The Board Blazers Blog


What Is 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.

Do you know other inspiring skaters? Comment below with your favorites.


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How To Personalize Your Kid's Skateboard With Custom Design

how to personalize your kid's skateboard with custom design

When I was 8 years old, my dad built our house. And I mean literally built it. Like, lifted-adobe-bricks-with-his-very-own-arms built our house. To this day, when I go home for a visit, we'll be hanging out in one of the brick-walled rooms, snacks in hand, and he'll say, mostly to himself, "I made this."

It feels good to work with your hands. It feels good to put something together, in the real world, especially if 1) it looks nice and 2) you can use it and 3) the thing you use it for is something you love. 

Is customizing a skateboard deck as involved a process as building a house? No.

Can it be a super rewarding process for both you and the kid involved? Absolutely it can.

Here, loosely organized by difficulty and cost, are a passel of options for personalizing your kid's skateboard with custom design.

 

How To Make A Custom Skateboard Graphic With An Inkjet To Wood Transfer

Difficulty: Easy

Cost: $20-$30

You've probably seen similar tutorials all over Pinterest--how to make a cute photo keepsake on an old piece of driftwood, for example. Same process! Cooler result.

You should be able to get a matte gel medium (to attach the photo to the board) and a transparent varnish (i.e. Mod Podge, to protect the photo once it's transferred) for around $20-30 total, at any art supply store.

Important Note: Keep in mind that whatever photo or graphic you do this with will end up backwards, so factor that in when choosing something. Avoid text--or flip the text (or photo!) with a free photo editing software like Canva.

 

How To Make A Custom Skateboard Graphic With Vinyl

Difficulty: Medium

Cost: Vinyl cost varies widely--could be free (see below*), could be $30. You can pick up a heat gun for $22 on Amazon. Squeegees cost anywhere from $3-$10.

I know the video above looks complicated. But it doesn't have to be! In fact, vinyl is a fantastic option for people who look at the "cut your design out with X-Acto knives" tutorials and think "Uh, no? Maybe YOU can cut out a tiger and have it look perfect, but I'm lucky if I can cut a straight line."

What You Don't Really Need:

1. A working knowledge of vinyl-cutting software/to own a vinyl cutter

I don't know if you've noticed, but MakerSpaces are springing up all over the globe, and many of them provide A) vinyl cutters, B) helpful staff who will walk you through the process of plugging your design into the machine.

*Some schools have free vinyl AND free vinyl cutters for students/staff! This obviously depends on the area, but at Arizona State University, that's how I saved my Senior Art Show group a few bucks on our show title wall decals.

If that's not an option for you, there are also a billion and a half businesses that will happily cut and send you vinyl--they're kept in business by artists/galleries/etc. who put up wall text for new shows.

If you're still not convinced it's mainstream, FedEx will do this. For other options, Google "custom vinyl decal" or "cheap custom vinyl decal."

 

2. A super-complicated design

You can make a design that's all basically one piece of vinyl, which saves you hours of trying to perfectly place letter colors inside letter outlines. (Unless your kid really has their heart set on lettering, in which case...roll up your sleeves, put on a funny podcast, and call it family bonding time.)

Some possible designs that look cool, but are all in one easy piece:

 

What You Really Actually Need:

1. A design made in Adobe Illustrator (or another vector software)

Why? Vinyl softwares just won't work without it.

2. A heat gun

Why? Hair dryers won't work here--they don't get hot enough.

3. A squeegee

Why? You don't want your vinyl to have any air bubbles. 

 

How To Make A Custom Skateboard Graphic With A Stencil And Painter's Tape

Difficulty: High

Cost: ~$7 per spray paint color, $4 per roll of painter's tape, ~$10 for spray adhesive

nubby twiglet how to personalize your skateboard with spraypaint 

This blog article by Nubby Twiglet does a great job at explaining the process of this multi-step, fairly involved process. (Again: podcast, family bonding time.)

For the sake of keeping things simple, I'll also summarize here:

Step 1: Get a blank skateboard deck.

Step 2: Design (either on a computer or by hand) the stencil you're going to use to spray paint the deck. You might need to print out/draw on multiple sheets of paper and tape them together, like with the wood transfer process.

Step 2: Start with a base coat of spray paint (i.e. white). Let it dry for a full day.

Step 3: Cover the entire bottom of the deck in painter's tape.

Step 4: Cover the taped side of the deck with spray adhesive.

Step 5: Attach the back of the paper design to the spray adhesive. (The design should be facing up!) Remove the excess with an X-Acto knife.

Step 6: What's the first color you're going to spray? For example, if you have a design that's going to be blue and black, cut out all the parts of the stencil that are supposed to be blue. (Make sure you cut through the paper AND the layer of painter's tape.)

Step 7: Spray your first color! Let dry. (It should dry within 10 minutes or so.)

Step 8: Repeat steps 6-7 until you've gone through all the colors you plan to use. Remember--whenever you're spraying a new color, use painter's tape to cover up the parts of the board that are NOT supposed to be that color.

Step 9: Ride and enjoy!

 

How To Make Things Super Easy

Of course, the more complicated your kid's dream design is, the harder it's going to be to execute.

But, if they want to play around with spray paint or acrylic paint until they get something free-form and Jackson Pollock-y, or use the painter's tape process to cut out/tape/spray paint some simple triangles, that process will be fairly painless.

 

Finally, if you want to check out the process of a professional graphic designer, watch this video! (Plus, if you love the design, there's a link to it in the description.)

 

Photo credit: Benjamin Horn (photo was modified from its original form)


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8 Pro Skateboarders With Surprising Side Hobbies

 

8 pro skaters with surprising side hobbies

Yes, skateboarding is a lifestyle. And yes, it seems like almost every interview that asks "So what do you do besides skateboarding?" gets an answer like "Oh, you know. Just chill. Hang out with friends." Which--don't get me wrong--is super cool and well-deserved.

But also, I want to give a shoutout to 8 pro skateboarders who have side hobbies (or second lives, in some cases) that will almost definitely surprise you.

 

1. Peggy Oki: Origami Whales

It would be irresponsible to call this a "side hobby"--hence the "second lives" comment above. Peggy Oki, one of THE original Z-Boys of Dogtown, has spent more than 25 years saving the whales--and dolphins. Her organization, the Origami Whales Project (OWP) advocates for these cetaceans via "visually powerful public Environmental Art projects" worldwide. 

The most iconic of these is certainly the Curtain of 38,000 Origami Whales--a crowdsourced memorial for "the thousands of individual whales killed since the 1986 ban on commercial whaling." This curtain is updated every year with 2,000 more origami whales (representing the number of whales reported killed in a year), made by concerned citizens around the world. 

peggy oki

 

2. Tony Hawk: Former Violinist

Turns out Tony Hawk wasn't always so clear on his life path of skateboarding. As a violinist until about age 11, he remembers enjoying the instrument and playing concerts outside of school--but after a while, he told the NY Times, "It was really impeding my skate time."

Interviewer John Branch asked Hawk about the last time he played a violin--Hawk responded, "I tried to about a year ago. I took a few lessons, and I realized, like, I can’t just jump back on the horse. And I don’t want to learn from scratch. It’s too hard."

But when asked if he thought a great violinist was more impressive than a great skateboarder, Hawk responded, "I really wouldn’t want to compare one to another. They both take incredible discipline and passion. And they both lend themselves to a lot of creativity."

tony hawk

 

3. Don "Nuge" Nguyen: Classic Rock

Famed skateboarder Don "Nuge" Nguyen doesn't just shred at the skatepark--he also shreds on bass.

He and some buddies (Figgy and Frecks [Sean Stewart]) started their classic rock band, Arctic, back around 2012. "Figgy lives down by the beach. That’s where we jam, at his house," Nguyen told interviewer Maya Eslami, for What Youth Magazine.

"Five bands practice there and have all their gear there. I have a Greco. A Japanese remake of the SG but it’s the full-scale one. It’s from ’76. I love that thing...I’ve been playing bass for 10 years or something."

Nguyen also sings backup vocals, according to another interview with CHPO Brand

Rock on!

 

4. Beatrice Domond: Learning Hebrew

Beatrice Domond is a skater who's badass in a hundred other ways, and she also responded to CHPO's "What do you do besides skate?" question with something kind of unexpected--

"I’m learning Hebrew right now, I just got the alphabet down. It’s pretty hard starting from scratch and that it’s not words, it’s symbols. But It’s cool though, and challenging."

Judging by her Instagram handle, she's definitely got the alphabet down. Language-learning in your spare time--go, Beatrice!

