Getting back into skateboarding as an adult can be very intimidating, but also incredibly fun.
The endless journey to learn to skateboard again
Chris: started at age 12, and stopped skateboarding consistently around 1990, when I was getting more serious with snowboarding. At that point, most of my friends weren’t skateboarding and we didn’t have skate parks where I lived. I believe I became more of a “fan of skateboarding” than a “skateboarder.” To this day, I love watching skateboarding on TV, contests and in videos. Back when I was skating, I mainly skated street, launch ramps, ditches and some small pools; I really wish I would have kept skating, but I didn’t…so here we are today.
Dave: started skating at age 13; my parents bought me a Variflex board for Christmas. It opened a whole new world for me. Skateboarding consumed me for the next 6 years. As life became more complicated, I skated less and less. Sound familiar? I still skated here and there over the years. My oldest son skated for about a year when he was in middle school. I rode a fair amount then but typically just a few times a year. My youngest boy wanted to skateboard at a young age, so I put him on a board at 4 years old. The more he got into it, the more I did as well. I never realized how much I missed and needed skateboarding in my life. It’s also been a great bonding activity for my son and me to share. It’s amazing to watch him progress, and now and then I pull an old trick and blow his mind.
You get better with age, right? Not really…but that’s no reason to not keep trying stuff.
Chris: I stepped on a board from time to time in my 20s and early 30s and remembered how fun it was to push around, but that was it. It wasn’t until my late 30s and now almost mid-40s that I got the drive and determination to learn to skate again. The skateboard scene in Colorado is amazing, and I feel lucky that I have some incredible skate parks within a short driving distance. Good access helps immensely in getting back on a skateboard.
I’ve found the real challenge in skateboarding is myself. I do believe it to be true if you don’t really want to learn to skateboard again, and you don’t give skateboarding 100 percent, well, you might as well just stay a fan of skateboarding. At this age, you’re really just battling yourself. You’ll never have the flexibility, balance, quick recovery, or time that you had for skateboarding when you were younger, but you can still enjoy skateboarding. Don’t worry about the 12 – 25-year-old kids that are incredible skateboarders at your park; that will never be us. Just focus on yourself and what feels good to you. If you put in the time, skateboarding at this age can be rewarding and amazingly fun. It might be painful sometimes (or a lot of the time). It will take a lot of time and effort to learn and relearn skateboarding tricks. I’ve found that my love of the sport and the feeling I can get from riding my skateboard, helps me know anything is possible. I’ve seen vast improvements in my balance, core strength, agility, and overall lower body strength from skateboarding, and it’s way more fun, to me, than using the elliptical machine at the gym any day! It’s also motivated me to work harder in regaining flexibility and strength at the gym so I can keep skateboarding for years to come.
Dave: With the emergence of the modern skate park, you will have no shortage of place to go. Most towns have a skate park, or there is one close by. Every time we travel I look to see if there is a park. We’ve been to some amazing ones, and some terrible ones, but it’s all skateboarding. When I first started going with my son, I was intimidated and just watched a lot. But I have found the younger skaters are super supportive and think it’s killer to see an old ass man still skating. There is quite an appreciation for the history of skateboarding as well. It’s pretty cool to be able to share stories with young rippers.
Other things that will help you, get your ass in shape. When I really started again I was 230lbs at 6’0”. I’m now more like 190, which has made a huge difference for me. Not only will it help your balance and endurance for your return to action sports but also it will help prevent injuries. I personally go to the gym almost daily and to yoga several days a week.
Lessons learned, gear, and what’s helped us get back into skateboarding
Chris: I’ve been snowboarding constantly for the past 30 years, and I’m sure that has given me a bit of an advantage in getting back into skateboarding when I did, at the age of around 40. Still it wasn’t easy; boards and equipment have changed so much. I really didn’t know where to start. I struggled. I read that you should get a deck that’s around 7.75 inches across and 52mm wheels for the type of skateboarding I wanted to get into, but that just didn’t work out too well for me. I even had a 9-year-old kid tell me that my board looked too small for me, sigh… I became an internet student of skateboard decks, trucks, bearings and wheels. I researched as much as I could about what I should be riding and what the best brands are, and it all boiled down to I had no idea. I probably still really don’t have it down, but I’m learning, and I have a great friend who rips at skateboarding who has helped me immensely in the past year. In the beginning, I went through about six different skateboard set ups; my wife definitely raised an eyebrow or two at how much stuff I was buying. I also purchased pads and a helmet, which my wife was very appreciative of, as was I. I started off on the lower end of the scale on skateboard setups and really that’s the best advice I can give. The exceptions are shoes, pads and helmets; I’d suggest getting a good set of wrist guards, knee and elbow pads, socks with shin protection (Footprint Insoles has some great ones when they are available), and a good helmet. You’ll be happy you did when you fall, and you will indeed fall and fall and fall a lot! Find a good pair of skate shoes that have some good insoles or cushioning. I found that my heels hurt like hell after trying to relearn how to ollie for days on end; a good skate shoe will make a world of difference and shin protection will too. I’ll list the products I use (and Dave will too) and have reviewed here on Old Guys Rip Too that I’ve found work for me.
