The Ultimate Guide to Skimboard Tricks: How to Do Skimboard Tricks

There are dozens of different tricks that can be done on a skimboard. Some can be learned fairly quickly, and others can take months of practice. The following skimboard tricks tutorial discusses moves at four different levels: skimboard tricks for beginners, intermediate skimboard tricks, advanced skimboard tricks, as well as the best skimboard tricks for expert skimmers.

Beginners | Intermediate | Advanced | Expert

Skimboard Tricks for Beginners

When you’re first mastering the skimboard, try your hand at these beginner tricks. Once you’ve got them down, you can use them to build on for more advanced maneuvers:

The Spin

  1. Squat down and touch the sand or water with one hand;
  2. Use the other hand to make the spin.
The key is to bend your knees and squat, which will keep your gravity balanced just over the center. For better results, adjust your leaning to keep the front of your board just slightly above the water. If the board goes under, it'll ruin your spin.

The faster you get, the better you'll become at these spins.

Flat Backside 180

A 180-degree backside involves rotating your board halfway around on the water with your back foot.

  1. Turn your hips.
  2. Swing your back leg toward your back.

Don't place all the emphasis on your feet; your hips are crucial to this move. If you're having trouble, turn your head in the direction of your back shoulder. This will help your body complete the turn. Alternately, you could try moving your whole upper body backwards, but only when you're learning this move. Soon, you'll want to get used to looking down in order to view your landing. Once you've learned how to pull off this move quickly, you'll be ready to proceed to more advanced tricks.

Flat Frontside 180

The 180-degree frontside is similar to the backside, but in the other direction. Here, you use your front foot to rotate backward.
  1. Turn your hips.
  2. Kick your back leg forward, and your board should do a 180 along with this move.

Hip rotation is key here; don't overemphasize your feet. As with the backside, turn your head toward your back shoulder if you're having difficulty, and this will help your body complete the rotation. Another trick is to rotate your upper body into a forward-facing direction. Eventually, you'll want to be able to nail this move with your head looking down at your landing. After you get the knack for accomplishing this move as swiftly as possible, you'll have mastered one of the basics.

Shoot the Duck

  1. Squat down with your back leg forward and your back hand touching the back of your board.
  2. For best results, swiftly stick the forward-raised foot into the sand and then grab your toes.
  3. Rise up into a standing position to complete this move.

Body Varial

In this move, you jump and rotate in the air, and then land back on your board. You can accomplish this move with the following steps:

  1. Bend your legs.
  2. Wind your arms.
  3. Jump and rotate.
  4. Land back on your board.
  5. Ride it out.

Body varials can be performed frontside or backside with either 180 or 360-degree rotations. With the frontside varial, you rotate backward with your front shoulder. With the trickier backside varial, you rotate backward with your back shoulder. Higher jumps make the rotating part easier. To prevent your board from spinning under you while you jump, use your upper body—not your feet—to create the upward propulsion in your jump. Better yet, have a partner stand on scene to call the jump for you. Not knowing whether it's a forward or backward varial until you've jumped can help prevent adverse movement of your board.

Hippy Jump

The point of this move is to jump over a branch or rail while your board goes under. To pull off the hippy jump:
  1. Slightly bend your knees as you approach the object.
  2. Jump into the air with your knees pulled up tight.
  3. Land back on the board as it comes out the other side.

If the object is high, avoid giving too much pop, because that might cause the board to hit the object.

Intermediate Skimboard Tricks

After you've mastered the beginner tricks and have solid control of your board, it’s time to move on to intermediate maneuvers. The majority of these tricks involve pops and 180-degree rotations:


For this trick, you'll need a body of water that's four inches deep or more.

  1. When you come toward the deep part of the water, your feet will need to be spread shoulder-width apart with the back foot pressed back and your knees sharply bent.
  2. Once you arrive at the deep spot, press your back foot down; this will push the front of the board upward.
  3. As this is happening, slide your front foot off the front edge of the board.
  4. Pull your legs into your torso, and then straighten the board with your front foot.
  5. As you land, try to take the impact with your legs.

It's crucial to have your knees sharply bent before this move, because that will make it possible to do the high jumps required of the ollie. Posture is also key; a straight line between your head and the board should land exactly halfway between your two feet. Speed is one of the benchmarks of success with the ollie, but you can challenge yourself further by performing the move over an object.

Backside 180

In this move, you pop your board from the water and rotate yourself and the board 180 degrees.

  1. To prepare for the backside, turn your shoulders opposite of the direction you plan to rotate.
  2. Bend your knees and pop the board.
  3. Turn your shoulders the other way and make your spin along with the board; hip rotation is key here.

For the best possible results, keep your back foot as far back as possible. If you initially have problems rotating, allow your head to lead the way; your torso will follow. Eventually, you'll want to get into the habit of looking down as you spin so you can view your landing. Of course, mastery of flat backsides and ollies are essential before you tackle the backside 180. Caveat: a third of the board rotation might be completed after landing.

Frontside 180

As with the backside, this involves spinning yourself and your board halfway around. Here, however, you rotate your front foot toward your back while facing your direction for the first 90 degrees.

