If you’re looking for a new way to commute that saves wear on your feet but doesn’t make you a menace to other pedestrians, penny boarding might be the answer.
Penny boarding is an ideal way of skating through congested areas, like city streets and college campuses.
Due to their small sizes, penny boards are also infinitely more portable than standard skateboards.
Their reduced bulk and weight make penny boards highly desirable for commuters who walk or take public transportation and must lug their boards around part of the time.
In a lot of ways, riding a penny board is just like riding a skateboard.
Skaters must learn the same basic techniques – balancing, pushing, stopping and turning.
Only, on a penny board, every action is just a little bit more difficult.
The smaller a skateboard is, the harder it is to ride.
So, while riding a penny board is much like riding a skateboard, you’ll have to put in a little extra effort to maintain your balance and get the moves down.
How to Ride a Penny Board
A penny board is really just a small cruiser, designed for basic skating.
You never have to worry about getting a penny board into the air to perform tricks.
You just have to know how to make a penny board go, to steer, and to stop it.
In those ways, learning to ride a penny board is exactly like learning to ride a skateboard.
For more on how to get started riding a penny board, see our article How to Skateboard.
How to Ride a Penny Board for the First Time
When you first climb on a penny board, you will notice the difference between it and a standard skateboard in terms of space.
This is where you’ll have to do most of your adapting.
A proper skateboard stance has your feet hips-width apart. (See How to Stand on a Skateboard).
For most grown skaters, a penny board’s 22” length simply isn’t wide enough to accommodate a hips-width stance.
This means your stance on a penny board is narrower, bringing your feet closer together and making balance more difficult.
The most important thing to remember in a penny board stance is to keep your knees bent.
With your feet so close together, bending your knees can feel less natural, but bending your knees brings down your center of balance to give you more stability on the board.
Riding a Penny Board
As stated above, a penny board is an ideal skate option for tight, congested spaces.
The small sizes of pennies make them easier to maneuver through crowds and obstacles than larger boards.
However, once you start to ride, you may find a penny board isn’t very comfortable over longer periods of time.
The narrowed stance can be constricting and the constant demand for balance can tire out your legs and core pretty quickly. (Though, it also makes for a good workout!)
There’s a reason most skateboard commuters prefer larger boards.
Tips For Riding a Penny Board
If you’re new to penny boarding, it’s going to take some time to get truly comfortable while riding.
Here are a few tips to try to make the process quicker and less painless.
Practice getting in and out of your penny board stance.
Since the space on a penny board deck is so tight, a lot of new riders kick the backs of their front feet or miss their boards entirely with their back feet when trying to return to the board after pushing.
It helps to practice putting your foot down and returning to the deck until you can do it without fail.
Keep your knees bent.
It’s been discussed, but it’s worth another pass.
With your legs close together, you are more likely to try to stand up straight when you really need a bit of slack in your stance.
To maintain better balance, don’t let your knees go rigid!
Work on your core strength.
All skateboard balance engages your core, but you’re going to need even more core strength to balance on a penny board.
The stronger your core is, the easier it is to balance.
Regularly check the nuts on your penny board’s axles and kingpin.
When you ride a penny board, it absorbs a lot of vibrations from the terrain.
Lose nuts can make your ride shakier and penny board balance even harder.
If your steering starts to feel lose, tighten up your penny board’s kingpin nut.
And regularly check the wheels to make sure they aren’t sliding on the axles.
Learn on a bigger skateboard, then switch to a penny board.
Yes, this requires an extra skateboard, but it can be well worth it. It is simply that much easier to learn on a bigger board.
Learning on a bigger skateboard may not be your first course of action when learning how to penny board.
But if you are struggling to balance on your penny, try a bigger board before you give up.
Is penny boarding hard?
If your question is “Is riding a penny board hard?,” the answer is probably clear by now.
Yes, riding a penny board is difficult at first.
Skateboarding itself is somewhat hard to learn and riding a penny board is even harder.
Even regular skaters have to do some adjusting when moving to penny boards from larger boards.
That said, penny boards have a certain feel to their movement, just like standard-sized skateboards.
Once you get a feel for how a penny board moves and how to balance on your penny board, penny boarding becomes considerably easier.