 

5. Miles Silvas: Vintage Thrifter

Sometimes skaters will talk about an intriguing hobby in a single interview, and then they'll never bring it up again with anyone else. That's what happened with Miles Silvas and his Thrasher interview, when he revealed he's a bit of a vintage thrifter:

"I try to just kick it, go to the river, go to little markets... Downtown boutique-style stuff--try to find cool stuff...I'm always looking for rings or random little vintage knickknacks. Old paintings or cool stuff for the house."

Will this ever come up again? Who knows. Maybe Silvas has a secret Pinterest board, or an IG account where he documents his findings.

 

6. Jay Haizlip: Pastor

Another pro skater who falls hard into the "second life" category, Jay Haizlip renounced his partying ways and became...a pastor? And then started a church called The Sanctuary. Here's an excerpt from his interview with Risen Magazine:

"The way I started our church, [The Sanctuary], it wasn’t even the way I wanted to start it. I started with a handful of broken, struggling people, the last people you’d normally want to start a church with...

We started the church in November of 2002. The first five years we were in six different locations. Setting up, tearing down, setting up, and tearing down. I got tired and it got old. We grew little by little, but when we bought our building four-and-a-half years ago, it was like the lid blew off in terms of growth. The church grew about 500 percent in three years."

He says there are also a ton of ex-skaters on the church staff with him, and that he didn't plan it that way--it just kind of happened.

 

7. Tommy Guerrero: Musician

Tommy Guerrero, notable skateboarder and a member of the Bones Brigade, is also an acclaimed composer and musician. His stuff is all entirely instrumental, and he's released 13 albums, and licensed music to the TV shows Queer As Folk, Sex in the City and CSI: Miami. His albums are critically acclaimed, too--a reviewer for Germany's edition of Rolling Stone called his 2003 album, "Soul Food Taqueria," the second-best album of the year.

In an interview with KQED, Guerrero spills his thoughts about music: 

“Instrument-only music is super-universal,” Guerrero says. “You don’t have the barrier of language when you’re crossing different cultures. Everyone can dig what I do, without having to know how to speak (English)."

 

8. Stacy Peralta: Director

 

 

Plenty of skaters start out filming parts for themselves or their friends at skate parks, but how many become full-blown directors? 

Peralta is best-known for his documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, which racked up awards at AFI Fest, the Denver International Film Festival, the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and Sundance Film Festival. 

After Dogtown, Peralta moved on to Riding Giants, another award-winning film about the origins of big-wave surfing, and then directed Crips and Bloods: Made In America; a look at the history of gang violence.

Peralta has also directed heartfelt documentary commercials for companies like Budweiser, Burger King, Holiday Inn, and Mass Mutual Insurance.

 

Photo credit: TedXQueenstown//John Rawlinson//Marc Dalmuder

 


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How To Buy A Cheap Skateboard Online

How to buy a cheap skateboard

Story time. Last Christmas, Board Blazers got a TON of emails all throughout the holiday season--some more heartbreaking than others.

The least-sad ones were one sentence long. The saddest ones were entire stories that went something along the lines of:

"My grandson has been wanting a skateboard for ages, and I ordered a Board Blazers skateboard for him a month ago. The package arrived, but it was just some lights--is the skateboard coming separately?"

This was a bummer for two reasons:

  1. Clearly something was up with our Amazon page--even though we said a few times in the description that ***THE SKATEBOARD IS NOT INCLUDED***, somehow people were missing it.

  2. Kids everywhere that wanted skateboards weren't getting them, and we couldn't do anything to help.

But now, months in advance, we've transformed our Amazon page to a state of clarity it has never before seen, so well-intentioned shoppers don't fall into that pit.

Plus, we're putting together this handy guide for any parents or grandparents who want to keep an eye out for a good quality, affordable skateboard.

 

One Quick Caveat

This whole article is about buying skateboards online, because it's cheap and convenient. But there are some problems with buying online that I've gotta mention.

Problem 1: You can't physically inspect the board.

If the deck is warped, or some parts are made out of plastic, or it's smaller or bigger than you expected, you won't really know till it arrives.

Problem 2: It hurts your local skate stores.

If you've got a skate store nearby, it's definitely worth it to stop in, tell them what you're looking for, and see if they can help you. They might have some sales going on, they might be willing to negotiate, and you'll definitely be able to try out the board in person. 

That being said, if there aren't any skate stores near you, OR if you go and everything's out of your price range, online is obviously your best option.

(Also, worth noting here: we're not sponsored by any of the places we're mentioning in this article. This is free advertising, folks, out of the goodness of our hearts.)

Without further ado, cheap skateboards!

 

Cheap Skateboards From Online Retailers

CCS (Lowest price: $68.51)

CCS skateboards

CCS has a ton of filters that let you shop for exactly what you need--like an 8" complete at the lowest available price. It's a reputable online retailer with no sales tax, free shipping, and free returns on anything--so not a half-bad choice by any means!

 

SoCal Skate Shop (Lowest Price: $64.95)

socal skate shop online skateboards for cheap

It's harder to sort by size on SoCal Skate Shop, but if you have a size in mind and you Ctrl+F "8x" or "7.75x", you should be golden. Otherwise, you can sort through pre-built completes and a ton of other accessories, with an extremely reasonable flat shipping rate of $5.

 

Skate America (Lowest Price: $44.95)

skate america buy a cheap skateboard online

With SkateAmerica, you can sort by price, brand, deck width, color, AND skateboard type, so you can get exactly what you're looking for. No free shipping on items under $100, but you're still getting good-quality complete boards for a pretty decent price.

SkateAmerica also takes their job super seriously--they start off their skateboard page with a few paragraphs of copy explaining what kind of skateboard you might want, and tells you to get in touch if you have any questions. Take them up on it!

 

Cheap Second Hand Skateboards 

LetGo

letgo for cheap used skateboards

You've probably seen LetGo in a billion ads on Facebook. (Well, depending on their algorithm.) But LetGo is a less-sleazy, more-visually-appealing Craigslist with an easy-to-navigate app. People take pictures of the stuff they're selling, add a price, and you can easily search by item ("skateboard," in this case) and your location (left blank in the screenshot above).

Unfortunately, you can't see the prices without clicking on specific ads, but you're bound to find something workable for roughly $40.

 

OfferUp

OfferUp skateboard for cheap online

OfferUp is another second-hand goods app, where you can find people selling anything near you. On OfferUp, you can't sort by size, but you can see the prices as you scroll through--and from the looks of this screencap, the prices are pretty screaming low. (Or at least they can be, depending on where you are.)

 

5 Miles

5 miles buy a used cheap skateboard

5 miles lets you sort your searches by distance, price range, and a few more options--closest, newest, cheapest--to let you find a secondhand skateboard that'll fit your needs. Like OfferUp, this also lets you see the prices as you scroll--you don't need to click on individual offerings to find the price.

 

Mercari 

Mercari cheap skateboard second hand

If you've exhausted all your other options and you're throwing one last thing up against the wall, Mercari's a good bet. A search for "skateboard" also yields skateboard accessories (like grip tape), so you've got to do a fair amount of scrolling to find what you're actually looking for. But who knows--you might get lucky and find a diamond in the rough.

 

Cheap Skateboards From The Obvious Places

Now that I've covered all the backwoods, local, unexpected secondhand skateboard spots, I'd be remiss not to include the heavy hitters--I'm talking Facebook, Amazon, and eBay. 

 

Facebook: The Skateboard Marketplace

The Skateboard Marketplace Facebook cheap secondhand skateboards

Ostensibly the largest skateboard marketplace on Facebook, the appropriately-named Skateboard Marketplace is a little difficult to search as far as exact product and price go. You're also bound to find plenty of extremely expensive skateboards--but hidden among them are very reasonable offers, and also people you can bargain with.

 

Amazon: Used Skateboards from $25-$50

Amazon secondhand skateboards

On Amazon, you can get extremely specific--the link above takes you to used skateboards with a rating of 4+ stars that cost between $25-$50. Read reviews, leave reviews, and get your skateboard shipped securely at low prices and high speeds. 

A word of caution--make sure you read the whole description before buying something to make sure you're getting a skateboard, and not wheels, lights, or grip tape. This goes for eBay, too!

 

eBay

With eBay, you can also get super-refined--search by brand, price, free shipping, etc. Try your hand at a low auction price, or find a deal you like and buy it instantly. Either way, you've got plenty of options for a cheap, good-quality skateboard.

 

If you're reading this and you have other tips, comment below! Help out your fellow skateboard-buyers with your success stories.

 

 


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So Your Daughter Wants To Skate?

