NEW TO SKATEBOARDING?
For specialist advice or any questions, feel free to drop us a line, we’d be happy to talk to you.
There are two options when buying a new skateboard, a “complete” which is fully assembled for you with stock parts or a “custom” board which is built from parts you choose yourself.
A complete board is usually cheaper with parts that fit and are designed to work together. It’s pre-built which means you can get rolling straight away.
We advise not buying a complete board from a toy shop as they are usually of a poor quality and will make learning much harder. Cheap boards are often made by companies that mass produce their boards with little concern for the quality of the board and parts.
Custom boards are more expensive but are of a higher quality. They allow you to customise the board to your exact requirements and have a wider choice of parts and brands that you wouldn’t find with a complete.
If you don’t own, or plan to buy a board, we offer free rental of all equipment for all our lessons.
When choosing a size for your protective gear (elbow/knee pads, wrist guard or helmets) it is imperative that they fit correctly. When they’re too small or too much of a tight fit, they will restrict easy movement and become uncomfortable very quickly.
At the same time if they’re even slightly too big they will be unable to provide the right protection against knocks and falls. Skate helmets in particular should never cover your line of vision, not wobble when you are skating and should have adjustable straps that buckle under your chin.
Pads are just the same, they’re usually pulled over knees and elbows but can also be strapped on with the aid of adjustable Velcro straps. Whichever form of skating pads or skate equipment appeals to you, it is advisable that you make sure your skate pads are thick and that they fit snugly, without cutting off your circulation. Skating pads need to be comfortable otherwise you won’t want to wear them.
Most protective skating gear is adjustable; just make sure that they’re always altered to the correct sizing before use. Whilst wanting to look good with your protective gear, safety is always the highest priority.
It is important that you maintain your skateboard and safety gear and replace broken or worn parts as needed. For example, you need to make sure you clean your bearings every now and then. If dirt builds up this can cause your bearings to seize up and stop your wheels from turning.
If you are a parent, you might have to learn more about your child’s skateboard to know when you will have to replace certain parts for them.
Prevent your board from getting wet wherever possible. Your board is made from 7 ply maple wood and when exposed to moisture it expands. If your board is wet the layers will begin to pull away from each other, increasing the chance of your board cracking, chipping and snapping. Most skaters will bring a bag with them to make sure they can protect their board if it begins to rain.
Your trucks do not need replacing regularly and will last the longest out of the different parts of your board, as they are made from strong metals.
However the bushings within your trucks will need a close eye kept on them, as they will need replacing. Similar to your bearings, it is best to keep a pair of bushing on your person, in case your bushings start to fail.
You should also regularly check and tighten the bolts holding your trucks to the board.
Similar to your board, you do not want to get your bearings wet. Bearings are very susceptible to rust, due to the grease that help the bearings spin and the moisture combining. It is best to keep your board away from water completely.
Bearings have tendency to pop and break without warning, as they take the majority of the pressure when landing tricks. Make sure to change your bearings regularly or carry spare bearings on your person when you are out skating.
Learning new tricks is part of the fun, and nobody picks up a new trick on the first try. There are spills. For most skaters that are trying new tricks, falling is the norm and landing the trick is the exception.
Be honest about your abilities. Do not attempt techniques that are too advanced for you, or that you have not been shown. This may well save you some embarrassment as well as an injury. Practice what you know until you can do it in your sleep, and then move on to something new.
Using protective gear like a helmet and knee pads will be the easiest thing you can do to prevent injuries. This gear basically absorbs the impact from falling and protects you from cuts, scrapes and bruises.
It’s not a race or a competition, so do not overestimate your current abilities. If you ride within your limits and progress at your own pace, you will feel more comfortable and be less scared.
Fear is actually the most common reason people fall off their skateboard. This is because when you are scared your body is more tense and you are more likely to panic or make large sudden moving and put you off balance.
When you Skateboard, you also learn how to avoid falling and gain the ability to recover from slips, trips and stumbles. This will help you prevent future injuries and is a valuable tool to have in life too.
