The Skateboarding Dictionary says that kickturning is a basic skateboarding skill, but it can be hard to figure out how to do it. When you kickturn, you balance for a moment on your back wheels and then swing the front of your board in a different direction. It takes some practice and a good sense of balance.
Kickturning is step number 8 in Just starting out skateboarding. These instructions go into more detail about how to learn to kickturn on a skateboard.
But before we start, make sure you know how to do steps 1 through 7! You’ll need to have the right gear and know how to ride a bike well enough.
When you get there, you should learn how to kickturn:
- Kickturns and Balancing
First, you should learn how to stay balanced on two wheels. Put your skateboard on the carpet in your living room or outside on the grass. Where it won’t roll around much.
Stand on your skateboard with your back foot on the tail and your front foot right behind or on the bolts for the front trucks. This is the basic ollie stance, and a lot of skateboarding tricks use it.
Now, bend your knees and keep your shoulders at the same height above the skateboard deck. Relax. Take normal breaths. Don’t worry so much.
Then, move your weight to the back foot. Maybe about two thirds of it, but not all of it. As you move your weight to your back foot, bring your front foot up a little. The nose of the board will want to pop up into the air more the more you shift your weight to the back of the board. Try to stay balanced for a moment on just the back wheels. It will scare you and make you feel like you’re going to fall. Maybe you WILL fall! Don’t worry about it, just chill out and get back on your board. Try to stay on your back wheels for as long as you can.
After a while of doing this, we can move on to the next step:
- Acquire the Duckwalk
The next step is fun, but it might look silly. But, it does help! I learned it from a very wise skater, who then went on to play hockey…
You can do this on a flat street or concrete driveway outside or on your carpet at home. Anywhere you like. Stand on your skateboard with your back foot on the board’s tail. In the same way, put your front foot across the nose of your skateboard.
Now, put your feet on the front and back of the skateboard and try to walk. You do this by shifting your weight to one foot and swinging the other foot forward a little while still on the skateboard. Do this over and over again. As I said, this might seem a little silly, but don’t take it too seriously and have fun with it. It’s a good idea.
- Frontside Turns
Now you are actually ready to kickturn. Stand on your skateboard with your back foot on the tail and your front foot on or behind the front trucks. This can be done on carpet or on the ground. If you start on carpet, you should move on to pavement as soon as possible so you don’t get into bad habits.
Just like with the balance exercise, you should shift your weight a little to the back of your skateboard and lift the nose off the ground. Also, push the nose of the skateboard a little behind you while the nose is in the air. To do this, use your toes to push or scoop back. Don’t worry about turning too much; just try to turn a little.
This is called a Frontside Kickturn because your front is on the outside of the turn.
At first, you probably won’t turn very much. But keep working on it. Notice how it helps to move your arms and hips. Do small kickturns until you’ve gone all the way around. Then do it again, but try to turn all the way around with as few kickturns as possible! Try to beat your own records by practicing for a while.
Once you can kickturn about 90 degrees, you can either keep practicing or move on to the next step:
- Backside Turns
This goes in a different direction. The basic idea is the same, but most skaters find frontside kickturns easier to do than backside kickturns. You push with your heel this time.
Do backside kickturns and make a full circle, just like you did with the frontside kickturn. Do more, and try to beat what you’ve already done.
Once you know how to turn both ways, try combining the two. Do a short kickturn in one direction, then another short kickturn in the opposite direction. You can move forward if you do them quickly and swing your weight forward. Tic-tacing is a real skateboard move that is very helpful if you don’t want to get off your board and just want to move a short distance.
At first, you will move very slowly or even backwards! Push your weight forward and keep going. Set a goal for yourself—try to go a few feet, and then try to tic tac all the way across the street.
Pay attention to how your arms, shoulders, and hips move as you practice. Don’t be afraid to really move around in the turns. If you mess up, get back up and try again. If you fall while skateboarding, you shouldn’t stop for a day unless you are really hurt. If you feel good, it’s good to get back on your skateboard and do a little more.
- Mastering Kickturns
Now you should know the basics of kickturning. From here on out, it’s just a matter of practice, confidence, and adding kickturns to your regular skateboarding.
As your confidence grows, try doing kickturns while you’re moving. Try doing a kickturn on a ramp (ride up a little ways, kickturn 180, and come back down). The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it.
I’ve seen a lot of skaters get good at turning in one direction but not practice kickturning in the other. This is fine, but I think you should stop doing it. If you want to be a really confident skater, you should be able to kickturn in any direction you need to. So, as you learn more skateboarding tricks, don’t forget to practice your kickturns every once in a while. You should be able to do a 180 kickturn in either direction. Even go for 360 kickturns. And always have a good time! You are now ready to learn how to do a kickflip.
This finishes our guide on how to do a kickturn on a skateboard. Right now, it might sound scary and hard to do. Still, if you work hard and practice, you will definitely be able to do it one day. Add this skill to your regular skateboarding slowly, and you’ll get there.
Try to do the kick turn while you’re moving as you keep practicing. You can also make the challenge harder by doing it on a ramp or some other obstacle. Just keep in mind that you need to practice and get used to the move before you can do it perfectly and with confidence.