  1. To get started, wind up your shoulders in the opposite direction of your spin.
  2. Pop the board and let your shoulders unwind.
  3. Keep turning until you've completed a 180-degree rotation.
  4. As you do this, turn the board under your feet.
  5. Bend your knees and land.

As you first practice this trick, you might need to complete the board rotations after landing. Before you try the frontside 180, it's crucial to have your flat frontside and ollie mastered. If you find the rotation difficult, begin with your shoulders facing forward; this way you won't have to wind them as far. If you're having trouble completing a full spin, wind your shoulders up further and unwind them more swiftly.

Backside Shuvit

In this move, you jump into the air without making a spin while the board spins underneath.

  1. Bend your knees.
  2. Jump up, and rotate the board with your back foot.
  3. Once the board has finished its 180-degree turn, bring your feet down on the board—front foot center, back foot at the back.
  4. Bend your knees and land.

Throughout this move, it's important to keep your gravity at the center of the board. Since your back foot will be doing the spin, keep it as far back on the board as possible. Don't put too much pressure on the spin since smoothness is key. Once you've mastered the shuvit, you can add some pop to the trick with the following additions:

  • Bend your knees further.
  • Push down on the board with your back foot, and shuvit at the same time.

Frontside Shuvit

As with the last trick, this involves jumping without turning while the board is spun. But this time, the board is spun 180 degrees from front to back.

  1. Bend your knees and send the board rotating frontside with force from your back foot.
  2. While you jump, watch the board as it rotates.
  3. Land your front foot at the center and your back foot at the tail—knees bent—as the board completes its turn.
  4. Frontside shuvits are generally considered harder than backsides; you might need to press harder on the board to make it complete a full frontside rotation. To get the best results, keep your knees bent, your gravity centered over the board's top, and your back foot as far back as possible.

    Small Spin

    This trick combines a backside 180 shuvit and a frontside 180 varial, with the body and board spinning in opposite directions. To accomplish the small spin, do both of the aforementioned moves—backside shuvit and frontside 180—at the same time.

    1. Keep your knees slightly tucked so your feet don't stop the shuvit spin.
    2. Look at the board as it rotates in the opposite direction of your body.
    3. Brace the board with your feet as the two realign.
    4. Follow the general foot rules as you land—front foot center, back foot tail—and bend your knees.

    The small spin can also be done with a frontside shuvit and backside varial. With this move, the angular momentum is advantageous because the board will naturally rotate in the opposite direction of your body; therefore, you can use your feet to propel yourself. If you find the body spins difficult, practice on varials beforehand.

    Advanced Skimboard Tricks

    Mastery of the beginner and intermediate tricks pave the way for the advanced maneuvers. The majority of these advanced tricks include board pops, varials, and 360-degree spins:

    Backside 360 Shuvit

    Like its 180-degree equivalent, the 360 shuvit can be performed in backside or frontside variations. With the 360, the board is "shuved" in a full clockwise rotation with regularly footed skimmers, or in a counter-clockwise rotation with goofy-footed (left footed) skimmers.

    This can be accomplished by shuving your back foot backward on the jump; with a hard enough shuv, the board will have done a complete 360-degree spin underneath your feet by the time you land. The key here is not to go spinning the board super fast just so it'll complete in time. Another key is to give the board ample room for a smooth spin, and you can pull that off by raising your knees higher to your torso as you jump. Without a smooth spin, the whole trick can get bumpy or otherwise harder to complete.

    It takes considerable leg strength to spin the board 360 degrees. To get your legs into shape for the demands of a 360 shuvit, consider practicing the move on carpet. While the surface of carpet is easier than water, it can get you prepared for when you do hit the beach. Once you get to the point of handling 100 full-spin shuvits at a time, take your talent to the water for the real deal. Start in shallow water, where it's easier to spin a full rotation and land successfully.

    It's also important to keep the board directly under you, with your gravity centered between your legs. Some skimmers make the mistake of leaning back too far on the pop, which only causes the board to shoot from the bottom. When this happens, it's hard to land the jump smoothly. Also, don't land your jumps with straight legs; keep your knees bent the whole time. With bent knees, you'll be able to keep your gravity centered and absorb the impact with greater ease. Furthermore, don't worry about giving the board "pop." By focusing on a bent-legged, high propulsion elevation, the board should follow naturally. Once this becomes second nature, you can then proceed to pop the board with a bit of force.

    Frontside 360 Shuvit

    Much the same as the frontside shuvit, only with a 360-degree spin, this trick involves shuving the front of the board on a full, backward rotation.

    1. Push your back leg frontward to start the board spinning.
    2. As the board completes its full spin, land your feet—knees bent—onto the surface and finish the ride.
    3. Lift your knees high while jumping to give the board more room and time to spin; this will allow for a softer landing. Don't try to force the board to spin faster; that will only make things jerky.

    The frontside 360 shuvit is generally considered more difficult than its backside counterpart because it's easier to kick your foot backward than forward for a spin. But as with the backside 360, you can work your way up to this trick by practicing on carpet, and then moving to shallow water for your early full-spin shuvits. Alternately, it might be easier to complete part of the rotation after you've landed. You can do this by rotating your hips while in the air and catching the board earlier—say at around 275 degrees—and then finishing the spin on water.

