Guide to rails

I found this guide to Rails by Arlo Eisenberg in about 1998. Hope you can use it: Rails are more mental than anything else… The most important...

I found this guide to Rails by Arlo Eisenberg in about 1998. Hope you can use it:

Rails are more mental than anything else… The most important key in doing them is concentration, commitment, and confidence.

In a rail, you want to look for something that is not too fat so that you can get on it. You also want to look for something not too steep, so that you wont go flying once you jump on it. You can do the extremes, but they are much harder and dangerous to learn on. In addition to that, if you are using all big wheels, you may want to look into an all tiny wheels, or anti-rocker setup. This will give you room to grind, and your big wheels won't get stuck on the rail.

You really need to emphasize the approach and setup. Because once you are on the rail, if you have done your approach and you have your stance right, all you do is ride it out. You want to go parallel to the rail so that your momentum is going the same direction, then you want to jump and turn 90 degrees. That is the key. Just a 90 degree turn from facing forwards to perfectly perpendicular to the rail.

You also need a good stance. You want your feet beyond shoulder width, and you will ride mostly your inside edges. If your feet are too close, or you are putting the weight on wrong, they will slip out from under you, and you will go falling. And when you land, take a lot of it in your knees, and keep your body forward. Always keep your body forward.

As usual, practice on small and low rails/curbs first. Get the feeling for grinding, and then you will have very little problem in the transition to inclined rails. There is really not much else to say. Just do it!

- by Arlo Eisenberg


  • 1

    yeah i just got to where i can do rails down steps but im still working on the long flat rails i cant ever really get up on top of them like i should to ride the whole thing out i just grind for about 5 to 8 feet then fall off

  • 2

    i havent tried any rails down steps… probably cuz there arent any my hight around here, i need to find sum

  • 3

    this article wasn't written that long ago, but in sakteing years, it's been a long time because of the way the sport evolves. notice how he talks about "big wheels." this is before standard aggressvive wheels were around 55mm and 89a. people were using like 72's!!. also there was no such thing as soul grinding or backslides or royals back then. if u plan on doing any grind other than a 2-footed frontside/backside, obviously u need to alter these instructions slightly. it's kindof a cool look into the past. if ur bored and wanna learn more, go here.

  • 4

    i love to do hand rails, but some are just way to scary looking and steep. whats a good way to over come the fear of trying them. i can do some, but others are just like. oh crap, im going to die. and what would be the best trick to learn a rail with. frontside? or royale

  • 5

    i think the best trick to learn n a rail is a frontside or royale. it is alot easier to land the trick and if you do lose your balance, you can choose to jump off on either side. beleive me, grass feels better than steps.

  • 6

    i have one word of advice for newbie skaters dont do small sets of stairs its easier to start on small rails i learned the hard way and no one should make the same mistake i did because it gets discouraging from fallin off of small sets that arent worth it if u dount have the skill to make it happen

  • 7

    I found it easier to ride up to the rail at a 30 degree angle and just jump and lock on. It's all mental. Except with a 30 degree approach, you kill your style.

  • 8

    :( im a grommet but im jsut about ready to do handrails and when i go up to even a small one i get the SHIT scared out of me, any advice, or should i not listen to the little voice in my head telling me "don't do it, yuor gonna fall on your FUCKING ASS!!!!"

  • 9

    i've done one good handrail before down a 12 stair but the rail wasn't very steep and i tried this 6 stair one and for some reason i'm scared shitless, maybe its because this one is so steep but who knows, i'll just start goin for it. Do you guys think its all just about practice?

  • 10

    lol dunno… Do you think i should try a rail.. i can grind curbs and bars about 3 bricks higher ( any higher and it falls ) at skatepark i can soul and royal average 2ft high bars.. just dont know anything about handrails or anything. There is no good rails near me so, should i just try none or shall i attemp the steps and rails?

  • 11

    why no answer…? did u fall and loose your hands ( no offence to people this has happend to )

  • 12

    nah dont step up yet wait till ur a lil more ready i have only done 4 handarails a 24 stair one a 2 3stairs and a 6 stair basically its just confidence

  • 13

    i got a problem noone mentioned. i cant jump high enough to grind a handrail. im only 13 and im like 5'3 so i suppose im fucked

  • 14

    i just did my first rail 2 dayz ago i souled it it was so tight.

