So, you have just received your first skateboard and you are ready to explore the world of skateboarding. By now you must have known all the parts of a skate setup (deck, bearings, wheels, and trucks) and the other items that will assure you a safe riding experience (proper clothes, helmet, and pads).
But stepping on your board for the first time can be a challenge. A skateboard seems dangerous and unstable. Every time you step on it you might almost seem to flip over.
It makes you wonder; how do skaters stand on this thing? How is that possible? What about those riders who do crazy tricks? How can I get used to this board without hurting myself?
Don’t fret out! You can easily step on your board too.
I will teach you all the techniques in this article, and then with a little practice, it will be as if you have been riding for decades.
Safety First: Important of Being Safe
It is easy for a beginner to lose balance when learning how to ride a skateboard. With every slip and fall, there is a chance you will get injured and end up in hospital. Some of these injuries can be fatal and skateboarders have even died due to collision with cars and head injuries.Beginners and kids are the most venerable. Over 50% of skateboard accidents happen to children of 15 years and below. 33% happen to beginners; people who have had a skateboard for less than 7 days. Experienced skaters also get hurt as the difficulty of moves and tricks increase.
Also, you can easily get hurt if you ride in places with poor surface and rocks.
Gear Guidelines: Important of Wearing Protective Gears
Most people assume that all they need to begin skateboarding is a skateboard and a never give up attitude – until the first wipeout. Wood, concrete, asphalt, and other riding surfaces are not soft. A helmet is a must for a beginner as well as the experienced rider, and so are proper shoes, pads, and wrist guards.
Here are the skateboarder’s gear start-up packs:
Different models of skateboards do different tricks. If you want to learn mountain-boarding, you will require a big skateboard with knobby tires. Something small is perfect for the park. In addition to getting the right board, ensure that it’s working properly.
Inspect your board for damaged wheels, sharp edges, loose parts, and cracks before you start your first lesson (always do this before you start skateboarding).
Go for a helmet that was designed for skateboarding, not riding motorcycles. Ensure that it has a sticker saying it meets all the ASTM F1492 board helmet standards. Your helmet should have a strong buckle and band, and the band should be securely tightened and snug when you ride.
Skateboarding is rough on ankles, feet, and shoes. Always put on closed shoes, drop the sandals. If possible, get a shoe that is made of suede or leather. Also, make sure that the sole is made of grippy gum rubber and the shoe fits well.
Wrist Guards and Pads
Elbow and knee pads, as well as wrist guards, are recommended for all riders. These gears should have a tough plastic shield and should facility easy movement. Also, ensure that your pads are snug when you move.
Padded jackets, shorts, skateboard gloves, and hip pads are all easily available and provide added protection. Mouth guards are also good for protecting your mouth and teeth from getting injuries.
Riding Surface: Where to Ride
This might be the most critical decision you make when learning how to skateboard, as far as safety is concerned. Rough skating surface is responsible for over 50% of skateboarding injuries.You will probably start skateboarding in a skate park, your driveway, or your friend’s driveway. Wherever you choose, ensure that the surface is free of sticks, rocks, and other objects. In addition, watch out for cracks in the floor before you start skating, and ensure that there is zero chance of encountering a car.
Here are some great skateboarding areas that you can begin your lesson at:
- Skateparks: Follow the rules and regulations governing the use of the park, and go through the recommended part etiquette before you begin to skate around the park. Most parks have surfaces set for beginners. Stick to this corner or somewhere easy.
- Empty pools: If you can get an empty pool, it’s even better. Familiarize yourself with its surface and watch out for any hazard that might be present.
- Trails: If you want to learn mountain-boarding, then you will be using trails. Inspect the area for any fallen tree or any other object.
- Warning: As a beginner, do not try riding in the street. The greatest cause of skateboarding death is cars.
Before You Start: Be in Top Shape
It’s common sense. The better shape you are in, the better you will be at skateboarding, and any other athletic activity. Eat a balanced diet and work out regularly. Stretch and warm up, especially your ankles, legs, and back, before you step on the board.
While Riding: Riding Tips
You will certainly fall while learning how to ride a skateboard. Therefore:
- Learn how to fall the right way without hurting yourself. If you begin to lose your balance, bend down so you won’t fall from a higher distance. Try to fall on your fleshy part of your body and roll over. Do not break the fall with hands or arms.