Picking a skateboard set up is really difficult. If you’re lucky to have a good skateboard shop near you that understands the needs of an older guy getting back into skateboarding, go there first and tell the shop employees that you’re starting out again. Describe the type of skateboarding you want to get back into, and if they try to put you on a 7.25 popsicle deck, walk… no RUN away as fast as you can and find another shop (just kidding, they’d never do that).
Dave: Truly getting back into skateboarding was a challenge and will be for you too. But we are here to help. For me, skateboards changed a lot in the ’90s. When I got back into it, I just was not comfortable on a popsicle deck. Go with what you know, because there are a ton of reissue and old school decks out now. I bought a Black Label John Lucero, Independent Trucks, and Mini Logo wheels. It just felt right to me to be on an old-school shape. My tastes have changed over the years, and now I ride a pop deck.
One of the hardest things to get back is balance. Buy a good set of pads and a good helmet; you just never know when you’re going to need them. Better safe than sorry right? There are a ton of options to choose from, in my personal experience…spend the extra money for a quality product. S1 helmets are designed by a skater and one of the only helmets that is designed to take multiple impacts. For knee, elbow and wrist guards, I prefer 187 Killer Pads, again designed by a skater who knows about protection and durability.
Let’s do this together
Friends are important in skateboarding. Even if it’s just the casual dude at the skate park that chats you up and rides with you, I think it’s important to have this be a social thing too. For example, when Dave travels and he knows there is a skate park near by, he’ll reach out over social media or in forums to see if there’s a local skater in the area. Sure, it’s great to focus and really work on skateboarding again, but it also helps when you have someone you can talk to about what you’re going through. And who knows, it might help your riding to see someone else ripping or learning at the park right along with you. I’ve been very fortunate to have a group of old rippers to watch and inspire me to keep trying; my good friend Shawn has been skateboarding for over 20+ years (he just turned 40) and is an incredible skateboarder, person, and mentor who has helped me a ton with getting back into skateboarding. I’m lucky to have him to ask questions about equipment, skateboards, and even some history of skateboarding. Dave and his family are also a huge motivation for me to keep going. Dave and his son are pushing it every time they go skateboarding it seems, and that motivates me to keep trying to do more and get out there as often as I can. He’s also a great friend to talk about skateboarding with! What I’m trying to say is that there’s a community in most areas now of older skateboarders who still rip, and plenty of folks who are getting back into it as well that you can reach out to, whether over social media, forums, or at your local skate park or shop. I believe community and skateboarding with others is very important in enjoying the journey back into skateboarding.
Getting back into skateboarding over 40 is tough, but for me it’s been worth it — the fun outweighs the pain, and I’m sure I will continue to skate for years to come. Keep in mind it’s going to be a challenge, and there will be pain, bruises, and possibly some injuries. For me, it’s a part of the self-challenge to keep moving, stay young physically and at heart, and meet new people. I also find when you want to relax, there’s a solace in skateboarding that not only brings a sense of nostalgia, but also keep things new and, most importantly, fun. It’s an incredible feeling to relearn how to grind, air or rock to fakie. It’s just something that keeps me going and grinning when I learn or relearn a trick. If you want to put in the time, I think you can too…but you really have to want it for yourself. If you feel the calling, then go for it!
We’d happy to answer any questions you might have leave a comment in this post orcontact us. We have shirts and stickers to help you represent the Old Guys. What are you waiting for…go skate!
Chris: products we have really come to enjoy for my skateboarding, some are linked to our reviews and others to the products.
S1 Lifer Helmet
Skateboard Set Up (as of July 2017)
Pocket Pistols Pedro Barros Corner Pocket Width: 8.625 Length: 32.6 Wheel Base: 15.125 Mod Shovel Nose for all terrain skateboarding (deck is no longer available from Pocket Pistols Skateboards).
Independent trucks Axle width: 8.5″ Hanger width: 149mm
Bones SPF Clear wheels
Pads and Protection:
187 Killer Pads
Footprint Painkiller socks
S1 Lifer Helmet
Skateboard Set Up (as of July 2017):
Powell-Peralta Flight Deck (8.5″)
Bones wheels 81’s
- Take it slow, just start riding a bit until you feel comfortable again.