So your daughter wants to skate?

It's no secret that the world of skateboarding isn't exactly overflowing with women. (Two tiny examples: Girl Skateboards is a skateboard brand run by a bunch of dudes, and Thrasher Magazine's much-hyped Skater Of The Year award has never ever gone to a woman.)

So what do you do if your daughter wants to skate?

First, you buy her a skateboard.

THEN, you fill her inspiration bucket with all the awesome, kick-ass women and girls that are skating, killing it, and carving out space in the industry for everyone.

 

Pro-skater Leticia Bufoni reminds parents everywhere to be supportive in this awesome interview

"At first my dad didn’t like skateboarding at all. He used to say that it was for boys not girls. He even broke my board once. Like broke it in half. He didn’t want me to skate anymore. Then the next day I set up a new one. I got some new boards from my friends, and when my dad saw me setting up the new one he was like, 'Oh, man. There is nothing I can do. She’s not gonna stop.'"

 

A long and fascinating Huck Magazine article about the way the skate industry and skateboarding media tends to pigeonhole women (probably ideal for older teens):

"[T]he number of women skateboarding is roughly consistent with the number of women participating in both surfing and snowboarding. However, compared to its sister sports, female skateboarders are still a silent, invisible minority and skating in the wider public consciousness remains a ‘guy’s sport’."

 

"As If And What?" The first European skateboard film focusing entirely on female skaters:

As If And What? a Skateboarding video by Rogue Skateboards

 

A killer article from pro skater Cindy Whitehead on her project, Girl Is NOT A 4-Letter Word:

"I firmly believe that there is enough “pie” to go around, so we need to stop acting like we are scrambling for crumbs and start backing each other up instead of tearing one another down. I see so many great groups of girls on Instagram doing just that; it’s all about being inclusive rather than exclusive."

Plus, a link to Cindy's book, "It's Not About Pretty: A Book About Radical Skater Girls"

 

Maybe the COOLEST LITTLE GIRLS in the whole world--Ruthie, age 10, started the Majestic Sk8 Crü because she didn't have anyone to skate with. Now, described as an "incredibly welcoming soul and an effortless leader," she and other small girls meet up and learn to shred together.

Photo courtesy of Got A Girl Crush

Even more resources:

Also, consider looking into a Girls Riders Organization chapter (GRO) near you for your skater girl--and in case you were wondering, the Majestic Sk8 Crü is an OFFICIAL GRO chapter!

"Everyone here knows her name. She's the youngest female athlete to be invited to the X Games. She'll be skating against women twice her age on Saturday in the Women's Skateboard Park competition." Talk about inspiration--move over for Brighton Zeuner.  And congrats Brighton on winning the 2016 Vans Park Series World Championship!

Check out the Girls Skate Network for news, blog posts, interviews, and a welcoming and vibrant community.

These unstoppable young women are skateboarding in Cuba--even though it's technically illegal.

HOOPLA, an all-girls skateboard brand.

One of our older articles about 14 Skater Girls You Should Know--detailing legends like Patti McGee, Lucy Adams, and Cara Beth Burnside.

A NYLON article about the coolest all-girl skateboard squads in the United States.

An interview about skater-girl-positive "culture-pushing" magazine, GET BORN.

 

An iconic 2004 American documentary about female skateboarders, featuring the world's best female skaters. It's called "Getting Nowhere Fast," and boy is it worth a watch.

 

Meet Atita Verghese, India's first professional female skateboarder. But not JUST a professional skateboarder--she's also a ridiculously impressive person giving back to her community.  
"In 2013, together with the HolyStoked Collective, Atita and her friends built a skate park in Bengaluru and they began teaching skateboarding to underprivileged children...Atita started Girl Skate India, which is an online community to encourage girls and women to start skateboarding and to help build a large community of female skateboarders in India."

 

Having trouble finding suitable skateboarding clothing for your skating daughter? Rokeo is a clothing line made by, and for, female skaters.

And finally, some words of encouragement from NYC-based skater Emily Tarnacki: "It's becoming more common for girls to skate everywhere...It's cool for a girl to be at a park actually trying to learn how to skate, nobody will be mean to you."

 

There's so much more, if you start digging. But if your daughter wants to skate, buy her a skateboard--and then show her this article. Let her click through all the links and see all the amazing things women are doing with the sport. Sit down and watch the videos together.

If your daughter wants to skate, we just want to give her everything in our power to help her do that.

 

 Featured photo credit: Chris Goldberg on Flickr 

 


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Pro Tech Na$ty Releases Preview of Upcoming Thrasher Video

Tech Throws Down with Board Blazers in New Video

Board Blazers Team Rider Tech Na$ty and videographer Aaron Lopez have dropped their latest edit featuring Board Blazers, a preview of their upcoming full-length video for Thrasher Magazine. 

"We've been working on this for over a year" said Tech, fresh off recent skate trips to Vegas and Mexico. "Once we got that light, we went off." The full-length feature video showcasing the pro's career, titled "Wake Bake Go Skate," is in progress and slated to be released to Thrasher in a few months. Filmed in Orange County, CA, Tech rides B-Dubz Wheels and his pro model board from Fiesta Skateboards. 

Still, the duo's not done. With bigger things ahead, "this is just warm up footage" he said. We'll see.

Follow Tech on Instagram @wakebakegoskate. Special thanks to Alvaro Urzua, Fiesta Skateboards, and Desmond Martin from B-Dubz Wheels for supporting this project. 


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How To Find A Great Skateboard Teacher

how to find a great skateboarding teacher

So your child is now the proud owner of a skateboard. Congratulations! Except for one small thing--how exactly are they going to turn that wooden death plank into a fun afternoon activity? That's where finding a great skateboard teacher comes in. 

No matter where you are, here are some tried-and-true methods to make finding a great skateboard teacher easy, fulfilling and foolproof.

Search Yelp for a local skateboard teacher

Yelp's got its finger on the pulse, and you've probably already used it to find a nearby restaurant or a high-rated hair stylist. But truly, no place will give you a wider or more accurate spread of near-to-you skateboard teachers--complete with reviews from previous customers!--than Yelp. 

Searching for a skateboard teacher on Yelp

Find skateboard teacher recommendations on parenting blogs

Red Tricycle and Fatherly are the two examples listed here, but the sky's the limit. You should also check out The Skateboard Moms' Blog, and any of these 30 top skateboarding blogs--even if not for specific recommendations, to have some reading material on hand that you can recommend to your budding skater.

skateboarding teacher recommendations on red tricycle

skateboard teacher recommendations on fatherly

Ask your local skate store clerks

This is more on a case-by-case basis, but generally speaking, skate store owners and clerks are super passionate about skating, and will be more than happy to give you some recommendations for getting your kid into the sport. (Provided, of course, that you come in at a time that the store isn't super busy--preferably during a weekday.)

asking skate store clerks for skateboarding teacher recommendations

Try a national chain

There also exist national skateboarding school chains! The biggest one to date is Go Skate, which boasts 5,321 certified instructors in cities across the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Russia, and Australia. 

You can sign your child up for group skateboarding lessons, or hire a pro to come to your driveway and shred one-on-one with your Tony Hawkling. And, to be clear, Go Skate isn't sponsoring us--we're telling you about them for free.

 

With those four starting places, you're sure to find the local skateboard teacher you're looking for. 

Already found a killer skate school or a great instructor? Name-drop them below and help out your fellow skate parents!

 

Image sources: Shawn Collins//James Alby


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Set Your Skateboard On Fire

Once, not too long ago, the Board Blazers Crew dreamt of designing and shipping a themed skateboard to Braille Skateboarding's "You Make It, We Skate It" challenge. Our immediate idea--what about a skateboard on fire?

Well. Fake fire, anyway. Safety first, and all that.

For a bunch of different boring business-related reasons, we put the project on the back burner. But if anyone out there is looking for ways to add some cool effects to their boards, well--here are three ways to do just that.

 

Method 1: Material Flapping In The Wind + Lights

Take an orange-colored material--your best bet is sheer fabric, tissue paper, or plastic bags--and cut it into roughly flame-shaped strips.

Securely attach it to your skateboard with tape, glue, or any other adhesive that floats your boat. (Check out This to That for glue advice.)

For extra points, add some lights shining through. (Board Blazers, anyone?)

Check out the video below, but skip ahead to 2:17 to see what the thing you're making actually looks like.

Heads-up: most flapping-material-based videos require some kind of fan, but since it's literally on a skateboard, you'll get your flapping as you ride around. No fan necessary! Unless you want to go above and beyond.

