Every skater had to start somewhere,  this picture is of a kid just getting started in his skateboarding journey. He is practising his ollie, wearing good quality skate shoes, and all the appropriate safety gear, including a helmet, knee and elbow pads

Skateboarding - a beginner’s guide

Skateboarding - a beginner’s guide

If you are into sporting activities, you would want to consider skateboarding. Skateboarding can seem very difficult to a beginner, and it can be, but nothing worthwhile was ever easy. If you are up to the task, here is a step-by-step guide to putting you in the right part of skateboarding, from buying your board to getting started with tricks. So grab that old badass board sitting at home or get a new one from your local skate shop and you are ready for your first ride. The following tips will help get you on your way to being a better skateboarder.

1. Get a good skateboard and equipment.

There are different types of skateboards, but for beginners it can be hard to see the difference. When you want to use a skateboard, think about the reason for doing it, this will help you decide what type of skateboard you need.

You can always have an electric skateboard for transport, but thats not really skating....  A longboard, also known as cruiser is cool if you want a board for short-distance transport, or just carving it up. Street skating requires something small and agile, while boards for vert and big transition skating tend to be a bit bigger.  Visit any of your local skate shops to get the best advice and quality gear.

It doesn't necessarily have to be an expensive board, but don’t fall into the trap of cheap, chain store setups, your local skate shop is the place to help you on your way.

There are few things you need to be across to find the perfect deck for you, such as the width, the concave and the shape. The graphics are less important, but you will have loads of options to choose what you like. Your favorite skate store will have all the parts that will let you to make your board exactly how you want it, or buy one already put together.

This is our generic size guide chart. Ultimately it comes down to your own preference, comfort and ability. However this chart will help you get started. Some people go by shoe size, age or height.  We advise our in-store customers to stand next to the board and see where the tip of measures up to them. A comfortable size board should measure up hip-height where the nose of the deck is. This way you should be able to balance well without spreading your feet too far apart.

2. Wear protective gear.

Falling is part of skating, you will fall as a beginner, you will fall when you are a shredder. If you want to be able to skate for a long time, protective gear is a must. Wearing a helmet will protect the head, knee pads, wirst guards and elbow pads complete the set. Make no mistake, you will fall a lot, pads will give you the protection to keep going, as well boosting your confidence to keep pushing on!
When you fall, try not to use your hands to catch yourself. Ideally, slide on your knee pads, or try and roll with the fall as much as you can.
Preventing yourself with your hand could cause you to break a wrist. Every time you fall, you will learn more about how to fall correctly. So get up and shake off every fall from your body. Skateboarding is an extreme sport, injuries come with the territory, so protect yourself as best you can! Get yourself checked out if you think you have broken a bone or hurt something badly.

Even the best skateboarders wear pads.  Here is a pic of Tony Hawk, the godfather of skateboarding, tearing it up as always.  You can see the Birdman wearing skate shoes, long socks, maybe with shin guards.  He is wearing knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards and a skateboarding helmet.  This photo was taken by John Soltes
3. Be confident.

Don't be embarrassed about how you look or how good you are, everyone started out the same, and real skaters encourage beginners. Push yourself to your limits. By trying new tricks and not being worried about what others think, you will earn respect from your fellow skaters because skateboarders love persistence and resilience. Practice and dedication is the only method for learning to skate. There are no shortcuts, there is no substitute for time on the board.

4. The right shoe

You will want to put on a shoe that you will be comfortable maneuvering around. It doesn't only look cool or stylish but is an essential part of Skate learning because they boost your progression. There are a bunch of skate shoe brands out there, and as skating becomes even more popular, even the big shoe companies are making skate shoes. Don’t get sucked in by the hype! Buy a shoe that feels good to you, your favourite skate shop is the best place to try out the options.

There are loads of great skate shoes to choose from, but the main brands are Vans, Etnies and DC.  In recent years, the big sport shoe manufacturers have got on board, Addidas, New Balance and Nike are all making great skate shoes.  Nike have perhaps become the most popular skate shoe, and they make some really cool kicks.
5. Basic skateboarding skill

Before pulling a massive trick, you have to get rolling, and get confident on your board. Without a solid foundation, and mastery of the basics, you will not be able to go very far.

6. Stance

There are two types of stances in skateboarding, the regular and the Goofy stance. The standing posture, which involves the left leg as the front foot is the regular stance position, while the Goofy stand got the right leg as the front foot. You will feel what stance is right for you.

In skateboarding terminology, that means you have to determine if you are a regular- or goofy-footed skateboarder. There are two different ways to stand on your skateboard. ... The goofy stance means you skate with your right foot forward, while the regular stance is when you are skating with your left foot forward
7. Pushing

Pushing is an important skill to learn on a skateboard. It involves placing your front foot at a 30-degree angle near the nose of your board while bending your front knee so that your back leg can reach the ground. Place all your weight on your front and push with your back foot. Return your back foot at a slight angle to the tail of your board. Try balancing your weight between both legs once your back door is on the board. After perfecting this skill, continue working on your balancing till you are confident in it.

8. Stopping

Foot braking, or dragging your foot on the ground, is the first and most important way to stop a skateboard. When you want to stop, take your back foot from your board and place it on the ground as a braking mechanism gently, dragging the heel of your feet on the ground while most of your weight is still on the front foot. How faster you are going determine the proper amount of pressure to apply on your back foot. Hold the back foot down until coming to a stop or get to your desire speed level. It can be quite dangerous as you move faster. So try to stop at a slow pace. Be warned, this will chew through your shoes, so progressing to the point where you can stop by sliding, is important.

9. Turning

Turning comes after you master pushing and stopping. Skateboard trucks are equipped to turn as you lean from side to side. Placing your feet across your board truck provide you with leverage to move towards the direction you want to go. Bend your knees and go low before leaning into your turn. Use your shoulders to navigate while applying pressure with your toes or heels in the direction you want. Once you complete the turn, bring your body back to its original stance and push to your destination.

10. Prepare a target

After getting some knowledge of beginner's skills in skateboarding. Now is the time to start challenging yourself. Select a particular trick you like, and keep practicing until you can do it. Ask other skaters for help pointing out what you are doing right or wrong. It will help you in your overall posture, balancing, and foot position. Don't set your target so high. Start small. To get started, things like tic tacs, ollies, acid drops and carving should be where you aim.

11. Keep practicing

When you pull off a trick, that does not mean you are perfect. Keep practicing until you have gotten yourself familiar with the different styles. Consistency is key to good skateboarding. Once you pull off a trick, repeat it over again until it becomes a part of you. Practice does not only make you perfect but opens your mind to new ideas. Use those out of the box ideas to innovate your skating style. There are no rules in skating, so don't restrain yourself. Why don't you break free from the general norm?

12. Enjoy yourself

You don't have to kill yourself trying to look cool. Once in a while, allow yourself to let your guard down. Even in a competitive environment, it should be something you enjoy doing and brings joy to you. Don't take away the fun of it. Go out with friends on an exciting skating stroll enjoying the environment that skateboarding has to offer.

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