Over the past 10 years or so, a new type of skateboard has started to garner attention from skating enthusiasts—the penny board. The name for this board comes from a company in Australia called Penny Skateboards. With the rise in popularity of these small and often affordable boards, many skaters have wondered just what they can do with them.
One of the most common questions is whether they can be used to perform tricks. You’ll find that despite their size, there are still some fun trick options that you can do with them. Let’s learn more about these boards and some of the best options for performing tricks.
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What Is a Penny Board?
The small boards were introduced in 2010, and even though they began with that brand, you’ll find a wide range of manufacturers on the market today.
What’s the difference between a regular skateboard and a penny board? Although the penny board is not as versatile as a regular skateboard, it can still perform well in certain situations.
Size is not the only difference. These look more similar to longboards than they do street boards. They even have bigger wheels than regular boards. They tend to be between 60mm and 80mm, which is about the same as a longboard. They are made from plastic, and there is no grip tape. Instead, the grip is provided by the texture on the board.
The boards can be used on the road, in the park, to make short commutes, and more. They can be used on certain ramps, as well, by experienced skaters. However, you won’t typically see these boards being used for a lot of tricks in most skateparks. Still, there are some fun tricks you can perform.
The boards are available in three sizes:
The size of the board can affect how easy or difficult certain tricks might be.
Best Tricks to Try with the Penny Board
There are limits to the types of tricks you can do with the plastic penny skateboard. Once you learn how to ride and balance on the board properly, you’ll find that there are still quite a few interesting things you can do with the penny. These are suitable for beginners.
The small size of the penny board can make it difficult to ollie properly, but it does have a kick tail, which means hopping small curbs and going over small objects or imperfections in the road will be possible.
When you are practicing hopping curbs, it’s best to start with a small curb. Make sure that you have enough speed to get up onto the curb. Getting off of a curb or another ledge is even easier. Apply pressure to the kick tail with your back foot to ensure you stay balanced when you land.
Hopping curbs tends to be easier with the larger penny skateboards. This is true of other tricks, as well.
This is a relatively easy trick for just about any board. Keep in mind that the smaller the board, the more difficult it will be to land properly, though. This type of trick will have you jumping over an obstacle like a rail.
You build up enough speed to keep the penny board moving, leap up and over the obstacle with both feet, then land back on the penny board. You can see why it’s more difficult with smaller boards. Landing is the hardest part, and you will likely bail or fall a few times before you learn how to stay balanced.
Just as with the curbs, you should start small. Set up a rail that’s relatively low to the ground, so you don’t have to jump quite as high. Build your confidence and then go higher.
This is another of the many tricks you can try with the penny board. For this trick, when facing forward, you will lean in the direction you are facing and apply pressure on the nose of the board with your front foot.
You will then turn your upper body 180 degrees and then follow it with your lower body. Even with no grip tape, the penny board should follow, allowing you to perform the trick.
Even though the penny board doesn’t have a standard nose as you will find on other skateboards, this is an easy trick that’s doable with a bit of practice.
Related: How to Revert a Skateboard
When you do a manual, you have to put pressure on your nose or tail, while you balance on two wheels and continue to ride the board. It’s similar to a wheelie on a bike.
It’s easier to start with a tail manual than it is with the nose. You will place your foot near the tail, add pressure, and lean back a bit. You want to keep your upper body near the center for balance.
The pressure will cause the front of the penny board to rise, so you are riding with just the two wheels in the back touching the ground. The more you practice this trick the longer you will be able to hold the manual.
Tricks like this can work well in combination with other tricks, and they can flow into one another. This is somewhat difficult to execute, particularly on the smaller 22” board since you have less room to move your back foot.
Here’s another of the relatively easy penny board tricks to try. You start by riding the board fakie, meaning backward and with your back foot in front near the kick tail. When you are riding with enough speed, you simply turn your upper body 180 degrees inward and then let the lower body and board follow to complete the trick.
The nose revert is executed in essentially the same way as the fakie kickturn. You should be able to perform this trick no matter the size of your penny board.
