There’s more to skateboarding than just riding your board. One of the most important aspects of being a successful skater is learned marking the front of your skateboard. This allows you to control your direction and speed while skating. In this article, we’ll teach you how to mark the front of your skateboard like a pro!
Skateboarding is an inexpensive hobby or sport that anyone can enjoy. It’s also straightforward to learn, and it’s a great way to get outside and exercise. Of course, if you’re already skating around on your board, you know how much fun it is; but if you’ve never marked the front of your skateboard before, you may not have experienced just how amazing it can be!
Things You’ll Need
- Sharpie or Marker
- Ruler (or something to make a straight line)
- Blank skateboard, grip tape face down on the table in front of you.
A Step by Step Guide on How to Mark the Front of Your Skateboard
Step 1: Determine Your Desired Wheelbase
Your wheelbase is the distance between the inner mounting holes on your deck. It should be measured parallel to the nose and tail of your skateboard. This distance will determine how far apart you need to place the trucks on your board. If you have anti rocker wheels that are angled inward, use the mounting hole nearest the curve in your wheels as a reference point.
You can even use this exact measurement for standard kingpin trucks if you choose not to use risers with them. However, these measurements tend to work best for street skaters because it gives them greater control over their board.
Step 2: Identify the Area You’d Like to Mark
You can mark your wheelbase on the top of your deck or the bottom. The only difference is that if you mark it on the top, you should use a marker instead of a sharpie because the ink won’t hold well on the slick surface of the grip tape.
Decide whether you’d like to measure from above or below before you start marking for best results. I’m going to draw my line below my trucks to hide it by risers when I assemble my board later.
Step 3: Make Your First Mark
Place your ruler under the truck mounting holes and locate the center point. If you’re using three-hole grip tape, line up the center of the two outer holes to create a straight vertical line. For 4-hole mounting systems, use the widest spacing between screws as your guide. Draw a horizontal line at this point across your board for reference later on.
Step 4: Extend Your First Line to the Other Side of Your Board
You can use a ruler or straightedge to extend this line across your deck, but if you’re like me and don’t own one, make another dot with around 2-3 inches between it and the end of your first line. How far apart these dots depend on how wide your truck baseplates are.
Once again, I’m using 2-3 inches because my trucks measure about 1.5″ (the exact size is 3¾”) wide at the mounting holes. If I had smaller diameter reverse kingpin (RKP) trucks, my dots would be closer together.
Step 5: Connect Your Dots
You should now have two lines drawn across the width of your board. How far apart you place your next set of dots depends on how many risers you use to lift your board off the ground. For example, if you use 1/8″ risers, then use a ruler to draw lines dividing each dot into quarters and mark these with an “X.”
If you’re not sure which risers you’ll buy before marking your board, then make more minor marks that are evenly spaced depending on what looks good to you. How high or low they depend on how much clearance you need between the ground and underside of your trucks when the board is at rest. How far apart these marks are also relying on trucks that you have or are planning on using.
Step 6: Measure Your Wheel Base
Use your ruler to measure the distance between the outer edges of your truck baseplates where they will be mounted onto your board. For RKPs, you can use this measurement centered between the two outermost “X” marks, and for TKPs, you’ll want them centered between all 4 “X” marks if possible (see picture).
How far away from each side of the board these measurements are is entirely up to personal preference, but I like having mine pretty close to even with each other (on most decks) because it feels balanced. Mark this measurement somewhere near your wheelbase line to have a reference for later.
Step 7: Connect Your Dots with Lines
At this point, your board should be covered in X’s, lines, and numbers that only you can understand. Please don’t get discouraged by how messy it looks at this point because you’re almost done! If possible, try to find a marker that is the same color as your grip tape so that your marks will disappear once everything is assembled.
Fill in any remaining open space between dots with another line, then go back over everything with the marker, making sure all of your work is consistent and easy to read (just like math homework). How neat or sloppy this step turns out to be will depend on the tip’s size on your marker and how steady your hand is.
If you have handwriting that looks more like a doctor’s than your own, do yourself a favor and find an extra hand to help you out here or invest in a better marker.
Step 8: Cut the Tape
Once everything is marked up, carefully cut the tape along each of your lines using an X-Acto knife. Again, use short strokes without applying too much pressure to minimize the chances of cutting into your deck underneath.
Once all of your pieces are cut out, use rubbing alcohol to clean off any excess adhesive and let dry completely before beginning assembly (about 30 minutes). How neat or sloppy this step turns out to be will depend on how steady your hand is and whether or not you’re drunk at the time (which I always am).
Step 9: Stick the Tape to Your Board
Before you take your first piece of grip tape out of its packaging, drop whatever tool you’ll be using to smooth it onto your deck on top. For example, if you’re using a block, put it face down on the sticky side and vice versa for a stone.
How far away from one end or the other this tool ends up should correspond with how far back from your ck marks your trucks will be mounted (see picture). The wider apart these two things are allows for more wiggle room later when mounting the board to ensure that both truck baseplates are as close as possible to each other without actually touching.
How much wiggle room depends entirely on how big your board is. How much or how little space between these two things ends up depending on the size of your deck and whether or not you have a peanut brain (see picture).
You Can Check It Out to Make Griptape Less Grippy
Step 10: Apply Your Grip Tape
Flip your grip tape over so that the side with all of the excess adhesive is facing up. Then, begin applying it to your deck by starting at either the nose or tail then moving towards the other end while smoothing out any air bubbles that become visible in the process.
How much time should be spent doing this also depends on how steady your hand is, but I recommend investing some time here because having lumps under your feet for months comes off as cheap to people who are used to waxed decks.
How far away from one end or the other this tool ends up being should correspond with how far back from your neck marks your trucks will be mounted (see picture). How neat or sloppy this step turns out to be will depend on how steady your hand is and whether or not you’ve had enough to drink (in which case, drink more).
Step 11: Permanently Mount Your Trucks
Now that everything has been marked, cut, measured, rubbed down, and stuck in place, it’s time to put those fancy new bushings into action by mounting your trucks. First, make sure that both baseplates are lined up as close as possible without touching, then look at the gap between them once they’re tightened down.
How much space in the gap should correspond to how much wiggle room you decided on earlier when applying your grip. How perfect this step will depend on how steady your hand is and whether or not you’re using an Allen key that came with your trucks (please tell me it did).
How neat or sloppy this step turns out to be will depend entirely on how drunk you are at the time (see picture). How solid these two components end up together also depends entirely on what kind of bushings you got in there, but we’ll deal with that issue another day. These steps will help in how to mark the front of your skateboard.
You Can Check It Out to Know the Nose and Tail of a Skateboard
Now that you know how to mark the front of your skateboard, it’s time to get out there and start skating! Be sure to practice at home first to feel confident when you hit the streets. Remember always to wear a helmet and other protective gear for your safety. Most importantly, have fun!
You may also read: How to Skate Off a Curb