Am I too old to learn skateboarding? Search for a beginner’s guide on how to skateboard and you will encounter questions as such — people wondering whether skateboarding is for them and whether learning at their later age is a good decision.
Sure, skateboarding can be challenging to learn, but it’s a fun sport to master. The best part? It’s a sport that discriminates against no age group. It is for everyone regardless of age, gender, and appearance. As long as you have the guts to hit the skatepark and ride a skateboard, you will eventually find your balance on a wheeled plywood deck.
Are you too old to start skating? How can you skateboard without falling? We will answer all of these questions and more in this comprehensive guide.
How to Skateboard for Beginners
Yes, skateboarding can be dangerous and there’s never a guarantee that you can get off a board unscathed. However, with proper protective gear, a quality skateboard, and practice, you can learn how to ride a skateboard and eventually enjoy it while worrying less about injuries. If you’re new to skateboarding and want to learn more, below are the basics you should know before trying new tricks and complex maneuvers.
Learning how to skateboard starts with finding your natural stance, knowing how to stand on a skateboard, and keeping your balance.
There are two stances in skateboarding: regular and goofy. In the goofy position, you stand with your right foot forward. On the contrary, in the regular stance, you stand with your left foot forward. We suggest trying both stances to figure out where you feel more comfortable. You can also push around a little to instinctively know which is more natural for you.
Start on flat ground. Place one foot onto the board and make sure you’ve got a solid footing. Then, cautiously lift the other, settling it about shoulder-width apart from your first foot. Assume a natural stance and make sure to distribute your weight evenly over each leg to help maintain balance and control over the board.
A beginner tip to find your balance on a skateboard is to place your feet just above the trucks — these are metal shafts that attach the wheels to your board. Shift your weight back and forth on each leg, and make slight adjustments on your hips, knees, ankles, and feet until you remain upright.
How to push a skateboard is quite self-explanatory. Angle your front foot around your front truck bolts and push with your rear foot. As you start moving, put your back foot back onto the deck and turn your stance so that your feet are parallel. Use your arms to keep your balance on the board.
When turning on a skateboard, all you have to do is lean and transfer your weight onto the edge, either on the toe side or the heel side. Your trucks should follow the direction of your lean.
There are many ways to stop on a skateboard, but the easiest way is to use your back foot as a break. Alternatively, you can press your tail down, causing friction that will slow you down and eventually pull you to a stop.
How to Skateboard Without Falling
Having a good balance is an essential skill in skateboarding. But, if you think that learning how to stay on the skateboard is all it is, knowing how to avoid injuries is just as important.
• Practice, Practice, Practice
Skateboarding isn’t something you will learn in a day. It may take a few days, even weeks to find your balance, and that’s okay. Regular practice is worth getting used to a skateboard and saving yourself from serious injuries.
• Get a Quality Skateboard
Now, what type of skateboard should you start on? There are several types of skateboards available, including the ones made specifically for kids. But, your best bet is to go with one that is appropriate for your skills and age.
For your first one, we suggest you opt for a longboard. It has a larger deck that feels more stable and provides enough room for beginners. You would also want a board that rides closer to the ground — it feels safer and is much easier to push — and one with large, soft wheels for a smoother and more comfortable ride.
• Wear Protective Gear
Helmets, knee pads, wrist guards, and elbow pads can all make you feel lame. But, your safety is worth more than looking cool. Other than preventing injuries and cushioning your fall, wearing proper protective gear helps you feel confident while worrying less about hurting yourself. It can make all the difference especially when you’re just starting.
• Invest in Quality Shoes
Besides protective gear, you must also get some good shoes — those with proper cushioning to absorb shock and prevent serious heel injuries. Make sure that your shoes are not too tight, are flexible, and just thick enough that you can still feel your board. Experienced skaters recommend brands like Vans and Converse for skateboarding shoes. Check out this article for a comprehensive comparison of vans vs. converse.
• Find a Good Place to Skateboard
Any accessible place with a smooth, level surface and less crowd is a good place to skate. Think of parking areas, an actual skatepark, or your driveway. Make sure to avoid the streets and never skateboard in the rain.
These are some of the ways to avoid injuries when skateboarding. But, sometimes, proper precautions and wearing safety gear are just not enough. Falling is something that will always be part of the game and you have to be ready for it.
How to Avoid Falling Off a Skateboard
You can’t be too afraid to fall when skateboarding. Otherwise, you will not have the confidence to learn anything. You will fall over and over again. But, as you get better, you should fall less often and when you do, you will realize that there is a proper way to fall so that it will be safer and hurt less.
- Crouch low on your board. When losing balance on the board, an initial reaction would most likely be to flail wildly. But, the more you do this, the more you are likely to fall — bad. So, instead, crouch low on your board and closer to the ground. It can help keep you from falling or at least shorten your distance to fall when you finally lose your balance.
