Learning how to ride a penny board is difficult because they’re so small compared to other boards.
But once you master the basics you’ll be whizzing in and out of crowds at high speed in no time.
Let’s discuss the main areas you need to look at when your penny board arrives.
How To Ride A Penny Board
When learning how to ride a penny board properly foot positioning is first on the list. You also need to work on balance because penny boards are small. Once you can stay upright, focus on gaining speed and turning. Finally you’ll need to know how to slow down and stop.
Cruising on a good longboard for beginners is much easier than riding penny boards, but it should become second nature to you after a while.
How To Ride A Penny Board For Beginners
The easiest way to learn how to ride a penny board correctly is by looking at all the things you’ll need to work on. Once everything is broken down you’ll see what’s expected. Here is a list of the main skills every penny board rider will need to get right:
- Foot position
- Stopping and slowing
1 – Penny Board Foot Position
You need to start with your front foot on the board directly above the forward truck, but what foot goes in front? If you’ve never skated or surfed before you might not know which stance to use. There are only two options and you’ll need to choose between:
- Regular stance = left foot forward
- Goofy stance = right foot forward
If you’re not sure which stance to use, take a small run up on slippery tiles and attempt to slide. The foot you have out in front will determine what stance you are because it’s the one you feel more comfortable in. Once you gain more experience you can learn to ride regular and goofy.
When you get the position of your front foot right you’re almost ready to ride, but here are another couple of things to think about:
- Rear foot
Footwear – Penny boards have a great waffle non-slip deck to help you stay on the board, but you really need the right footwear. It’s going to help no matter where your feet are positioned on the board. You don’t need a specific brand but they’re hopefully flat with rubber soles.
Rear foot – The rear foot isn’t very important because you’ll need to remove it from the penny board to push and brake all the time. Just make sure it’s sitting towards the back of the board. You don’t want the rear foot to be positioned anywhere in front of your rear truck.
2 – How To Balance On A Penny Board
When it comes to penny boards vs longboards it’s a lot harder to balance on the former because they’re so small. We’ve already talked about foot position which is important when staying balanced, but here are some extra things you should be doing:
- More weight on your front leg
- Using your arms to balance
More weight on your front leg – If you put extra weight on your front leg you’ll feel much more balanced. In order to do that you’ll need to lean forwards a little and bend your knees slightly. It’s going to take you a while to find the right equilibrium so go very slowly in the beginning.
Have you thought about penny boards vs nickel boards yet? Due to the fact nickel boards are 5 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider it’s much easier to balance on them as there is more room to stand. Nickel boards are good for beginners, whereas 22 penny boards are tricky.
Using your arms to balance – The reason why tightrope walkers use long poles when walking across a line is because it works. You can learn a lot from slackliners in particular because they balance on 2 inch wide webbing using their arms to prevent themselves from falling.
Get used to holding your arms out to the sides if it’s going to help you stay balanced. After a while you’ll be able to bring your arms in to become more aerodynamic, but it’s not something you should concern yourself with when starting out.
3 – How To Go Faster On A Penny Board
When you’re learning to go fast on a penny board stick to flat ground. It’s going to be the most forgiven when it comes to beginners. When you have enough balance you’ll be able to take your back foot off the penny board to push hard enough to produce decent momentum.
Some people will kick with their front foot when skating, which is called pushing mongo. If you’re one of these people do what feels natural to you, but most skaters will accelerate by pushing with their rear foot. No matter which style you use, don't go too fast to begin with.
We’ve talked about sticking to flat ground when learning how to go fast on a penny board, but here are a few things to stay away from:
- Going downhill
- Going uphill
- Bumpy roads
Are you wondering how hard you should push with your rear leg? Lots of small kicks or fewer big ones? It’s another area where you’ll need to slow down while you create the perfect equilibrium between kicking power, speed, and balance. You’ll find it within a few skate sessions.
4 – How To Turn On A Penny Board
You need to learn how to turn on a penny board so you don’t crash into anyone, plus you’ll need to be able to go around corners and obstacles. Once you’ve learned how to build up speed on flat ground you’ll be able to turn a penny board in two different ways:
- Lean into the turn
- Use the kicktail
Lean into the turn – If you shift your weight and lean into the turn you’ll be able to change direction pretty easily. If you’re finding it difficult to turn on a penny board by shifting your weight try loosening the trucks. If it’s too easy to turn accidentally you should tighten the trucks.
If you want to turn in the direction you're going, put pressure on your toes while taking some of that pressure off your heels. Again it’s the exact opposite when you want to turn in the other direction, so you would push down on your heels and take pressure off your toes.
Use the kicktail – Turns using kicktails are great when you need to change direction asap. For example, when you’re going around a tight corner or trying to stop yourself from crashing. When you start out trying to turn this way you should be dead still instead of moving.
It involves pushing down on the tail and spinning the front of your board in the direction you want to go. You don’t even need to push so hard your front wheels come high off the ground. Taking pressure off them is enough to change the direction of the board safely.
5 – How To Stop On A Penny Board
Before you tackle any steep roads or paths with pedestrians walking around you should learn to stop properly. Failure to do so could result in lots of pain. There is actually more than one way to stop on a penny board and the one you use will depend on your situation:
- Jump off
- Don’t push
- Foot brake
If you jump off your penny board you should be okay, but don’t attempt this move when you’re moving at high speeds unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you’re in immediate danger jump off straight away. But you don’t want to risk injury and damage your penny board for nothing.
How To Slow Down On A Penny Board
Once you stop pushing your penny board will slow down and come to a complete stop unless you start again. Foot braking is also a good way to slow down and come to a stop. It’s actually the method you’ll use most and if you do it properly you’ll always be in control of your penny board.
Simply take your back foot and let it make contact with the ground. The friction means you’ll begin to decelerate straight away. Don’t put too much pressure on the ground or you’ll go flying. You’ll get used to how much pressure you need to apply to slow down smoothly.
How To Ride A Penny Board Like An Expert
It won’t be long until you’re hurtling along busy streets and doing tricks, but first you’ll need to learn how to ride a penny board by mastering the basics we’ve talked about today. They’ll be a lot easier on a penny nickel board when you’re getting started in case you want a shortcut.