How to boardslide - Skateboarding trick tips

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Boardslide setup

boardslide skateboarding trick instructions
Skater: Dayne Brummett. Photographer: Seu Trinh / Shazzam / ESPN Images

Boardslides are the first slide trick that you're probably going to want to learn. Boardslides are somewhat easy, and look really cool when you land them! Plus, boardslides are versatile - they are an easy skateboarding trick to tweak and add to.

What's a boardslide look like?

A boardslide is where you skate along side an object, usually a rail or curb, and ollie up onto it. Your board lands sideways, with the object in the middle of the board, and you slide along. At the end, you hop off the obstacle and ride away.

What you need to know:

Before tacking the boardslide, you need to know how to:
  • Ride a skateboard - hopefully, you've thought of this one already!
  • Ollie - it's important that you have a strong, confident ollie that you can land most of the time.
  • Frontside and backside 180s - you need to be confident in spinning your body. You won't need to actually spin 180 degrees for the boardslide, but you will need to be very confident and solid on your spins.
You are also going to need some objects to practice on. In these instructions, we're going to ramp up from small objects to larger ones. Just take it step by step, and you'll be a lot happier! I don't suggest jumping right to handrails, unless you just don't like your groin.

Even though these instructions are step-by-step, I do recommend reading though all of them first, so you'll know what you're aiming at. It should also help you understand the mechanics of what's going on.

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How to boardslide - Step 1 - Wax

Before we get you sliding around, I want to help you understand how to wax up a rail or curb. You might think it's easy - and it is - but it's also easy to do wrong. And a badly waxed object can be dangerous, if not just really frustrating.

First off, you should be responsible with what you are waxing. Ideally, it would be something that you own, or have permission to wax. Such as, your own skate rail, or the curb in front of your own house. If you wax public rails and curbs and what not, people can get really angry. you might not care about that, but if these people get angry enough, they'll put up skate blockers (those little blocks or walls that get welded into place on rails to keep you from skating them). Skate blockers suck, and honestly I don't understand how they are even legal (aren't they trying to injure skaters?!?), but all that aside, they do ruin cool skate spots. So, be responsible with your waxing. Use reasonable amounts, and don't be the jerk who ruins a great spot for everyone else.

How to wax

Skate shops sell pro skate wax, and that stuff works great, but if you are poor you can use all kinds of other stuff. Like, for example, a clump of wax from the grocery store. Or a candle. Be creative. Soap can even work (though not as well), and it has the bonus of washing away. You can tell people you're cleaning up the neighborhood.

The point of waxing is to have a smooth, even surface down the whole object. You don't want it patchy, and you don't want a super slick surface - that ends up being dangerous. When you first apply wax, put on just a little and add more if you need it. It's always easier to add wax later than to scrape off extra wax. After waxing, rub your board along the obstacle, pressing down hard to see how slick it feels to see if you have enough. Rough curbs will need more wax than rails.

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How to boardslide - Step 2 - Frontside vs Backside

boardslide skateboarding trick instructions
Skater: Lauren Perkins. Photographer: Kanights / ESPN Images

For boardslides, "frontside" refers to when you ride up to the rail or whatever it is that you are sliding with your chest and toes facing the object. "Backside" is when you skate up to the object with your back facing it. When you do a frontside boardslide, you end up sliding backwards. When you do a backside boardslide, you end up facing the direction you are sliding.

That's probably confusing. Don't worry about it. These directions cover both frontside and backside, because they are done the same way. But, I highly recommend starting with backside boardslides, because it's easier to slide when you are facing the direction you are going. Either way though, the skills you use are super similar.

But what's it called if you...?

If you don't care about technical skateboarding trick names, then please skip to the next page! But, if you are like me, when you just learned that "backside" and "frontside" refer to how you ride up to the object, you might start wondering things. Like, "What if I ride up to the object backside, but nollie up onto the object? What's that called?" Well, it's called a nollie backside boardslide (and is tough to do), but only if your front trucks cross over the object you slide on. If you ollie or nollie up and your BACK trucks cross over the obstacle (hard in ollie, easier in nollie), that's called a "lipslide". BUT! BUUUUUT! If you fakie boardslide, then your BACK trucks go over, and the other way for lipslides.

