Skateboard riding is a fun and most amusing thing in the world. A skateboarder can understand the value of this statement. However, to be a pro skateboarder is not that easy.
You can’t just skateboard and start flipping, powersliding or exercising other tricks as a beginner. You need to go step by step like other sports.
You first need to learn balancing on the board, then pushing, standing and other basic stuff. Another basic skill that you must learn as a beginner is turning on a skateboard.
In this guide I will cover everything that you must know about turning the skateboard, cruiser board & longboard.
So, let’s dive into it!
Choosing Place To Learn Turning
To learn how to turn on a skateboard you should choose an open space. Open road (with no traffic) would be good. But make sure the road is smooth and doesn’t contain any gravel.
You may choose a parking lot or underground parking as a place to learn the skill. Skate park also would be a great place. Just make sure you visit the park when it has very few skaters around.
What You Need For Turning
- A beginner friendly skateboard
- Pair of polyurethane skate wheels
- Pair of alloy skate trucks
- Precise skateboard bearings
- Skateboard Deck
- Grip tap
- Pads, braces, Shoes of skate and others
You may select any skateboard to practice turning. Choose a mid size skateboard (width from 28-31 inch is perfect). Decks made of Bamboo or Canadian maple wood would be good to do the trick.
Make sure you choose a good quality set of wheels that spin better. Check the rotation of bearings, lube the bearings if necessary.
Choose a set of strong skate trucks for better experience as trucks are the main parts that turn the board. Loose trucks turn better but make the deck unstable and cause the rider to fall off the board if the rider is weak at balancing.
Tight trucks don’t turn as expected but ensure stability. So you need to tighten and loosen the trucks several times to adjust it to support your turning. Apply grip tape on the deck to ensure the grip of feet over the board.
- You may take skate tools with you to loosen or tighten the trucks while you are out to learn the skill.
- Put on elbow pads, knee pads, helmet and a good pair of shoes to protect your body and head from getting bruised or affected in case of an accident.
- Put on comfortable clothes to make the overall experience easy and comfortable.
There are 2 ways you can turn your skateboard. Let’s discuss them briefly-
Carving is the easiest way to turn your skateboard. It requires you to lean forward or backward with toe and feet movement either in the right direction or left.
Note: To turn by carving you need to loosen your trucks. How much your skateboard will turn depends on the propensity you loosen your trucks. Make sure you don’t loosen trucks too much.
If you are a beginner I recommend you don’t loosen the trucks. Leave it tight as it comes with a complete skateboard (not too tight of course).
Steps To Turn By Carving
- Stand on the center near the bolts & Test the trucks
First stand on the center of the board with both feet. Move your body right and left and see whether the board is tilting to the same direction as your body or not. If the board follows your movement then you are set to go for the next step.
- Push off
Now you need to place your front foot on the board close to the board nose and push against the ground with your back foot. Give two-four strong push to take off and ride the board straight first until you are ready to turn.
Try to stand bold on the center of the board and front knee slightly angled to concentrate the weight onto the front bolts on deck.
Note: As a beginner you need to choose a place free of any obstacles like bumps, pebbles, people or any other impediments.
- Lean toward the desired direction
Now it’s time to turn. Shift the weight pressure left if you want to turn left, right if you want to turn right.
Put the front foot on the board and slightly lean backward ( if you are a goofy rider) and lean forward (if you are a regular rider) to turn left. To turn right, lean forward (if you are a regular style rider) and lean backward (if you are a goofy rider).
Keep in mind you need to lean by putting pressure on the rear toe.
When you lean left the board tilts to left and body weight causes the board to turn left and when you lean right, the board tilts to right and body weight causes the board to turn right.
While turning, remember your shoulder should follow the movement of feet. If you are turning left your shoulder and hands should lean slightly left. While turning right your shoulder and hand should follow the direction.
There is nothing that can be achieved without practicing in the sports world. So keep practicing the turning techniques as discussed here. Remember not to break the rules when you are a beginner.
Don’t mongo push while starting the ride and don’t downhill ride at the beginning phase.
Another popular way to steer a skateboard toward desired direction is kick-turn. Though it is not suitable for beginners, it is too amusing. Kick-turn is for proficient only. It is used for a sharper turn all of a sudden.
You may use the trick to avoid any bumps, obstacles in front of you while riding the board. You may insist on a kick-turn as a beginner. But I would recommend mastering carving first then going to do a kick-turn.
Steps to kick-turn
First get some momentum by pushing the board against the ground. After some moderate speed is acquired, then go for the next step. If you don’t get some momentum you would end up spinning on the rear wheels while trying to kick-turn.
- Place your feet properly
Put your front foot at the near of the board nose and back foot on the tail while attempting to kick-turn. Push the tail with the rear foot slightly to lift the nose of the board upward.
When your skateboard nose is lifted upward, hold on with the rear toe on the deck properly. Lean your shoulder slightly backward while bending your back foot knee proportionately.
- Turn left or right
When the nose is up and the tail is grinding on the ground, move your body left (in case of turning left) or right (incase of turning right). As the board starts to turn, quickly place your back foot in the middle of the board. This will help keep you stable and balanced.
When the board is turned in the desired direction, put the front wheels on the ground and keep moving. Do it again and again. You will master the skill within a few minutes or hours.
How To Turn Left And Right On A Skateboard (How It Works)
When you lean to the left side the skateboard deck also will tip to the left. It will cause the kingpin bolt to pivot around in the bottom of trucks. So as the hanger of trucks & wheels do the same. They will also turn to the left. Both trucks and wheels will behave the same and turn the whole board along with you to the left.
At the time of turning you must stay calm and put your body weight on the center of the board. When turn is complete, the skateboard trucks, wheels and deck return to the normal condition as it was before turning. The right turn follows the same mechanics as well.
How To Make A Skateboard Turn Easier
To make the turning easy you may take the following steps:
- select a skateboard that is lightweight and has a nose and tail on the both edges. It helps to kick-turn when leaning doesn’t work and makes the turning easy.
- use shoes with fine grip so that you can push well and hold the board under you strongly. The shoe helps to hold the skateboard deck with your feet and turns the deck in the direction you wish.
- loosen both trucks or the front truck. If you loosen the front truck while leaving the rear truck tight, you may turn with your board but face difficulty in controlling the balance.
- If you loosen both trucks then the board will smoothly turn as you lean left or right. Make sure you don’t over loosen the truck’s bolts. Doing so will cause your deck to slide on the surface of the road while going in speed.
The 9/16″ kingpin nut adjusts the trucks to remain stiff. You need to tighten or loosen as required to make it turn. Keep testing by loosening and tightening the kingpin nut to find the standard setting that turns.
Why Is My Skateboard Not Turning
There may be many reasons for the problem. Skateboards hover over a set of wheels. Wheels are attached to the trucks with bearings inside them. If bearings are stuck then the skateboard wheel may stop spinning causing the board not to run and turn.
If trucks are too tight then it may cause the board to turn difficult. When you put too much body weight on the front side of the board, then you may find it difficult to turn in an inclined direction.
There may be other issues which you will find in our guide on “ why my skateboard is not turning.”
I hope you have learnt how to turn on a skateboard. You need to be very careful at the beginning. When you become an expert, skateboarding becomes a child’s game for you.
Do the move, keep yourself and others safe. And keep practicing.