- Bigger features and bigger tricks mean bigger injuries. As a beginner, learn a few simple tricks and then practice them before you try more complicated ones. Leave the never-die tricks to the professional until you have enough experience to try them safely.
- Know and practice riders’ etiquette. In case you are at a skate park, always wait for your turn. Don’t jump in blindly into the mix. This will help you avoid accidents and prevent fights from breaking out.
Let’s us move to the fun part.
Step-by-Step Guide: Learning to Skateboarding
I believe you are now ready to start learning the real skateboarding process.
Stepping on Your Skateboard
The first thing is to get comfortable with stepping on your skateboard. You will feel something uncomfortable about the board, especially if you have never stepped on one before, it’s new, or it’s borrowed.Set your skateboard on the carpet in your room or is some grass, and try stepping or even jumping on it. Try to balance on the back or front wheels only. Stand on your board and move your feet into various positions.
Through this, you will get used to the size of your skateboard and feel, and get comfortable while standing on it.
Skateboard Stance: Regular vs. Goofy
Determine whether your ideal board stance is regular or goofy footed. This is a personal decision. Some people skate best when their left foot is forward while others prefer putting the right foot forward.What’s your preference? Ultimately, it will depend on what makes you feel comfortable. Just like people are left or right handed, some will use their left or right foot, or easily switch between them.
Regular skating is putting your left foot forward while goofy is putting your right foot forward.
Figuring out whether you are a goofy or regular skater can be a problem when starting. But don’t worry; here are a few tricks that you can try to figure it out:
- The ball trick: Take a football or something like that, and place it on the surface and kick it. Whichever foot you have kicked the ball with is your back foot. The other foot is your balancing foot.
- The step trick: Walk up a staircase. Note the first foot you used to step on the staircase. That’s your back foot.
- The friend trick: Find your friend and stand with all your feet close, Then, request him/her to safely and lightly, push you from behind. The foot you will use to catch yourself is your back foot.
Pushing Your Skateboard
Begin to Roll Your Board
- First, attempt moving around your parking lot. Step on your board using your front foot, and place it such that your toes are just over the front truck or just a little behind, on top of your board.
- Using your back foot, push off so that the board can begin to roll, and place your back foot on the board too, once you are moving at a comfortable speed.
- When you begin to slow down, push off again with your back foot.
- To make a turn, you can lean toward the direction you want to take, but this will be a slow turn. The best way to turn is to balance for a few seconds on the back wheels and swing the front wheels the side you want to turn. This will take a lot of practice (stick with the leaning for now).
Practice This Technique
It’s vital you get comfortable with rolling around like that. Spend enough time practicing; this will really help. After feeling comfortable with rolling like that, try riding carefully down a hill that has no obstacles or cars.
Spend some time skating downhill.
How to Stop Your Skateboard
The best way for a beginner is to take off the back foot and drag it on the surface. It will take time; you should spend sufficient time focusing on it so you can stop when you want.
This is another great way of stopping a board, but it is recommended for skaters who have the experience. Place the heel of your back foot such that it’s sticking off the back of the board and lean back such that the front of the board lifts up.
Next, step down on your heel, but ensure that ½ of your foot is stepping on your skateboard. Remain in this position until you come to a stop. You might fall on your back a few times before you master this trick.
Power slides are fairly advanced. Although it is fun, I cannot recommend you to try it until you become a professional.
If the first two tricks fail, simply jump off your skateboard. Ensure that your knees are bent before you jump. The board will stop if you jump forward. One thing though, you might break it; but it is better to buy a new board than visiting a doctor due to a broken bone.
Carving Your Skateboard
Carving involves leaning heel-side or toe-side to get your skateboard to turn in the direction you want. Here are some helpful carving tips:Push your skateboard and put sufficient weight on the heels while riding. This will enable you to slowly turn toward that side. You will execute a sharper turn if you push your heels harder. While rolling around, you will be executing this trick a lot.
I would recommend you to go out to the parking lot and try pushing forward and then carve around stuff. For instance, try pushing toward something that you want to avoid, like a curb, and try to carve away or around it.
