The Board Blazers Blog


What's The Best Age To Start Skating?

what's the best age to start skateboarding?

Because it feels irresponsible to do otherwise, let's start off with the Skateboarding Safety warning:

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

* Children under age 5 years old should never ride a skateboard.
* Children aged 6 to 10 years old need close supervision from an adult or trustworthy adolescent whenever they ride a skateboard.

When young children are involved in skateboarding accidents, they are often injured severely. Skateboarding is a special risk for young children because they have:

* A higher center of gravity, less development and poor balance. These factors make children more likely to fall and hurt their heads.
* Slower reactions and less coordination than adults. Children are less able to break their falls.
* Less skill and ability than they think. Children overestimate their skills and abilities and are inexperienced in judging speed, traffic and other risks.

 

All right. We good? Are all the lawyers gone?

Here's the thing--YES, skateboarding can be dangerous. But also, it's dangerous at any age. There's never a time in your life that you can get on a skateboard and be guaranteed to get off unscathed.

So instead of continuing to scare you, let's celebrate some young skaters that already exist.

 

A Short List Of Young, Bad-A** Skaters

Or at least skaters who got their start young. And when I say young, in most cases, I mean really really young.

1. Sky Brown

Sky Brown is from Miyazaki, Japan, and is already a pro skater at age 8. She's been tearing it up from (clearly) a super-young age, and is the youngest female skater ever to compete in the Vans US Open Pro Series

2. Brighton Zeuner

I've talked about Brighton Zeuner elsewhere on this blog because she is SO COOL! At age 11, she was the youngest female athlete to be invited to the X games, AND she took home the 2016 Vans Park Series World Championship!

3. Jagger Eaton

As reported by GrindTV (editor's note mine):

"I can't believe I've been competing at the X Games for 4 years now," [Editor's note: When he was 11!] Jagger told GrindTV. "I've done Big Air for two years, Street for two years and it never gets old. I enjoy this event every time I come and I'm so thankful that they keep inviting me because I never want to stop coming!"

4. Tyshawn Jones

This interview from young pro Tyshawn Jones has him reminiscing about when he was 12 or 13, skating in the Bronx and happened to run into someone that changed his life forever. Teaser quote:

"If you want something, you’ve got to really be on it, you’ve got to practice every day, you’ve got to make sure you’re good at it and don’t just do it to make it—you’ve got to actually love it.

5. Alex Midler

Now 16 years old, Alex first started skating when he was 3, and quickly fell in love with it. Today, he's sponsored by a ridiculous number of companies, including Redbull, GoPro, and Nike SB.

6. Asher Bradshaw

Asher Bradshaw was 10 years old when he landed a 900--for reference, this is a trick that Tony Hawk first landed when he was 31. ONLY twelve other skaters have landed this trick. Go Asher!!

 

A Shorter List Of Old, Bad-A** Skaters

So yes--there are all the incredible youthful skaters. Amazing! But also, have you noticed that people tend to think of skateboarding as just for young people? 

Here are 4 examples of skaters arguably well-past the societally-prescribed "skating prime," but not letting that stop them in any way.

(Editor's note: Yes, I know that 50 is not "old." But it kind of is in professional-athlete years. Just roll with me here.)

1. Lance Mountain

If you're 42 and think you can't get asked to skate as part of a team, think again! Lance Mountain, a lifelong skater, was asked at age 42 to represent Flip. Today he's 53 and still shredding it! Click the link to browse through his illustrious career.

2. Steve Caballero

A self-described "professional skateboarder, artist, musician, hot rodder, motocross enthusiast and vintage motorcycle collector," Steve Caballero skates right past the you're-too-old-for-this noise at age 61. He was also part of the infamous Bones Brigade, and is credited with inventing a ton of tricks, including the "Caballerial."

3. The 'Sisters of Shred' - 50+ year old moms who skate

Okay, wow. Are you looking for something to seriously brighten your day? Then please watch and enjoy this short documentary on women over the age of 50 who are both continuing to skate and learning to skate. 

