Are you too old to skateboard? It depends…
Is age just a number when it comes to skateboarding? Today, I’ll be going over how older people can get into skating. I’ll be giving tips for learning and I’ll be talking about what gear is most appropriate.
Does age matter?
Yes and No. It only matters in your head and to non-skaters. It’s only non-skateboarders who will tell you that you’re too old, or too “something” to not skateboard. People who don’t skate will always find excuses to prevent you from doing so. They take one look at skateboarding and brush it off as dangerous and risky. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Skateboarding is as safe as you make it. You could skate forever without any worry of getting hurt, it’s all about how you manage the risk and the steps you take to skate safely.
In comparison to non-skaters, actual skaters are very accomodating. They welcome skaters of all sizes, backgrounds, colors, and ages. As long as you have a board you are welcome. And if you’re struggling with how to learn skateboard or just need some help with skating, they’ll be happy to help you.
So as far as age and other things go, they don’t matter. In fact, Tony Hawk, one of the oldest pro skateboarders just turned 52. So anybody can skate regardless of age. Don’t believe me? Check out this old skater for yourself below.
Neal Unger is 63 years old. He was introduced to a skateboard when he was 9 years of age, but he only became serious about it when he turned 57. Check out his skills in the video below.
Now I have to point out that Neal Unger is really good and has been skating for a long time. You don’t have to replicate what he’s doing. I just put him in to highlight to you that it can be done at any age. And Neal is quite good, he skates better than a lot of the younger riders out there.
How to learn to skateboard when you’re 40+ years old
Now we’ve gotten to the part where I’ll share some tips with you. If you’ve read this far, well done. You’re taking your first tips to be able to skate.
Take it easy when learning
The bad thing about aging is that your body gets a bit slower. Especially if you haven’t been keeping up with your fitness. So when it comes to learning something that is new and physical, you should take it easy. It takes a bit longer for your muscles to adjust and for your body to get used to these new movements.
So when you start skating, it is important to take baby steps. This could be simply cruising in your parking lot (or learning on grass) until you get confident enough in your skills. Or working on the basics until they feel natural.
By giving yourself ample time to learn, skating will feel easier and natural to you.
An added benefit of learning this new skill. is that it will keep your mind fresh, engaged, and will help strengthen the connection between different parts of your brain. Simply put, it will help keep your mind sharp and healthy.
Make sure you get protective gear
When you’re old, you unfortunately, can’t take hits like you did when you were younger. A slam might feel a bit more painful and keep you on the sidelines for a few more minutes. And if you don’t have an active lifestyle already, the fall may damage you more than you expect.
It is a wise idea to wear protective equipment. Protective gear will take most of the impact and will keep you cushioned. You’ll be able to fall safely, and simply get up and keep skating. And every beginner should wear them, whether they’re learning to skateboard at 25, 6 or even 50.
For protective gear, I would recommend you pick up:
- a helmet,
- wrist pads,
- elbow pads,
- and knee pads.
Yes, quite a bit of equipment, but all necessary if you wanna skate safely. At the least, you should pick up a helmet and some wrist guards.
Why should you get a helmet?
A helmet will keep your head safe and prevent brain damage if you do hit your head. Make sure you pick a certified helmet that has the ASTM F1492 certification for skateboarding.
The S1 Lifer is an example of a high-quality certified helmet. It has both the cycling (high impact) and skateboarding (multiple impacts) certifications. It’s sure to keep you safe and will prevent brain damage. Find out more about it here on Amazon.com.
Why should you get wrist pads?
Why have I suggested wrist pads over knee and elbow pads as the basics? If you can, get all three, but the wrist pad should be the minimum.
Wrist pads allow you to catch yourself with your hands when you fall. They allow your hand to safely slide across the pavement. By catching yourself, you can stop yourself from landing on your elbows and other parts of your body. It’s also a very instinctual motion and you’ll likely do it anyway and end up with skinned palms.
They’re really useful for all sorts of skating and have saved a ton of riders.
A good wrist pad to get is the TSG Professional Wristguard. It’s a simple wristguard that uses high-quality materials to protect you. It has a removable PE splint, leather palm pad and a Cordura strap to keep it locked in. Check it out here on Amazon.com.
Buy quality gear
So whatever it is you want to buy that is skate related, make sure it comes from a decent brand that has a good reputation. This will ensure that your gear will enhance your skating.
For example, don’t buy skateboards from no-name brands. Those skateboards will handle poorly and won’t give you a good riding experience.
A good example of a high-quality skateboard is this Baker complete. It comes in at 8.5inches in width, has 52mm tall wheels, and comes with core trucks. It would make a decent skateboard for a beginner skater. Check it out here on Amazon.com.
Make sure you warm-up
Older people are more prone to getting injuries when exercising. A good way to prevent injuries from happening is by warming up before doing any exercise. Warming up allows the body to get loose and basically signals to your muscles that they need to get ready for whatever you’re going to do.
A warm-up routine could be a few dynamic stretches, some light exercise, etc. Basically, whatever you can figure out to loosen you up and help you feel ready to skate. The same can be said for any skater. Warming up is important and will help prevent a lot of injuries in the long run.
Get advice from other “old” skaters
A good way to stay excited (or stoked) about skating, is to meet others with similar circumstances to yourself. You’ll be surprised to learn that there is a very active community of older skateboarders.
If you can look around the Internet, you’ll find groups and forums like this one. Basically, little communities where people can share pictures, videos, and start discussions.
There is strength in numbers. Who knows, you might even find a community in your area.
You don’t have to do tricks
There’s more to skateboarding than doing tricks. You can also simply cruise around and just enjoy the feeling of being on board.
I think a lot of people look at skating and think of it in one way. No. Skating is really what you make of it, and everybody does it in their own style. In some way, you gotta find what works for you.
That said, if you are eager to learn some tricks, I’ve mentioned some that are easy to do below. It shouldn’t take you too long to learn them.
Some easy tricks to learn
If you’ve gotten comfortable riding around on your skateboard it’s a good idea to challenge yourself a bit and learn some easy tricks.
Tick tacking is one of the easier skateboard tricks to learn. It requires a bit of balance but you can get it down within a few minutes of practice.
You basically stand on the tail and have your front leg on the front trucks. You then shift your weight to the back so you can raise the front of the board. With the front raised, you can swing the deck from the left to the right like a pendulum. Putting it down each time you swing it to either side.
This one requires a ramp and some courage. All it is is simply dropping down the ramp. Sounds simple right?
Standing at the top of the ramp can feel quite intimidating. Half of the trick is just committing. I recommend you start on a small ramp and work your way up if you’re feeling courageous. It might be a good idea to get a skater to walk you through this trick.
Riding fakie is just basically riding backward. It sounds simple, but can actually be a bit challenging. This is because you won’t have the same coordination and balance riding with your back foot in front. Your board will feel wobbly and you’ll feel like a beginner all over again.
What do you think? Ready to get out and shred?
The decision to ultimately skate or not lies with you. But I will say this, skating is one of those activities that is well worth the effort and only gets better the more experienced you are. Just because you’re a bit older, shouldn’t mean you have to miss out on it.