Want to pick up boarding but never really got the chance to due to school, friends or lack of funds? Stop procrastinating and get those feet moving because boarding isn’t all that difficult or expensive. Read on to find our what nifty beginner tips we have for you!
Get a board that suits your interests
There are lots of styles and brands of boards available for all skill levels and interests. Visit a local skate shop to browse the selection and get advice from more experienced skaters in choosing a skateboard that’s appropriate for your size and desires from your board.
Tip: Do not go to Toys ‘R’ Us or some department store. The boards may look like the real thing, but they are not plus they are usually not well made.
Longboards are great for cruising and easy for beginners to maneuver. If you’re interested in something that will be easy to hop right on and go, or something to get you from place to place, a longboard is definitely the way to go. They’re not great for tricks, so if you’re interested in popping ollies, it’s not the best option.
Price range is around $150 – 300 for a basic complete set.
Skateboards are with tapered ends perfect for kicking tricks and jumps, and an easy soft maneuverability, these boards are excellent for skating around at quick speeds, though they’ll take a little more practice to get balanced when you’re first starting out. If you want to eventually drop into a half-pipe (skateboard ramp), this is the board for you.
Price range is around $100 – 150 for a basic complete set.
Parts of a Board
Deck (+ Grip tape) – The deck is the wooden bit you stand on and the grip tape is the sand papery layer that’s applied to the top of the deck to provide grip for your shoes.
Trucks – These are the parts that attach the deck to the wheels and also allow you to turn. The most important thing when buying a set of trucks is to make sure they are not wider than your deck.
Wheels – Generally speaking, when starting out, opt for 52mm to 55mm diameter wheels. As your skating progresses you will be able to choose a set of wheels better suited to your style of skating.
Bearings – You have probably heard someone talking about his or her bearings which makes their board go faster than anyone else’s in the whole wide world! Don’t be fooled into spending a lot of money on what is essentially a very good marketing campaign.
Tip: Make sure your board is set up correctly for a beginner. You don’t want a super-curved board and loose trucks when you’re first starting out. While those kinds of features might be great for doing tricks, they’re much more difficult to stay balanced while riding upon. You want a relatively flat board with tight trucks to learn on.
Gear for a Smooth Ride
Get a pair of good skate shoes.
Trying to hop on your board with combat boots or flip-flops is a good way to hurt yourself or twist an ankle. Skate shoes have the right kind of sole to grip the board and ensure both protection and support, making them ideal for learning to skate. Vans and DC’s are signature skate shoes, though plenty of athletic companies now make shoes perfect for skating.
Always wear protective gear and a helmet.
It’s absolutely essential that you get a skating helmet, which features a smooth surface and a snug chin strap to protect your head. It’s likely you’ll fall a lot, so it’s very important that you ensure your safety and wear a helmet.
Additionally, knee pads, wrist guards, and elbow pads are also common protective gear to wear, especially when you’re first getting started. When you get more comfortable on the board, you’ll probably not need to wear all the pads every time you want to skate.
Staying on the Board
Try standing on the board without falling down.
There’s no right way to stand on the board, so set the board on stable ground, like the grass or even carpet, where it won’t roll easily, and figure out what feels most comfortable for you. Put one foot in front of the other, lined up roughly with the truck screws.
Try to push off.
On some level concrete, stand on the board with your forward foot and use a long, even step with your pushing foot to create momentum.
Shift into the riding position.
When you get moving, you need to shift your riding foot sideways, more like how you were standing when you had the board still on the grass, and bring your pushing foot up to rest lightly on the fishtail at the back of the board. Your knees should be slightly bent, but you should be generally standing upright, with a straight back, to learn to balance correctly.
Learn to turn.
To turn, you’ll shift your weight forward or back from the ankle, depending on your stance and whether or not you want to go right or left. The amount of pressure you’ll use will depend on how tight your trucks are and how far you want to turn. Practice on level surface, getting started, shifting into your riding stance, and then executing a turn safely without falling off.
Try to stop.
There are lots of different ways to stop a skateboard, and many of them are more advanced. For the beginner, the easiest way is usually to either gradually slow down, and stop by putting a foot to the pavement, or to execute a tail stop.
Learn to fall.
No skater has ever not fallen off the board. It can be discouraging, but learning to fall properly can help make sure you don’t seriously hurt yourself. Always wear a helmet, to keep your head safe, and try and use wrist guards, which you can use to take the brunt of most falls and avoid the nasty scrapes that are part of the skating world.
Tip: Watch lots of YouTube videos like this to help yourself get going.
Any other guide for beginners you want to see? Let us know by commenting below!