 

 

Method 2: Spray Foam + Spray Paint + Lights

For this method, you'd take a TON of lights (or Board Blazers) and attach them to a skateboard--ideally in a way that still leaves the skateboard, you know, rideable.
Once that's done, you'll take different sized plastic bottles/containers and place them over the lights, gluing those down in kind. Cover the whole thing with spray foam, then immediately cover the spray foam in different colors of spray paint for a super cool ember-like effect. 
Paint suggestions: Black, red, orange. Light suggestion: in my opinion, this would be AWESOME with color-changing lights!
Skip to 6:18 to see what it looks like when all's said and done.

 

 

Method 3: Dry Ice + Lights + Custom Container

This one is the most complicated, and the least skating-friendly, but I'm leaving it open for those skate engineers out there who are looking for a summer project.
Basically, if you build a container with a slot in the top, fill the container with dry ice, and have lights shine through the fog, you'll get an incredibly realistic fire effect.
Watch the video for more instructions--and if you build this one, PLEASE email us at greg@grenadainnovations.com. Send pics and video. We want to be your friend.

 

Which one sparks ideas for you? Let us know in the comments!


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What's The Deal With Thrasher Magazine's Skater Of The Year?

If you’re a skater, you’re almost certainly familiar with Thrasher Magazine’s Skater of the Year award. Called skateboarding’s “most authentic prize” by some, this prize inspires statements of adoration like “when a skater has a lil' Rusty, they're amidst a select few of pro skateboarders.”

All hype aside, what’s the deal with the Thrasher SOTY award? How did it get started, and how does it get decided today? And does it really still matter as much as ever? I did some digging to find out.

 

History of the SOTY Award

Jake Phelps, head of Thrasher Magazine and creator of the SOTY award, told ESPN about the first-ever award. “First of all, we used to have a High Speed Christmas party -- and we figured we'd give out an award, because no one was giving out awards at that time, in 1990.” For the tenth-anniversary edition of their magazine--their best-selling ever--Tony Hawk graced their silver cover.

“We did a reader's poll for a Skater of the Year, and it was Tony Hawk,” Phelps continued. “So, we gave the first one to Tony Hawk at our tenth anniversary party.”

For the trophy design, Phelps’s body and Noah Peacock’s face were used as the inspiration for a bronze cast. Kevin Ansell designed the cast to create the SOTY trophy, which was named Rusty. “That's his name,” added Phelps. “It's kind of like an Oscar [Laughs]."

Back in the early days of the award, the SOTY award was the result of a magazine poll. Readers would vote, and an issue profiling the winner would come out in the early months of the year.

Recently, according to Lucas Wisenthal of The Ride Channel, “The title is a subject of intense scrutiny leading up to its announcement.” Some argue that the prize has become too political. But what is the process of choosing a winner?

 

 

Selection of the SOTY

How do you catch the eye of the SOTY selection staff? “You've gotta be percolating on the scene for a long time before you can be ‘the guy,’” says Phelps.

The actual process of picking a winner is a little shaky and behind-the-scenes, but appears to be:

  1. Skaters (mostly professional skaters) submit their best skate parts online.
  2. The skaters that get the most attention get nominated for the SOTY award.
  3. Readers vote to narrow the selection down to semi-finalists, and then finalists.
  4. Phelps (and other judges) make the final selection.

Coleman Bentley, of Network A, points out that “Jake Phelps...has gone on record, saying SOTY isn’t solely a "skate part" award.” This means (apparently) that it’s not just about video footage--there’s a little bit more to the selection process.

“It's gotta be a guy that can bust out a good interview after he's chosen,” Phelps explains. “It helps to have some eloquence or some personality.”

That being said, Anthony Pappalardo of Huck Magazine is slightly wary of the place this award holds in the modern world. “I think Phelps is a decent judge of course – he’s a walking encyclopedia of skate knowledge – but why is someone who champions the free spirit of skating picking a ‘winner’?” Pappalardo asks. “Also, why do I get sucked into caring, year after year since 1990?"

Good questions--and he’s not the only one with them.

 

Opinions on the SOTY Award

Of course, a prestigious award can only stay prestigious for so long. Bentley argues, “While a positive change on the whole, skateboarding’s digital explosion has only served to dilute the importance of SOTY...the campaign season and coronation has become more political than ever.”

Because it’s easier now than ever before to upload skate videos and catch the public’s eye, there’s more material to sift through, and it becomes more difficult to make an objective decision.

Bentley adds, "With fewer marquee videos to bank on and more skaters to consider than ever, the criteria by which SOTY is decided has become increasingly intangible...There's room for subjectivity, of course, but at some point, the numbers have to matter, and if they don't, SOTY becomes merely an opinion and not an award. And you know what they say about opinions..."

Pappalardo also has a somewhat negative view of the award, but not just for the subjectivity--for the act of judging itself. “That’s the whole duality of skateboarding right there,” he says. “It’s free, it’s about fun and creativity, and in theory should never be judged, but with so many unwritten rules and the overarching emphasis on style, we are all judging skating constantly."

He continues, "As skaters, no matter how much we say winning or awards aren’t a big deal or a real part of skating, judging certainly is and it’s something that might be more prevalent in our “sport” than others.”

Of course, it’s hard to argue when Phelps says, “Like I said, it's history. You're part of history."

This award is a major part of skating history. Just because it may be losing some of its original relevance doesn’t doom it completely. It just needs to feel free to adapt to the times ahead.

 

Photo credit: InCase//Lewis Sharman


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The Best Skateboard Forums On The Web

Whether you've been skating for years or you've just barely picked up a board, you know that most of the appeal of skateboarding is in the super tight, welcoming community. And what better place to find an online skateboarding community than on one of the many skateboard forums?

We rounded up the top five skateboard forums for your benefit. Click through, look around, and see if you find a niche.

5. Boardworld

This forum isn't crazy active, but has a dedicated skateboard section and a consistently updated "News, Videos, and Events" page that has a ton of cool stuff--like a trailer for this movie about skateboarding on frozen sand. 

4. Skatebook

Skatebook is a little more active. The community seems pretty small, but it's supportive. It's a great place to ask for suggestions on the size of the board you should be riding, or to share a vid of you finally nailing that kickflip. There's also an "Introduce Yourself" page, so you can meet the other skaters in your neck of cyberspace. 

 

3. Skull and Bones Skateboards

Another fairly active forum, this one has over 20 skateboard-specific threads--even some that dive into parts of the industry, like manufacturing and screenprinting. There's also a skateboard art thread specifically, which is more than worth a scroll. 

2. Sidewalk Skateboard Magazine

Super-active, rated, and armed with a backlog of thousands of threads? Yeah, this seems like a pretty great place to spend your time. Plus, they've got a thread full of skate gifs, and another one literally called "Continually Updated Personal Footage." Settle in, look around, and start posting!

1. Slap

Yeah, I'm sure you've heard of this one. And if you haven't, plenty of skaters have. Super, super active and absolutely filled with skaters from all walks of life. Whether you're looking for news, tips, friends, or just trying to keep your finger on the pulse of the skate world, Slap is definitely the place to go.

 

 

Skaters--which ones are your favorites? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credit: Joshua Ness


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10 Easy Beginner Skateboard Tricks (featuring VLSkate!)

10 easy beginner skateboard tricks

 

If you've ever Googled "beginner skateboard tricks," you know how much garbage is out there. Articles that try and pass off a turn or a stop as a "beginner trick" are a dime a dozen, as are articles that claim kickflips or rail grinds as beginner-level. 

Enter Vilias Left, of VLSkate. Self-described as a skateboarder from Southern California, he makes an ongoing series of "how to" videos that all skaters could benefit from.

One of these awesome videos is his "10 Easy Beginner Skateboard Tricks" video, which hits the nail on the head--10 tricks that are easy to do, but look impressive, and make beginner skaters feel like they're progressing. (Which gives you the confidence to keep skating and get bolder!)

Without further ado, here, gif'd and essentially transcribed for your benefit, are these 10 easy skateboard tricks. Enjoy and skate!

1. Chinese Nollie

easy beginner skateboard trick chinese nollie

 To pull off the Chinese nollie, "all you have to do is give the board a little push forward to bounce the front wheel off a crack," says VLSkate. "This will cause the board to pop up off the ground." The best thing about this trick is that you just need to know how to do a little hop on the nose of your board to pull it off. "Just keep in mind," VLSkate adds, "that you're not hitting the nose on the ground--you're just barely lifting the back wheels up, and the rest is just staying on top of the board."

