Skateboarding for Beginners
If you’re reading this, then you are likely interested in skateboards. Whether you want to pick it up as a hobby, use it as exercise, pick up some skateboarding tips, or even find interest in the competitive sporting aspect, this article will help you get started on the path to boarding.
I know, I know. You might be tired of the phrase, “Safety first,” but it really is important. Your safety (and the safety of others around you) should not be neglected for any reason. It’s not worth “looking cool” if you end up getting injured.
While you might eventually not feel the need to rely on gear after you gain lot of experience, it’s best to be proactive and simply take steps to prevent injury.
A helmet is the most important item, as your head is the most vulnerable part of your body that would be susceptible to injury if you fall, and you don’t need me to tell you that head injuries can be very dangerous. You want to get a helmet that’s the right size for your head and make sure it fits snugly.
Helmets can usually be safely used even after a couple of small, minor incidents. But if it’s involved in a significant crash, it’ll need to be replaced.
After the helmet, the next protective gear you look at should be gloves, elbow pads, and knee pads. It’s inevitable that you’re going to fall several times while learning, and your hands, elbows, and knees are the parts of your body that will hit the ground most often, so you want to keep them protected. Good shoes are also recommended.
Finally, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t board anywhere dangerous for a beginner, and hold off on the skatepark until you’ve got the basics down.
Take some time and look for a good beginner skateboard. Try not to spend too much because you might need to get another one if your first gets damaged.
To begin, start in an area that’s not too populated so you don’t have to worry about cars or pedestrians. Figure out which foot you want to put forward. Putting your left food forward puts you in the regular stance, while your right foot forward puts you in the goofy stance.
Pick a stance and lightly push off the ground with your other foot. Do a couple of these and then switch to the other stance to see which one you find more comfortable. As long as you’re well-balanced, there’s not really a wrong way to stand. You could even switch which stance you have while riding, but that’s something you’ll want to save for when you’ve got some experience.
This is where you start. Everything else you learn will branch from simply pushing off, so get used to practicing this. After you feel like you’ve got a good handle on your stance and pushing off, it’s time to move on.
Balancing, Turning, and Braking
Balance is the name of the game here. Once you’re going at a comfortable speed, slightly adjust your balance to one side to turn. Don’t lean too far, or you’ll risk falling off. Lean just enough to get the board to do the same and you’ll start turning.
Start with wide turns first before you try sharper turns. The sharper the turn, the riskier it is for a beginner. These are called carve turns, since you’re sort of “carving” the ground to make the turn.
There are also kick turns, which involve putting pressure on the back end of the board (the tail) so that the front (nose) rises up, and you can position with your front foot. This enables much more control than a carve turn, but leaves only two wheels on the ground which can mean a spill if you’re not careful. Kick turns can more safely and easily be practiced at a standstill to get the hang of it.
To brake, the first and foremost rule is to make sure you’re not going too fast in the first place. Besides that, it’s similar to pushing off, except you want to slow down instead of speed up. Apply a slight perpendicular force to the direction you’re traveling with each push, and you’ll eventually come to a stop.
I know you probably want to try some ollies or kickflips like a lot of skateboarders, but those are a little advanced. You have to learn to walk before you can run, so here are a couple of simple tricks to get you used to manipulating the board and your feet and legs.
A very simple trick. You basically get on the board the same time you flip it up on its wheels. Start with the board on the ground upside-down with the tips of your toes under it. Flip it up and hop on at the same time. That’s it.
You might want to first practice with just one foot to keep your balance, but this is a pretty simple one to get down.
Tic Tacs are a way of gaining momentum without having to push off, and it looks pretty snazzy. Keep your back foot on the tail, put some pressure, and use your front foot to pivot the nose, using your body’s momentum to carry you. Go to the left and right fairly rapidly and the momentum with gradually push you forward.
This is where you’ll master balance. To do a manual, keep your front foot just before the front wheels, and your back foot on the tail. At speed, push down on the tail with your back foot so the nose rises, and apply pressure with your front foot just enough so that the tail doesn’t scrape the ground. Try to maintain your balance for as long as you can.
So now, you know what you need to get started. Take these skateboarding tips and master them before moving on. Remember, nobody is perfect the first time they try something. Everything takes practice. Keep at it, be careful, and try to meet other skateboarders to learn from them.