A clean grind is one of the most satisfying tricks you can do in skateboarding. The problem is that there are SO many variations on grinds that it’s easy to get confused especially when you’re just getting started.
So I put together this little visual guide as a reference so you can quickly see what each grind is.
Anyway, let’s just dive into it.
What is a Grind?
After you have learned to ollie and have been skating for a while, it is time to learn your first grind. But what is a grind?
A skateboard grind refers to a part of the skateboard other than the wheels to slide across a rail, edge of an object, or coping on a ramp. The most common objects to grind are handrails, ramp copings, and low ledges. However, there are almost infinite obstacles that could be grinded. Skateboarders often use wax to reduce the friction of a surface and make it possible to grind.
The most iconic grind might be the simple Boardslide, but endless variations exist with tricks being added as you go into and out of a grind. Typically, skaters learn their first grinds on a simple grind rail. These are flat bars or rails that are close to the ground and are designed to be grinded. You can find them relatively cheaply from online retailers like Amazon.
If you’re a chronic solo skater, check out my guide to skating alone with tips to progress and enjoy yourself more.
Skateboard Grinds and Variations
A Boardslide is probably the easiest grind you can learn. It involves balancing on the middle of your board with your feet placed on each tail. You are not grinding on the trucks of your board. You need to ollie and turn 90-degrees to start the grind. This is often the first grind beginners learn.
It’s not easy to Boardslide a ledge and mostly this trick is for handrails or grind rails.
The Tail Slide refers to sliding along a rail or ledge on the tail of your board. The tail refers to the back of your skateboard. You are not grinding on your trucks. This grind is actually quite hard to get into as you will need to ollie decently high and shift your weight to your back foot as you turn your board.
While the trick isn’t considered the hardest grind by far, it is probably the first challenging grind that you will learn. Getting into the grind cleanly isn’t easy.
Nose Slides refer to sliding along a rail or ledge on the nose of your board. The nose refers to the front of your board. You are not grinding on the trucks, only sliding the nose of your board. This grind is much easier than a Tail Slide as you don’t even really need to ollie to get into the grind. You can often simply get away with bringing up the front of your board over the ledge and putting your weight onto the nose.
That isn’t to say that this trick is incredibly easy though as it is definitely a step above board slides in difficulty.
A 50-50 Grind is a grind along both of the trucks of your board. This is the simplest grind that involves your trucks and the board is balanced equally between both trucks. You can do this grind backside as well as frontside like most of these grinds.
You need to learn a slight variation on the ollie so that you can ollie to the side slightly and onto a rail or ledge. This is a grind that most skaters try to learn at some point.
The 5-0 Grind could be considered a variation on the 50-50 Grind. The 5-0 Grind refers to balancing on one truck as if it was a manual while you do your grind. So the trick looks like a 50-50 Grind, but with the nose of the board raised up in the air.
You can do this trick frontside or backside though frontside is typically easier. Once you can control a manual well and ollie, then you should be ready for this trick. It is a step up in difficulty from the 50-50 Grind though.
A Nose Grind refers to grinding while balanced on the front truck of your skateboard. It looks similar to a nose manual, but done while doing a grind. If you can manual and ollie into a manual, then you are ready to learn this trick. There are a few variations on the Nose Grind like Crooked Grinds and Noseblunts.
The Nose Grind is a bit more difficult than a 5-0 grind in the same way that nose manuals are harder than normal manuals.
Feeble Grinds are considered quite difficult tricks to learn for good reason. They require balancing at a point that is virtually the same point you would normally fall off.
The Feeble Grind refers to grinding along your back truck with the front of the board hanging off on the side of the rail that is opposite to the side you initially approached. The middle of the board will also make contact with the ledge or rail as you slide.
This trick kind of looks like you messed up a 50-50 Grind, but decided to stick it out and grind anyway.
If you’re trying to take your skating to the next level, check out my guide to exercises that will improve your skating with an exercise plan.
A Smith Grind is absolutely a difficult grind to learn. It refers to grinding along a ledge or rail along the back truck with the front of the board hanging off the rail or ledge towards the direction you approached the rail or ledge. This trick is just a variation of the feeble grind. The only difference is that the front of the board hangs off towards the opposite side.
That is a bit complicated so just look at the picture.
A Crooked Grind is a type of nose grind where the back of the board is angled out at a 45-degree angle away from the ledge or rail that you are grinding. This is another advanced grind that typically only more advanced skaters will do. This trick is mostly about balance and keeping your weight halfway over the ledge and half off of it.
This trick can be easier to come out of fakie by twisting your back shoulders.
A Slash Grind refers to skating up a mini-ramp or bowl and then sliding your trucks along the coping of the mini-ramp or bowl. The skater then smoothly transitions back into the ramp or bowl. These grinds look clean and are fun to watch. If you skate transition, then you will likely learn this grind after you get the basics of transition down.
You can think of this grind as a fancy kickturn. There is no need to learn an ollie to do this type of grind, but be sure to wear a helmet while skating transition.