2. Biebelheimer

easy beginner skateboard trick biebelheimer

Next up--the biebelheimer. Not so much a trick as a cool way to get on your board, but it certainly is that! VLSkate explains it: "All you have to do is grab the board with the nose and your fingers on the opposite side. Then, turn the board around 180 degrees so that the grip tape would hit the ground--and the most important part is to make sure it's slightly angled when you throw it down. That causes the flip over."

How to practice? Stand still and practice getting the board to flip over. Also, to make this trick work, you don't need to scrape the tail on the ground.


3. Nollie Shove It

easy beginner skateboard trick nollie shove it

For the Nollie Shove It, "You barely have to put your foot on the nose, and you don't even have to pop it. All it takes is the smallest shot motion with your feet and the tiniest little hop. That's all you need." The gif makes it clear, and VLSkate also has a more in-depth explanation in his pop shove it video.


4. Boneless

easy beginner skateboard trick boneless

The boneless is also less about popping your board, and more about jumping off your foot. "All it really takes is setting your feet up in a position where your front foot can easily come off the side and onto the ground," says VLSkate. "You just leave your back foot on and grab with the hand, jump off your foot and jump back on the board."

5. Fakie Frontside 180

easy beginner skateboard trick fake frontside 180

Can you ride fakie? Can you pop your board? Then with the fakie frontside 180, "your momentum does the rest of the work." VL Skate describes the secrets; "Just pop, twist your body, and land back on the board. If you are having any trouble with the regular front-side 180 I would recommend this one instead."

6. Hippie Jump

easy beginner skateboard trick hippie jump

"[The hippie jump] is so easy, because all you need to know how to do is jump," VLSkate says. "The main important factors are that when you jump you don't accidentally press on the tail or the nose--and when you come down, don't land on the tail or the nose. Just stand above the bolts the entire time."

How to practice this one? "Just practice jumping a whole bunch. It can be scary, but the great thing is that you can start small and work your way up."

7. Rail Stand

easy beginner skateboard trick rail stand

For the rail stand, "All you have to do is set your feet up so your front foot will be pushing down the side in order to flip it over." It's kind of a four-step process:

  1. Give it enough pressure until it flips.
  2. When that happens, your back foot hangs on the back wheel, and as the board turns, you step over and on top of it.
  3. After that, you bring your front foot back and you're standing on your rail.
  4. Then, all it takes is a slight push forward, and you're right back on top of the board.

The best way to practice? "It's best to learn this trick while holding onto something, but it only takes a few times and you start getting the feeling of it," VLSkate says. 

8. Fakie Casper Flop

easy beginner skateboard trick fakie casper flop

This trick uses the same pressure mechanic in the rail stand, to flip the board over onto its back--and then you place your back foot on the tail and flip the board over. "It's a lot easier than it sounds," says VLSkate, "and all it really takes is practicing while standing still a few times. Just practice flipping the board over by pressing down and off to the side, and then practice flipping it back over with both your feet--then put both together and you have it." He adds, "It's kinda stupid, but I like it."

9. 180 No Comply

easy beginner skateboard trick 180 no comply

For the 180 no comply, "Just like with the boneless, you want the front foot to be in a location where it can easily step off the board, and your back foot should be slightly on the tail so that you can get some spin out of it. You just press down and scoop the tail around."

How to best practice? "You can practice standing still, and the same with the back foot scooping motion, and eventually just put them together and make sure that you jump back on the board."

10. Nose Pickup

easy beginner skateboard trick nose pickup

"If you master picking up your board the normal way and you even got the little fancy way where you kick it up with your foot, this is the opposite version of that," says VLSkate, adding that it can be done a lot quicker if you're cruising fast. "And it looks cool. While you're rolling, you situate your front foot onto the nose, and you pop straight down with your toes and reach down and grab the board."

How to practice? "There's not too much other than practicing popping the nose down. You just want to make sure you are not stopping down on the nose, because that's going to make the board fly up."

 

In VLSkate's opinion, these tricks "are the perfect combination of easy but stylish, and I think that it's important to stay motivated: you feel like you are improving. Progress is progress, and even the easy tricks can be added to make you a better overall skater." 

Loved these tricks? Go be friends with VLSkate on YouTube or Instagram.

And let us know which trick is your favorite. (I'm a fan of the Hippie Jump--Greg prefers Boneless.)

 


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The Long And Short Of Longboard Design

If you've ever REALLY looked at the longboards you see on the street, you've probably noticed a ton of variance. Why are some longboards super flexible? Why are some of them shaped differently? 

We're here to break down the longboard design code, so you can understand what you're seeing--and find the right design for you.

 

BOARD SHAPES

Directional

Any kind of board where the front looks different from the back is a directional board. They're just supposed to go forward. You tend to use directional boards as cruisers, carvers, and downhill boards.

The most famous directional board shape is a pintail--it looks a little bit like a surfboard. Its base center is wider, and is sharply pointed on both ends, which gives the board a fluid balance.

The fishtail is another type of directional board, and it's similar to the pintail. Instead, imagine a pintail with 1/3 cut off the bottom, and a split tail in its place. A bunch of people use fishtails as cruisers, and fishtails tend to come with a kicktail that helps with turns.

The final directional shape we'll talk about is the blunt shape. It's longer and thinner than the pintail, and has a wider and rounder nose. 

Symmetrical

So if directional boards are meant to just go forward, symmetrical boards can go just about anywhere, right? Yes. If you're a freestyle longboarder, and you see some 180° slides in your future, you'll want to step away from the directional boards and into symmetry-land.

The most common symmetrical board is the twin--a board introduced in the '90s specifically for multi-directional street skating. These longboards tend to be wide and stable, and incredibly versatile.

 

DECK STYLES

Top Mount

Top mount is traditional, simple, and inexpensive. Basically, the deck is mounted on top of the trucks, giving the board a little less stability but a lot more versatility than other mount styles.

Drop Through

Drop through boards are lower than top mount boards, because the trucks are mounted through the board. In other words, spaces for the trucks are carved out of the bottom of the board, lowering the deck by its thickness and increasing stability in spades.

Because you don't have to reach so far to brake or push, you get to ride with less fatigue, which makes this a great style for commuters.

Double Drop

A double drop deck takes drop through trucks and pairs them with board cutouts, so it's incredibly, ridiculously low to the ground. This style is very stable, but can also be pretty expensive, because it's tricky to build. You usually only find this on boards meant for downhill riding alone.

 

BOARD SHAPE FEATURES

Kick tail

Kick tails are usually found on skateboards (as shown in the picture below). They let you lift one end of the board off the ground for tricks, turns, and more--and a kick tail on a longboard lets you do the exact same thing.

 

Wheel Well

If you're a longboarder, you've probably experienced wheel bite--when you turn so hard your wheels smash into your deck and you smash into the ground. Some longboards prevent this with board cutouts (so your wheels can't possibly make contact) or wheel wells (so your wheels are discouraged from making contact).

 

BOARD BEND

This is different from board flex, which we'll go over in a second. Concave--or the bend of your board across its width--comes in four main varieties, all with their own benefits and drawbacks.

  1. Flat no-concave

    This style is, well, flat as a board. There's not a lot of big, fancy toe-heel energy transfer. It's good if you want to dance on your board, but if you're looking for speed and grip, you'll want to look elsewhere.

  2. Radial concave (taco)

    This has a smooth balance of toe-heel energy transfer, and it's also the most common concave style you'll find. The slight dip in the middle also gives your feet a good place to lock in when you're sliding. 

  3. Elliptical concave

    Boards with elliptical concave are not too far from radial, but turn a little more sharply.

  4. W-concave

    Imagine putting two radial concaves on the same deck, and you get a W-shape--like the W-deck. This wild shape gives you even more toe-heel energy transfer, and lets you turn very quickly and very precisely. 

 

BOARD FLEX

Boards can flex in a variety of ways. You'll want to look out for:

Longitudinal Flex

This is the bend from your board's nose to its tail. More flex means deeper carves.

Lateral Flex

This is the bend across your board's width--concave styles can have an effect on this.

Torsional Flex

This is the combination you get from your board's special mix of longitudinal and lateral flex. What happens when both are working at the same time? 

 

 

Now that you know WHERE your board can flex, let's look at how it can flex:

Soft flex

These soft-flexing boards absorb shock really well, especially if you're riding over rough stuff. If you're looking for chill out and cruise, soft flex boards are fine. If you're planning on speed, watch out--soft boards get unstable at high speeds.

Medium flex

A classic medium anything--not too hot, not too cold. Medium-flex boards also have good shock absorption, and a little more stability than soft-flex boards. They're also springy and highly versatile.