- Consider warming up. ...
- Wear protective gear if you feel uncomfortable.
- Don't push yourself or let others push you doing tricks you're not ready for.
The short answer is, yes you can learn to skateboard at age 40 or 50!How many years does it take to master skateboarding? ›
Typically it takes at least 12 months to 3 years to become good at skateboarding. In 12 months you'll be able to learn a few basic tricks. Between 1 and 3 years you can learn advanced tricks. The progression timeline varies from person to person.How do I regain my confidence in skateboarding? ›
- Take Your Time. A lot of the time, fear of skateboarding comes from pushing yourself too hard. ...
- Fall a Few Times to Reduce Fear. That might sound weird, but falling actually helps build confidence in skateboarding. ...
- Ramp Up Slowly. ...
- Practice. ...
- Commit Yourself.
Remember you're never too old to start skateboarding, it's all in your head. Just make sure you're safe and avoid risk. It will take months before you get the hang of it and it might even take years before you do your first ollie. It's about fun, skateboarding is a great sport both physically and mentally.Why can't I get good at skateboarding? ›
Most skateboarders stop progressing at some point. You don't seem to get better and learning new tricks seems impossible. Often this has to do with skipping the basics or you're getting too frustrated and over-focussed. To get better at skateboarding you need to slowly build up and make sure you master the basics.Is learning how do you skateboard hard? ›
Skateboarding is a great sport but can be hard to master. It really depends on your age, fitness, guts, and starting at the basics. The basics of skateboarding are not hard to learn but learning tricks is hard. A common beginner mistake is learning tricks first and skipping the basics.What is a common injury in skateboarding? ›
Skateboarding injuries often involve the wrist, ankle, or face. Injuries to the arms, legs, neck and trunk range from cuts and bruises to sprains, strains, and broken bones. Wrist fractures are quite common. Wearing wrist guards has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of these fractures.How do skaters fall and not get hurt? ›
Tuck your elbows and head in. Landing on your butt, your back, or your stomach will hurt a lot less than landing on your head. Knee and elbow pads, a helmet, and a mouth piece can protect the areas that you don't want land on. Some skateboarders try to tuck and roll as they fall.What is it called when you fall off a skateboard? ›
Bailing is the process of falling off a board (i.e. a skateboard), losing control of the board while performing a trick in the air, or when the board hits the ground on the deck and not the wheels. Bailing can sometimes result in some type of injury.
- Head injuries, including concussions, pose the greatest danger to young skateboarders. ...
- Hand, wrist, or shoulder injuries may occur when skateboarders lose their balance and fall on an outstretched arm.
- Ankle injuries, such as fractures are also common.
Skating is difficult and honestly, I think it has the steepest learning curve out of all the sports I've tried. This means that skating might be the hardest sport for beginners. Also, it takes a really long time to get good at skateboarding. Even learning an ollie takes most skaters a few months.How many hours a day should I skateboard? ›
If you want to improve your skateboarding, then you should try to skate 6-10 hours a week. We suggest doing this over 3-4 days during the week in 1.5-2.5 hour skate sessions. Don't skate for too long or you will become tired and start skating sloppily.How can skateboarding change someone life? ›
Skating gave me a confidence I'd never had - which actually makes a lot of sense. It forces you to face your fears and to trust yourself, something I think I'd never truly done before. I became less anxious, more outgoing, and felt I could conquer the world.How do I start skateboarding? ›
- Get the Right Skateboard. Visit your local skate shop and ask for advice. ...
- Wear Thick Socks. ...
- Get the Right Skate Shoes. ...
- Wear a Helmet. ...
- Don't Skate in the Rain. ...
- Feel Comfortable Riding a Skateboard. ...
- Learn to Fall Safely. ...
- Consolidate the Basics.
Penny Boards are NOT good for tricks, not good for cruising and carving down hills, uncomfortable to push long distances and dangerous at higher speeds.What is the hardest trick you can do on a skateboard? ›
The laser flip is probably the hardest flat ground trick to land. It combines a 360 shuv with a varial heelflip. A 360 shuv is when you flick your back foot down and back to make the board spin 360 degrees in the air with no other flips. A varial heelflip is a heelflip combined with a front shuv.What is a 5 O in skateboarding? ›
5-0 Grind is the term for grinding on a ledge using only your back truck. You can do 5-0's either Frontside or Backside depending whether the obstacle is in front of you or behind you.Why is skateboarding so tiring? ›
Every time you go skate you're using certain systems in your body to power your sessions and for lack of better words – “wearing them down”. You're going to burn through your energy tanks, your muscles might take some damage, or maybe you're going to get mentally stressed from slamming endlessly on a trick.Why can I not turn with my skateboard? ›
Check the tightness of your trucks.
