Skateboard ScienceExploratorium

skateboarding glossary

anatomy of a skateboard

deck: the flat standing surface of a skateboard, usually laminated maple.

grip tape: sandpaper affixed to the top of the deck with adhesive, used to increase the friction between the deck and the skater’s feet.

nose: the front of the skateboard, from the front truck bolts to the end.

rail: the edge of the skateboard, also, plastic strips attached to the board’s underside.

tail: the rear of the skateboard, from the back truck bolts to the end

trucks: the front and rear axle assemblies that connect the wheels to the deck and provide the turning capabilities for the board.

wheels: usually made of polyurethane and sized between 39 and 66 millimeters in diameter; their hardness is measured by durometer, a number ranging from 0 to 100—soft wheels have a durometer of about 85, hard wheels have a durometer of 97 or higher

wheelbase: the distance between the front and back wheels, measured between the two sets of innermost truck holes.


skateboard tricks

air: riding with all four wheels off the ground; short for aerial

backside: when a trick or turn is executed with the skater’s back facing the ramp or obstacle.

Caballerial: a 360-degree turn performed on a ramp while riding fakie (backwards), named after skater Steve Caballero

carve: to skate in a long, curving arc

fakie: skating backwards—the skater is standing in his or her normal stance, but the board is moving backward (not to be confused with "switch stance")

frontside: when a trick or turn is executed with the front of the skater’s body facing the ramp or obstacle

goofyfoot: riding with the right foot forward, the opposite of "regular foot"

grind: scraping one or both axles on a curb, railing, or other surface, such as:

crooked grind: grinding on only the front truck while sliding

50-50 grind: grinding on both trucks equally
50-50 grind by Diego Bucchieri (Quicktime 3 movie 450k)

nosegrind: grinding on only the front truck

5-0 grind: grinding on only the back truck

kickflip: a variation on the ollie in which the skater kicks the board into a spin before landing back on it Kickflip by Tony Trujillo (Quicktime 3 movie 380k)

McTwist: a 540-degree turn performed on a ramp, named after Mike McGill

: a style of pushing where the back foot is kept on the board and pushing is done with the front foot

nollie: an ollie performed by tapping the nose of the board instead of the tail Nollie by Matt Fields (Quicktime 3 movie 350k)

noseslide: sliding the underside of the nose end of a board on a ledge or lip

ollie: a jump performed by tapping the tail of the board on the ground; the basis of most skating tricks

: a trick in which the skater slides the underside of the deck along an object, such as a curb or handrail

regular foot: riding with the left foot forward, the opposite of "goofyfoot"
shove-it: a trick performed by spinning the board 180 degrees beneath the feet while traveling forward

switch stance: riding the board with the opposite footing than usual, i.e., "goofyfoot" instead of "regular foot"

tailslide: sliding the underside of the tail end of a board on a ledge or lip

types of skateboarding

street skating: skating on streets, curbs, benches, handrails and other elements of urban and suburban landscapes.

vert skating: skating on ramps and other vertical structures specifically designed for skating.

half pipe: a U-shaped ramp of any size, usually with a flat section in the middle

vert ramp
: a half-pipe, usually at least 8 feet tall, with steep sides that are perfectly vertical near the top.

physics glossary

centripetal force: a force that keeps a body moving in a circular path

rotational inertia: a measure of an object’s resistance to being turned, depending on both the mass of the object and how that mass is distributed
work: force applied over a distance—for example, you do work when you push a box across the floor, but not when you push on a locked door; work done on an object or system results in an increase in the energy of that system

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