Stiff flex 

You really only want a stiff board if you're going FAST and you're going there NOW. Stiff boards give you little to no shock absorption, and they're most useful for dedicated downhill boards or super-fast freeriding.

 

Readers--what do you think? Let us know in the comments!

 

Further reading:

http://www.evo.com/guides/how-to-buy-longboards-deck-shape-style

https://www.windwardboardshop.com/learn/understanding-longboard-decks/

https://longboardbrand.com/types-of-longboards-explained-in-detail/

 

Photo credit: Christoffer Engstrom//Steven Erdmanczyk Jr//Peter Pearson//Longboards USA//Steve Watkins//erik forsberg//Bruno Alberto//Skateboard Stock Photo//Landyachtz Bomber


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Insta-Pic Your Trick

Show us your moves.

Board Blazers are a killer way to light up your tricks -- and we want to see how YOU do it. The rules are simple: 

  1. Attach Board Blazers to your skateboard, longboard, scooter, hoverboard, or rollerskates.
  2. Take a video or snap a pic of you doing your best trick with the lights.
  3. Upload it to Instagram with hashtag #boardblazers.
  4. The best trick, judged by pro skaters, wins $100 cash!

To enter:

1. Buy Your Blazers

2. Post Your Moves - #boardblazers

 

Pro skaters Tech Na$ty and Andrew Pott will decide which trick deserves $100.

Meet the Judges:

Tech Na$ty: Pro skater, goofy rider, international boarding icon, and the newest member of the Board Blazers skate squad. He grew up in Orange County, and now rides for Programme Skate and Delta Nine. You can find him on IG at @wakebakegoskate.



Andrew Pott: Originally from Belize, but born and raised in Inglewood, CA, Andrew Pott went pro in 2004; Shortys Skateboards picked him up after he placed 10th at the Tampa Am SPoT. Today, he skates for Lowland Kings, who also released his new pro board. Right now, he's working on releasing his pro model watch, so keep an eye out! He's on IG: @andrew_pott

If you want to wow them, pull out all the stops. Get creative with your camera. Think of a new way to film your best trick. This is your chance to go big!

Let's see your moves and win some cash!

 

Full contest rules available here.


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The Best Hoverboards On The Market

Here's what you already know:
  1. Hoverboards exist.

  2. There are a TON of articles that give you advice on which one to choose.
Here's what you might not know:
  1. Exploding hoverboards? That's a thing of the past. New, stricter safety regulations (known as a UL2272 certification) have kept hoverboard customers from being unwittingly engulfed in flames. Hooray!

  2. Just as there are a ton of articles about which hoverboards are the best, there's also a lot of overlap.

And that's why we've taken the liberty of looking through these articles, so we can cut through the noise and give you the brands that are mentioned over, and over, and over, and over again.

Note: All the boards listed here are UL2272 certified, meaning you can ride them without fear of explosions. All hoverboard images are screenshots from their associated Amazon pages.

The 7 Hoverboards The Internet Can't Stop Recommending (In No Particular Order)

1. Hoverzon S Self Balancing Hoverboard

Hoverzon S Self Balancing Hoverboard

The Hoverboard S Self Balancing Board will run you $399. That gets you a battery that takes 3 hours to fully charge, lasts 4 hours, and reaches a top speed of 8mph. You've also got two speed settings, so beginners can start out easy and slow. Plus, they'll throw in a 1-year warranty. Sweet!

 

2. PowerOnBoard Powerboard 15005

PowerOnBoard Powerboard 15005

At a top speed of 6.2mph, the PowerOnBoard Powerboard is comparatively slower, but similarly priced around $349.99. With its large battery pack, you'll get about 3 hours of usage time between charges.

 

3. Swagtron T1

The Swagtron T1 ALSO costs $349.99, but reaches a top speed of 8mph (like the Hoverboard S Self-Balancing Board), has a 3 hour battery life, AND has LED headlights.

 

4. Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Hoverboard

Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Hoverboard

Like the last two items on the list, the Razor Hovertrax 2.0 costs $348. Like the Swagtron T1, its top speed is just over 8mph. It's quick-charging, and recommended for beginners, but its battery life only lasts 1-2 hours.

 

5. Segway miniPRO

Segway miniPRO

Who doesn't want a mini Segway? The Segway miniPRO blows the other hoverboards out of the water in top speed (10mph!) AND price ($599!). You'll have to decide for yourself if the padded knee bar, anti-theft alarm, customizable lights, and Bluetooth capability are enough added features to make the steep price increase worth it. Also, the battery life lasts about 1.4 hours.

 

6. EPIKGO, Self Balancing Scooter

EPIKGO, Self Balancing Scooter

Also clocking in at $599 and 10mph is the EPIKGO, whose 1 hour battery life is not nearly as appealing as its all-terrain wheels.

 

7. Swagtron T3

Swagtron T3

Finally, we have the Swagtron T3. Like the T1, it reaches top speeds of 8mph and has a 3 hour battery life. However, this model comes with Bluetooth capability, which likely accounts for the price increase to $459.17.

 

Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

 

Featured photo credit: Ben Larcey
Sources:

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Where to Skateboard

Have skateboard, will travel, right? Well, not necessarily. Sometimes it can be tricky to find where to skateboard--which is why we've rounded up a list of potential places to look out for. 

General Places To Skateboard

No matter where you live, there tend to be some structural mainstays that are pretty skating-friendly. Just in case you forgot, here's the rundown.

1. A skatepark

Let's just get the most obvious one out of the way. Chances are, if you live in a city, you're somewhere near a skatepark. Spend a nice afternoon there practicing tricks, making friends, and brushing up on your skills.

2. An actual park

Paved bike paths (particularly if they're not crowded) are your friend. Get your fill of nature by skating through trees and grassy hills.

3. An empty parking lot

Looking for a place to practice your turns and kickflips away from the hustle and bustle of the skatepark? An empty parking lot can be your savior. Check for any "No Skateboarding" signs first, though--but you knew that already. If it's the parking lot of your high school or a store, it's best to ask in advance.

4. An indoor skatepark

Yes, this is more expensive than any of the first three (completely free) options--but especially if the weather outside is frightful, an indoor skatepark is definitely delightful.

5. Your garage

Obviously, this only works if you A) have a garage B) that is reasonably empty C) with a concrete floor. But if your stars have aligned enough that this is a thing in your life, go forth and skate!

6. Carpet or grass

This isn't so much "skating" as "a soft place to practice tricks." But if it's all you've got for the time being, it's better than nothing.

 

How to Find Your Own Skateboarding Spots

Like a cook without their own signature recipe, what's a true skateboarder without their signature spot? Here are some ways to find your own.

7. Join a skate group. 

Make friends with some skaters (ideally at a skate park) and start tagging along on rides. Ask where they usually skate. If they share, awesome!

8. Use skateboard spot apps

Websites like ISkateHere and Skatebook.Me let skaters bookmark (and share) their favorite spots. Type in your location to find places that are close to you!

9. Go on your own mission

Drive around, hitch a ride, take the bus, take a walk--whatever way it makes sense for you to explore your city, keep an eye out for interesting concrete spots with skateable architecture. Rails, stairs, benches, etc. When you find something promising (and not privately owned), take a picture and mark down the address.

 

Cities That Are Exceptionally Friendly To Skateboarders

This advice all works for (ideally) any skateboarder living anywhere. But if you're looking for cities (either to visit or one day live) where skateboarding is truly embraced, you'll want one of these:

10. Portland, OR, USA

In Portland, skateboards have the same legal rights as bicycles--there are "preferred skate routes" and everything! 

11. San Diego, CA, USA

You probably already guessed that this one would be on the list. It's friendly, it's got a ton of beaches and boardwalks, and it's home to a ton of famous skaters already! 

 

Skaters--how did you find your favorite skating spots? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credit: Shannon Kelley


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How To Start A Skateboarding Community

Humans are social creatures. And while it can be nice to do things alone now and then--play an instrument, read a book, watch a movie--nothing's better than doing something you love with a whole bunch of people who love the same thing. 

If you're a skater, looking to start a community of skateboarders in your local area, here's how you can do it.

1. Meet other skaters

There are a bunch of ways you can do this.

Look for existing MeetUp groups, or start your own. On MeetUp, you can be as broad or as specific as you want--so if you're looking to start an all-ages night skating group, or a skating group for girls in college, you're bound to click on MeetUp.

Go to your local skatepark and see if there's anyone you vibe with. That guy who just pulled a sweet trick--think he'd be interested in hanging out more?

Check out local Facebook groups and see if you're a good fit.

Head to a skateshop at a slow time (2 or 3pm on a weekday, usually) and chat with the people that work there. Where do they skate? Who's their crew?

