The Board Blazers Blog


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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5 Skateboarding Tricks You Can Learn In ONE DAY!

You read that right! Want to master a trick or two or FIVE in a day? We’re bringing you a full line up of just those sorts of moves. If you have a board and know how to push, get ready because you're about to be prepared to show off your skillz at the skate park (or at least to the kids down the block). If you’re looking for directions for how to ollie or kickflip within a day, we hate to burst your bubble, but those tricks take a while to master, and you shouldn’t expect them to come to you immediately. BUT! Skating is all about making progress, and these five tricks will make you feel like you’re progressing toward skating greatness – and you are!

We’re linking a bunch of videos here by Braille Skateboarding, which if you aren’t familiar with them, GO WATCH AND SUBSCRIBE. They’re a seriously impressive group of skaters whose sole purpose is to get more people to try and love skating. They are the hands-down best pick for skateboarding tutorials from beginner level right up through expert. Skaters and shredders, we are proud to present: ONE DAY SKATE TRICKS!

1. Flip Jump Mount

While you could argue that this isn't exactly a "trick," boy will you look baller if you mount your board like this in front of your homies. As Aaron mentions in the video, it might be best to practice this trick on grass or carpet first so that you can get the hang of the jumping part and add in the balancing step later. Start with your board, deck side up, placed over the tops of your feet. Make sure your feet are situated right beneath the trucks for optimal balance. With confidence, take a big hop into the air, flipping your board onto its wheels and landing with your feet firmly planted on the grip tape. While you might not land this on the first try, we're willing to bet you can master it within 10 minutes. Believe us, we tried with a clutzy staffer in a grassy yard - if she can do it, you can! Once you've mastered the flip jump mount in the grass, try it on the sidewalk. It'll take a few more tries, and perhaps a bruise or two, but you'll definitely have this one in the bag within a day! We should also add that this looks majorly rad done at night with a set of Board Blazers

2. Nosebleed

The only prior skill you need for this trick is to know how to push your board along. If you can push, then you can learn to nosebleed, which will naturally grow into a noseslide, and how sick will that be?! You will first want to find the right kind of curb. As you can see in the clip above, a squared-off curb is what you're looking for when you choose your location. Skip any of the curbs with rolls and humps. Also, make sure you have plenty of space to roll directly at the curb. Once you've found an ideal spot, start by slowly pushing along headed straight toward the curb. When you're just about to run directly into the curb (try this slowly a time or two, if you're nervous!), shift your weight quickly to your back leg and pop up the front wheels. You should only need to pop them an inch or two at most to give the nose of your board the room it needs to rock onto the top of the curb. Once you feel your board stop moving as it hits the curb, gently shift your weight onto your front foot and rock the board into the air. To finish, shift your weight back again and roll off and away from the curb with your rear foot now in the lead.

Honestly, the hardest part about learning this trick (and to be fair, most tricks!) is to have the confidence to pop the board like you mean it. And the second hardest part will be combining all of those steps into a fluid motion. But we definitely believe its simple enough to master in under an hour. Go try!

3. Caveman

The Caveman builds off of the skills you learned on the Flip Jump Mount, and it builds toward the skills you'll need for our fifth and final trick, so definitely don't skip this one! Since you are already confident about jumping onto the board, this is just a slight variation. You will want to start with the board in your hand (the same hand as your lead foot) and your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly drop your board directly in front of you, while you take a small hop into the air. The goal is for your feet to hit the board at the same time your board's wheels are hitting the ground. This is another move that works well when practiced first in a grassy area or on carpeting. This will allow you to focus on timing the drop of your board and your jump. Once you've got that mastered, move to the sidewalk and work on your balance as you stick the landing. With your skills from before, this is definitely a one-afternoon (or less!) trick!

4. Ride Off Curb

 

Braille Skateboarding has an entire tutorial video about this one move, so definitely go give that a watch at some point! The first and most basic step for this trick is being able to roll along smoothly and confidently while holding up the front end of your board, meaning you're moving along the sidewalk with only the back two wheels on the ground. Give yourself a good amount of time to get that fully mastered before moving on. If you can lift your board high enough to ride over a crack, then you're ready. 

When you roll off a curb, you want to keep your board level as you and the board drop off the edge. By popping your front wheels up ever so slightly, you will resist the urge to follow gravity and force all of your weight down onto your front foot as you roll off. If you do this, you'll know right away, because the nose of your board will jut into the ground and your forward momentum will throw you off. If you pop up just enough, you should roll smoothly off the curve, be airborne for a split second, and then land solidly on all four wheels. Once you've landed this, then you just roll away like it's nothing. The major skills at play here are the ability to pop your board (like we mentioned earlier), the confidence to land on your board on all four wheels (similar to the Caveman move), and then the balance to stick the landing and roll away. If you've mastered the three previous tricks, this one won't be too much of a stretch for you! 

5. 5-Finger Boneless

 

Now there are tons of boneless moves out there. Boneless basically means that your hand is on the board while you are performing the trick. Boneless moves are great for beginners because you're always in contact with the board with either your feet or a hand - you have total control. 

