I want to improve my skateboarding

I'm about as green as they come when it comes to skateboarding.

SerfaSam

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.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 1, 2021 10:11 PM

    Is strapping on his helmet, knee and elbow pads, and wrist guards.

    Read more: I want to improve my skateboarding

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      February 1, 2021 11:33 PM

      Dude, good on you. I skated heavily during my teens into my mid- twenties. A untreated shoulder dislocation ruined my confidence and not rehabbing after getting surgery was one of the most regrettable decisions of my life.

      I'm now in my early forties. I was able to purchase a house around five years ago and the first thing I did was build an 8' wide mini ramp. Within two years it has expanded to 16' wide. I skate it in spurts, but it's one of the most fulfilling physical activities I ever do. I don't skate nearly enough to justify it, but it's sometimes just enough to jump on it for a few minutes here and there as family takes up a lot of my time.

      I will tell you this, you won't regret the time spent learning how to skateboard. I remember as a fourteen year old, just moved to a super small town in Utah, with a Christmas complete just pushing up and down there gravel roads, getting my balance down, pivoting 180s, front and backside... not even trying to ollie yet. Such good memories. Then just figuring out where to stand, how to lean, where to position my feet to snap the board into the direct I wanted... It's like magic. I miss the tricks I was able to do on demand that I lost to laziness and not taking care of my shoulder. I look forward to more posts, dude!

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        February 1, 2021 11:42 PM

        And yeah, dropping in is like THE rite of passage. My 12 year was learning this past summer (Aug or so) and he thought he was ready to send it.

        He drops in, full commit and just slams into his back.

        I was proud he committed, but instantly felt so bad that he was in pain.

        A person can say "slam and lean on that front truck no matter what!" only so many times. Every one slams. Hopefully you recover quickly... I know I do not. A few years back, I took a bunch of days off during the holidays and skated with my bro at a nearby park three times in a weeks (for a couple of hours each time). My knees and legs were useless after New years. Could barely walk up stairs.

        Lol.

        Worth it.

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          February 2, 2021 1:32 AM

          I'm only 30, so my body still has a bit of bounce in it. Granted, it knocked the wind out of me.

          I did get back on my board and the bloke who was teaching me helped me do it again by holding both my hands haha. I managed to nail it that time. He then did it by just holding my back hand. I couldn't believe the speed I felt coming down such a small curve.

          I think my working out, weight lifting, and running has attributed to me being able to get on and keep going.

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            February 2, 2021 4:11 AM

            I learned ice skating in my 30s, at least enough to play some rec hockey for two years.

            As long as you put the time and work into it, it’s gonna be fine.

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            February 2, 2021 6:05 AM

            Yeah, I was never good at cross training. The only exercise I did was skateboarding. I did take a weight training class in high school with the sole purpose of using the leg press. Lol. I'd race through all the other exercises and just put the rest of my effort on that thing. Which worked out fine because all the dude's in my class never wanted to use it.

            Learning to fall is gonna be the best first trick you can learn. Obviously, not much you can do to bail out of a drop in.

            Are you watching any skating? That's one thing I didn't have access to growing up. We had one bike/skate shop growing up and only had access to five year old movies.... And it was mostly vert. For me, I find watching the type of skating I want to do gets me amped to ride and kinda projects the way I move my body when trying certain tricks. Lots of reputable "how to" stuff as well (Chris Cole has a series I think).

            Anyway, good article and I look forward to there next one.

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        February 2, 2021 1:29 AM

        Oh mate, I'm super serious about my health, which means I can be a bit of a wuss when it comes to injuries. My neck's feeling pretty good after some anti-inflammatory pills. Can't wait for it to allow me to look left and right. Is your shoulder injury something you can fix all these years later? A process of retraining certain muscles?

        I certainly want to continue skating. It definitely feels awesome. I managed to go up a small ramp (avoided a rock-to-fakie) and come back down without stacking it. Just the speed is something I think I need to get used to.

        The drop-in was surprises. I was so fucking confident that I wouldn't fall on my ass, that I committed as much as I needed to. And yet the next thing I knew the board slipped out from under me and I was on my back.

        After I learn how to balance and do the basics, I think flat-ground tricks are where I really want to excel. I love the sound of the board popping and scuffing. Then again, with the goal to be always to improve, who knows what I'll want to be learning a year from now.

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        February 2, 2021 11:34 AM

        Just got back into it as well.

        My kids showed some interest so I thought I'd join them.

        We got a 2ft transition ramp to practice on -I've never dropped in, but it's terrifying, even at 2 ft.

        I had to switch out my wheels, I was running 60mm rat bones (80a) with ceramics, and they were terrifyingly fast.

        Dropped to some smaller, harder wheels and can now attempt ollie's and flip tricks.

        I just hope I don't break anything. My kids are fearless though, and have no issue rolling up over the coping. They aren't able to drop in on the transition yet, but I'm guessing they'll get there soon.

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      February 2, 2021 4:06 AM

      good luck man. i give it a half-assed attempt every year and don't stick with it... the key is to skate every day.

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      February 2, 2021 4:14 AM

      great article, good luck man

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        February 2, 2021 5:32 PM

        Thanks mate. I'll be sure to make some updates once I improve a decent amount. Perhaps when I manage to skate in a straight line without wobbling, and turn with any measure of confidence lol

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      February 2, 2021 4:59 AM

      Some dude just landed a 1260, admittedly on a megaramp. I'm still sure if I flatland I'll end up in hospital

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      February 2, 2021 8:27 AM

      Good luck, dude! It's so fun. I started when I was in middle school and then quit...picked it back up again when first Skate game came out. Playing that might help with the feet/body movements. Now I'm too old and scared of hurting myself to do anything except cruise around lol.

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        February 2, 2021 11:37 AM

        Yeah, I slammed a few times over winter break. My ass and right wrist hurt for weeks :(

        I'm 38 for reference.

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          February 2, 2021 1:59 PM

          Damn that sucks. I'm also 38 lol. Can't afford to get fucked up with a family now. I did impress my neighbor's kid with an ollie on his board a few weeks ago...still got it lol.

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            February 2, 2021 5:34 PM

            How do you manage to ollie?

            I've spent a lot of time practicing, and while I know it will take longer before I get it, how do you do it?

            I get so bloody hot and sweaty just trying to jump. I can't imagine a situation whereby it doesn't take all my concentration and energy to jump as high as I possibly can.

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      February 2, 2021 8:38 AM

      Nice!

      Wish I could still skate. I really do miss it, and games XL/Session/THPS can only do so much to fill that void.

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