Note: This FAQ was written circa 1994. While most of the answers are still informative and relevant, this document is no longer being updated or maintained.


This is the FAQ file compiled by the members of the alt.skate-board Usenet newsgroup. Most of the questions tend to be asked by people who skated as a kid, possibly gave up for a while, and have now realised what they're missing. At the moment people with access to the 'net tend to be slightly older than the average skater. As a result this FAQ serves a specific purpose in a certain way and does not necessarily provide a complete picture of skating today. (Journalists trawling for background information beware!)

Please remember this is an international resource and some of the information may not be appropriate for your part of the world. Your language, spelling and terminology may vary.

This FAQ was originally compiled by Tim Leighton-Boyce. Thanks Tim!
Click here for a text version of this document.

Back to DansWORLD.

The Questions

And the Frequently Asked Questions in the alt.skate-board Usenet newsgroup these days are...

1. I want to Get Back Into Skateboarding.

Beg, borrow, steal or buy a board. Go skate.

2. Equipment

2.i What is a "New School" board?

This question is asked by many borne-again skaters who skated in the late eighties, gave up for a while, and are now surprised by the new style of equipment they find in the shops. "Old School" refers to the eighties type equipment many skaters on the 'net grew up with. For information about the older stuff (not such a frequently asked question), see the history section.

2.ii Why Would I Want A "New School" Board?

2.iii How Much Does a New Board Cost?

You can buy complete "toy" skateboards, made in places like Taiwan, in the appropriate shops. Here we're talking about the cost of what we would call a "real" skateboard, all of them made in the USA. There is a vast difference in terms of performance.

2.iv Where Can I Get a Board?

You need to either find a shop which specialises in skateboard equipment or use mail order (unless you know a sponsored skater, of course.) Check the magazine list to find your local mag, which will probably have adverts. If there are no magazines, or no skate-shops in your country you'll need to mail order from another country. The cheapest place will be in the USA, so get a copy of Thrasher which carries lots of mail order ads.

2.v What Kind of Equipment is Best?

Stuff you get for free. The US stuff is generally the best to go with, by "real" companies. For locally produced stuff, best to ask a local skater.

2.v.i Should I get Wood or Slick?

Wood decks are made out of plain maple laminates. Slick boards have a layer of slippery plastic bonded to the bottom.

You can have just wood, but not just the slick part. Slick on wood if you require extra slide/strength. Slick decks are usually heavier than wood ones. Current preference of most serious skaters is for wood these days. It also works out cheaper.

2.v.ii Wheels - Big or Little?

Medium thanks.

Wheel sizes plunged below 40mm in the early nineties, but since then they've increased again.

2.v.iii Risers or Not?

Small ones or none for small wheels.

2.v.iv How Wide Should my Trucks be?

So your wheels are level or even slightly in from the deck edges, when set-up.

2.v.v Do Bearings Really Matter?

Only if you want your wheels to roll. I never clean them or lube them as I'd rather be actually skating than toying with my board. Exceptions are during winter when there is plenty of time to do shit like that, or when something is really drastically fucking up overall board performance, or your board just went for a swim.

But if you're serious about this kind of thing...

608zz bearings. Two to a wheel. make wheel roll. common bearings, w/ my opinions: NMB: standard, good, American (?); GMN: German, really good; Black Russians: really fast, black, don't seem like they're good until you're rolling on them; SKF, Singapore, shitty, slow, blowouts, Michael Fey; Swiss, Powell made, among others, super fast, not worth it for street, ramps, okay. This is a precision bearing (ah, hell, they ALL are) and I think it's a waste to get them grimy in the street. Quickies, Shorty's brand, fast, removable shield so they can be cleaned or rode w/o. The rating system for bearings is called ABEC. ABEC 1 is standard, and ABEC 3 is the best (as far as we're concerned). Swiss is ABEC 3, and Quickies is ABEC 1 w/ some ABEC 3 properties. [regurgitation mode off] Yes, in-liners use the same bearing. What a waste of an entry. Should I wear Pads?

Not if you want to look cool and move well. If you are a vert skater this statement should be ignored if you want to live to a ripe old age, or at all, really.

Return to List of Questions

3. Skateboard Magazines

This list only includes commercial magazines which should be available via skate shops in the relevant countries. Magazines marked * should also be available at news-stands.

There are details of magazines from these countries:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Britain
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • USA
  • There's also information about specialist magazines concentrating on for example, Slalom and Downhill Racing.

    Video Magazines are also listed.


