So you've just got your first board. Congratulations! Maybe it's your first downhill board, maybe a dancer, or maybe you've even managed to get your hands on our limited edition artist cruisers. Whatever the case, you want to get on board and get after it!
Before you get ahead of yourself and wake up the next day with road rash, we pooled the brains of the local community to crowd source 10 things we wish we knew when starting skating!
In no particular order, here's 10 things no-one told us when we started out:
10: Having fun is the #1 priority
You’ve just watched a badass dancing video, or a video of someone throwing huge stand up slides, and you think to yourself, “I wanna do that!”. But maybe you feel more comfortable and have more fun with your hand on the ground throwing out big slides. So let that be your thing! If you just like pushing to the beach, then keep enjoying that! The point is, skate however you enjoy even if your friends skate differently.
9: Gear doesn’t maketh man
Sure, expensive gear is cool and fancy, but when it comes down to it, expensive gear won’t make you a better skater or help you improve faster.
YOU are in control of how YOU skate! Your board won’t carry you down the big hill, so don’t worry about getting all the cool gear straight from the gate! Take your time. Try some new bushings to tweak your trucks or even a new set of cast trucks that seem to suit how you want to skate.
8: Skate how YOU want to
Stay steezy like our guy Sam, above.
So much of what makes skateboarding well… skateboarding, is the personalization and diversity of the sport. Some people love having their hand on the ground, others enjoy to skate standup, and some people just like to flip a board around. Whatever you’re doing, it’s all skateboarding!
7: Everything is personal preference
Stop looking for the “best” piece of gear or setup. Everyone likes something different so your best bet it to invest whatever money you can afford, get out and try different things. Luckily most of your setup is customizable, so you can swap around 'til you find something that works!
Check out Stoked Ride Shop's selection of Ultimate Guides to familiarize yourself with every aspect of your skateboard and make some educated guesses on where to start.
6(a): Ride what YOU enjoy
There are all sorts of different style of skating. It doesn’t matter what the current trends in skateboarding are. Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it has to be your cup of tea. And that’s okay! Whatever you like is good gear to YOU. And that’s what matters!
6(b): Tinkering with your setup can get a little expensive, but it’s worth it
As we mentioned, everything in skateboarding is personal preference, so your setup should be your own. When you think your setup is due for an upgrade, consider stocking up on lots of bushings and washers in all shapes and sizes!
Keep trying to change things out to make your trucks feel good for you, because once you find your perfect setup, you’ll never want to change it.
5: DO NOT cheap out on skateboard safety gear
Safety gear is so vitally important in skateboarding. A hard foam helmet is ESSENTIAL. Got it? Good. As are knee pads, elbow pads, and slide gloves for skating downhill.
When learning, you will fall… a lot. And that’s okay! That’s what learning is! But if your skin is exposed, you need to be ready for a very painful shower.
Check out The Stoked Ride Shop Ultimate Guide to Skateboard Safety for a more in-depth dive into the best skateboard protective gear
4: Learn how to fall on a skateboard!
We’ve all heard the phrase “we learn from our mistakes”. That applies to skateboarding too! When learning to skate, you might hold back a little to avoid the possibility of hurting yourself. But *SPOILER ALERT* you're gonna!
Unlike Abuga's head-on motorcycle collision in the clip above (he's all good folks), falling is part of skateboarding. And if you constantly fear hurting yourself, your progression will slow down a whole lot.
It goes without saying that you should always wear correct safety gear, and maybe (... definitely) learn how to fall correctly before you go out.
3: Skateboard Progression: There is a ladder. Climb dat s**t!
There is a progression ladder for learning how to skate. Deviating from this is a recipe for disaster.
Start with pushing, pumping, and footbreaking before moving up to pre drifts, stand up slides, and tucking. If you interrupt the progression ladder, your skill will suffer for it.
Generally we see skaters are much more prone to high siding and falling when they skip the ladder. The ladder is a chain of skills to learn before trying the coolest tricks. It’s vital to know how to run something out or come to a stop if you end up in a sticky situation.
The ladder looks a little something like this:
- Pushing, pumping, and footbreaking,
- Two-hands down pushup slides regular and switch
- Two-hands down heelside slides regular and switch
- Sliding to a stop
- Pendulum slides, both heelside and toeside. This will help you stop at speed
- Pre-drift slides
- Stand up 180s regular and switch, heelside and toeside
- Speed checks
How long does it take to learn to skateboard?
Skateboarding is a life long game of constant progression for most. There is no specific length of time you need to dedicate to it as everyone progresses at different rates, puts in different amounts of time & effort, etc, etc. That said...
... Anywhere on the way, if you feel content with your skill level and comfortable staying at that. Feel no pressure to push yourself to the next level, however...
2: You will never progress if you don’t step outside your comfort zone. But know your limits!
Skating is all about progression. And progress only happens when you give yourself a little push to try something new. Now, that doesn’t mean you should send it full speed down the biggest hill you can find. You need to know your limits and not to skate somewhere that you can really hurt yourself. No one wants to see you get injured!
1: Make some friends and watch them skate!
It’s always a great idea to get out and look for a local community. Skateboard communities are respectful and welcoming. This really helps with progression. Going to meet with a group of people and watching them skate can really help skaters learn ways to improve and find some great spots at the same time.
Skateboarding is a sport with a ton of heart and potential. These are things that if I knew when I started skating, I would have progressed much quicker and have half the scars I do now. So take it easy and enjoy the ride. All points in this article have been sourced from the local skate community, a group of people who like to have fun on skateboards.
Now that you've become aquatinted with our top 10 tips for starting out, let us know what other tips you're looking for by adding it to this form right here.