 injuries to children involving skateboards. In 2004, nearly 60, 300 emergency room visits for those injuries were by children 5 to 14 years old. Six out of every 10 skateboard injuries are to children under 15 years of age.

How bad is that? Not good, of course. But studied within the context of all sports and recreational activities, there is reason to believe that skateboarding is no more risky (and in some cases less risky) than a number of other sporting and recreational pursuits.

World of Hurt

More than 30 million kids in the U.S. participate in sports each year. In fact, almost three quarters of U.S. households that have school-aged children have at least one child who plays an organized sport. It is estimated that 3.5 million children under 14 years of age receive medical treatment for sports related injuries annually.

Sports & Recreational Related Injures

Children ages 5 to 14 treated in hospital emergency rooms

Safe Kids Worldwide (SKW), Bicycle, Rollerblade and Skateboard Injuries (Washington D.C.: SKW, 2007).

Suzanne Morton, Rebecca Spicer, Alan Korn, Sue Thomas, Paul Jones, Safe Kids U.S. Summer Safety Ranking Report (Washington, D.C.: Safe Kids Worldwide, May 2007).

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Skateboards Publication#93.

Who, what gets hurt ...

Young children are at a greater risk of skateboarding injury than older kids due to their underdeveloped skill, strength and neuromuscular system. They are not able to sufficiently judge their own ability or traffic around them. They have a higher center of gravity, making it more difficult to protect themselves when falling. For these reasons the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child be at least 5 years of age before riding a skateboard.

Skateboarding accounts for about 16 percent of wheeled sport injuries to children. The three most common areas injured are the ankle, wrist and face, accounting for about 31 percent of all skateboarding related injuries. Only 5 percent of injuries are considered severe (those defined as concussions or internal injuries). But injuries such as long bone fractures or dislocations make up 31 percent of skateboard injuries. Twenty-five percent of kids that require hospitalization were hit by a motor vehicle. In 2004, an estimated 18, A43 head injuries treated in emergency rooms were due to skateboarding. Deaths are rare.

American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention, Skateboard and Scooter Injuries, Pediatrics, Vol.109, No.3, March 2002.

Safe Kids Worldwide (SKW), Bicycle, Rollerblade and Skateboard Injuries ( Washington D.C.: SKW, 2007).

... and why

• Lack of protective equipment

• Poor board maintenance

• Irregular riding surfaces

• Very young children who do not have balance or body control to prevent injury

• Riding in or near traffic

Experienced riders suffer falls after hitting rocks or irregularities in the riding surface or when they attempt difficult stunts. (Image 1.3)



1. Children under 5 years of age should not use skate boards. Their center of gravity is higher, their neuromuscular system is not well developed, judgment is poor and they are not sufficiently able to protect themselves from injury.

2. Skateboards must never be ridden near traffic. Their use should be prohibited on streets and highways. Activities that bring skateboards and motor vehicles together are especially dangerous.

3. Skateboarders should be encouraged to wear helmets and protective padding for their elbows and knees to reduce or prevent injury. They should wear slip-resistant shoes.

4. Communities should be encouraged to develop safe skateboarding areas away from pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic.

Image 1.5: Kids need safe places to skate! It's that simple. Get them off the street by building or letting others build better parks. Robb Field in San Diego is a great example of what can happen when public officials, the public and the skateboarding community join forces.

Tips for using a skateboard

1. Never ride in the street.

2. Don't take chances.

• Complicated tricks require careful practice and a specially designed area.

• Only one person per skateboard.

• Never hitch a ride from a car or bicycle.

3. Learn how to fall.

• If you lose balance, crouch down on the skateboard so that you will not have so far to fall.

• In a fall, try to land on the fleshy parts of your body.

• If you fall, try to roll rather than absorb the force with your arms.

• Try to relax when you fall rather than stiffen.

Skateboards/Publication #93 U.T. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Steve Badillo on safety

Skateboarding can be very dangerous. If you are going to skate, you will bleed. But that's the part of skateboarding that attracts people. The extreme aggression in skating required to overcome the risk is what gives you motivation. Going fast, blasting airs and grinding long lines are what give skaters their motivation to skate for life — despite the injuries. Getting hurt is part of skateboarding. (Image 1.6)

Are there levels of skating that are less dangerous, you know, where moms and dads won't be fearful for their little kid's life?

