In many countries around the world, skateboarding is a form of sport, recreational activity, and even a job. In addition, numerous skaters have become famous, and many more newbies are aspiring to be like their idols. However, before these well-known skaters had taken their spots in the pedestal, they also started with the basics and maybe even had experienced hard times how to ride a skateboard.
Everybody needs to start somewhere, and if you want to learn how to ride a skateboard, you’ve landed to the right page. To help you make your dream as an excellent skateboarder come true, here are some basic guidelines on how a beginner like you get to know skateboarding and be as good or much better than those you know.
How to Prepare Yourself
For beginners like you, a common risk when it comes to skateboarding is the tendency to lose balance while you enjoy yourself. In fact, a simple fall or slip might give you an injury. One factor also is that you ride in areas which are rocky or have poor surfaces.
The first few days should be allotted for practicing balance and a short ride if you can. Do this in a smooth area. You can look for a parking lot, but before starting it is a must that you gear up by wearing protective gears or asked an experienced skater to assist you.
The point here is it does not matter how old you are, who you are, or what you are. Surely, skateboarding is a much thrilling and enjoyable sport that anyone can master and be good at. Bear in mind that no one becomes an expert at day one; instead, it takes ages, discipline, will, and determination.
Importance of Quality Skateboard and Wearing Protective Gears
Before anything else, you should have a skateboard. When choosing your skateboard, come up with a quality skateboard, most importantly. Consider also what type of skateboard you want to have or do with it. For example, you might choose a cruiser or longboard for cruising or transportation or an electric skateboard if you are lazy, but if you are interested in street skating you need something efficient, and lightweight.
Here are some tips when buying skateboards for beginners and wearing protective gears:
- Make sure your skateboard is properly set up for a beginner. Of course, you don’t want to use a super-curved board and eventually loose trucks when you are still starting out. Carved skateboard features are great for performing tricks, but they’re much more challenging to stay balanced. It is best to start with a relatively flat skateboard with tight trucks, and you can loosen the trucks when you’ll able to control speed wobble.
Never ever consider buying a skateboard from a toy store. Purchase from local skateboard store to get premium one. Make sure you check the item as it might be cheap and breaks easily. Some beginners think that having just a skateboard is enough. Well, that’s basically wrong. Prioritize your safety before getting to start. Equip yourself with all the gears to protect yourself from possible slips or fall while learning.
- Since skateboarding is painful on your feet, especially on your ankles, start by having proper shoes. Get a pair of quality skate shoes. Hopping on your skateboard with flip-flops or combat boots will just hurt yourself or worse, twist your ankle. Good skate shoes have the right sole to grip the skateboard and provide support and protection. Brands of skate shoes, like Vans, DC’s, Airwalk, and Etnies are good quality. If you can’t find a skating brand that is best for you, find a pair of skate shoes with a flat sole or a deck shoe.
Wear shoes which are closed and not open like sandals. If you can, wear something leather, and the sole is made of rubber. Most importantly, it should fit you well but not so tight. These shoes must have a good impact on a flat sole. This will absorb injuries on the heels. Another thing is being able to feel your skateboard; thus you need a flexible shoe. Don’t go for shoes that are just fashionable.
- Your head is one of the most important things you need to protect. Then, you must have a helmet that intentionally made for skateboarding. Don’t be confused with a helmet for riding motorcycles. Make sure it includes a sticker which means it has met the ASTM F1492 standard for board helmet. In addition, your helmet must have a solid band and buckle which should be tightly secured and snug as you ride.
- Never disregard your wrist. Protect them with guards and pads. Your elbows and knees require pads, like wrist guards, which are highly recommended for riders. It should have a strong plastic shield and gives easy movement. Make sure it snugs as you maneuver. Other Gears also included a jacket with pads, short pants, gloves, and pads for your hips. Also, mouth guards are also advisable for your mouth and teeth’s protection.
- The deck of your skateboard is the most important part of a skateboard, which provides full support on your body, grip, and balance for a smooth ride. If you’re a newbie, plastic skateboards are highly recommended to help you in your learning curve. As you enhance your skills with time, you can invest in slimmer skateboards with better surface grip.
A wider deck provides a better balance than slimmer boards but it doesn’t allow you to do skateboard tricks. The materials used in creating skateboard decks include fiberglass, carbon, or wood. Plastic decks are cheaper, but if you’re looking for high-quality decks, the more expensive options prove to be worthwhile.
Tips on How to Ride a Skateboard
Forget about performing tricks when you’re just starting out. You’ll eventually get there. Start with the basic positioning, balancing, and being used to riding a skateboard. Skateboarding takes a lot of patience and hard work.
Being physically fit and healthy is also key to riding. Out of shape gives you a higher risk of injury. Therefore, include a healthy diet and do exercises regularly. It will help you pick up skateboarding much easily and quickly. Do stretches and warm-ups for your knees, ankles, back, and legs before you get on.
Falling is unavoidable when you’re still learning skateboarding. However, you can do the following:
- Try to learn on falling the right way by not hurting oneself. Ride into some grass then fall purposely.
- Try rolling then slide on your knees and wrist to lessen the impact. In fact, a few do that on their knee pads and wrist guards.
- If you feel you’re losing balance, just simply bend down and avoid a serious falling. Avoid falling on your hands or arms instead try falling on the fleshy part. By the way, learn the techniques for wearing protective gear.
- As a beginner, don’t aim yet for complicated and bigger tricks because it also means having bigger injuries. Instead, do simple tricks and movements before trying the complex. Let the professionals do them. Wait until you get more experience and be an expert.
- When you’ve slowly learned the basics, don’t be too confident by going fast. Remember to limit your speed as for you and other people’s safety.
- Lastly, it is important that you know manners for riders. When riding at a skatepark, don’t rush, instead, learn to wait for your turn.