    PO Box 823, Burleigh Heads, QLD 4220, AUSTRALIA.
    Return to List of Countries


    *(?) Skatin
    Rua Paquetita 145, 70 Andar, Conj. 71, Vila Olimpia, Sao Paulo, SO, CEP, 04552, BRAZIL (11 2125233) [Still publishing? What about Trip?]
    Return to List of Countries


    *Sidewalk Surfer
    2a The Bridge Centre, Bridge Street, Abingdon, OXON, OX14 3HN ENGLAND
    Phone +44 (0)1235 536229
    Fax +44 (0)1235 536230
    Return to List of Countries


    * Concrete Powder,
    7411 Elmbridge Way, Richmond, BC, V6X 2B8 CANADA (604 279 8408) [+ snowboarding]
    Return to List of Countries


    18 rue Marcel Miquel, 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux, FRANCE (4662 9568)
    Return to List of Countries


    *(?) Monster Mag
    Friedrich-Ebert Str 15, D 4400 Munster GERMANY (251 520052)
    Return to List of Countries


    *(?) XXX Magazine
    Via 1 Maggio, 9 - 22073 Fino Mornasco (COMO) ITALY (031 880 562)
    Return to List of Countries


    Lovely Magazine...
    [details to follow] (a big crappy fashion mag with maybe 3 or 4 photos of skating in every issue).
    Return to List of Countries


    *(?) Skate,
    #115-B, Col. Lomas de Barrilaco, 11100 D.F. MEXICO (516 96 333435)
    Return to List of Countries


    * Surf/Skate
    Rua de Jogo, fs Xico Morgado, Bolembre, 2710 Sintra, PORTUGAL (3511 4716958)
    Return to List of Countries


    *Skeit Novosti
    28 Volzhskaya St, Saratov, 410601, RUSSIA. (845 2 260509)
    Return to List of Countries


    *Tres 60 Skate
    C/Iparraguirre, 59, 2.0, Santurce-Vizcaya, 48980, SPAIN. (4 461 4474)
    Return to List of Countries


    Box 23126, Stockholm, F-10435, SWEDEN (08 330030) [various things including skateboarding]
    Return to List of Countries


    *Big Brother
    815 N. Nash El Segundo CA 90245 USA (310 640 7082)
    [Might as well use the same address as Thrasher]
    1303 Underwood Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94124 USA (415 822 3083)
    *Transworld Skateboarding
    353 Airport Road, Oceanside, CA 92033 USA (619 722 7777)
    Return to List of Countries


    At the moment the list does not include zines. But there is at least one non-commercial specialist magazine which has been going for many years and has a truly international distribution via subscription.

    c/o Jani Soderhall 14 Allee d'Arachon F-91370 Verriers le Buisson FRANCE


    1351A Logan Ave Costa Mesa Ca 92626 (714 641 7037)
    1303 Underwood Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94124 USA (415 822 3083)
    Return to List of Countries

    4. What is a Skating Video?

    A video tape showing skaters doing their thing, like eating strange objects, destroying property, crashing cars, chasing Bettys, throwing up, shooting up, blowing things up, and possibly some of the best skateboarding you are likely to ever see if you don't live in a major skate centre on this planet. May contain harsh language, distressing images, soft pornography, subliminal messages, back-masking and skating, music and image quality that ranges from "I could do better than that!" (So, why don't you?) to "Oh fuck, did you see that?" (No, I was ordering the pizza, can we rewind it again and see it in slow motion please?)

    Return to List of Questions

    5. How do I learn to skate?

    Beg, borrow, steal or buy a board. Go skate.

    5.i What are the Basic Tricks?

    Staying on long enough to do the next trick. Skating for years without breaking too many bones. Kickturns, fakies, backside and frontside airs, grinds, 50-50's, rock'n'rolls, board slides, Ollies, Texans 'cos they make me laugh (yeah!).

    5.ii What is Switch-stance?

    Doing a trick as if you were opposite footed to what you naturally are. If you have no natural stance, you really are new school and shouldn't even be reading this. If you don't know what your natural stance is, you'd better keep reading.

    5.iii What is the difference between ramp and street skating?

    Ramp skating happens on ramps, while street skating happens just about everywhere else except pools, concrete parks, slalom courses, roller rinks, contest freestyle areas, etc. Unless of course there is a bench or some other obstacle nearby. Street skating, despite its name, rarely happens on streets. The things you actually skate while street skating are pretty hard for cars and stuff to get at.

    5.iv What Other Forms of Skating are There?

    Slalom, downhill (try it, it nearly killed me once), freestyle, vertical (not just ramps, there was a day when concrete skate structures were erected specifically for skateboarders), pool, utilitarian (skate down the shop for a coke), soul (skate by yourself at your local spot like I do), bank/ditch (my personal favourite)...

    Return to List of Questions

    6 Where Can I Skate?

    Anywhere they don't bust you, and sometimes even there.
    Most skating at the moment takes place in areas not intended for skating. People skate anywhere and everywhere throughout our cities. Over the years different types of purpose built skate facilities have been developed, but few have matched the challenge of the every-day surroundings of our urban lives.

    6.i What is a Skate Park?

    It's a place for skaters to narc each other out and see who has the freshest pants this week. Some people skate too. I don't think many actually exist in the US due to litigation-madness, but in the rest of the world there are even free public spots to be scoped. Hell, there's even a good one in my home town.

    6.ii What are some Famous Skate Spots?

    What a question!

    6.iii Ramps

    6.iii.i How can I Build a Ramp?

    Buy or, better yet, steal the materials and con a carpenter friend into helping you do it. Thrasher Magazine sell plans.

    Heckler Magazine has online ramp plans.