Well, with skateboarding, nothing is safe. Then you start to skateboard, you learn how to do your basic tricks, to stand on the board, to be stable, be comfortable on the board. Once you start learning more difficult tricks, you're going to fall. You may get hurt, you may bleed. So the only really safe area in skateboarding, when you're not going to get hurt, is right in the beginning, when you're just learning kickturns, carves and fakies.

And you can still fall on your butt ...

Yeah, you can still get hurt. There's no safe technique in skateboarding that prevents falling and saves you from ever getting hurt — it's not like that.

What are the key points of safe or safer beginner skating?

Stability, balance, keeping your feet spread on the board, knowing your foot placement, knowing where you're at when you're doing the tricks, knowing your balance on the ramps and knowing transitions. Those are the things that are going to help you stay on the board and progress faster.

Would you suggest that kids wear protective gear?

Of course — knee pads, helmets, elbow pads. And I would strongly suggest wearing wrist guards. It's not necessary in a lot of the skate parks, but when you fall, you put your hands out, and the first thing that gets injured are your wrists.

Todd Huber on safety and courtesy

What are the dangers of skateboarding?

I think statistics say that the biggest dangers are irregularities in the riding surface and cars. Here in the skate park, the most common injuries are to wrists and ankles because they're the hardest things to protect. Even with protection — I've seen broken wrists with wrist guards. But I still would wear wrist guards. I swear, man, they've saved me a few times. Most people don't, though. They think it's not cool. The kids now like a kind of low-speed skating — you can usually run out any trick without having to throw it down using the pads — so it's not really a necessity until you get into speed stuff. If I was a parent, I would make my kid wear wrist guards and helmet, that's it.

That leads me to my next question. What can I do to make my skateboarding experience as safe as possible?

Well, as safe as possible. Tear knee pads, elbow pads, helmet and wrist guards. But that can be overdone. You can't skate with too much stuff on.

How about learning how to fall?

Knee pads save kids all the time — I see kids go to the knees, and that's important. Then I grew up, they didn't teach how to go to the knees because there was no equipment for knees. They told you to roll but often you went to your wrist — that's why I'm so adamant about saying that wrist guards are important. But the kids now, they know to go to their knees and slide. But you'll never see a kid skating around the streets with knee pads on. You never see it because they're not going fast enough to go to the knees. It's usually on a big ramp when they step off and can't outrun it that they'll just drop and make it slide.

Is there such a thing as skateboarding courtesy or etiquette?

There's a sort of unwritten rule. You kind of have an order. Say you and your buddies are skating a ramp, you might pause longer than normal, and someone else will say Are you gonna go? or I'm gonna go or not even say that and just go. It's almost like you form lines — you try not to get in other people's way.

I think you just need to watch where you're going, that's very important — to watch what's going on around you. (Image 1.7)

But there are no terms of etiquette, like Oh is it your turn, Charles? or Did you take a number? or Time to line up! — it's not really like that.

Just watching it's hard to see the signals.

It's a look. You just kind of look. You set up and whoever sets up first, you just kind of make eye contact. If you don't happen to make eye contact, you might both go and you'll notice the guy and pull out — or maybe you'll both pull out — it's a little like surfing. Most of the time it's a look. You'll know who's next. (Image 1.8)


Skateboard/anatomy of

"You look at the trucks, which are the metal things that hold the wheels — there's two of them. Make sure they have a name on the plate and they're not plastic. That's a dead giveaway. If they're plastic, don't buy it. And make sure there's at least some kind of a brand name on that baseplate."

— Todd Huber/SkateLab (Image 2.1)

Still Simple

After all these years, skateboards are still fairly simple. There is a board or deck to stand on, wheels to roll on and parts called trucks to steer you around.

The four major parts of a skateboard:

1. Deck

2. Trucks

3. Wheels

4. Bearings (Image 2.2)

Board or deck

There are many small differences in individual boards, but generalizations can be made.

The deck is the board itself. It is usually made of maple plywood, six to seven layers thick. Some decks are flat, but most are molded to kick up at the tail and nose. These kicks give the rider places to press his feet against as he executes tricks.

Decks are often scooped out like a dish. This dishlike attribute is called a concave. Concaves increase the strength of a board and help riders know where their feet are on the board as they fly through their tricks. Shallow concaves are good for streetstyle and technical tricks. Deeper concaves are used for ramps.