Related: Nickel Board Vs. Penny Board
How to Make Penny Board Tricks Easier to Perform
Riding a skateboard and learning tricks will take some time, so the best thing you can do is make sure that you are starting slowly. Make sure you know how to balance, ride, and control the board before you move into doing tricks. Break the tricks down piece by piece and watch a video of people doing the tricks.
You should also think about what you are wearing. You need to be sure you can move easily while performing tricks, and that nothing will get caught in the wheels. Go through the tricks in your head and then visualize yourself performing them.
You’ll also find that performing tricks tends to be easier when you are in better shape. You will have an easier time jumping and landing, it will be easier on your knees, and it will be easier to balance.
Benefits of Penny Boards
Although they might not be the right option for everyone and you won’t be able to perform as many tricks, they have plenty of redeeming qualities. You’ll find that even though these are small plastic boards, they can still provide some nice benefits to those who ride them. Let’s look at a few of those benefits.
- Size – The penny boards are small, which means they are easy to fit into a backpack or to store while at school or work.
- Wheels – The larger wheels are softer than those found with most street skateboards. This means they can handle rough terrain with ease.
- Good for Small Beginners – Those who have a small beginner, such as a child, who wants to learn to ride will find that penny boards are a nice option. They are a good size for this purpose. For an adult beginner that’s of average size or taller, they aren’t a good beginner board.
- Easy for Commuting – Even though the penny boards are small, they can be good for commuting because of their size, the wheels, and their ability to turn and get around obstacles.
These are just some of the main benefits of penny boards. Those who have been skating for a while and who want to try something new and fun may want to bring this board forward on their list of things to buy.
Are Penny Skateboards Cheap?
This is a common question many people have about these boards. Although they are made of plastic and they are small, this doesn’t mean that they are necessarily low-priced if you want to get a high-quality board.
You can find a cheap penny board for sale, but keep in mind that what you pay often determines the quality of the board. Those who are serious about the boards and who want to learn penny board tricks should be willing to invest in a quality product.
What to Look for with Penny Boards
If you are in the market for one of these boards, you have to think about a few things before making your purchase. This will ensure you get the right board for your needs.
Consider the size. Remember, there are three size options—22”, 27”, and 36”. The smaller boards are built for speed and have more stability, while the larger boards will make it easier to perform penny board tricks.
The quality of the materials that go into the penny board will be important, too. The plastic boards should be made from durable materials that will last, and they should have a nice, textured surface that will help to keep your feet in place. Remember, these boards don’t have tape to help with the grip.
Look at the size and quality of the wheels, the trucks, and all of the other elements that make up the skateboard. Spending a bit more on a penny board that will last is better than getting a cheap penny board that will need to be replaced in a couple of months.
Learn Tricks for the Penny Board with Videos
If you want to learn more penny board tricks, YouTube is a good choice. You can watch videos of skaters attempting and successfully completing (or not) a wide range of tricks on these types of boards. They will often explain how it’s done, so you can then attempt to try them on your own. They can also serve as some inspiration for you.
Even though there aren’t too many tricks suitable for these small boards, you’ll still find enough to keep you busy. Find some that you like and practice, so you can get better.
Safety Tips for Riding Penny Boards
Penny boards are about as safe as any other type of skateboard. However, this means that you need to use caution when you are riding and getting in your practice. For starters, it means that you should learn the basics of riding before attempting tricks.
Even if you have ridden larger boards for years, you will need to make sure that you know how to balance on these smaller penny boards. Your front foot and back foot will be close together, as well. Get used to this feeling when doing some normal cruising, so you can see how it feels.
You should also wear the normal safety gear. The boards might be smaller, but a fall to the ground hurts just the same. Having on a helmet and some pads can help to prevent injuries. Wear good skate shoes when riding the penny board to ensure that you can stay on the board properly, too.
Keep Practicing Your Penny Board Tricks
Whether you are a beginner or you have been riding other boards for years, you’ll find a lot to love with penny boards. These boards have a lot to offer, especially to those who like to perform tricks.
Are you going to be a master of these and other penny board tricks the first time you try them? Probably not. They take time to learn, and as they say, practice makes perfect. The good news is that everyone’s in the same position when they begin. It’s best to start with just one or two simple tricks and master them before moving on and trying something else.