4. Neal Unger

I'll let you behind the curtain for a moment. If you Google "oldest skateboarder," Neal Unger dominates the search results--probably because of this well-filmed mini-documentary that shows his spiritual approach to skateboarding. Teaser quote: "As I gain more balance in life, I also gain more balance on my skateboard."

Conclusion

What's the best age to start skating? Whatever age works for you. Start slow, wear safety gear, and tune out the haters.


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Bikes vs. Boards: Which to Choose for College?

A bike or a skateboard is a must for getting around a large college campus, but we know it can be hard to decide between the two! Here’s what to consider to make the right choice. 

First off, if you’re trying to decide if transportation is even necessary, the answer is a resounding YES! Especially if you don’t have a car, a skateboard or bike is practically a necessity. Not only will you be able to get to class faster (perhaps saving a valuable 5 minutes of sleep in the morning!), but it will also allow you to pack more into every day. Want to play on an intramural team, but the games start all the way across campus 5 minutes after class ends? No problem, if you’ve got a ride. Want to meet a friend for lunch, but worried you can’t squeeze it in between classes? With a bike or board, you certainly can! Most of all, transportation affords you a sense of FREEDOM so you don’t feel trapped on campus. 

Board Blazers was born at Arizona State University, so we know a thing or two about riding on campus. Here’s what we’ve found:

Practicality

In this category, a bike has several advantages that a board can’t match. Most of all, you can go faster and further on a bike. For these reasons, if you’re living off campus and looking for a way to commute to campus, you’ll definitely want a bike. Plus, bikes are much better for carrying stuff. If you’re taking books, a laptop, or a project to class, either use a backpack or get a bike with a rack or basket. Need to make a grocery run? Carrying all those bags home on a skateboard is going to be awfully tough. Plus, your bike can be used for recreation too! Invest in a solid mountain or road bike, then get out and explore the local terrain. Join a local cycling club to immediately make friends and get plugged into the local scene.

Cost

Score one for skateboards, and make sure to pick the right type of board. Longboards are common on campus, and will typically cost you $99 – $149. Penny boards (aka “plastic boards”) are a little smaller, and are often the best type of board for campus cruising.  A solid penny board usually costs between $49 and $99. If you’re going to buy a skateboard, make sure to visit a local skate shop, not a big-box retailer. Even if a local shop is a little more expensive, they’ll hook you up with better equipment, personal service, and local insider knowledge that’s worth the extra cash.

Bikes have a much wider price range, but you’re almost guaranteed to spend more than on a skateboard. Expect to pay at least $200 for a decent quality new cruiser, and even more if you want a good mountain or road bike. Plus, bikes require some maintenance. Fixing a flat and an occasional tune-up aren’t costly, but they’re expenses that skateboards don’t require. When buying a bike, a local bike shop is the way to go. If (and when) your bike needs maintenance, they’ll often fix it for free or a reduced price if you originally bought the bike there.

Lastly, remember to look for deals on used bikes and boards! Many students sell their rides when they graduate, so ask around. If you’re a new student, ask your campus tour guide if they know anyone selling a used bike, and which method of transportation they prefer.

Maneuverability

Bikes have brakes! College campuses are crowded places, so keep in mind that you’ll be maneuvering through crowds and dodging other riders. Especially at hilly campuses, bikes are better. Sure, you can always brake with your foot or jump off a skateboard, but then your board often goes darting off into a crowd. Many campuses have even implemented “walk-only zones” or other safety measures in an effort to decrease the danger for pedestrians and improve traffic flow. Potholes, uneven sidewalks, and even trash also pose a problem for unstable boarders. In this case, bikes are a better choice.

Storage

Once you reach your destination, don’t forget that you’ve got to lock up your bike every single time. Bike racks are common at many schools, but often so crowded they turn into a demolition derby. Sometimes, there’s no rack close to your destination, leaving less desirable options such as locking to a tree, post, or even just running the lock through the tires. Plus, if you move around campus during the day, it might be a hike back to where you left your bike.

