Skate lingo! DEK - Your Guide to Unlocking the Skateboarder’s Secret Code

Skate lingo! DEK - Your Guide to Unlocking the Skateboarder’s Secret Code

Before I started skating (i.e. skateboarding) if someone said, "Please get me a deck," I would have assumed they meant a tape player (since I am old school that way) or some sort of a large wooden floor. So here is a bunch of words skaters (skateboarders) use almost every time they go out skating with their buddies but nobody else knows what the hell they are saying to each other.


-Gnarly- (narlee)


"Gnarly" is originally a surfing term but skaters use it avidly to describe anything that is awesome, amazing, retarded and/or dangerous, crazy, and downright reckless. Sometimes skaters might even split and repeat it and say "gnar gnar" as in, "Let’s go get some gnar gnar today." Which would mean let’s go do something awesome and dangerous today.



Sketchy is used to describe anything that is not perfect or ideal. If the landing at the bottom of a set of stairs is rough and cracked up, the landing would be called sketchy. Similarly, if some dude can make front side grinds but looks like he might fall off every time he goes for it; his style would be called sketchy. If you make a kickflip over a gap and stick the landing but almost fall over that would be a sketchy landing.



A "make" is when you land the trick you have been trying for a while. For example, "I am trying to make the backside tail slide," "Hey! I saw you filming my attempts, did you get the one I MADE?"


-Landing Bolts-

"Landing bolts" means to land your trick perfectly, technically you would be landing with both your feet on the bolts of your skateboard.


-Dial/On lock-

If you can do a trick over and over consistently without trouble means you have that trick "dialled" or "on lock".




Here is a common situation, there are around 10 skaters around the bowl/mini ramp/skate spot and only one person can skate the obstacle at a time. Skate sense dictates that everyone takes turns and you wait between your attempts. However, there is always the impatient dude who can't wait for his/her turn, he/she is called the "snake". The snake will drop into the bowl when it is not his/her turn, forcing the next person to wait longer. It can also be used as a verb as in, "I was waiting to drop in when that dude snaked me".


Written by

Aaron D'Souza

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