- Relax your body. Another automatic reaction when losing balance is to tense up your body. But, instead of going rigid, consciously relax your body and let it go limp. This way, you’re less likely to get injured and fracture a bone.
- Land on the fleshy parts of your body. When you realize that you will not be able to land on your feet, position your body so that you land on the fleshy areas such as your butt, your back, or your stomach. It will hurt a lot less than landing on your head.
- Tuck and roll. Instead of breaking a fall with your arms and hands, try rolling so that you land on your back or your shoulder instead. Bend your knees and tuck in your elbows to help minimize the risks of injury when landing. This is particularly helpful with older adults.
- Continue momentum. Experienced skaters also suggest not to stop your momentum and continue it instead by running or sliding on your knee pads.
History of Skateboarding
Skateboarding is a sport whose popularity has ebbed and flowed since it was first introduced some 70 years ago. It was invented in the 1950s when surfers in California wanted something to do when the waves were low.
It is hard to pin down who made the very first skateboard. Although, history points to Los Angeles shop owner Bill Richards for selling the first commercial skateboards in 1959. Other accounts say crude improvised versions were already available prior. These were made by attaching roller-skate wheels to a thick plyboard. Fast forward to today, skateboarding is a thriving recreational activity and is also now an Olympic sport.
What is the Best Age to Start Skateboarding?
In skateboarding, it doesn’t matter how old or young you are. But, here’s the thing, the sport can be dangerous at any age — and because it is a special risk for younger kids, the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) cautions that:
- Kids below 5 years old should not skateboard.
- Kids 6-10 can skateboard, but with close adult supervision.
Children are less physically developed and tend to have poor balance. These factors make them at more risk of falling and hurting their heads. They also have slower reactions and less coordination compared to adults, meaning they are less able to break a fall.
But, what about the older ones? No one is ever too old to learn skateboarding, you can start when you are 40 or 50, as long as you are healthy and in reasonable shape. However, the sport can be physically demanding, so you must be aware of your physical and mental limitations.
The Best Skateboards for Beginners At Any Age
Skateboarding is not about learning how to not fall, but how to properly fall. You must master this basic skill first before moving on to try more tricks and complicated moves. Remember, even years of practice will not keep you from falling. But, knowing how to fall correctly should help reduce the risks of injury when you do.
Now that’s settled, we assume that at this point, you have decided you want to buy a skateboard. Below are some of our recommendations.
Best for Beginner Kids: PHOEROS Complete Skateboard Canadian Maple Pro Cruiser
This classic skateboard is recommended for beginners with its 8-inch-width maple wood deck for better control and stability. Underneath is a reliable aluminum alloy truck and high-rebound wheels made of PU. This material replicates the grip and softness of rubber but is way more durable. Overall, this skateboard rolls smooth and speedy on all kinds of roads, perfect for both beginner kids and adults.
Best for Beginner Adults: Geelife Pro Complete Skateboards for Beginner Adults
Made from maple wood, this 8-inch skateboard has a concave design. This curvature further strengthens the board and provides you with more control to help you learn new tricks faster. Interestingly, not only is this skateboard appropriate for beginners but is also great for riders who have already mastered the basics. It comes fully assembled with a high-speed 95A PU wheel attached to wear-resistant, waterproof, and durable aluminum alloy trucks.
If you want to learn how to skateboard, but you’re just not ready to spend so much on the sport yet, this skateboard is a pretty decent and affordable option. This board is 8 inches wide and although it is recommended for beginners, it is suitable for any level skater. The deck is non-slip and waterproof for better balance control and superior grip. It is complete with heavy-duty aluminum alloy trucks and high-speed 95A PU wheels for a better skateboarding experience.
Best Cruiser: Beleev Complete Cruiser Skateboard, 27 Inch
Longer than a standard skateboard but shorter than a longboard, a cruiser is great for short distances. It is more portable and is a good place to start if you want to eventually learn tricks. If you think a cruiser is for you, this eye-catching Beleev Cruiser Skateboard should be on top of your list. With a 27×8-inch deck and 18-inch wheelbase, it offers plenty of room for your feet. It is made of 10mm-thick maple wood and equipped with heavy-duty aluminum alloy trucks for a smooth and steady ride.
Best Longboard: Island Skate 38″ Pintail Longboard Skateboard
Unlike a cruiser, a longboard is designed for long distances. It’s precisely its longer length, flexible truck, and soft wheels that make it more stable, comfortable, and easy to maneuver even on rough surfaces. A beginner-friendly option, this Island Skate 38-inch board is everything that you would want in a longboard. Made from Canadian maple wood, the board is as durable as it is visually interesting. It has a sand grit finish on top for better grip and the trucks are made of chrome steel paired with PU78A Perfusion Wheels for a longer glide with each push.
Throughout the years, skateboarding has evolved from a niche hobby to a global sport that attracts interest from people of all ages. How can you skate without falling? You just can’t — whatever your age. Start slow, wear protective gear, and learn how to fall properly.