What Is a Primo Slide?

Tricks Primo 250
Skater: John Fowler. Photo: Michael Andrus

To skateboarders, primo means a few different things, but the most commonly accepted definition of a true primo move is anything wherein the skater lands a move by standing on the edge of the board.

Sometimes this can mean an instant failure like landing a jump on the board's side or a really cool move like in the Primo slide, wherein the skater pops into a railstand (standing on the side of the board) and slides along the ground on the edge of the skateboard.

A lot of skaters also call simply popping up and standing on the skateboard's edge "primo," but this is technically called a railstand, wherein a truly primo move would have to also include movement, as in the primo slide.

Variations and Origins

In theory, primo could be added to the beginning of any skateboarding trick to denote that it is done while also standing on the edge of the board instead of its flat surface. Some tricks that have been combined with the primo method include railstands, flips and ollies.

Still, the true origin of the term primo is thought to have come from pro skateboarder Primo Desiderio, who discovered the trick. His version, however, was even tougher. In Desiderio's original primo slide, the skateboarder would have to slide backside 180 degrees while moving along the ground.

Now, skateboarders often keep their boards straight while performing the primo slide, which is probably for the best as landing from a forward motion onto a skateboard facing sideways isn't the easiest way to stick a landing — and it's pretty hard to correct from 180 degrees to forward during the dismount.

Learning How to Primo

Thanks to the advent of Youtube and similar video sharing websites for user-generated content, learning how to primo has never been more readily accessible. However, I would advise not immediately trying to perform a primo slide as a beginner, it's more of an intermediate to expert-level move.

The first thing a hopeful primo skateboarder should do is master the railstand, which is essentially the same thing but standing in one place. Then, once that's mastered, the skateboarder can move on to walking the railstand, then learning to do a slide, then learning to combine the two. 

As always, it's important when learning to perform skateboarding tricks that you wear protective gear. It may seem cooler to wipe out with just your bare skin versus the pavement, but your bones and joints will thank you later for protecting yourself. If you truly feel confident later, maybe you can ditch the kneepads. Maybe.