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.
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!"
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.
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.)
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.
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."
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."
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.