If that doesn't make sense, no worries - just read on and learn to actually do a boardslide! Skate trick names will all make sense in time ... or they won't, and you'll make up your own names for stuff. That works too!

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How to boardslide - Step 3 - Keys

boardslide skateboarding trick instructions
Skater: Trulio De Oliviera. Photographer: Jamie O'Clock
Here are the keys to a good boardslide:


You want to approach the boardslide with your feet in the ollie stance, with your back foot across the tail of your skateboard, and your front foot right behind your front trucks. Once you get into the slide, you will want to have both feet balanced - most skaters slide their front foot up above the front trucks when they ollie into the slide. That works well.


Balance is the biggest thing you want to pay attention to for the boardslide. When I say "balance", I mean in every direction! When you start sliding along, you are going to want to lean forwards or backwards, and you might start to lose your balance to one side. All of this is bad! Side to side shouldn't be too big of a problem - just practice. But as you slide along, you really need to make sure you don't lean forward or back. If you lean forward too much, your board might freeze in place and you'll go flying. If you lean back away from the slide, the board can slip out from under you and you will hurt your future children.


Commitment is key to every skateboarding trick, but for some tricks you can get away with holding a little back. But just like with dropping in at a skatepark, you really need to commit to your boardslides. If you don't, you can get really really hurt.

Approach Angle

Do not approach the obstacle from an angle. You want to ride up along side it. If you hit it from an angle, your momentum will keep you going in that direction, and you'll probably fall off the other side. You also want to make sure that you are the right distance as you approach the obstacle - it all depends on how high it is, and how good you are.
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How to boardslide - Step 4 - Slappy Start

For your first obstacle, I recommend finding something low enough that when your skateboard is high centered on it, the wheels don't touch on either side. Something like a curb without a sidewalk on one side can work, or a very low skate rail, or a stack of boards. Get creative.

So once you have a low obstacle, ride up along side it with the obstacle behind your heels, then lift your front trucks over the obstacle and balance on it. This kind of slide is called a "slappy" slide, when you don't ollie up into it.

Just ride up along side the object with a fair amount of speed, pivot onto it, slide, and then pivot back off and ride away. You don't have to pivot back off of it if you don't want to - if it works, you can just slide to the end and then turn as you get off of the object.

Try slappy slides like these for a while, and get the hang of balancing as you slide. If you fall, do NOT catch yourself with your arms. That's a bad habit in skateboarding - it's really easy to break your wrists or arms that way. Instead, try to catch yourself with your feet and run. If you fall backwards, that's a little harder to do. In that case, try to land on your shoulder or backside. Landing on the rail that way can hurt - but at this stage, it shouldn't be too much pain. Get up, shake it off and make sure you try again.

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How to boardslide - Step 5 - The Real Deal

Boardslide skateboarding trick instructions
Photographer: Steve Cave
Once you have slappy slides dialed in, it's time to try real boardslides. They work exactly the same way, except that you ollie into the slide.

For starters, try with the same object you used with the last step. Ride up along side the object, with the object behind your heels. Ollie and turn 90 degrees facing forwards, landing with the rail or whatever you are sliding on in the center of your skateboard. It's a good idea to have your feet above your trucks, so that you can balance easier. Keep your knees bent, and make sure you stay over your board. Don't lean back or forward - just keep your shoulders over the skateboard.

When you come to the end of the object (rail, curb or whatever), turn your shoulders the 90 degrees back the way you came, land and ride away. If you want to get off the obstacle early, then push down on the tail of the board and lift the nose up and over the obstacle, land and ride away.

This might all take some practice, but that's how skateboarding works! Once you feel like moving up to higher rails and curbs, then go for it! But make sure you take the progression slowly - don't try something too much higher than anything you have already tried. Go slowly. You'll need to be able to comfortably ollie higher than the actual object you are trying to slide on - that's a good way to judge.