After you arrive, you have to carry your skateboard, which has both advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, you’ve always got your ride with you, so you can hop on wherever you’d like. But, it can be a burden to carry around all day, and if it’s a particularly large longboard you’ll have to leave it by the door when you get to class. This is dangerous, because skateboard theft is common at many schools. Because of this, we highly recommend a penny board since it’s easier to carry and you can keep it with you at your seat in class. Or invest in a backpack that stows your board in place, like this one

Theft of both bikes and skateboards is rampant, so always keep your board with you, and be careful about leaving it in the back of a lecture hall. Or, if a bike is your thing, the phrase “buy a cheap bike and an expensive lock” rings true. Invest in a quality U-lock. Locking skateboard racks are becoming increasingly popular, but still aren’t mainstream.

In the end, choose whichever you feel more comfortable with or the option that best fits your needs. Check out your campus to see what’s most popular. That’s a good sign of the best option in your area. If you’re a commuter, have a lot of hills around campus, or just prefer the speed, practicality, and maneuverability of a bike, go for it! Or, if you’re looking to save some cash and don’t want to deal with the hassle of locking up a bike every time you stop, become a boarder.

What’s your pick? Hit us up on Instagram @boardblazers and let us know!


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Old Dogs CAN Learn New Tricks: Skateboarding in Your Fifties

Today we are joined by Maureen Walker, one of the raddest Brits we've ever met. You'll be amazed an inspired by her story below; we guarantee it! 

 

At age 52, and with a bit of extra time on my hands, I thought it was time to discover a new hobby. How about knitting, needlepoint or basket weaving you may well ask? Definitely possibilities. But when I saw a cheap second-hand skateboard at a car boot sale (flea market), I bought it on a whim. It came with hand, knee and elbow pads for the princely sum of £3 ($4), including the board.

The first time I took it out I could manage little more than pushing rather lamely with my left foot (I later found out that makes me ''Regular'' rather than ''Goofy''). What I needed was a partner in crime to aid me towards balancing with both feet on the deck. I asked a friend for help. He looked dubiously at my board and wondered briefly – not for the first time - at my questionable sanity. But then he set up his iPhone on a convenient fencepost to record the historic event, literally holding my hand as I set both feet aboard. Thinking it was the most fun I'd had in a while, I made up my mind I'd stick with my new hobby. I splashed out, firstly on a new set of wheels for my “cheapskate-board.” Then, later on, a whole new set up which was put together for me at the excellent Lariatt Skateboard Shop in St Albans Hertfordshire here in the UK.  The proprietor was a little bemused when he asked the age of the child I was buying for, and I replied, somewhat sheepishly, “it’s for me.” But he certainly didn’t laugh out loud as I had feared he might.

My first outing on my brand new set up involved a spectacular fall, unfortunately not caught on camera. But there’s another one that was, and you can see here.

Falling off is inevitable, so falling without hurting yourself too badly is something that needs learning pretty darn quick. The fear of falling off never leaves you, apparently. But I think that’s a good thing, as it's this fear that keeps you focused on the business of staying on the deck.

On the whole people’s reactions to seeing me out and about on my board have been mostly positive. One woman, also of a certain age, passed me slowly on a bicycle and said, “You’re brave.” When I responded, “Foolhardy,” she reaffirmed, “No, BRAVE!”

There are several good ''how-to'' videos on the subject available online. I was particularly encouraged by this one. If they can do it, so can I!

 

If like me, you are a mature newbie and you find that steering your board along a path with any camber to it is a challenge, it could be that it is your core strength that requires work rather than your technique. A few weeks of daily exercises such as 'the plank' could be what your future holds. As you can see from my photos and videos, I'm not the typical lean and hungry-looking cool-dude-on-a-skateboard type. As I write this, my weight continues to fluctuate. But that's another tale to tell on another site perhaps. I will say this: it is advantageous to have a motivation to get fit, other than because you know you ought to, or due to pure vanity. So why not try skateboarding? It's definitely a sport, and it's recognized as such by the International Olympics Committee, who has scheduled its debut in the 2020 games.

