Worried that you might be too old to start skating? There’s never been a better time in your life to pick up a board and learn!
– Carl Smith
Worried about starting to longboard? If you’re reading this, then deep down you’ve already made your decision.
You’re going to go out and get your first board pretty soon. If you’re a kid – there’s no excuse. You’re at the perfect age to go out and have fun with your board. If you’re an ‘adult’ you might have some valid concerns. Am I too old? Am I going to look silly? Will I find time and space to make the most of a longboard?
No. No. Yes.
I can comfortably give you those answers, because they’re questions I asked myself not too long ago. You see, my girlfriend and I are both 30 years old, and have just bought our very first boards.
Neither of us have any experience with skateboards, surfboards etc. So this was our first step toward a different kind of lifestyle and culture. It was a big step to make, but one we’re both very glad we did. So let’s take a look at those questions again:
Am I too old?
Doing this kind of thing as a kid is great. You’re carefree and you can put your body through a lot of punishment and bounce right back. That being said, starting as an adult is great. You don’t have to convince your parents to get you anything; you just have to convince yourself. You also have the freedom to organise your life in a way that lets you skate as much as you like.
Yes, you might get hurt on your board (or off your board!). But as long as you know your limits and focus on making steady progress, you’ll be fine.
The very first time I stepped on my board in the park, it flew out from under me and I fell backwards onto the pavement. I’m a 6ft4 man. That’s a long way to fall. I scraped my elbow, but was right back up and on my board attempting my first cruise a couple of minutes later. As long as you don’t do anything beyond your limits too early on, you’re not going to get hurt too badly at all.
So, am I too old? Not at all. You’ve got the perfect opportunity to buy yourself the equipment you want, and to skate on your terms, whenever you want.
Am I going to look silly?
Definitely not. There are two types of people I was worried about looking silly in front of other skaters and non-skaters.
- Other Skaters – No one jumps on a board and knows all the tricks from the beginning. Even that girl bombing down a hill at high speeds, or the guy doing flip tricks, started out in the same place as you. With a helmet on their head, learning how to push off and not fall off. Everyone is friendly and willing to help if you ask. Skating culture is a culture of sharing and mutual appreciation!
- Non-Skaters – This is an easy one. A little while back I was a non-skater. You might be a non-skater right now. Have you ever looked at someone learning to ride a board and thought they looked silly? Probably not. I remember looking at people trying to learn and wishing I was with them. Now that I’m that person trying to learn, I hear people walking past tell each other “Maybe we should get a couple of boards too. Wouldn’t it be fun to cruise through the park?”
As long as you’re conscientious towards others, you’ll find most people are very encouraging or just leave you alone! So are you going to look silly? No. You’ll probably put a smile on people’s faces and encourage others to start their own longboarding journey.
Will I find time and space to make the most of a longboard?
Absolutely. This relates to the ‘Am I too old?’ question. It’s your life to live. If you enjoy riding your board, you’ll make time for it. As for space – that’s the beauty of longboards; you can ride them pretty much anywhere you see a road or path. I’m particularly lucky in that I live quite close to Greenwich Park here in London.
There are some great slopes, some great paths, some great flat sections…It’s just about the perfect place to learn and enjoy on a board. My girlfriend and I wake up early on weekends to go skate. It’s the best way to start the day!
I work near Bishop’s park. There’s a little skate park in there. The morning commute is pretty crowded, so I can’t carry my longboard too comfortably. But I still wanted to skate. So I picked up a skateboard, and get in an hour’s skate every lunch. So now I’m learning how to longboard and how to skateboard.
So will you find the time and space to make the most of a longboard?
If it’s something you enjoy, you’ll find the time. And you’ll start to look at the world a little differently. Instead of a pavement or a road, you’ll be seeing skate spots, lines, and opportunities.
Starting anything new can be tough, but it’s also exciting. More and more people our age are picking up skating and riding for the first time. But there aren’t many stories out there about what it’s like to start relatively later on in life. So if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, or curious about – just go for it. Ask questions, get advice, and above all – have fun and enjoy yourself.
If you see a big guy in Greenwich Park learning to ride his Riviera Heta, or in Bishops Park falling off an Anti Hero skateboard – come say hello!
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