A Darkslide refers to flipping your board over and sliding along the griptape of your board. This trick was first done by Rodney Mullen and is one of the hardest if not the hardest grind tricks you can learn. Flipping your board, sliding along the abrasive grip tape, and controlling your board to flip out of it all are extremely technical and difficult.
Most skaters will never learn this trick and you will virtually never see it at competitions either. The only people who really learn this are Youtubers and people who are making novelty interest videos. Jonny Giger is an example of this.
A Bluntside is a variation of the Tailslide. Typically, for a Tailslide the wheels hang off of the ledge or rail and towards the skater’s approach. For a Bluntside, the wheels are instead above the ledge or rail and typically facing the side of the ledge or rail opposite of the skater’s approach.
This is one of the most advanced grind tricks you can learn.
A Noseblunt is a variation on the nose slide. It refers to sliding along the nose of the board, but with the wheels of the board above the ledge or rail instead of hanging off. A Noseblunt is one of the most advanced grinds you can learn and some people consider them the hardest grind you can learn.
Nyjah Hudson for instance won the best street trick portion of the X-games in 2020 with a 360 nose blunt on a hubba that you can see in a video here.
The Hurricane Grind is really just a variation on the feeble grind that involves a 180 into it and a 180 out of it. The name hurricane comes from all the spinning the skater does during the trick making him or her seem like a hurricane. This trick has been done at a few competitions most notably by Chris Cole.
Falling while skating is an often-overlooked skill. Avoid busting your head open and check out my visual guide to falling safely.
The Salad Grind is a variation of the Feeble Grind. For a Salad Grind, the back truck is locked in like a Feeble Grind, but instead of having the front of the board hanging off below the rail or ledge the front of the board is lifted above the rail or ledge. The front of the board will be lifted off the ledge or rail on the side opposite of the skater’s approach.
These are advanced grinds and is one that many skaters will likely never learn.
The Suski Grind is a variation of the Smith Grind. For a Salad Grind, the back truck is locked in like a Feeble Grind, but instead of having the front of the board hanging off below the rail or ledge the front of the board is lifted above the rail or ledge. The front of the board will be lifted off the ledge or rail on the same as the skater’s approach just like a Smith Grind.
I’m not totally sure where the name came from, but I imagine there’s a skater out there named Suski somewhere.
What is the Easiest Grind to Learn?
There seems to be one grind that most people learn first and it is usually considered the easiest to learn.
The simplest and generally easiest grind to learn is the Boardslide. This grind is the simplest to balance and only requires a simple turn of the board to start the grind. Once you can Ollie and do a Frontside 180, then you can learn Boardslides. Boardslides are most often done on grind rails and handrails.
Another relatively simple grind is the 50-50 grind, but balancing this grind is harder and you need to learn an adjusted ollie to start the grind itself. Most skaters consider the board slide the easiest grind you can learn.
What is the Hardest Grind to Learn?
This is really a matter of opinion and there is no definite answer. Also, I personally haven’t learned or even tried all the grinds out there so I will go off of what I’ve heard and seen to answer this.
Generally, the grinds that are considered among skaters as the most difficult include Backside Noseblunts, Smith Grinds, and Darkslides. While Backside Noseblunts and Smith Grinds are extremely difficult, they are still sometimes done in competitions. However, Darkslides are rarely done in competition, and it is nearly impossible to control the board while doing a Darkslide.
Personally, I would consider Darkslides to be the most difficult because so few people can do them, and virtually no one can do them consistently. Actually, most people never even try to learn Darkslides because they are simply so ridiculous. They are something that only legends like Rodney Mullen could possibly pull off.
If you want to see a cool video of someone trying way too complicated tricks like Rodney Mullen’s primo to Darkslide, then check out Jonny Giger’s videos. He has a series where he spends hours and sometimes days recreating old Mullen tricks. They’re a good watch.
Are Slappies Grinds?
You maybe have tried a few slappies in a parking lot, but aren’t sure if you can consider them grinds or not.
Slappies are considered a type of grind because you are sliding across a surface on a part of your board other than the wheels. They are a bit different from other grinds because you never ollie into them. To do a slappy grind simply ride up to a curb and slap your board down to slide across it. There are many variations of slappy grinds and people can be quite creative with them.
Slappies are a great and non-intimidating way to get comfortable with the feeling of your board sliding across something. So if you start with slappies, you’re less likely to freak out after doing an ollie into your first proper boardslide.
If you’re curious about what each skatepark obstacle is called, then check out my visual guide. Confidently say that you just did a Backside Bluntslide down that hubba!
So that’s it.
There are a lot of grinds and variations out there and of course, I’ve missed a few. Which grind is your favorite? Which one do you think is the hardest?
Generally, Boardslides are considered the easiest grind, and Darkslides might be the hardest grind you can learn. Slappies are fun, easy to learn, and a great way to get introduced to the feeling of a grind.
Anyway, hopefully, that helped you learn about the different types of grinds. Thanks for reading, and look out for more content from Board and Wheels.