The 50/50 grind is the most basic of all the skateboarding grinds, just as the boardslide is the most basic of the slides (Grinds and Slides involve sliding on the edge of an object without being solely on the wheels. Grinds utilise the trucks whilst slides utilise the board). 50/50s are much easier to learn on blocks so a well waxed up curb is worth your time to find/create.
First things first. You must be able to ollie (jump with the skateboard) very comfortably and solidly. Knowing how to frontside 180 may also help. You should also be able to roll around on your skateboard with ease and be able to drop off the block you are skating.
Now we can get on with the good stuff.
- Head towards the block at a slight angle (go as fast as you can comfortably, speed means smoothness and easier grinds). I suggest about 30 degrees to start with, but it all comes down to what works for you with practice. Get your feet into the ollie position and crouch down ready to jump.
- When you are about a foot away from the block pop an ollie. The ollie should be just higher than the block since if there is less drop (before you hit the block) then the grind will be smoother and easier to balance.
- Twist the board in the air and try to place the back trucks down onto the block first, before following with the front trucks (Note: This is purely a stylistic thing really). If the block is higher it may be easier to lock the front trucks on first. Try to land with your back foot still on the tail.
- Make sure the skateboard is locked into the grind properly. The wheels closest to your heels should be touching the edge of the block. This will make you grind much more easily and also make it easier to dismount from the block.
- When the skateboard begins to slow down too much it's time to turn out of the grind. Put pressure onto the back foot, lift the nose up and turn out of the grind. Land back on the ground and ride away.
- If the board unbalances as you dismount, you may have not been locked in properly or you may not have turned sharply enough.
- Frontside 50/50s are MUCH easier to learn than backside 50/50s.
If you want to 50/50 a rail the guidelines are pretty much the same except you should try to grind on the middle of the trucks and maybe come in at a shallower angle.
Happy grinding! Remember, it's all about practice...