Dude, if you're gonna hang out at a skate park, you've gotta know the lingo. Here's the 411 on some of the most common terms.


Bank -- An incline on which skaters ride up, do a trick and ride down.

Board, or complete -- A skateboard that includes all the required elements: the deck, sandpaper-like grip tape, four wheels, two trucks (axle assemblies) to connect the wheels to the bottom of the deck and bearings.

Bowl -- A depression into which skaters drop and skate around the inside walls, seeming to defy gravity.

Coping -- A material attached to the edge of an obstacle to facilitate grinding and sliding.

Extension -- A section of a ramp where the transition extends higher than usual.

Funbox -- A flat box, usually wooden and rectangular, topped with a grindable, slidable surface.

Gap -- Between two riding surfaces, the space in which skaters perform tricks.

Halfpipe/vert ramp -- A U-shaped ramp with a flat middle and vertical ramp on each side.

Hip -- An angled junction of two riding surfaces, designed to be ridden, grinded or aired over.

Jump box or wedge box -- A flat platform at the top of a ramp, used for tricks.

Kinked Rail -- A bent rail for attempting difficult grinding maneuvers.

Ledge (and variations such as multi-ledge and ledge box) -- A raised surface or combination of surfaces used for grinding and sliding.

Mini ramp -- Smaller and mellower version of a halfpipe, with no vert.

Quarterpipe -- Basically, half of a halfpipe.

Spine -- Two back-to-back quarterpipes separated by narrow coping.

Street course -- A skate park area that includes obstacles like those found on a real urban street, such as benches, stairs and handrails.

Skatelite, Skatelite Pro and Ramp Armor -- Trade names for smooth, protective surfacing attached to wood or steel skate park obstacles.


Air -- To jump or ollie, generally from the top of a ramp.

Grab -- While in the air, gripping your board's deck with your hand.

Grind -- Scraping one or both axle assemblies (trucks) across a surface such as a curb, railing or box. Some variations include a 50-50 grind, in which the skater grinds equally on both trucks; a nose grind, using only the front truck; a crooked grind, simultaneously sliding and grinding on the front truck; or a 5-0 grind, using the back truck.

Grommet -- An enthusiastic, young beginning skater.

Invert -- Going upside down, supporting yourself on one hand while the other hand performs a grab, generally done atop coping.

Kickflip -- The board rotates around its lengthwise axis when the front foot kicks off the board's heel edge.

Old School -- A skater who adheres to an older, possibly outdated style.

Ollie -- The first trick a skateboarder learns: Using your back foot to whack the board's tail against the ground while your front foot lifts the board into the air.

Pump -- Flexing your legs during a transition to build up speed.

Ripper -- An advanced skater.

Slide -- A trick in which the board's deck slides over an obstacle.

Varial/shuvit -- Spinning the board along its vertical axis without popping it in the air.

-- Mary Jane Solomon