- Avoid jumping anywhere to avoid accidents and fights.
Step-by-step Guide on How to Ride a Skateboard
#1. Get on Your Skateboard
- First, position your feet correctly. Don’t be uncomfortable. Stay calm and when it moves don’t step on the deck. To prevent it from moving put your deck on the grass. This will help you balance.
- Next, hit the street then stand on both feet then bend your knees slightly to keep the center of gravity. Then practice stepping on and off by using push foot. Learn how to push.
- Practice as often as you can to make progression. Decide which foot would you move forward. We have the stance regular where you move your left foot in front or goofy with your right foot in front. It would be your own choice. It is where you are comfortable. You can try the following.
- Run ahead straight. Think you are going to a slippery area where you will slide. Then, jump and land. Don’t think too much and just move your foot forward, maybe it is the foot you want to be in front or ask your friend to push you while you stand. The foot stepped forward could be your front foot.
#2. Learn How to Push
After knowing which foot goes in front of the board, learn now how to push the skateboard. Do it at your preferred skating area? Let’s get started.
- First, try maneuvering around. Then, step on the board with the front foot. Make sure that your toes are on top of the board that it is just over the front truck or a little at the back.
- Then, with your back foot, push off making the board roll and on the board put your back foot. If slowing down begins, with your back foot again push it off.
- For slow turns simply lean toward where you want to go. Make sure you balance for some seconds at the back wheel then the front wheels will be swung to take you where you want to. By the way, there are two kinds of turns.
- The kick turn is a little complex. Begin by lifting off the front wheels from the ground. Do it slowly by applying pressure on your tail using the back foot. Meanwhile, the carving is leaning and using your body’s weight.
Note: Remember leaning toward the desired direction will make your board follow. This technique is essential to feel at ease with that kind of rolling. Of course, you got to allow a lot of time and effort.
#3. Learn How to Stop Your Skateboard
Now that you have learned how to roll and turn your skateboard. You also need to know how to stop. There are four means to do so.
- First, it is called foot breaking. It is done by taking off your back foot then drag your shoe’s sole on the surface.
- Second, the heel drag. With the heel of the back foot, stick it on the board’s back then lean back making the front board go up.
- Third, the power slide. However, it is fairly advanced for a beginner like you and it is not recommended yet.
- Last, the bail. Start by jumping off from your board, but make sure that knees are bent and then jump.
#4. Carve Your Skateboard
Carving means letting the side of your heel or toe lean on a skateboard and turn towards the direction you prefer. To do this, push it by applying enough weight on its wheel while it is moving. It will slow down on the side.
It is recommended that you this at a parking lot. Leaning would be much easier if you lean the upper parts of your body. Bend your knees and on your board squat low.
#5. Skate at a Skatepark and Overflow
You can also widen and get to practice at other places to further develop the skills which you have learned already. You can do this at skate parks or over ramps.
Flows are the slope areas and curves found at the skatepark. To skate on it is very tricky, but you can do it if you put your body’s weight on your front foot and skate down the hill. This type is so tricky. Stay relaxed and calm if you perform this trick.
There are two important things you need to remember for this.
- First is the transferring of weight. Do it by pausing and rolling down while the front foot changes. It is the one which faces the side the rider is moving. At the same time when going up or coming down on a hill, shifting your body’s weight going from front transferring to the back foot happens.
- Second, bending knees. Bend them and loosen them up to ensure that the body gets all the pressure of bumps and changes. The golden rule is when you are relaxed and you bend your knees more, the execution gets better.
#6. Time to Kick Turn
Now that you get to know to step on your board, starting, stopping and carving, knowing the kick turns would also be great. However, this isn’t as easy as you imagine.
What is a kick turn? Well, it simply means to balance on your back for some time and then swing your board’s front part. This requires continuous practice and balance. After getting at ease with it, make sure you do the trick in some directions too.
Safety Tips When Skateboarding
As mentioned earlier, falling is unavoidable especially for beginners like you. Yes, skateboarding could be painful for you. No matter how prepared you are, or how many gears you wear, still it can be inevitable. Here are some tips you can do to lessen the pain.
- Never use your hands or arms. Every time you fall, you must avoid using either of your arms or hands to aid or support you. Why? It is simple. Doing so will surely cause breaks or twist on your wrist and using wrist guards may not work so well. Therefore, position your body plus the shoulder to receive all the falls.
- Practice shaking it off. Generally, after falling, the next thing you do is get up and walk around then shake off. However, for serious injuries like broken bones run to your doctor immediately for necessary actions.
- Always practice skateboarding on safe places to prevent injuries. Check all surfaces before practicing. Parents should only allow children to skateboard on smooth surfaces without cracks, rocks, or debris.
- Never skateboard when it is raining because the streets are wet. A novice skateboard rider is not accustomed to riding on wet surfaces.
- Never skateboard in the street. When learning to ride, children should try skateboarding on a smooth driveway, away from all traffic. You can supervise your child when skateboarding in the beginner section of skate parks, or parking lots that are not being used.
- Avoid skateboarding in crowded areas, and don’t hitch a ride from cars, buses, trucks, or bicycles.
Every start or beginning is a challenge. It may be difficult and challenging that you want to give up but remember this no successful person or professional athlete who started by being experts immediately. Surely, they shred lots of sweat, tears, and effort to be who they are right now, so put in mind that although you practice every day you will need more weeks or even until you learn to get used to it. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that your innate ability and hard work will make you better and gradually develop your speed and tricks until you become one of the professionals. Start slowly and end triumphantly.
- Skateboarding Safety – National Safety Council
- How to Skateboard – WikiHow
How-To Ride a Skateboard – BASICS with Spencer Nuzzi – Ride Channel