Skateboarding can be a lot of fun, but as a beginner it can seem like a pretty daunting experience. “What if I fall?/Will people laugh at me?/Am I doing it right?” are questions you might ask yourself when trying to learn how to skateboard, but after a little while you’ll realise that those questions contribute very little to your overall skateboarding experience. Are you going to fall? Most definitely. Could you get hurt? Yep. Will people laugh? Sure. The thing about skateboarding is that it’s more of a mental battle than it is a physical one, so the sooner you conquer the mental hurdles (like fear), the easier your progression will be.
Most people who get into skateboarding do it from being influenced by a friend, family member or a even just a random dude skating down the road, which means the knowledge you may have about skateboarding as a beginner may vary compared to other beginners. Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of tips that can hopefully help you understand what you’re getting yourself into haha.
1. Learn the handshake – Greetings vary from one community to another and can be considered as a form of jargon. People in boardrooms shake hands with a firm grip, friends may have a specific, rehearsed, handshake, often over-complicated and unnecessary, and skaters across the world share the general “slap to fist bump” handshake. It may have subtle variations depending on where you are but generally, it doesn’t get more complicated than two hands slapping each other and fist bumping. We’ve all had pathetically awkward handshakes so hopefully this decreases the chances of that happening at the skatepark or on the streets.
2. Don’t snake – Snaking is when one skater cuts off another skater in an attempt to do a trick. There’s absolutely no reason for you to do this unless you genuinely want to be hated. Become familiar with your surroundings and stay out of the way.
3. Get your fit right – We all know the skater dress code stereotype; a pair of Dickies, a t-shirt representing some skate brand, a cuffed beanie and shoes from a skate company. Many skaters have this exact fit in their wardrobes, but you shouldn’t be limited to this. With the evolution of skateboarding came the freedom of expression and it has become more acceptable to wear anything you want. Wear whatever you want…whatever makes you most confident. Chances are that the more confident you feel in your fit, the better you’ll skate.
4. Give yourself time to heal – Getting injured sucks because you could take weeks or even months to heal depending on the severity of your injury. Most people tend to hop on their boards long before they’re properly healed, which usually ends up in them straining their injury thus prolonging their time off their board. So don’t rush the process. Watch skate videos, play Skate 3, film your homies. Do whatever you can to stay in tune with your inner skater without actually skating.
5. Holding your board – Make sure your fingers wrap around your trucks as hard as possible at all times when you’re off your board. This is the best way for you to get canceled from the skate community. So yeah don’t do that lol. Generally, people hold their boards by the side but honestly, you can hold it anywhere. It doesn’t really matter. But if you’re a noob, it would probably be best to hold it by the side.
6. Skate with good skaters – One of the best ways to progress at anything is to learn from the experts. Having sessions with good skateboarders can help you progress quickly. It forces you to try new things and builds your confidence. So don’t be antisocial, session with the homies and sooner or later you’ll be flipping in and out of tricks with ease.
7. Just have fun – Last but not least, probably the most important thing when skateboarding, is to have fun. We’ve all had bad sessions, sessions where you just can’t land tricks you usually have on lock. When that happens, it’s probably best to just take it easy for a bit. If you aren’t having fun, do something else. And when you’re having good session, take advantage of that and learn a few new tricks. Ultimately, the session is as fun as you make it, so just have fun.