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How to boardslide - Step 6 - Handrails

boardslide skateboarding trick instructions
Skaters: Appleyard and Sheckler. Photographer: Bryce Kanights
A handrail is a rail that is angled and usually goes down stairs. Some skateparks will have hand rails that don't have stairs next to them, but they work the same way. Handrails are a fun place to do boardslides, but they are also a great place to get really hurt - so make sure you really really know how to boardslide on flat rails before you try to boardslide a handrail.

First off, it's best to find hand rails that are square, instead of round. Round rails are HARD to keep your balance on. You can slide them all you want, but make sure you are either awesome or like pain first.

It's also good to start with a shorter handrail - one that goes only 3 to 5 steps. Not more. Work up to bigger rails. Start small, take your time, and you'll spend more time skateboarding and less time recovering from injuries!

So you have the perfect rail, and you're ready to go - great! Here's how it works: You need to ollie up onto the rail (so you need a STRONG ollie), and do a regular board slide, except that you need to lean with the rail. That's the hard part, and it will take some time to get used to. Don't lean too much or too little - lean just enough. The only way to learn how much that is is to practice. And, in case you've managed to never see a funny home videos TV show, handrails are the best possible place to hit your crotch on. It's hilarious on TV, but strangely not so much when it happens to you. Wear a cup!

In fact, you might want to wear lots of other pads, too. You should already be wearing a helmet, but shin guards and elbow pads and knee pads and the works wouldn't hurt either!

finally, when you come off of the rail you will be going fast, so make sure to bend your knees deep when you land and land with your feet over your trucks. Also, make sure there is enough space at the end of the rail for you to ride out on.

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How to boardslide - Step 7 - How to Look Good

boardslide skateboarding trick instructions
Skater: Dayn Brummet. Photographer: Reynol / Shazamm / ESPN Images

Boarslides are a great trick to look cool and confident in, but in order to get that way, you need to actualy be comfortable and confident in your boardslides! Practice a lot, relax, and bend your knees when you land.

There are several ways to tweak your boardslides. Here are some ideas to start with:

  • Frontside boardslide - I assumed that you would be trying this already, but just in case you haven't yet, this is the next trick you'll likely want to master. It takes some nerves, since you will be sliding blind, with your back towards where you are going. You can do it, though - go for it!
  • To fakie - this is where you land with your tail forward, riding fakie. It's a great tweak to start with.
  • Shuvit out - instead of just hoping off of the rail at the end, you shuvit off the rail.
  • Nollie boardslide - of course, you'll need to be good at nollies, and you'll need ot be able to actually nollie high enough to do it.
  • Kickflip boardslide - kickflip into the slide, instead of ollying. Make sure you are VERY good at boardslides before you try this one, or you can get hurt, and break your board.
So as you can see, there are a lot of ways to change up your boardslides. The main way to look good though, is to relax and don't be stiff. Be confident, commit to the trick, and practice a lot.
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How to boardslide - Step 8 - Trouble Shooting

A lot can go wrong in your boardslides, but for the most part it's easy to figure out what the trouble is and fix it.

Ollie problems - If you are having problems with your ollies into the slides, then go practice your ollies separately for a while. You need to have them dialed in and solid. If the problem is that you can't ollie high enough to get onto the object you are trying to slide, then get your ollies higher. If you are having a hard time actually ollying over to the object, then get closer to it!

Board sticking - If you find your board sticking during your slides, that could be that the rail or curb needs to be waxed more, or it could be that you are leaning forwards too much. Make sure that your shoulders are over your board, and that your shoulders are square.

Board slipping out in front - This comes from leaning back too much, which is often because you aren't committing to the trick. Again, stay balanced and keep yourself over your board. Commit to the trick.

Landing shock - Make sure that you bend your knees deeply as you land, and try to have your feet above your trucks. Also, don't lean back on the landing, but keep the same balance as before, with your shoulders over the board.

You might run into several other problems - most of them should be able to be fixed with practice. That's the key to most skateboarding - practice! Stay with it, relax, and have fun. If you have questions, you can e-mail me, or stop by the Skateboard Forum and post your questions there. Enjoy!