2. Communicate what you're looking for

Do you want a crew that goes night-skating on Saturdays? Say (in person or online), "Hey, I'm starting a weekly night ride--who's in? Saturdays work for me, but I'm flexible."

Are you looking to improve your tricks and get feedback? "Could really use some help nailing new tricks. Anyone down for a couple after-school practice sessions? I'll be there Tuesday/Thursday."

Do you want to start a dedicated team? "I'm looking for 6-7 skaters who want to be part of a dedicated team. Weekly practices 4-6pm on Fridays. Name/logo suggestions welcome! Message me for details."

Or maybe you want to skate literally all the time, and you're cool with people joining you whenever? "I've got a ton of new skate spots I want to check out! I'll post here whenever I'm heading out--if you want to join, comment and show up, no questions asked."

The main points here are to be honest and specific. Don't say you're cool with people showing up whenever if you really want to start your night ride by 9. Don't say you're "down for whatever" if you're hoping to practice your grinds. 

Flexibility is important--but the more you get real with yourself about what you're looking for, the better chances you'll have of attracting skaters who want the same things.

And when you're specific, you make it easy for those right people to join by doing the hard mental work of picking a day/time/location in advance. 

3. Do the heavy lifting

It's your community. You're starting it. That means you're taking on the route-planning, the Facebook- or MeetUp- or forum-posting, and any other logistics that come your way.

Nobody's going to do it for you; at least not at the beginning. 

As your community grows and gets closer, someone might step up to plan next week's route--but at first, it's all you. Embrace it!

4. Keep going

Don't post once and get discouraged because nobody came (or one person came). Get someone to take photos of your ride that look fun and awesome. Post them up when you're planning future events.

It's entirely possible that a bunch of people were thinking about going, but their schedules didn't quite line up that week. But if you give up early on, you'll never find out.

 

Skaters--what are the best communities you've found?

Photo credit: Lucie Delavay


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How To Be A Pro Skater And A Scholar

This blog article was actually inspired by a reader question. Most of the time, we draw on whiteboards and say to ourselves, "What do our readers probably want to know?" And then we write about skateboard maintenance. #Foolproof.

But this time, someone came forward and said, more or less, that a friend of theirs wanted to get a college degree, but also wanted to be a pro skater, and wanted to know if there were any colleges that help you out in those regards. Or, basically, any way to be a scholarly skater.

Because skateboarding has all these connotations of being an underground culture, on some spectrum of subversiveness, colleges aren't exactly advertising professional-skater training courses.

That's not to say that we found nothing, anonymous reader. Rather, here's a list of ways to link your academic side with your side that totally loves night rides and sweet tricks.

1. Join one of Collegiate Skate Tour's many clubs.

With clubs all over the country and an organization that respects your duties as a student AND your passion for skateboarding, you can't go wrong with Collegiate Skate Tour. On their site, they say it best; "Education, in any form, is a catalyst, and attending college is the best complement to the education you receive on your board."

2. Or, start your own skate club in college.

Not attending one of the Collegiate Skate Tour schools? No big deal--start your own skate club. You'll learn a ton about organizing and marketing, and you'll get to know a bunch of other student skaters in a hurry. 

3. Apply for the Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship.

Yes, we know--this is on literally every article about skating in college. But it is a scholarship given out to skateboarders, and it's still around. You can snag a $1,000 prize, or a $5,000 one. 

4. Get involved with the National Scholastic Skateboarding League.

This skateboarding league is based in Southern California, and if you're in high school (or about to be), this is something you want to be looking at. They prioritize high grades along with skate performance, and give out awards. 

5. Read an academic paper about skateboarding.

To get you started, you've got Brandon Gomez's "A Study of Authenticity," Thomas Slee's "Skate For Life: An Analysis of the Skateboarding Subculture," or Ocean Howell's "The Poetics of Security: Skateboarding, Urban Design, and the New Public Space." You could even team up with an accredited professor and perform your own study!

6. Apply for a Tony Hawk Grant to build a skatepark.

This might not seem strictly academic, but you'll learn a ton even through the process of applying for a grant. Plus, if you're passionate about skating, but your city doesn't have much of a skate scene, why not throw yourself into building one? 

7. Check out this list of 10 skating pros with college degrees.

Who knows? Get to know one of them, and they might be willing to write you a letter of recommendation for that Tony Hawk grant. Plus, you'll see who can do an ollie and an -ology--that is, psychology, sociology, etc. 

 

Skaters--do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

 

Photo credit: Baim Hanif

 


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What To Do When My Skateboard Expires

How many times has this happened to you? You're cruising down the street, carefree on your skateboard wheels, and then some kindly passerby stops you to tell you your skateboard is expired. Bummer!

1) Do a sniff test.

Skateboard expiration dates are different in every state. Even if you're on the "Enjoy by" date, your skateboard might be safe to ride anyway. Give it a sniff, and if nothing seems sour, you might be good to go.

2) Use it as a replacement for buttermilk.

Expired skateboards are a great ingredient in baking; for recipes that require buttermilk, sour cream, or "sour skateboard"--in which you add a tablespoon of vinegar and then stir with a skateboard--you can substitute your expired skateboard and you're good to go.

3) Have a spa day.

If you put an expired skateboard in your bath, or rub it on your face, you'll end up with extra-smooth skin. Some chemical cocktail in expired skateboards reacts nicely with your outer dermis, leaving you with a silky-smooth, super-enviable complexion.

4) Make it a new garden tool.

Tomato plants struggling? Plant your expired skateboard nearby, water it thoroughly, and watch your sweet little plants thrive.

5) See if you can get a new copy from your bank.

Banks usually have options to replace a bunch of expired stuff--credit cards, debit cards, skateboards. Go to your online banking profile and make sure your skateboard address is updated, then request a new one! It should be to you soon, easy-peasy.

6) Freeze it preemptively

If you catch your skateboard just as it's about to expire, you can freeze it, and defrost it whenever you plan to go for a ride. This way, it could keep for months.

 

Skaters--what are your favorite expired skateboard tips? Let us know in the comments!

 

Photo credit: Nick Karvounis


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Swedish Model Paulina Ericksson Shows Off Her Board Blazers

Swedish model and longboarder Paulina Ericksson took to the streets of Venice Beach, CA this summer to show off her new Board Blazers. Meet Paulina on Instagram by following @paulinaericksson.

 


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Applying Your Board Blazers

Welcome to the Board Blazers crew! You're almost ready to ride. Watch how to apply your new underglow lights:


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7 Signs You're Ready to Skate

 

So all your friends are getting skateboards, and you're feeling left out. You've asked everyone you know how they figured out they were ready for a skateboard, and you keep getting vague answers along the lines of "Oh, you'll just know."

Well, here at Board Blazers, we're committed to getting you the answers you need. Here are seven signs you're ready to take the leap and get a skateboard.

1. You find yourself standing in a skateboard stance in unexpected places.

Waiting in line for coffee? Getting in an elevator? Pausing during a walk in the park? There you are, sideways, with your knees slightly bent and your weight evenly balanced. 

2. You keep accidentally saying you have a skateboard.

How familiar is this situation? Your friend asks how you're getting to that party on Saturday, and you immediately respond, "Oh, I'll just ride my skateboard." Then, in a flash, you remember you don't have one yet. If you're already acting like you have a skateboard, maybe it's time to take the plunge.

3. Every time you walk by a skate shop, you stop and stare at the door for literally 17 minutes.

Everyone stops and stares at skate shop doors sometimes. But it's usually for 3 minutes, and sometimes 10. If you're finding you consistently stare at skate shop doors for 17 entire minutes, sometimes without blinking, stop kidding yourself and get a skateboard already.

4. You're sick of spending your weekends running around empty pools.

We know it's not nearly as fun to just run around the bottom of empty pools on your own two feet--but someone's gotta do it, and for months, that someone's been you. Maybe it's time to admit to yourself that this isn't what you want out of your Saturdays, and revisit these concrete pits with a skateboard.

5. You accidentally stole someone's skateboard yesterday. And the day before. And the day before. 

It's time to stop pretending that it's normal to get home, open the door, suddenly realize you totally wrestled a skateboard out of some pedestrian's arms without even thinking about it, panic, and spend the next hour tracking them down and returning the board. Who needs that hassle? Cut it out and get yourself a skateboard to call your own.

6. You go entire days communicating only with the word "skateboard."

If you're turning in entire English essays that just say "skateboard" 2000 times in a row; if you're trying to make lunch plans with your friend and tell them to meet you at "Skateboard skateboard skateboard"; if your girlfriend says "I love you" and you say "Skateboard," you have your answer. 