Modern decks are sturdy enough to take a lot of pounding, yet are flexible. They can bend to absorb the impact from a jump or drop. Some flex is good for beginners. Flex gives a softer, smoother ride over rough terrain and helps make sharper turns. T flexible board is easier to change weight on — called weighting and unweighting. However, too much flex can make a board difficult to ride (too much sag and bounce).

Short board decks are 28 to 34 inches long and 7 to 10.5 inches wide. Longboard decks start at 35 inches and may reach 56 inches in length or longer. There is a longboard movement among a few skaters, but most boards are of the shorter variety.

Decks are usually covered with grip tape, which has a sandpaperlike surface to grip the rider's feet.

Boards may or may not have graphics on the bottom. Those without graphics are called blanks. (Image 2.3)


Wheels are made of urethane — a plastic material that grips the riding surface and provides a smooth, sure ride over a variety of surface conditions. The introduction of urethane wheels in 1973 revolutionized the sport, which up to that point, clunked along on metal and clay.

Wheels come in different sizes and degrees of hardness. Soft wheels give a smoother ride, and harder wheels go faster. Small, soft wheels are good for easy turning and quick acceleration. They're light and ideal for streetstyle. Hard wheels are good for speed and control. Vert riders like larger, harder wheels. They provide speed to perform ramp tricks. (Image 2.4)

Wheel characteristics


Wheels range in size from 50mm to 65mm. Larger wheels are faster in racing conditions. However, smaller wheels accelerate more quickly.


This is the thickness of the wheel. The widest wheels provide the best cornering. The thinner you go, the faster you go. Thinner wheels are less stable and wear out sooner than fatter ones.


This is the hardness of the wheel. The durometer can range from 85a to 101a. Softer wheels have a better grip on any surface and provide a smoother ride than harder wheels, but wear out faster. Harder wheels are faster on smooth surfaces.


Trucks carry the heavy load. They serve as axles and landing gear, provide adjustable steerage and do time as a grinding surface.

They are built tough — the best are made from heat-treated aluminum. They contain steel axles to connect the wheels and steel kingpins to connect the axle to the baseplate. The baseplate is bolted to the bottom of the deck. Then a rider leans to one side of his skateboard in order to turn, the trucks pivot on the kingpin in the direction of the lean.

Trucks can be adjusted to change turning speed. If the nut on the kingpin is tightened, turning will be stiffer — the board will be less wobbly. Then the nut is looser, the trucks will pivot more easily — the board will turn more quickly.

Truck Parts

Rubber bushings

Bushings, grommets or clouds allow the trucks to pivot and turn smoothly. Different hardness of bushings will change the turning speed of the trucks. The softer your bushings are, the looser your trucks will be.


Axles These steel rods connect the wheels.


Baseplates connect the trucks to the board.


Bearings provide spin and are located between the wheel and the axle. Bearings are assigned a special rating (called ABEC ratings) that indicate how fast they are. The higher the ABEC rating, the faster the bearing. A lower rated bearing is good for beginners. (Image 2.6)


Excerpted from Skateboarder's Start-Up by Doug Werner, Steve Badillo. Copyright © 2009 Doug Werner. Excerpted by permission of Tracks Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Introduction: Because of the rush,
1. Safety is in your head,
2. Skateboard, anatomy of,
3. Getting a feel for it: Basics,
4. Foundations: 14 tricks you should know,
5. Genesis:A history,
More skate guides by Steve Badillo,
About the authors,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Skateboarder's Start-Up: A Beginner's Guide to Skateboarding 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so awesome it helped me land a kickflip and a heelflip... if your a beginner in skating or just have a hard time BUY THIS BOOK!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
its kind of hard to understand at first but once u read it u will under i got it and i read the whole book at least 3 times and it taught me all kinds of stuff and it teaches you the easy tricks to the hard tricks and it teaches yhe right way to fall so you don't get hurt and if u are going to by a skateboad get a rhino At that place rules man so get this book dude it rules and they is some down side but it's good see ya on the halfpipe
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awsome. It taught me how to finally land my heelflip and how to kickflip. It was great. I would recommend it to kids who are having a hard time skateboarding.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good book! I bought it in July when I was just a beginner and it helped me greatly. When I really stink and couldn't even get off the ground and this book helped me to ollie. When I couldn't get the flip in my kickflip, it helped me. It's a really helpful book. I am suggesting this to ALL beginners.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book taught me how to skate snd ollie, drop in, rock n roll, carve in a bowl and alot more. This is a awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im a cute girl with blonde hair im a bomshell and hot lips comment if u like
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shantea Roberson More than 1 year ago