To a skateboarder, grinding is a way to link tricks together, stay in the rhythm and keep your momentum going. The handful of times where the grind is the main event, however, are truly astounding.
To grind is to put the metal truck of a skateboard to an object, be it a ledge, handrail, car bumper or anything else, and ride. It’s one of the oldest and most basic tricks of the sport.
There is something incredibly visceral and satisfying about grinding metal directly onto opposing metal or concrete. It’s a true display of brute force and finesse co-existing at once.
Here are the craziest skateboard grinds of all time.
John Cardiel, Ultra-Long 50/50 Grind Down San Francisco Hand Rail
Few people would argue with you if you said that John Cardiel was one of the greatest skaters to ever ride. If you’re a naysayer, all you have to do is witness his grind at the 03:10 mark above and you’ll be convinced. Its simplicity speaks volumes about how easily Cardiel is able to amaze.
He is doing one of the most fundamental skate tricks of all time: a frontside 50-50 grind. Cardiel, however, takes it to this absurdly long rail in San Francisco.
He has that quality that the best athletes have where, when he seems just on the verge of losing control, he always balances out. He’s going ridiculously fast by the time he grinds off the rail and into an intersection, adding even more tension to the already nerve-racking video.
Danny Way Mega Ramp Session
To pick the craziest grind from Danny’s Way’s session on this mega ramp would demean his efforts. Way basically does every fundamental grind, as well as a few tough slides, including the backside lip slide and a few fancier tricks, on this super-sized rail.
He has to fly through the air for about 20 feet just to hit the rail, which is long and arcing, and then catch some more air before landing on the downslope. Way’s style is fluid and he appears utterly weightless, not to mention, effortless, throughout the two-dozen or so tricks he lands.
Stefan Janoski, Switch Kickflip, Crooked Grind Down Handrail
This switch kickflip to crooked grind takes the cake for most burly, technical grind.
Stefan Janoski combines a pretty gnarly trick, crooked grinding down a handrail over stairs, with the added technical element of doing the trick switch and, just for good measure, throwing in a kickflip.
The crooked grind, when it took off during the 90s, became an instant classic and has had incredible staying power.
Skaters have only taken the trick to bigger and bigger rails and ledges as the years go on, and tacked on tricks before it, most commonly kickflips and pop shuvits.
Patrick Melcher, Hurricane 180-Revent Down 15-Stair Handrail
The hurricane is a vastly under-appreciated trick and Patrick Melcher uses it to pull off one of the craziest skateboard grinds we know. It’s basically a 180 into what you would call a fakie smith grind.
Patrick Melcher pays homage to this sorely under-utilized trick by throwing it down a famous 15-stair handrail on Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard at around the 0:40 mark in the video above.
Just in case you weren’t impressed that he could nail this trick down a sizable handrail, he does a 180-revert out of it, which completes the suave look of it.
Brandon Westgate, 50-50 Grind Against Gravity on a Handrail
For some people, grinding down a handrail is difficult enough. Not for Brandon Westgate, however, a rad East Coast skater who never fails to impress in his ability to go big, whether it be with flip tricks, hucks or rails.
At the 03:29 mark, Westgate nails this rail with impressive speed, but going the wrong way. Instead of grinding down it, which seems like child’s play after this, he backside smith grinds up the rail.
Not only would he need some serious speed to pull this off, he needs to ollie up to the railing from a much higher point.
Have any other videos of craziest grinds that should be on this list? Send them to us in the comments below.