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Sports & Gaming

How to Backside Smith Grind: 4-Step Vert Trick Guide

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 9, 2020 • 2 min read

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Vertical skateboarding, also known as “vert skating,” emerged on the skating scene over 40 years ago. Starting with basic skate tricks performed in empty swimming pools, this skating style eventually evolved into the high-flying and gravity-defying tricks seen all over skateparks and half-pipes today. If you’ve nailed the basic tricks like the backside ollie, and rail tricks like the crooked grind, and you’re confident enough to move onto advanced tricks, you’re ready to try the backside smith grind.



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What Is a Backside Smith Grind?

A smith grind is an advanced skateboard trick similar to a feeble grind that was named for its inventor, skateboarder Mike Smith (however, the backside version was coined by deaf skateboarder Monty Nolder, and is also referred to as the Monty grind). To perform the backside smith grind (or BS smith grind), the skater rides up the side of the vertical wall, leading with the back foot, and grinding across the coping with the lip balanced between the wheels of the back truck. A frontside smith grind keeps the skater facing toward the obstacle when performing the trick.

How to Backside Smith Grind

Once you’ve learned some basic grind tricks, like the backside or frontside 50-50, and boardslide, you can tackle a trick more advanced like the lipslide, or attempt the smith grind. Check out this step-by-step guide on how to execute the BS smith grind:

  1. Gain momentum. To get into the grind position, approach the coping at an angle like you’re doing a backside 50/50 grind. Make sure you have enough speed so your rear truck will get up onto the coping, initiating a grind.
  2. Shift your weight. Shift your weight to your back foot while pushing the nose of your board out and down with your front foot, so your front trucks go to the side of the coping, your nose tilts down into the ramp, and the rail of your board sits on the coping. Be sure to lean back enough so you won’t get your front wheels caught up. Point your front foot toward your board’s nose so your heel doesn’t stick out and catch either.
  3. Grind and balance. Grind the coping with your back truck and rail, maintaining your balance and keeping your front foot on the board, not hanging off at all.
  4. Drop down. When you’re losing momentum or just feel like it, drop back into the ramp.
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Want to Learn More About Skateboarding?

Whether you’re just learning how to ollie or ready to tackle a Madonna (the vert trick, not the singer), the MasterClass Annual Membership can help you find confidence on your board with exclusive instructional videos from skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, street skater Riley Hawk, and Olympic hopeful Lizzie Armanto.