How to Do Slappy Grinds on a Skateboard

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Slappy Grinds Setup

Slappy Skateboard Grind on a Curb
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A Slappy Grind (or "slappie") is any skateboard grind done without an ollie, where the skater rides up onto the ledge or rail directly. Slappy grinds are a great place for skaters to start if they don't already know how to do grinds, or if they're having a hard time with ollies.

5-O Grinds, 50-50 Grinds, Nosegrinds, and Smith or Feeble Grinds are all the most common types of slappy grinds. But this is because they are also the most common types of grinds that skaters do! Any grind can be done slappy if you have the right place for it.

Slappy Slides are also possible, but tougher to pull off - it takes a lot more balance and skateboarding skill to be able to get the right angle and to recover from the slide. 

Before you learn how to do slappy skateboarding grinds, you need to know how to ride a skateboard. This might seem obvious, but we guarantee you that there are some people out there who just got a skateboard this morning, and who want to jump straight to skateboarding tricks! Hold up. Take your time, and first get comfortable riding around.​

And that's it. You're also going to want to have a good sense to balance, but that'll come with time. The next few pages will walk you through doing slappy slides on several different types of obstacles. Then there's some help with common problems, and finally some ideas of where to go once you've mastered slappy grinds!

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Slappy Grinds On Rising Curbs

Pile of dry leaves on the street.
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There are several ways to do a slappy grind on a curb. The best place to slappy grind is on low curbs that rise out of the pavement. Look around in parking lots - especially near handicapped parking spots. These are also often thickly coated with red paint, which makes them all the nicer to grind!

Also, take a look at how the curb ends. Ideally, you'd want a curb that's a gentle rise and fall, built just for you to slappy grind! On the other hand, some of these "rising" curbs might end into another curb. Keep in mind that you're going to need to be able to ride out of the grind at the end! Once you've found your curb, here's how you do it:

  1. First, get some speed going toward the curb. You don't want to be going too fast, or too slow, either! It's going to take a little bit of time to figure out what speed is good for you, and you might fall a few times as you figure it out, but don't worry - that's how we learn! Just get going at a comfortable speed, but not what you would normally call "fast".
  2. As you approach the curb, bend your knees and keep your weight forward. Aim right at the curb. Don't lean forward, but also don't lean back! Keep your shoulders squared.
  3. When you are about to go up the curb, shift your weight to your front foot. You can lean toward your skateboard's nose if you want, but don't lean too much!
  4. As you ride up onto the curb, it might feel a little funny. That's normal. Stay loose, with your knees bent (this will help with your balance).
  5. Now here's the tricky part, because every little rising curb is different! For some, you can just ride out of it. It will happen naturally. But for other curbs, you might need to adjust a bit. This is something you should think through before you start the grind! Take a look at the obstacle, and think about how you can ride out of it at the end. Hopefully, it'll just be something you can ride directly out of, but if not, well, then you need to dream up a way to get off that curb alive! You can always give yourself the little hop that you would use to get out of a regular grind, but if you aren't used to ollying yet, that might be a little tough. But, if you want to give it a shot, go for it!

Notice also that you can feel free to skate up onto a curb from one of the sloping ends near a driveway, and then hop off of the curb when you are close to running out of speed grinding. That's perfectly fine! I'm nervous about telling you to hop on or off of curbs too much, in case you dont know how to ollie yet.

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Slappy Grinds on Regular Curbs from Below

Suburban Street
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For most skaters, the first place you'll go to try out a slappy grind is the curb right outside your door. Another great place would be those blocks in parking lots with sloped ends. Make sure the curb doesn't have big chips taken out of it - the curb's edge should be mostly smooth. Once you've found your curb, here's how you do it:

  1. First, find a spot where the curb dips down, like for a driveway. You're going to want to start your slappy grind a few feet before that dip so that you can use it to get out of the grind at the end.
  2. Get some speed going. Again, not too fast, but not too slow.
  3. Angle yourself at the curb. Not straight at the curb, but more at an angle. The angle should be fairly sharp, though.
  4. As you approach the curb, you want to make sure your feet are placed wide on the board, with one on the tail and one above the front bolts. This will help you with balance.
  5. Right before you hit the curb, lift the skateboard's nose up so that your trucks are aligned with the edge of the curb. Then, right before you meet the curb, skid your tail towards it. This should help get you up onto the edge.
  6. Grind along.
  7. To get off of the curb, you should either ride off at the sloped end, or you might need to push yourself off, depending on how much speed you managed to get going before the grind.
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Slappy Grinds on Everything

Urban Skateboarders
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Another way to grind something is to simply ride down onto it. This can be done from a sidewalk onto a curb, or anything similar. With this style of slappy grind, it's surprisingly easy to pitch yourself over the curb and fall on your face! If you can try one of the two previous slappy grind techniques, I'd recommend starting there, and then moving to this kind of slappy grind once you've gotten the knack of grinding in general.

And of course, you can slappy grind all kinds of other things, and using all kinds of different grind styles. Once you have a 50-50 down on something, try slappy smith grinding it!

And what about rails? There are plenty of skate rails out there that can go very low, low enough in fact to slappy grind! Try it out. Once you get the knack of slappy grinds, you'll be seeing things all over the place and thinking, "I'd slap that!"

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Common Problems with Slappy Grinds

Young couple fallen off skateboard
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Slappy grinds suffer from a lot of the same problems as any other kind of grind:

Falling - Not so much a problem as much as something that WILL happen! Grinding is tricky, and until you get the feel for it, you might take some pretty heavy falls. Wear a helmet for sure, since there's a GREAT chance to whack your head on the rail or ledge. And then there goes your bright future at Yale. Use elbow pads when learning to slappy grind. Slipping and cracking your arm just plain sucks, and will knock you off your board for weeks.

Stopping - Sometimes, you try to grind, and nothing happens. Your board just stops and doesn't grind. There are two possible reasons for this: One, you are going too slow. I know I said to not go too fast, but if you are stopping, well then, you're going way too slow! Two, the thing you are trying to slappy grind is too rough to grind on. Use some skateboarding wax to smooth it out. Remember, skate wax stays on the curb permanently and turns kinda black, so before you wax up something, make sure whoever owns it won't freak out. If they do, they may put up Skate Stoppers, and then you've ruined it for everyone.

Skate Stoppers - little metal pieces bolted onto ledges or welded onto rails to stop people from grinding them. If these are there, you need to find a new place, or get the laws changed.

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Where to Go After Mastering the Slap

Skateboarding half pipe start
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So you've got slappy grinds dialed in. You slap everything that doesn't move, and you look good doing it. Nice. So what's next?

  • Nose Stalls - if you still don't know how to ollie, learning how to do nose stalls will be fun and spice up your skating. Between slappies, nosestalls, Pop Shove-Its and whatever else you come up with, you can do a lot of skateboarding without ever knowing how to ollie!
  • Learn How to Ollie - if you don't have this down yet, you should be working on it. At least trying every few days. It can take some skaters a very long time to learn how to ollie - don't ​lose heart if you don't know how yet, and don't give up trying. The ollie is the key to all kinds of skateboarding tricks.
  • 50-50 Grinds and 5-O Grinds - Once you've learned slappy grinds and how to ollie, you can learn how to grind pretty much anything!

Now enough reading - get out there and skate! Slap something with 7 plys of maple, and have fun doing it!