Being a skateboarder can be confusing. There seems to be a series of unwritten rules that govern the correct way to “be” a skater. To help clear some things up, we’ve compiled a thorough guide to common questions. —Cole Nowicki
Q: Is pushing mongo wrong?
A: It’s a little unsightly and impractical, but no. (If you switch-mongo like JB Gillet, it can be a thing of beauty.)
Q: Does it matter what gear—like shoes, pants and shit—I wear when I skate?
A: Nah, but be aware of what works. Heelies might not be a better choice than Vans.
Q: Am I a kook if I wear a helmet when I skate?
A: Nope. If that’s what makes you feel comfortable while skating, do you.
Q: Am I a kook if I wear earphones when I skate?
A: If you’re with a crew of people, it can be rude and it looks pretty brutal in footage. But if you’ve really got to listen to your jams, go for it, I guess.
Q: Do I have to be listening to Dinosaur Jr.?
Q: People keep getting mad at me when I spread whole candle worths of wax onto ledges. What’s up with that?
A: Well, you’re making the ledge incredibly slick and sketchy for everyone. Just check in with the folks you’re skating with before coating the spot next time. It’s a common courtesy.
Q: Is it okay if I…
A: You won’t make any friends by snaking people. Just be patient, you’re turn will come soon enough.
Q: I’m not that good at skating—am I just in the way when I’m at the park/spot and it’s busy?
A: As long as you’re aware of the lines at the park/spot, and you aren’t snaking people or being an ass, you’re good.
Q: What if security is kicking us out of a spot, should we fight with them?
A: You’re talking about causing trouble for someone just trying to do their job? Someone likely only making minimum wage? No. Don’t be an ass.
Q: Yeah, but what if they’re being assholes first? And man, I gotta get my trick!
A: They might be, but wallowing in the mud with them isn’t good for either party. Just leave. Come back when they’re closed.
Q: Yo, a bunch of girl skaters just got to the park/spot. What do we do?
A: Say hello. Treat them like human beings. Don’t be creepy.
Q: I’ve been using homophobic slurs when talking shit to my friends or when describing something I think is whack. Is that cool?
A: No dude! C’mon. You can just say “whack.” It’s 2019. Learn how to use different, hate-free language.
Q: But I’ve been calling things “gay” since I was a kid! I don’t mean it like that.
A: Yeah, and it wasn’t right then. The words you use have an effect on people, whether that’s your intention or not. It’s time we be accountable, learn, grow and change.
Q: You’re being totally—
A: Hey. This is a teachable moment. Learn and move on.
Q: Fine. Alright. I was just wondering about one last thing: is there a right way to skate?
A: What do you mean?
Q: Like, tricks. Are there “correct” tricks to do, or whatever?
A: Everyone’s tastes are different, but no.
Q: Cool. Okay. Thanks.
A: No worries. Have fun out there.