So, what's next for me? There are a few more weeks of yoga poses and a lot more skateboard practice ahead. As with so many things, you get out of it what you are willing to put in. The bottom line is, there's one hell of a lot of fun to be had for not too much outlay.   OK, so my set up cost around £90 ($110) – slightly more than my initial £3. And I did need to invest in my own well-fitting crash helmet – a must at around £9. I may never attempt an “Ollie” – well not while anyone’s watching anyway. But, like the lady said in the video, there certainly is a whole lot of fun to be had in training your brain to do something new and unexpected - proving to yourself that the pipe and slippers, or the knitting needles, can be postponed for now – because there's life left in you yet!

*Thanks Maureen! Hop over to her website to show her some love!*


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4 Tips for Trying Adventurous New Hobbies

Spare time is becoming more and more precious. Our lives are busier than ever before: the mounting pressure of work, financial worries, and the need to keep up with friends and social occasions can all make us feel overwhelmed. A study found that 60% of us feel like we are struggling to enjoy our lives.

It has, therefore, never been more important to find hobbies that can give us time away from that stress and enrich our lives with adventure and fun. But with so many potential hobbies vying for our attention where do we begin? Well, here are four tips for those of you ready to try adventurous new hobbies.

 

1. Park your fear at the door

Trying something new is easy when we are children. We see beyond the concern to the enjoyment, and we throw ourselves into new things with gusto. But as we get older, we tend to focus on the fear instead of the adventure. Let's take something fantastic like skateboarding or even surfing, for example. Surfing is, without question, one of the most exhilarating things you can do, the feeling of catching your first wave is something that will never leave you. And it is much safer than you might think. Statistics show that injuries occur only 2.2 out of every 1000 surfing days on average. And statistically, skateboarding can be even safer when you have the right safety gear and observe the rules of the road. So, leave your fear to one side and embrace the adventure of these incredible new hobbies. If you stick with it, you'll experience a feeling of euphoria that will help you feel better about yourself and bring your life back into balance.

 

2. It is never too late to start

It may not come as a surprise, but statistics show the age group who spends the most time actively participating in hobbies and leisure activities are adults age 65 and over. But it is also a reminder that it is never too late to start a new hobby, even an adventurous one. So stop making excuses and summon up the courage. You will not regret it.

 

3. Do your research

Before you dive into a new and adventurous hobby, make sure you do your research. Will it suit you? Is there somewhere close by that you can get tuition and coaching? And what costs are associated with equipment, clothing, and anything else you might need? Do your homework, and you will enjoy it all the more.

 

4. Stick with it

Starting an adventurous new hobby can be a challenge for all sorts of reasons. We are not going to be fantastic at it the very first time we try it. And sometimes when we are learning new skills or techniques, it can take time for them to become second nature. But by just getting started, you have done the hardest part. The most significant challenge is to stick with it through the learning phase and give yourself a chance to succeed.

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Prime Day 2019 - A Skateboarder's Guide

It’s the best time of the summer, skate fam! No, we’re not talking fireworks, hotdogs, and 4th of July festivities. Not even beach camping, or late nights out on the lake. Fellow skaters, it’s almost time for PRIME DAY! Unless you’ve been living in a cave (hopefully not), you’re likely familiar with the 36-hour-long event (it starts Monday, July 15 at 12 am) that mean big deals and even bigger savings. Whether this is new news or old hat to you, we’re going to lay out everything you need to know to ROCK Prime Day 2019!

Amazon’s once-yearly sale is akin to Black Friday. Items will be deeply discounted until they are no longer in stock or until the sale is over. However, as the name indicates, Prime Day is only for Amazon Prime members. This hurdle is easily tackled by signing up for the free 30-day trial. Just make sure you unsubscribe before auto-billing begins on the 31st day. Or don’t cancel because we’re pretty confident you’ll make good use of all the perks over time. At $119/year (and only $59/year for students with a valid ID!), it costs you far less than one coffee per week, and you’ll receive innumerable benefits from free shipping to exclusive TV programming to one-click ordering. A note on one-click ordering: turn it on and make sure it’s working before Prime Day officially begins. You want to make sure you’re able to swoop from deal to deal hassle-free. Don’t get stuck mucking around at checkout! And if you’re so inclined, consider setting up an account at smile.amazon.com. You’ll have the exact same shopping experience; the only difference is that a charity of your choice will receive a percentage of the sale when you purchase in this manner. What feels better than scoring a crazy deal? Helping others while you save money, that’s what!