7. You're about to buy a skateboard right now.

If you're reading this article on your phone while you're standing in line at a skate shop with a skateboard tucked under your arm, that's a very good sign that you're ready to buy a skateboard.

 

Skaters--are these accurate? How did you know it was time to buy your first skateboard? Let us know in the comments.

 

Photo credit: grassrootsgroundswell//D Coetzee

 


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The Best Halloween Costumes For Skateboarders

Who says skaters can't enjoy Halloween? (Probably nobody. I've never heard anyone say skaters can't enjoy Halloween.)

Regardless, here are some skaters who clearly took their spooky festivities to the next level with this killer costume commitment. Look upon these 10 fantastic skating costumes, weep, and--if you're still looking for ideas--take some notes.

1. Skating Joker

Some guys just want to watch the world land some sick tricks, right? Even though the Joker isn't technically a character who skates, let's be real--you could totally imagine him suddenly hopping on a skateboard in the middle of The Dark Knight. Plus, that billowy purple jacket catches the air in a pretty rad way.

2. Bart Simpson

 

When is Bart Simpson ever seen without his skateboard? If you're stuck for Halloween ideas, you could try this deeply unnerving costume--or make your own, maybe-slightly-less-unnerving one.

3. These rad disco skaters 

We'd be amiss to leave out that whole other branch of skaters--those that get around on rollerskates. Disco lives (if you want it to)! Throw on your best flashy '80s garb and get skatin'.

4. Finger-skate IRL!

I gotta give this one a hand...and it also raises so many questions. How did they make this? How are they skating inside this giant body glove? How are they so cool? Can we be friends? Be a real-life finger-skater and create the same aura of mystery wherever you go.

5. A Whole New World

Want a flying carpet in real life? Glue some carpet to your skateboard, and you're golden! Now all you need is a princess and a genie, and three wishes.

6. Marty McFly 

Holy hoverboard! YouTuber RyanLeerReeL is responsible for this incredibly cool Marty McFly costume. With some black leggings and fake legs, you too can pull off this hovering illusion.

7. R2-D2 and BB-8 

Another great costume idea for rollerskaters--show R2-D2 and BB-8 some love with these clever getups! You don't HAVE to speak in beeps all night, but your costume could be an opportunity to avoid chatting with that guy who always wants to play devil's advocate.

8. This awesome nun

Skating nun. Simple, elegant, and incredibly badass. (Photo credit: Ed Pilolla)

9. Skating Chewbacca! 

This looks incredibly warm. But also, super cool. When you're pressed for time, commit quick; put on a full-body Chewbacca suit and head to your nearest skatepark for a Halloween treat nobody will expect.

10. This guy

I haven't found any existing costumes of Steve Buscemi's 30 Rock character. But I humbly suggest to you, skaters of the internet, that you give it a shot this Halloween. Whether you actually are or very-much-are-not a fellow kid, this skating costume is a winner.

 

Which one is your favorite? Comment below!

 

 


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Skateboarding Is Coming To The Olympics, Here’s What to Expect

It's official! Skateboarding is not only a sport--it's an Olympics-worthy one. To prepare for the 2020 Tokyo introduction of skateboarding as an official Olympic event, let's break down some of the biggest questions surrounding the decision so you, as a viewer, know what to expect.

Why now?

There are plenty of opinions as to why this was the year that changed it all. International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach cited a desire for younger viewership as a reason, stating "

With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them.” 

The Ride Channel notes that this inclusion is "more symbolic of the state of the big-industry side of things than the culture of skating itself," but still underlines that, regardless of how you feel about the Olympics as an institution, "the inclusion of a sport that was born in the United States is a big deal."

The International Skate Federation (ISF) also released a statement assuring viewers that "[t]he ISF and the skateboarding community are ready, equipped and well positioned to help make the first Olympic appearance of skateboarding an amazing one for skaters and fans alike."

What would the competition look like?

Right now, park terrain skateboarding is the only event in the official lineup, which means skatepark terrain; halfpipes, quarterpipes, and other street obstacles like rails and stairs. Some skaters have expressed hopes that vert events are also added.

Others are skeptical, asserting that skateboarding doesn't have the dramatic visual appeal of other winter sports, and that viewers may be disappointed by the gulf between their expectations and the reality of the competition. "Sadly, to the casual fan," says The Ride Channel, "organized skateboarding is more akin to curling." 

Who would the top competitors be?

It's still a little early to know for sure, but if we take a look at recent winners of this year's X Games, here's a potential lineup:

Top 3 Skateboard Street Amateurs:

 

  1. Tyson Bowerbank
  2. Christian Dufrene
  3. Jagger Eaton

 

Top 3 Women's Skateboard Street Finals:

 

  1. Pamela Rosa
  2. Mariah Duran
  3. Lacey Baker

 

Top 3 Men's Skateboard Park:

 

  1. Pedro Barros
  2. Curren Caples
  3. Chris Russell

 

Top 3 Women's Skateboard Park:

 

  1. Kisa Nakamura
  2. Lizzie Armanto
  3. Jordyn Barratt

 

And, of course, other professional names come to the top; "Ryan Sheckler? Nyjah Huston? Louie Lopez?" The Inertia reminds us, "There are still four years to find out."

 

Conclusion

"I’ve always believed that if skateboarding was properly protected and supported, its appearance on the Olympic stage could change the world," says Gary Ream--who's not only chairman of the Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission, but also president of the ISF. Will Olympic skateboarding change the world? We'll all have to stay tuned to find out.


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How to Fix a Broken Skateboard

How to fix a broken skateboard

Even if your skating spirit is unbreakable, your skateboard sure isn't. But whether your trucks are giving you trouble, or your latest nose grind left a crack in your deck, here's your skateboard maintenance survival guide. 

Tips To Fix A Broken Skateboard Deck

If you're doing tricks on a plank of wood, chances are, that plank is going to get cracked, chipped, unbalanced, or straight-up broken in half at one point or another. Here's how you can put the pieces back together and get back to skating.

 

If your deck is cracked or chipped:

    1. First, remove your old grip tape with a hair dryer and a razor. You want a clean surface to work on.

      Watch the Rat Vision video below for a super easy, fast way to remove grip tape!




  1. Use epoxy to close the crack, or fill your chip. (Don't have epoxy? You can get it for cheap at most hardware stores and art supply stores.)

  2. Let the epoxied board dry for 24 hours.

  3. Smooth the crack or chip with sandpaper.

  4. Apply new grip tape.

 

If your deck is unbalanced:

If your board is suddenly turning without you telling it to, it might be unbalanced. To fix, tighten and loosen your kingpin (and test the ride after each adjustment!) until your board feels like it’s back on the right track.

Your deck is probably warped if it just ISN’T BALANCING, and you feel like you’ve tried everything, but it’s still out of whack.

If your deck is warped:

  1. Remove your trucks and wheels from the deck.
  2. Immerse your deck in water overnight. This will make the wood more pliable and easy to bend back into shape.
  3. In the morning, take the deck out of the water, and place a flat, heavy object on top for 24 hours--think books, cement block, etc. You might also need to get some clamps involved, if you have them. 

For a more involved (but arguably more effective) strategy, watch Earthwing's video below:

Tips To Fix Skateboard Bearings

Are your bearings stuck? Did a bearing pop out? Are you still trying to get your bearings? (Sorry, bad joke.) Anyway. These simple tips will fix most of your bearing woes:

  1. Remove the nuts that hold the wheels onto the board.
  2. Carefully push a screwdriver through the middle of the bearings.
  3. Apply bearing lubricant and pop them back in.
  4. Reattach your wheels.

For even more guidance on fixing your skateboard bearings, watch Braille Skateboarding's super-helpful instructional video below!

Tips on Fixing Skateboard Trucks

Trucks not turning? Trucks too loose? Here are the truck removal steps you’re looking for:

  1. Take off the kingpin nut with your crescent wrench
  2. Pull off the washer.
  3. Pull off the white rubber bushing.
  4. Pull the hanger out of the pivot cup.
  5. Add a little bit of bar soap to the pivot cup and reassemble.

For more visuals and even more tips, watch Spirit Longboarding's video on fixing squeaky skateboard trucks:

 

Conclusion

Whether your board needs a tiny tune-up or a larger fix, it's definitely within your capabilities. Apply these tips and you'll be rolling again in no time!


Skaters--any tips? How do you get your board back on track when it needs some TLC?

 


Additional resources:

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/How+to+fix+squeaky+trucks/15981

http://brokeskate.com/category/skateboard-repair/


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