For this particular boneless move, push forward as normal. Then, while rolling, reach down and grab the front middle of your board with your rear hand. Step off the board with your front foot, lift up the board with your rear hand while keeping your rear foot on the board. Then, release your hand, allowing your board to drop back to the ground, all while keeping your rear foot in contact with the board. You want to jump your front foot back on the board at the exact moment when all four wheels hit the ground. Then you sail away like it was nothing! This move is much less "scary" in that you don't ever fully lose contact with the board or the ground, but it can take a while to make the motion fluid enough that it looks smooth. With an afternoon to tackle it though, we have confidence that you'll master it! 

So, ready to get out and shred? We challenge you to commit just an hour or two to a few of these tricks. We bet you'll walk away with new skills, a new confidence, and fall in love just a little bit more with skateboarding. 
Are you looking for even more skate trick tutorials? Check out our article on 10 Easy Skateboard Tricks and level up your game yet again! Don't forget to hit us up on Instagram @BoardBlazers. Tag us in your progress videos! And with that, it's time to walk away from the screen, grab your board, and give these five tricks a try!


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Longboard or Skateboard: Which is Best for Beginners?

When it comes to skateboarding, you have many choices on how to start (see our learning to skate article!), and one of the most fundamental decisions is which type of skateboard to choose? From Pennys to longboards, there’s a full spectrum of lengths available. But when it comes to making the transition from 2 feet planted firmly on the ground to four rolling wheels underneath those feet, which board will make that the simplest? 

First, you should know that all skateboards are skateboards. Does that sound ridiculous? Yes. But longboards, shortboards, and everything in between are all considered subsets of skateboards. The way to differentiate between the types is by length, so we have created a handy infographic for you:

 



All of this information brings us to today’s pressing question: which kind of board is most straightforward for a beginner skater to learn to use? Many people assume that a smaller skater means you should purchase a smaller board, and we’re here to tell you that’s not the case! While everyone has their opinion on this matter, we here at Board Blazers wholeheartedly endorse longboards as the board of choice for beginning skaters. You absolutely CAN learn to skate using a shortboard or standard skateboard – some people prefer that! But from an ease-of-use and safety standpoint, longboarding can’t be beaten. Longboarding is so much easier to learn because all of the skills used to skateboard (pumping, turning, balance, strength, etc.) can be broken down and mastered individually before combining them all. Whenever you’re learning something new, breaking it into chunks is the best way to tackle it and learning to longboard does this perfectly for the sport of skateboarding!

First (stick with us, here comes the science!), longboards are more stable because of their increased size, both their length and width. The simple matter is, takes more force to move a longboard along the ground than it does a standard skateboard. This need for additional power to attain speed minimizes the chance that your wobbly beginner pumping results in the dreaded oh-no-the-board-is-no-longer-under-me sort of wipeouts. In general, longboards are more forgiving of wobbles and mistakes than the shorter boards, and when you start out, you will have PLENTY of wobbles and errors. Longboards are also heavier and require stronger and larger pumps to work up speed. The need for powerful pumps means that beginning skaters will move more slowly, and the inevitable falls will be less injurious. There's more to know about the science behind longboarding and we rounded it all up for you here!

 



Turning is one of the more intimidating aspects of learning to skate. Wouldn't it be great if a board was designed to slide through large, gentle turns without the need for popping or pumping? Boom- enter the longboard! A turn on a standard skateboard would require shifting your rear foot to the back of the board and giving it a slight pop to complete the turn. Maintaining your balance with two wheels on the ground and two wheels in the air is a tough skill to master! Longboards eliminate the need for significant weight shifts and popping. Not only is this less intimidating, but it allows for the rider to concentrate fully on turning without also having coordinate much of their footwork (plus, all four wheels stay on the ground - win!). Longboards can undoubtedly perform pop turns, but it’s possible to learn to turn with both feet on your board first and then add the secondary skill at a later time.

Speaking of pumping, longboards are the only boards where it’s technically never necessary for your feet to push off from the ground (pump) other than the very first step! Just shifting your weight back and forth from heels to toes along the width of the board will pump a longboard. This “S” shaped motion will keep the board's momentum cruising along with no need for your feet to touch the ground. And while pumping is one of the more fun aspects of skating, it’s hard to coordinate just how to swipe the earth with your foot while staying upright on your board. After all, you and the board are moving along, and the ground is stationary; foot-to-ground pumping is rife with difficulty and initially avoiding it will make learning to skate simpler.

 



Once a skater is comfortable with turning, pumping, and balance, they can move on to more advanced skills like board popping and beginner tricks (ollies, nose slides, etc.). This is also the ideal time to transition to a skateboard or shortboard if that’s the skater’s desired length. All of the skills already mastered will be pushed and tested with a shorter board, but the foundational skills are there, and success is inevitable. If you’re looking for a big adventure, give a Penny board a try! These ultra-short acrylic boards come in every imaginable color, are crazy-portable, and will push your balance skills to the brink. Wear a helmet!