    Also, a separate ramp building tips FAQ is available at DansWORLD.

    6.iii.ii What are the Different Kinds of Ramps?

    6.iii.iii How Much do they Cost to Build?

    Depends on the size and local material costs. I think my local "standard" ramp cost about $AUS14,000 complete with concrete foundations, two platforms, one set of steps, a bench, a bin, two trees, some bark landscaping and some safety fencing.

    6.iii.iv What kind of Legalities are There Regarding Ramp Building?

    Impossible to answer in an international document like this. That would be different in different places. You'd better see "the authorities", council, or whatever.

    6.iii.v Who Should I let Skate My Ramp?

    Anyone you damn-well like, and no-one you don't. Let people who are visiting have a go and maybe people you just met, but be careful they don't come back to rob your house, steal your belongings, burn down your ramp, rape your pets, etc.

    Return to List of Questions

    History Section

    The history section is starting to take shape as a separate series of documents at the Dansworld site.

    Return to List of Questions

    Jargon Section

    Turns or rotations in the direction your toes point towards, so that your back is facing the outside of the arc. Sometimes abbreviated as 'bs' or 'b/s'
    A trick where you lift your front truck over the lip/coping/what-have-you and slide. Also: railslide.
    Riding backwards. We should note here that when riding fakie, your weight is balanced as in your normal stance, whereas switch-stance requires you to adjust your balance to suit a slightly different style of trick. I'd also like to point out that the distinction between switch-stance and normal is fast disappearing as people now immediately learn to ride both ways. Hopefully, in a few years, goofy-foot and regular foot will no longer exist.
    Flip Essentials
    Flip tricks are the core of modern street skating.
    Hard flip
    A heelflip or kickflip varial the 'hard way.' Hard heelflip (also inside heelflip): b/s varial heelflip. Hard kickflip: f/s varial kickflip.
    Ollie, front foot goes to the toe side of the board, flicking the board with the ball of the foot, flips. land.
    Kickflip Ollie, Ollie kickflip, Ollie flip. Ollie, front foot goes to the heel side of the board, flicking the board with your toes, board flips, land.
    Nollie kickflip
    Ollie off the nose (nollie), kick the board with toes toward the heel side of the board with back foot.
    360 flip
    A 360 degree b/s varial kickflip.
    Rotation of board or body.
    Turns or rotations in the direction your heels point towards, so that your front is facing towards the outside of the arc. Sometimes abbreviated as 'fs' or 'f/s'
    Someone whose normal skate stance is with the right foot forward. [surfers] As opposed to regular-foot.
    Moving along an edge (coping, bench, curb, etc.) with your trucks. Scraping your trucks along an edge as you skate.
    • Types of grinds:
      • Crooked: nosegrind with nose sliding at the same time. Also: K
      • B/s feeble: back truck grinding, b/s, toe-side rail grinding (sliding?) edge (front truck is over the deck). Also: grapefruit.
      • 50-50: both trucks grinding.
      • 5-O: just back truck grinding.
      • Nosegrind: just front truck grinding.
      • F/s Smith: back truck grinding, front body facing edge, with toe-side rail grinding edge also.
      • B/s Smith: back truck grinding, front body facing away from edge (back to the edge), with heel-side rail grinding edge.
    • (all tricks can be done b/s, f/s, fakie, etc. Explanations are for clarity and visualising)
    A slide where your tail is over the deck (imaginary or real, and two-sided curbs are temporarily being excluded from examples). You can get into this by either b/s or f/s 180 Ollie (approx. measurements for street tricks, real for ramp/pool), or fakieing into it, whether fakie Ollie or just lifting your back end (tail end) up over the coping/lip/ledge. (other possibilities: fakie lipslide may be called a switch boardslide) Also: disaster slide.
    A style of pushing where the back foot is kept on the board, and pushing is done with the front foot. Very common in switch-stance skating. [viz. Bill Danforth] Also: wrong-footed.
    The front of the board, from the front two truck bolts to the end. (and don't get smart and point to the _other_ end, asshole)
    Sliding the underside of the nose end of a board on a ledge or lip.
    Someone whose normal skate stance is with the left foot forward. [cf. 'goofy-foot']
    Skateboarding in the opposite stance than accustomed to, and passing it off as 'normal'. i.e. a goofy-foot riding regular, and vice versa.
    The back end of the board, from the back two truck bolts to the end. (for this one, too!)
    Sliding the underside of the tail end of a board on a ledge or lip.

    Return to List of Questions


    The alt.skate-board FAQ is the work of, among others,

    Dan Dunham

    Matthew B Gross

    Tim Leighton-Boyce

    John Nixon

    Rick Valenzuela

    We've put this thing together for free, for the benefit of the on-line (not in-) skating community. Please respect that. By all means treat it as a source of information, but please do not reproduce it for commercial gain in magazines, CD-roms, etc. Publishing instructions on where to find it is much better: those who have WWW access will always find the latest version, and those who don't might be encouraged to get connected and track down alt.skate-board -- making the scene better for all of us.

    This version: October 24th 1995