So, you have bought your first skateboard, and you are ready to start riding. Where do you begin?
There are several vital tasks you should complete before attempting anything too crazy at the skatepark.
It is important to make sure you are fully prepared for what is to come, for your safety and to make the learning process as easy as possible for you. Some of these processes may seem incredibly basic and trivial to you, but it is important to condition yourself before attempting anything challenging.
Here are some steps to ease you into becoming an experienced skateboarder- you will be tackling caberiall kickflips and impossible ollies in no time!
In order to make sure your body is as safe as possible, do not get on your board without the proper safety gear. A helmet, knee and elbow pads, close-toed shoes, and clothing that covers your arms and legs are vital. You should also consider shoes that are completely flat, in order to make keeping your balance as easy as possible. (Vans, DC, and Nike make some awesome shoe choices!)
It may also be a good idea to stand on the board on a soft surface first, that way you are used to standing on a skateboard before trying out asphalt. For example, a grassy flat lawn or even your living room carpet would work great as a place to practice.
If you have friends or family that are able to join you while you practice, you are able to get input and advice from someone who is watching from a different perspective. This can be important, especially for standing in a way that won’t make you uncomfortable or injure you in the long run. They can also be a help if you do hurt yourself, that way you are not completely alone when it happens.
While it may seem silly to take so many precautions for such a tiny board, your body may very well thank you later.
The first step to becoming a great skateboarder is being comfortable with yourself and your board.
To do this, there will be a lot of trial and error. You will need to find the most comfortable stance for you-one foot in front of the other. Practice this by simply standing as you would on a skateboard and see what is the most natural to you.
Once you have decided on a specific position for standing on your skateboard, start practicing the simple act of mounting the skateboard and pushing off with your back foot. Yes, it seems mind-numbingly simple, but you will thank us later!
For mounting the skateboard and pushing off with your back foot, there are some additional points to consider as well. Make sure that your front foot is in ahead of the front truck bolts and angled toward the nose of the board, and your back foot should be over the back truck bolts.
When pushing off, take your back foot off the board, focus on your balance, and lean forward gently while bending your front knee. Then firmly press off of the pavement with your back foot. As you begin to move forward, put your back foot back in its original position.
Having the ability to stand comfortably and push off safely will be the best foundation for your skateboarding.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The saying “practice makes perfect,” cannot be overstated. Nothing can take the place of hours upon hours of perfecting your technique while learning how to skateboard. Find yourself a decently flat driveway, parking lot, or other flat surface and spend a few hours working on the basics.
Not sure what to practice?
Start with the basics-taking turns, using your back foot to brake, stopping and starting, etc.
Turns are one aspect that especially need quality practice time, simply because they can be extremely sharp and tight depending on where you are making them. Start with wide, easy turns that can be made anywhere and work your way up to sharper and more complicated ones.
Once these have been mastered, you can start with more complicated tricks. However, it is important to keep up on the basics- make sure those skills are honed even when you become an expert on skateboarding.
Before You Wheel Away
To conclude these tips for how to skateboard properly, always make sure your safety is the highest priority. If you are safe, practical , well covered, and smart about practicing this sport, you will be able to go as far as you want to with this skill. Getting started and taking those first steps are the hardest part, by getting your skateboard and doing the research, you are most of the way there!
Are you a skateboarder? Which tips were the most helpful to you as a beginner? Which do you still use today?