I’ve been thinking a lot about how I have improved over the last year. I’ve improved my running, but I’m still looking to make better strides (pun totally intended) in my overall pace. I've improved my weight lifting (maybe I’ll write something up about that). And I've improved and grown in other areas of my life. But there’s one new hobby I’ve picked up that I know I currently suck at. And hey, that’s okay, I’ve only just started. But, by golly, I want to improve my skateboarding.
It all kicked off last year in the height of lockdown. I know Australia didn’t really (and still doesn’t) experience the same level of catastrophe that the United States has, but we still had a major change in lifestyle. As businesses were going on hiatus and restrictions were being put in place, YouTube algorithm decided to start showing me skateboarding videos. As someone who loved – but was never good at – Tony Hawk’s games, I found myself deep down the rabbit hole, watching tutorial videos and other such things. I had reignited my desire to learn to skateboard, a desire I’d had since I was a kid but never really dug into.
Around winter I picked up my first deck, trucks, and wheels, and put it all together myself. I put on the grip tape, sliced it to shape, put in the bearings, and sorted it all out. I certainly felt accomplished.
Unfortunately, I don’t really have a lot of places to skate. The street isn’t exactly a safe option what with cars everywhere and the footpath is bumpy and uneven. Not exactly good options for someone learning. So I set up shop in my garage, skating in circles and just getting used to my board. There were even some successful attempts at an Ollie.
And some moments where I ate concrete.
This last weekend I had my first skateboarding lesson with a bloke a couple of years younger than me. He was super helpful, guided me around a skate park, and introduced me to some other movements and things to practice.
I also tried dropping in on a rather small quarter pipe. I slipped off the back of my board (despite my best intentions of leaning forwards and pressing my wheels down). I ended up slamming the back of my head into the ground, landing on my butt, and generally groaning in pain. Thank God I was wearing a helmet.
So, right now, as I nurse sore and aching muscles in my neck as I try to get over this sprain/whiplash, I’m thinking about the next time I get on my board. I think I’m going to take it a bit slower. I’ll spend more time on the basics, getting used to balancing and just moving around. The next time I attempt a quarter pipe drop in, I think I’ll really overcommit so that I can at least fall forwards and roll instead of backwards and onto my ass.