Skateboarding is a thrilling dance between creativity and skill, and nothing exemplifies this more than the art of grinding. Rail grinding, in particular, holds a special place in the hearts of skaters, offering a mix of adrenaline, technical challenge, and pure style. If you’re ready to elevate your skateboarding game and conquer those rails like a pro, let’s dive into the techniques, tips, and mindset that will have you grinding like a legend.

Understanding Deck Rails: The Foundation of Grinding

Before we launch into the how-to’s, it’s crucial to grasp the basics of deck rails. These metal edges, running along the underside of your skateboard, are the contact points during a grind. Their design and material play a significant role in your success. Wider rails offer more stability, while narrower rails allow for quicker tricks. As for material, steel is durable but heavier, while aluminum is lighter but can wear down faster.

Essential Gear: Setting Yourself Up for Success

Grinding takes a toll on your gear, so proper preparation is key:

  • Skateboard with appropriate rails: Choose a board designed for grinding, with suitable rail width and material.
  • Wax: Apply wax to the rails and the obstacle you’re grinding. This reduces friction and helps you maintain speed and control.
  • Protective gear: Helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards are non-negotiable.
  • Skate shoes with good grip: Shoes with flat soles and grippy material will keep your feet locked onto your board.

The Art of the Grind: Techniques and Progressions

Grinding isn’t just about sliding along a rail – it’s about finesse and flow. Here’s a breakdown of fundamental techniques and progressions:

  1. 50-50 Grind: The most basic grind, where both trucks slide along the rail simultaneously. Start with low curbs and gradually progress to higher rails.
  2. Boardslide: In a boardslide, your board is perpendicular to the rail, with your body facing the direction of travel. This is a stylish trick that requires balance and control.
  3. Crooked Grind: A combination of a 50-50 and a boardslide, the crooked grind involves angling your board diagonally across the rail.
  4. Nosegrind and Tailslide: These grinds focus on balancing on either the nose or tail of your board, adding an extra layer of difficulty and flair.
How to do a grind on a skateboard?

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Mastering the Grind: Tips from the Pros

  • Speed and Commitment: Approach the rail with enough speed to carry you through the grind. Hesitation can lead to falls.
  • Body Positioning: Keep your knees bent and your center of gravity low for stability. Lean slightly forward in a 50-50 and into the direction of travel in a boardslide.
  • Wax Maintenance: Regularly reapply wax to ensure smooth slides. Carry a wax block or candle with you.
  • Practice and Progression: Start small and gradually work your way up to bigger rails and more complex tricks.

Related: Breathe New Life into Your Ride: The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Skateboard Bearings

The Mindset of a Grinder: Beyond the Technical

Grinding is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Here are some mindset tips:

  • Visualize Success: Before attempting a grind, picture yourself landing it perfectly. This mental rehearsal can boost your confidence and performance.
  • Embrace Failure: Falls are inevitable. Learn from them, dust yourself off, and get back on your board.
  • Find Your Flow: Grinding is an expression of your style and creativity. Experiment with different tricks and lines to find what resonates with you.

Elevating Your Game: Advanced Grinding Techniques

As you become more comfortable with basic grinds, you can explore advanced techniques like:

  • Feeble Grind: A variation of a smith grind where your front truck is on the coping and your back truck is on the rail.
  • Overcrook Grind: Similar to a crooked grind, but with a steeper angle and more rotation.
  • Lipslide: A variation of a boardslide where you approach the rail at a slight angle.


Grinding is a thrilling journey that combines skill, style, and a whole lot of fun. By mastering the fundamentals, honing your technique, and embracing the mindset of a true grinder, you’ll be conquering rails and pushing your skateboarding boundaries in no time. Remember, skateboarding is about expressing yourself and having a blast. So get out there, experiment, and grind like the legend you are!

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