In years prior, we’ve done a bunch of crazy shopping (also known as "research") to be able to predict in advance what the very best deals for skaters will be in 2019. Almost everything will be on sale, but these are the items that are topping our lists and have a history of deep discounts!

 

Deals on Boards

There will be plenty of deals to be had on actual skateboards this year. If you’ve been thinking of investing in your first one, or just itching to buy another, this is the time! These deals will run the gamut from ultra-short boards (you can nab a Penny board in just about any color combo you can dream up!) to 46” dancing longboards and everything in between. If you’re looking for a basic board that will stand the test of time, check out the Retrospec Alameda. This board comes fully assembled and street-ready. It’s already a screaming deal at under $40, but it’s sure to dive deeper on Prime Day!

If longboards are more your jam, we hear you! We dig the lines and the ride on the Quest Super Cruiser 44.” With a beautiful clean design and another lower price point (under $60 regular price!), you’ll be happy you tried Quest. If longboard dancing is your style, give the Rimable Dancing Longboard a try. It’s colorful space-age design, and extended length will have you boardwalk ready in no time. At just $80, it’s still a great deal on a quality board. And if you’re not quite ready to buy a full-size board just yet, take the leap and pick up a People’s Republic wooden fingerboard. It’ll get you almost as much fun on wheels as a real board… almost ;)

 

Safety Gear

We know it’s essential to be safe out there when you’re skating. After all, we share the road with cars and bicycles, and we share sidewalks and skateparks with other skaters and pedestrians. Keep yourself and others safe (and stylish) with the best gear. For sunny summer skate sessions, you can’t beat the Triple 8 Sweat Saver Helmet that comes with a built-in washable liner, so your aroma doesn't repel others when you take it off after a good shred – you’re welcome. It comes in a variety of colors, but the black and red model has us adding this one to our Prime Day wishlist. While we’re repping safety gear, you may as well make mom happy and pick up some JBM knee/elbow pads & wrist guards to protect yourself. If you’re worried they’ll ruin your mojo, use this as a reason to step up your skate trick game and try that next-level stunt you’ve been dreaming about.

 

Skate Gear

Now that you’re safe, you might as well be prepared and stylin, right? A Skateboard backpack is essential for when you ride, and if you don’t have one or you need another (there’s always a good reason, right?) we always recommend a Dakine. This classic model comes in 14 colors and features a padded laptop sleeve and insulated cooler pouch. If you take care of it, you could have this backpack for years!

If night shreds are part of your jam, you need a set (or two!) of Board Blazers! These LED lights are powered with a simple button battery and attach to the underside of your board near the trucks. They’ll illuminate your night skate and make you feel like you’re surfing the streets on puddles of light. With color options that range from Lightning Lime to Crazy Color Changing, you won’t be disappointed. Plus prices are always slashed for Prime Day!

If you want to pump up the extreme factor in your skating, consider investing in a personal ramp or rail. While these pieces can be an investment, Prime Day will bring them to a more affordable price point, and there’s never been a better time to take the plunge. The Ramptech 2’ tall and 4’ wide quarter-pipe ramp will fit easily in a driveway and allow you to skip the skatepark a few nights a week. Why wait your turn when you can have your own setup? It’s easy to place in position and relatively simple to store. While you’re at it, grab the X factor 54” grind rail and practice your board slides until they’re perfect! You’ll have your own skatepark with no waiting in line and no pressure for perfection. Worth it!

Prime day is less than a week away! Make sure you’re prepared with your Prime membership, one-click ordering, and a list of everything you want. Or just use this handy list to help you purchase. We’re here for you, man. Now get out there and seize the deals, skate fam!

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