It will be easier if you lean your upper body to the direction you want to take. Carving on a board is similar to carving on snowboards. If you wish to carve deeper, bend your knees, and crouch low on your skateboard.
Skating at a Skatepark and Over Flow
Skateboarding Over Flow
The sloping areas or curves of a skatepark are called flows. Skating overflow, down and up slopes and ramps, is very tricky. The trick is to keep your body weight on the front foot when skating down a hill, a big bump. Through a skatepark, or down a driveway, it’s critical you keep your weight on the front foot.
Remember to relax when performing this trick and make sure that there are no people or cars on the way.
Transfer Your Weight
One trick here: when riding up a slope or ramp, pause, and then roll back down, your front foot will change. That’s simply because your front foot is not always your left or right foot, It is, in fact, the one facing the side you are moving. When riding up a hill or ramp and coming down, you will want to shift your body weight from front to back foot when at the top.
Bend Your Knees
The other trick is to bend your knees and loosen them. This will ensure that your body absorbs all the impact and shock of changes and bumps. As a rule of the thumb: the more bent your knees are and relaxed you are, the better you will execute. Also, don’t hunch the shoulder and keep them relaxed and at the back.
Time to Kickturn
Balance for a Moment
Kickturning is simply balancing on your back tires for a few seconds and then swinging the front part of your skateboard to another direction. It will take practice and balance to learn this.
Once you are comfortable, ensure that you can perform the trick in both directions. Also, try kick turning when on a ramp and when moving. For instance, move up and then kick turn 180 degrees.
Skate and Create
This is an important trick to master. Follow these simple steps:
- Position your back foot such that the ball of the foot is on the backside of your board. Put your foot between the front and middle trucks on your board. That’s where your feet should be before you do an Ollie.
- Start to bend your knees and crouch. Simultaneously, snap the back of the board with your back foot and slightly hold back while leading out the nose with your forward foot.
- Lift your knees toward your chest and then land. Ensure that you land with both legs at once, and as near the trucks as you can.
This is a technique in which your skateboard does a 180-degree turn while you remain in the same position, as you watch it rotate. Here are the steps of doing a successful Pop Shuvit:
- When your legs are in an Ollie position, snap your back foot and have your front foothold back your board. Similar to the Ollie.
- When your skateboard completes the 180 degrees turn, catch it and step on it.
This trick will help you to balance better. You can do this trick with other tricks. Follow these steps:
- Find a manual pad with a height of a curb or lower.
- Pick up reasonable speed and perform an Ollie onto the pad, shifting your body weight onto the back of your skateboard while in the air.
- Land on the back tires, and balance yourself while ensuring that the front tires don’t touch the ground.
- Continue riding in that position.
- When done, snap an Ollie from the back. Rollaway.
There are other tricks that you can try as you become a professional including Rail Stands, Kickflips, and grinds. Learn them when you are ready and have fun.
Getting Back Up After Falling When Skateboarding
Skateboarding is a painful sport for beginners. It is normal to fall and get hurt while riding. You can wear all the right protective gear, but still fall and hurt yourself. Besides, wearing your pads and helmet, there are some stuff you can do to ease your pain.
Do Not Use Your Arms or Hands
When you are falling, ensure that you don’t use your arms or hands to support yourself. When you lose your skateboard and you are about to hit the surface, you should position your body and shoulder in such a way that they will take all the fall, rolling with the momentum as many times as possible.
Supporting yourself with your arms or hands is a sure way to twist or break your wrist and although putting on wrist guards might protect you, it is very dangerous as after a while you will be skating without guards (when you become a professional).
Shake It Off
One of the best things to do when you fall is to get up, if you aren’t hurt seriously, walk around, and then shake it off. With every fall, your body will learn not to fall.
You cannot be hurt too severely when skateboarding, but sometimes you might break your bones – it is common. If you feel or think you have hurt yourself badly or broken a bone, see your doctor immediately.
Even if you ride your skateboard daily, as a beginner it will take you weeks and even months to get used and feel comfortable with your board. Natural talent and dedication will keep you learning and graduate from one speed to the other or one trick to the other, and become a professional skater.
Begin slowly, avoid the complicated tricks, master your board, and you will be teaching others on how to ride a skateboard. I wish you all the best as you put your forward foot forward.