How to Determine The Front of a Skateboard – Shape Wise Explained

determine the front/nose and back/tail of a skateboard guideline

Here I have shared some methods to find the nose and tail of your skateboard. Hope you will be able to determine the exact difference between nose and tail after reading this.

Most newbie skaters get discombobulated when they get hold of a skateboard. They simply don’t know how to determine the back end and the front end of a skateboard. The trust is, it’s not wise to blame a starter. 

Nowadays, skateboards come in a wide range of styles and designs. The front and the rear side can be tough to figure out, just by the looks of it. Skateboards come with a nose and a tail. You must know where to lead, and which way to lean back. Therefore we have this article for you to know how to determine the front of a skateboard.

How to Determine the Nose and Tail on a Skateboard Step by Step – Single Kick or Flat Nose, Double Kick and Cruiser board

You can identify the nose and the tail if you know how it’s done. It also depends on the style and model of your skateboard. Not all skateboards have similar nose designs. But 3 types of deck shapes covered almost all the skateboards. Single kick or flat nose, double kick, and cruiser skateboard. So, if you have one or more of them, there is still no problem. Here you will get a clear idea about the whole thing.

Longboards are different and have variations compared to basic skateboards. Let’s get to know how to tell which is the front of the skateboard. 

Step 1: Getting to know the board

Know the anatomy of your skateboard first. You must know every bit of the gear, starting from the deck, nose, tail, trucks, wheels, bearings, and others.

Step 2: Visual clue

Have your skateboard placed on a plane surface for you to look at. Go on to the eye level of the surface and see the steep curves on the ends. You should see a more slant end than the other. The incline angle where the slope is taller and longer, basically the nose end of the skateboard.

Step 3: Use a measuring tape

To counter all doubts, you can also determine the front and end of the skateboard with the help of a measuring tape. Grab one tape and you are good to go.

Step 4: Measure the lengths on each end

You will see some screw holes on the deck on both ends. Stick the measuring tape on the end of the plank edge and roll it to the nearby screw holes. That’s the distance you need. Similarly, measure the other end. From the top of the edge to the nearby screw holes on the surface. You will get two different length readings, one higher than the other. For example 6 inches and 5 inches. In this case, the 6-inch side is your nose end and the 5 inch is the tail. Simple!

Longboards can be complex, in this case, the longer narrow end is the tail, whereas the short curved end is the front of the board.

Difference Between Nose and Tail of a Skateboard – Nose vs Tail

Like we already said, there are many varieties of skateboards. A wide array of designs and shapes can make your mind spin in confusion. If the board is bidirectional you can head in from any side, but if not then you might need a thorough lookout. There are some notable features that allow a rider to point out the nose end and tail of a skateboard, such as.


On a skateboard, the nose end is a little bit taller and longer. Old school models have a broader and longer front kicktail. The curves are well defined due to the increase in slant. The tail side (rear kicktail) of the board has a smaller length and less tilt.

Skateboards are also designed in a way where the tail end is closer to the ground. This is another important clue to determine the head and tail. Lower ends on the rear allow you to perform tricks and land safely. 

What we mentioned is what you see in a basic skateboard. Some manufacturers have their units put up in different shapes. In traditional planks, you can see a more flat nose and tilted rear. You may find no match to what a standard skateboard represents. In some products, you can see a smaller nose with a longer and taller rear end that usually aids the stunt gurus. 

Inlays, Graphics and Colors

If you have a board that comes with brand names, inlay on the surface, or maybe there are different graphic designs to go with it. You can easily identify the front and the back of a skateboard just by observing the patterns.

Look for how the names are placed. Where the first letter, where it starts. Look for the balance in the design, the lettering’s weight distribution and such. The starting letters are placed on the front side of a skateboard. The designs, inlays, name patterns are an easy cue to figure out the sides of a skateboard.

Colour contrast can also be a good indication of pointing to the nose and rear end. The front of the skateboards are most vivid, it has brighter hues compared to dark variations on the tail end.

Which Side Should You Pick to Roll Forward?

It solely depends on your preference on which way to lead. You can use the front edge as your lead side, you can also use the tail end to move forward. If you are a picky person, you might only roll forward using the nose and let the rear help you perform jumps and ollies. 

Many skaters prefer to switch between sides. This means they interchange the ends on different occasions. It is a good thing to do if you ask us. We recommend you to use both ends as your forward pushing side. It will help to reduce the stress, wear and tear on one particular side. Shifting from one end to another can be a bit hard on some boards, depending on the design and shape. 

There are particular skateboards where the design is such that you can perform moves, thrusts on both sides, known as bidirectional skateboards. That being said, If you are using a standard board, you can try out both sides for moving forward. There is no harm in it.

If people tell you that you should never use the tail as your thrusting side, you might not be able to maneuver moves and tricks. Let us assure you that they are just speaking blabbering random beliefs and nothing authentic goes behind this claim.

We recommend you to switch ends and try different things. There is no harm in it. You should be open-minded and confident in your skills whenever you hop on a skateboard.

Final verdict

Skating is fun, it does need some expertise to be on board. If you have a skateboard with you and still haven’t figured out the front kicktail and rear kicktail, then don’t worry. This article will give you the proper knowledge on how to determine the front of a skateboard. The process is fairly easy to figure out. Designs vary and so does the shape.

Keep in mind that the front and backside of skateboards differ from model to model. Say no to complexities, read through this writeup and you will know how to figure things out. Whatever you do, we prefer that you enjoy skateboarding. Don’t let the front and back discussion take out all the excitement. Hop on the plank, give it a go. Try out both ends as the thrust side, rollover, do tricks, and most importantly be confident in your skills.

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