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Sports & Gaming

How to Frontside Smith Grind on a Skateboard

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Jun 22, 2020 • 2 min read

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Tony Hawk Teaches Skateboarding

A smith grind is an impressive skateboarding trick that takes practice and technical skill to master.



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What Is a Frontside Smith Grind?

A smith grind is an advanced skateboard trick similar to a feeble grind that was invented by and named after skateboarder Mike Smith. For a frontside smith grind, a skater uses the back truck of the skateboard to glide along a handrail or another steep rail.

How to Smith Grind a Rail on a Skateboard

Once you’ve mastered the frontside 50/50 grind, you can apply those skills to learning the smith grind.

  1. Skate parallel to the obstacle. Jump onto the rail or ledge, pop your ollie like you would when doing a frontside 50/50.
  2. Lean on your back foot. As you ollie, lean on your back foot enough to ensure that you have sufficient momentum to push your back truck through the grind completely, but not so far back that you’ll fall backward.
  3. Land with only your back truck. Dip the nose of your board and your front truck to the side of the obstacle. If you’re grinding a ledge or mini ramp, lean more on your toes—the top of the ledge will support you. If you’re grinding a rail, be sure to lean on your heels to make up for the lack of support on the side.
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4 Tips for Safely Attempting a Smith Grind

There’s risk involved in learning a smith grind, so take the proper precautions to ensure that you’re being safe.

  1. Wear a helmet and pads. If you're a novice skateboarder, falling or tripping is part of the process. Ensure that you have the right pads to break your fall—specifically knee pads, elbow pads, and a helmet. You can find our complete guide to essential skating gear here.
  2. Read and follow official rules. Every skate park will have a list of rules to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. Do your part and check them out anytime you skate a new park.
  3. Observe before joining in. To avoid collisions, park skaters take turns skating. This is especially important when the park is busy. Notice when other skaters take their turns so you can understand the order and flow, then claim your spot and take your turn.
  4. Practice on the ground. Before using the handrail, practice on rails that are low to the ground to get your footing. Slowly work your way up to higher rails until you've mastered the technique.


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Whether you’re just learning how to ollie or ready to tackle a Madonna (the vert trick, not the singer), the MasterClass All-Access Pass 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.