Skateboard Slang

How to Use Skateboarder Slang

Teenage boy (16-17) performing jump on skateboard, low angle view
Siri Stafford/Stone/Getty Images

Whether you are a new skater or just trying to understand what your skater kid is talking about, understanding skateboard slang is important! Skateboard slang might be hard to grasp at first, but it's not that tough to understand once you understand skateboarding culture a little better. I'm going to walk you through some basic skateboard slang, and help you understand what the words mean.

Slang for Skateboards

The skateboard itself has a lot of names, but it's usually just called a "skateboard" or "board".

It's best not to try and get too fancy! Sometimes you'll hear the word "deck" - that refers to the wood plank part of the skateboard. I've heard guys call skateboards things like "wood" or "ride", but these sound a little weird like the guy is trying too hard to sound like a skater.

Slang for Skateboarders

Skateboarders are called "skaters" almost all the time. I know that ice skaters are also called "skaters", and this can be confusing when searching for things on the internet, but ice skaters and skateboarders are almost never in the same place at the same time, so it's not a problem in the real world! Skaters can sometimes be called "boarders", but usually only when someone is trying to sound clever, like in the title "Boarders for Christ" or "Boarders Skate Shop".

Slang Skaters Use

There are piles of words that you'll hear skaters use, and these are often home-made, and unique to each skater.

For example, I call things that I think are really cool, "sexy". Not just women, but anything. But that's unique to me (and my roommates say it now sometimes, but that's just cuz I'm that sexy).

But there are tons of words that most skaters use. Here are the most common:

  • Sick - this means the same as "cool" or for you older guys, "rad". Pretty much anything can be sick. You can pull off a sick trick, have a sick board, or a skatepark can be sick. It's one of those slang words like "bad" was a decade ago, meaning the opposite. Along with "sick", something really cool might get called "ill", "insane", "gnar" (short for "gnarly"), or even "rad" or "righteous".
  • Stoked - to like something or to be excited. I am stoked that you are reading this. I'm stoked I can land a tre-flip. The word comes from making a fire bigger - when you add fire to it or fan the flames, you are "stoking" the fire.
  • Sketchy - not well done, or not trustworthy. A sketchy trick looked badly done ("clean" is the opposite - a clean trick looked flawless). A sketchy person is someone who you don't want to bring home for dinner. A sketchy skateboard is a piece of junk that might break. I think it's funny that the shoe company "Sketchers" tries to make shoes that LOOK like skate shoes, but are, in fact, sketchy.
  • Bail - to bail is to either fall or to jump off of your board right before falling. It doesn't get used all the time, though - some people just say to fall or crash. The word "bail" is more traditional in skateboarding, but if the people you are around don't use it, you might sound like you're trying too hard if you insist on saying "bail" all the time!
  • Poser - this is someone who looks like a skater, or who claims to be one, but who doesn't know anything about skating. This term can be pretty hurtful, so don't use it lightly. And it's tough to know if someone truly IS a poser.

    And that's only a taste. You can find more in our Skateboarding Tricks and Riding Dictionary.