Warming up simply means getting your body ready to skate. This could mean a few stretches, or simply taking it easy and practicing the basics to get your body loose and flexible. It helps you get familiar with your board again and get used to whichever environment you are skating in. It’s important because when you are cold, your ankles are stiff, your body feels tight and this increases your chances of falling off the board.
After each session, you should warm down by doing a few stretches. This will increase your flexibility and stop your muscles from feeling tight. It will also boost your recovery and you will feel much better after each session.
This could be skating in poorly lit areas, over rough ground, in crowded spaces, or skating on poorly designed DIY ramps.
Most skateboards are designed to be used on the smooth ground. On rough ground, your skateboard will struggle to because most skate wheels are small and can be easily stopped by cracks and tiny pebbles.
Skating in poorly lit areas is obvious a bad idea, as you cannot clearly see obstacles and things that you could skate into.
Filming yourself in slow motion can be an incredibly useful way of seeing what’s going right and wrong with your trick and riding techniques. When you slow everything down it’s easier to correct foot positioning and learn the correct technique. You can film yourself stationary or moving and use the footage to learn what to adjust or try differently and you can learn from other skaters slow motion videos too.
One of the most effective ways to overcome skater’s block, is to break the trick down into individual steps. Practice each step separately until you feel more comfortable and, once you’ve mastered each step, you should be landing your trick in no time.
A great way to get some practice in, especially if it’s raining, is to use a deck with no wheels or trucks attached on and old mat or carpet. This will give you more stability and balance, as the board is not going to roll away, allowing you to focus more on your foot movement and learning to land your desired trick.
If you are feeling frustrated by a trick you’re learning, take a minute to calm down and gather your thoughts. There is nothing worse than throwing yourself into a trick with a negative mind. Keep positive and skate within your limits.
Practice makes perfect, so skateboard as much as you can, even just an hour’s practice each week can make such a difference.
Watching skate videos is a great way of paving the initial steps in your skateboarding journey. Nothing is more inspiring than watching the masters at work!
Everyone is different, so finding your favourite skateboarder or skate team will help inspire the direction you want to take your skateboarding and the first tricks you may want to learn.
Cruising is definitely up there with one of the most effective ways to improve quickly. Good balance means you are comfortable on the board. The more comfortable you are, the easier harder tricks will become.
Taking long pushes allows more fluidity in your movement, as well as giving you more speedy. It is also a great way of improving your balance, as you are constantly aiming to keep your centre of balance in the middle of the board, whilst moving your body and trying to take a big push.
It is important to be aware of your surroundings as when you skate. This is especially true in skateparks. There are other skateboards, scooter and bike riders around. If you are not careful, you can crash into them or they crash into you. You have to be considerate and cautious of others, as they may not always hear or see you coming.
Just remember, before you ride down a ramp or walk across a skatepark, It is like a road, but with more options – you should not start riding or walking without looking left to right and front to back.
All riders should know and practice skateboarder etiquette. At a crowded skatepark, this means waiting their turn instead of jumping blindly into a ramp. We also advise only attempting ramps that are within in your capabilities, that you have been shown how to ride.
Take short turns and don’t snake others…
Be respectful and try not to spend too long on a run as this means people just have to wait for you. Taking short turns when it is busy makes sure everyone gets a go.
Snaking is when a person jumps ahead of a person waiting their turn to skate. It is important when waiting at the top of a ramp that you wait your turn and don’t just jump in. If too many people are trying to ride the same thing there are going to be accidents so be respectful and wait your turn and keep the park safe.
If you do jump in by mistake show your respect by stopping or moving out of the way of the person who’s turn it is and acknowledge the error.
Different obstacles in the skatepark have different purposes. If you are unsure of an obstacles purpose, feel free to ask another skateboarder in the skatepark or watch other skateboarders use that obstacle to find out how to skate it.
Using an obstacle for something other than its original use can increase the chance of an accident to yourself and those around you.
To find skateparks near you, visit SkateLDN