    No Compleezy

    With this move, you pop the board upward while briefly touching the ground with your back foot. There are many ways you can do this trick, but one of the neatest is a backside shuvit/no compleezy combo.

    1. To begin the trick, take to the board with the proper stance: front foot at the center, back foot at the tail.
    2. Bend your knees and shuv the board.
    3. While the board is in the midst of its rotation, stomp the water with your back foot.
    4. Instead of trying to jump really high, raise your knees high as you jump.
    5. As the board completes its spin, take it at the center under your right foot.
    6. Slide your back foot onto the tail, and ride it out.

    This trick can also be practiced on carpet. Just remember to watch where the board is because your back foot could get whacked if it stomps too close behind the board as it spins. Your front ankle could also get hurt if the foot lands on the board before it has finished spinning.

    Backside Bigspin

    This trick, in which your body rotates in the same direction as your board, is a combination of the 180 backside varial and the 360 backside shuvit. Pulling off the trick requires the following moves:

    1. With your knees bent, pop the board with your back foot to initiate the spin.
    2. As the board is in rotation, do the 180-degree backside varial.
    3. With your eyes on the board, try to catch it with your feet as it completes its 360-degree spin. If it doesn't make it all the way, don't be too concerned; just catch the board and complete its rotation on the water.
    4. To absorb the shock, keep your knees bent as you land.

    Before you try this, make sure you have your 180 backside mastered. A few tips that should help make the bigspin easier: wind up your shoulders in advance; jump high, and rotate with your upper body. Avoid jumping with too much foot force, as that will cause the board to go the wrong way. Instead, raise your knees as you jump. If you have difficulty with the shuvit, spin the board about 80 degrees while it's still on the water before making the pop and jump.

    Frontside Bigspin

    This is similar to the trick above, but in reverse. This bigspin combines a 360 frontside shuvit and a 180 frontside varial, with board and body rotating the same way. The trick requires the following steps:

    1. Bend your knees.
    2. Pop the board.
    3. Kick your back leg frontward.
    4. As the board rotates, pull your knees up into the air and do a 180 frontside varial.
    5. Try to make your landing occur as the board completes its 360, but don't sweat if it doesn't. Focus primarily on landing with your knees bent so you can hold your posture and ride the board out smoothly.

    If necessary, complete the board's rotation in the water after you land back upon its surface. Winding your shoulders up the opposite way in advance of your lift can give your spin more power. Don't rely too much on your feet for upward propulsion; that could send the board spinning the wrong way.


    Another combination, this one consists of a 360 backside shuvit and a 180 frontside varial, with body and board spinning in opposite directions. To pull off this trick, do both the shuvit and varial simultaneously.
    1. As you lift your body into the air, pull your knees up toward your torso; this will give your board more time to complete its rotation of 360 degrees.
    2. Keep yourself directly above the board as you complete your 180-degree varial.
    3. With your eyes on the board, come down on its surface—front foot middle, back foot tail, knees bent—as it finishes the full rotation.

    In order to pull off the biospin, you'll need to have nailed the 360 shuvit. If you find the body rotations difficult, spend some time working on your body varials. The biospin can also be done in a reverse combination: a 360 frontside shuvit and a 180 backside varial.

Expert Skimboard Tricks

The following tricks are among the most difficult skimboarding stunts, even for advanced skimmers:

Backside 540 Shuvit

Assuming you've now mastered your 360 backside shuvit, perhaps you're ready for a trick consisting of a 540-degree board rotation? With this trick, you'll be shuving the board in the direction of your back for a full rotation and a half. To pull the whole thing off, you’ll:

  1. Bend your knees.
  2. Spin the board with your back foot, and jump.
  3. With an eye on the board, pull your knees up tight in the air.
  4. As it finishes the 540-degree spin, come down on the board with your knees still bent and ride out the move.

You'll need to jump high to give the board time to complete its rotation. If you're unable to stay in the air long enough, complete the rotation on the water. In order to do things that way, swivel your hips as you jump, and land the board a little early. Leg strength is especially important for the backside 540 shuvit, which can also be done on carpet in preparation for the real thing.

Frontside 540 Shuvit

Similar to the above trick, only this time the front of the board is rotated 540 degrees toward your back. To accomplish this trick:

  1. Bend your knees.
  2. Jump high up above, and shove the board by pushing your back foot frontward.
  3. With your eye on the rotating board, take it under your feet as it completes a full rotation and a half.
  4. Keeping your knees bent for a smooth landing, ride out the board.

Only tackle this move after you've mastered the frontside 360 shuvit. If you have trouble nailing the 540, practice the trick on carpet.

To master all of these moves, it's crucial to have a solid board for your weight, speed, and wave height. At Outdoor Board Sports, we carry a wide array of Zap, Victoria, and Apex skimboards. To learn more about what we have to offer, visit us online today> to view our vast inventory of skimboards and skimboard products.

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