  • 15

    also he forget to mention knoiw where you want to land and land theer but makse it a little past the top step dont get on at teh top land more in teh middle

  • 16

    when sir Alex browskow was a kid, he couldn't jump high enough, so he got speed and jumped onto the rail about 3 feet down. (gettong the balls to do that is another issue)

  • 17

    When i grind i feel that a backside is more natrual. I am goofy footed when I skateboard, does this have anything to do with it?

  • 18

    lol im 13 and im tiny.. i can only just climb onto rails.. but i usually climb on em and get used to grinding em… then i practice at stuff im not good at… hopefully 1 day ill grow lol

  • 19

    Height really has nothing to do with it. Erik Perkett on the Razors team is around 5'1 and brian aragon is like 5'2 or 5'3 too, and he can jump head height. It's in the legs and its in practice. And trust me smaller skaters are usually better because they can balance their weight much easier. just jump farther down the rail.

  • 20

    man, i don't think royale/frontside is easier than a soul or any other soul grind on a stair rail. I've souled a 6 set or so, but frontsiding just scares my. i think i'm afraid of slipping out or something

  • 21

    Handrails arent hard. Its the same thing as any other rail just higher. All you need to do to learn to grind a handrail is commit to it and dont hesitate.

  • 22

    anybody got tips on thicker rails

  • 23

    its all about committing to the trick, its soooooo easy to grind rails, it really is, i learned in a day, and its all in your head mostly, if you can do a frontside stall you can do a frontside grind w/e

  • 24

    handrails are easy as long as you have the balls to try ounce you lock into the grind your basically in for the ride its the getting up onto the rail is the only hard part. I cant jump and keep hitting the side of my skate on the rail so i just dont get high enough.

  • 25

    Yea u should kinda synchronize ypur feet to land on the grind soles but if youv got small grind arcs your screwed dude.

  • 26

    The best thing to do with steep rails is angle yourself witht he rail or, if your doing a royale or farv, move your legs out to balance you.

    Start on flat rails above knee height – anything below that just doesn't really emulate what it's like to do a handrail

  • 27

    just do em then u can do anything

  • 28

    thanx alot to all u guys. u really helped me out:D

    acid just keep tryin im only 14 like 5'4 and i cannot get it either but i just kept tryin:D

  • 29

    bustagrinds865 said: 23-02-04 19:45:44 Arlo's got the right idea in "just do it!" there's nothing more to them than regular rails. they are scary when learning them and they are scary when on the ground about to jump, but they arent as scary while in the air because you are above them.

    don't let the fear overtake you, let your mind breathe.

    but if you do that and you are craspping yourself if u mess up one bit if you bail wrong it could put you out of skating for a few weeks

    my advice balance on the top and get a friend or two to hold you in place (or grind from halfway down) and then let go to give you the feel of grinding and then when your ready try it for real

  • 30

    Arlo's got the right idea in "just do it!" there's nothing more to them than regular rails. they are scary when learning them and they are scary when on the ground about to jump, but they arent as scary while in the air because you are above them.

    don't let the fear overtake you, let your mind breathe.

    when i learned handrails, my biggest problems were these: i stomped my feet on the landing instead of just letting my body float into it (this made me bounce off the rail), i was scared to get over the rail, i was always over to the side of it (now i usually go too far over it when i mess up lol), and i didnt look at the end of the rail. as soon as you lockon, get in the habit of looking up at the end of the rail. you wont believe it till you do it, but your body follows your head. this applies in spinning, rails, and even walking. try it.

    most handrails dont need wax to slide, they just need wax to slide more comfortably and better. don't put a ton on, just one to two layers.

    safest & easiest tricks to balance on handrails for most people: pornstars, royales, frontsides, backside farfs, makios, and mizous. soul is one of the easier ones to balance, but they are also one of the easier ones to rack on.

    royale, frontside, farf, and porn are my most balanced/safest tricks to lockon. I find fishbrains, front farfs, and top porns to be the simplest on the opposite side.

  • 31

    A square rail is for boarders

  • 32

    i havn't tried handrails yet. i just started on Park i can drop in on a deep six (slightly steeper than a six foot, but not vert) and i can get up and over a funbox—bearing in mind ive only been to a little outdoor skatepark about 4 times and i learnt to drop in about 3 weeks ago…anyway..

    i have a little grind rail i got from argos, its a squared one (meant for souling) but when i jump up on it i either don't slide, or i don't get my feet in the right position on it or jump str8 ova it!... im thinking of gettin anti-rockers and sum wax then i should be confident enuf? D'you think anti rockers n sk8 wax is a gd idea to get me grinding?

  • 33





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