If your deck barely tilts, it means you have tight trucks, which will make it difficult to turn. If your board tilts easily, it means your trucks are loose; while looser trucks make turning easier, they also make your deck unstable and difficult to control.
Tendonitis and sprains — Tendonitis and sprains in the feet, ankles, and knees are common due to overuse and pressure placed on the feet while skateboarding. There is usually localized pain, swelling, and stiffness. A sprain will occur suddenly while tendonitis often develops over time.How do you build muscle for skateboarding? ›
A skateboarder should lay special emphasis on the training of abs, obliques and latissimus dorsi, to improve his game. Lat pulls, crunches and planks are some basic exercises that should be part of every skateboarder's routine. In relation to skateboarding training, it is helpful to adopt 'static contraction training'.Why does my new skateboard keep turning right? ›
If you find your board consistently going in one direction, it's likely that the truck on that side is either too loose or too tight. Your trucks should be evenly tightened - this will help them steer you in the right direction.Is it easier to learn on a long or short skateboard? ›
You absolutely CAN learn to skate using a shortboard or standard skateboard – some people prefer that! But from an ease-of-use and safety standpoint, longboarding can't be beaten. Longboarding is so much easier to learn because all of the skills used to skateboard (pumping, turning, balance, strength, etc.)Is it worth it to learn how do you skateboard? ›
You burn a ton of calories and can keep going for hours. Skateboarding makes your legs and core stronger. Your dominant leg might get a bit muscular compared to your other leg. Skateboarding can be a replacement for cardio and pushing yourself will greatly improve your overall health and fitness.Is skateboarding bad for your joints? ›
Skateboarding can wear and tear on the body/joints over time, but is not necessarily bad for your ankles/knees/and hips as long has you have good strength to promote stability around the joints themselves.What are the risks of skating? ›
The ice surface is very dangerous as there is no cushion against impact. These skating injuries may include concussions or other traumatic brain injuries. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) runs diagonally through the middle of the knee and provides rotational stability.Does skateboarding hurt your hips? ›
Case studies have also highlighted that injuries to the knees and hips can occur while skateboarding. The cause of such injuries is down to the high impact nature of the sport and the repeated stress on the lower body. ACL and MCL injuries are sighted as the common types of knee injuries.Why do skaters punch their legs? ›
Why do figure skaters hit their legs? To wake up their legs (just like Olympic swimmers) and to remind themselves to focus.Why do skaters bend their knees? ›
More knee bend (flexion) allows your centre of gravity (CoG) to be lower (increasing your balance), while providing you the potential for a longer stride resulting in more power.
“It's because it's more comfortable. Sometimes if you want to go to the restroom, it's easier,” Ms. Taljegård said. “Where I skate in Sweden, we have a lot of cold rinks.What does butter mean in skating? ›
Butter: 1. a skateboarding slang term referring to an obstacle that grinds or slides smoothly 2. an adjective used to describe a trick that was performed very well.What do skaters call themselves? ›
What Skateboarders Call Themselves. Skateboarders and ice skaters both go by the generic term "skater," which can lead you astray if you're searching the internet. But since you almost never find them in the same place at the same time, there's generally no confusion in the real world.What is skitching on a skateboard? ›
Skitching (abbreviated from "skate-hitching", pron: /ˈskɪtʃɪŋ/) is the act of hitching a ride by holding onto a motor vehicle while riding on a skateboard, roller skates, bicycle, or sneakers when there is snowfall.Can you make a living off skateboarding? ›
It is largely believed the average professional skateboarder makes US$1,000–$,3000 a month, with the mean somewhere around $30,000 a year. The top-tier skateboarders can make up to $10,000 a month, but these skaters make up less than 10 percent of professional skateboarders.Is it too late to start skateboarding at 23? ›
You're never too old to learn skateboarding, at least when you're still healthy and in reasonable physical shape. There is no age limit, whether you're in your twenties, thirties, forties or even fifties. It might be a little embarrassing when you start skateboarding at your 30's or 40's but practice makes perfect.Is skateboarding a sport or a lifestyle? ›
Skateboarding is an action sport originating in the United States that involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard, as well as a recreational activity, an art form, an entertainment industry job, and a method of transportation.How do skaters turn pro? ›
The key to going pro is to get sponsorships. A sponsored skateboarder can expect to get free gear and support to attend skateboarding events and competitions.What do you call a professional skateboarder? ›
Basically, a skater is pro when he or she lives off of skateboarding. So, if a skater is young, then it's tricky to call them “pro”, because they are still in school, live with their parents, etc. But, on a very basic level, someone is a pro skater when they can live off of it – so really, it's up to that skater.