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Beginner’s Guide to Skateboarding

Last updated on August 4, 2021

Skateboarding has evolved tremendously since its first appearance in 1959, growing from a simple wooden board that would be used to travel to an Olympic sport that would attract millions of people. Skateboarding has become trendier over the past few years as more and more people pick up their own boards and learn to skate. The creative aspect of skateboarding and the ability to perform endless amounts of tricks down endless amounts of obstacles makes the activity such an appealing and rewarding sport to people of all ages.

Of course, the ability to perform these tricks requires hours upon hours of hard work, dedication, and practice. Only through this will the rewarding aspects of skateboarding appear. As a skater myself, I would have loved to have a basic guide on how to begin skateboarding; thus, in this article, I will state all the knowledge that I have as a more experienced skater in hopes of encouraging others to confidently pick up this sport.

What Skateboard to Buy

When beginning to skateboard, you will want to buy a board that is durable, affordable, and sufficient to practice tricks with. A skateboard is made up of 6 parts: the actual board, grip tape, trucks, hardware, wheels, and bearings. You can either buy a complete board, which includes all these parts already put together, or you can buy each part separately and set up the board yourself. A complete board costs around $70, while buying each part of a board will cost a total of $170.

Although it is more expensive, I would recommend buying each part of a board and setting it up yourself, as individual parts are more reliable, high quality, and durable compared to a complete board. High-quality grip tape brands would be Mob, Jessup, or Shake Junt; good deck brands would be Blackout, Baker, Real, or Element; the best trucks would be by Independent, Venture, or Thunder; hardware is all essentially equal in quality so it does not matter which brand you buy it from; good wheel brands are Spitfire or Bones; and good bearings would be from Bones.

You can buy all these parts online at stores such as skate warehouse, ccs, or Tactics or your local skate shop. You will also need to understand what size deck, trucks, and wheels to get. There are charts you can look up online that will match your feet size to the recommended deck size. From there, you can look up charts that will match the deck size to the recommended truck size. Finally, you can find charts that will match the truck size to the recommended wheel size. Setting up the board takes about 15 minutes and can easily be done by watching a YouTube tutorial.

(A good diagram of a skateboard)

How to Learn

Now that you know what the perfect setup is for a skateboard, it is time to learn about how to ride and perform tricks. It is helpful to start by riding around your neighborhood to get comfortable pushing yourself and turning. Once you are comfortable riding, you can start to learn tricks. The most simple tricks are an ollie and pop-shove, and they can be learned by watching YouTube tutorials. Helpful channels for beginners would be Braille Skateboarding or VLSkate. As you begin to progress more and more, you can start learning more difficult and advanced tricks such as the flip, kickflip, and hardflip. Again, these tricks can be learned through online tutorials.

However, being able to learn and perform these tricks require large amounts of patience, consistency, and determination. Some tricks will take you a few minutes to learn while other tricks may take you days or even weeks to finally land. Either way, in my opinion, the feeling of finally landing a trick, no matter how long it takes, is always rewarding and fulfilling.

Once you start learning more tricks, you can begin to perform them down stair sets, over gaps, or on rails. You can learn and practice at skateparks, but a more natural, creative environment to skate in would be around your town. You can find skate spots all over your neighborhood or you could create your own skate spots out of natural obstacles, and these obstacles can be extremely helpful in helping you learn and improve.

Progress varies greatly among skaters. It may be extremely fast for some and extremely slow for others: some people may be able to perform 70 tricks after a year while others may only be able to perform 20. A way to increase your rate of progression would be to spend time every day practicing and to surround yourself with other skaters who can encourage and help you overcome fears and improve.

However, you should not let your progression after a certain period discourage you, as skateboarding is not all about how many tricks you can perform. Of course, a fast progression allows you to apply your skills in a wider range of areas, but there are so many rewarding, exciting, and thrilling aspects of skateboarding that do not require a certain amount of tricks for you to perform.  

What you can get out of Skateboarding

The most obvious benefit of skateboarding is that it can promote exercise. According to a Harvard study, skateboarding can burn 150-210 calories in just 30 minutes. Skateboarding can be a very physically demanding sport, especially when you are learning new tricks, continually practicing other tricks, or having to push yourself to travel. Skateboarding gives you a reason to be outside and allows you to exercise under the fresh air and balmy sun. 

Skateboarding also allows you to interact and explore your neighborhood more frequently. The sport allows you to explore all the unique aspects of your town when you try to find new spots to skate at. With a skateboard, you can cruise down streets and roads and admire all the astonishing architecture from neighboring areas. Through skateboarding, you may also discover new parts of your town that you may never have known were there.

Finally, skateboarding allows meeting new people and making new friends. Skateboarding brings people all over the world closer together, as each share this common hobby. You can meet new people at skateparks or people walking by you who share the same interest. Skateboarding is a sport that all friends can gather around with and spend a few hours doing. The skateboarding community is also extremely friendly, and many people will encourage and motivate you to keep practicing and improving. They make you feel welcome and confident in accomplishing your goals, making them great people to become friends with.

Overall, while skateboarding may initially seem difficult and complicated to understand, it is an extremely rewarding and beneficial sport that will surely grow on you as time goes on. Now that you know the basics of skateboarding and the rewarding aspects of the sport, I encourage you to get aboard, go out, and enjoy the nice summer breeze as you cruise through the streets.

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