It’s an angsty business watching a person you love roll away on a four-wheeled adventure. But you’ll feel much better knowing your skater is confident and self-assured. And the best way to make sure that happens is to start them out on a longboard. We can’t promise they’ll return without bruises, but we can confidently say that it won’t be long before they’re upright and shredding safely.


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Learn to Skateboard - Top 5 Tips & Tricks

You see them zooming down the street popping ollies, kickflips, noseslides, and 360 flips at the skateparks: skateboarders, lovers of street surfing, and you want to be one of them! It’s easy enough to buy your board (for recommendations check out our article here!) and gear, but once you’re standing in the street holding your new skateboard and wondering where to start, it can feel overwhelming, to say the least. No matter why you want to learn to skate, whether its to keep up with your friends, or connect with your kid, we’re here today to give you some stellar resources to help you along your journey to becoming King of The Road.

Just Do It

Nike was a little tongue in cheek when they first threw out this iconic slogan, but do you know what? It’s absolutely true. Nothing can make you learn quite like starting at the beginning when you're clueless. If you haven’t read our post about the History of Skate: From Surf To Street, that’s an excellent place to gain some inspiration. The first people to attach wheels to 2x4s didn’t have anyone to teach them, yet the entire sport of skateboarding has evolved from that moment until now. It’s unnerving to plant both feet securely on a wobbly piece of wheeled wood, but if you just get out and try it, you might find it comes to you quicker than you expected! Like most things worth doing, you’ll get bumped and bruised along the way, but we’re betting you’ll get the hang of it pretty darn quickly. If you’d like even more tips and tricks for learning solo, read our article, How To Learn To Skateboard By Yourself.

 

Step By Step

If just hopping onto your board and hoping for the best sounds like a deal-breaker for you, we’ve got you covered. Our article, How To Get Kids To Absolutely Love Skateboarding includes quite a few topics that will help you break it down even more! The first and most important thing you can do for yourself is to keep yourself safe with the right gear. A helmet (this one!) and pads (these!) will keep your noggin and joints in good working order after you eat it – although we hope you don’t! After you’re all set to go, get out and practice, practice, practice until you’re perfect, perfect, perfect! Find a buddy to help you along and give yourself time to grow. Before you know it, you’ll be shredding with the best of them.

YouTube

If you’re not on the YouTube train, you are missing out. YouTube has become a nearly bottomless pit of resources for everything under the sun, skateboarding included! If you type, “learn to skateboard” into the search bar, you will receive no fewer than 550k results! If you’d like to watch someone before you try it, look no further. There are entire channels dedicated to teaching you to skate, as well as tutorials from some of your favorite pro skaters. Set aside an hour or two and watch a few instructional videos from various channels. Once you connect with a particular skater, subscribe to their channel and get watching! Who doesn’t love a private instructor for free?! Here’s an excellent skateboarding instructional video from one of our favorite channels, Go Skate. Subscribe and shred, skaters!

 


Braille Skateboarding

If YouTube is too intimidating, time-consuming, or just isn’t your jam, head over to Braille Skateboarding. Their team has put together tons of free tutorials, and if that’s not in-depth enough for you, they offer their amazing “Skateboarding Made Simple” plan. While this plan requires you to spend a bit of money (you get what you pay for!), it promises to have you skating and performing tricks within a shockingly short amount of time. This is a sure fire way to guarantee your proficiency at skateboarding, even if it means shelling out a little bit of dough. And if you’re lucky enough to live in the San Leandro, CA area, Braille can offer you private lessons! Which brings us to our final tip…


Hire a Professional

While we’d look at this as a last resort (there are so many FREE resources available to you!), sometimes it feels best to learn a new skill one-on-one with an experienced and capable teacher. We detailed the whole process for you in our post, How To Find A Great Skateboard Teacher, but if that doesnt give you enough of a start, hit up your local skate shop. The staff members are usually super friendly and since they learned to skate once themselves, they are full of ideas on how to help you along. Most shops have a list of private teachers in the area that come highly recommended. If you end up paying for lessons, you will want to make sure that your teacher is vetted and has super reviews – no one wants to pay $50 and have their time wasted. Check out your instructor on Yelp before booking a lesson.

Anyone and everyone can learn to skateboard, and that includes you! Learning to skateboard not only keeps you active and outdoors, but it also gives you freedom in a way that is unique to other sports. Pro skater Ryan Sheckler said it best, “No one can tell me what to do on my skateboard. I can do whatever I want.” So get out there! Whether by yourself, with the help of YouTube or a private teacher, don’t wait another day to get started skating. We promise you won't regret it.


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How to Skateboard: A Starter Guide to Shredding

Most parents grew up playing the same sports their kids enjoy. However, not all parents grew up skateboarding, and that can make it tough to get your little one started when you first hear, "I want a skateboard." Those words can seem daunting at first, but this guide will help you learn what to buy, proper safety procedures, and how to help your young skater, or those of all ages, master the basics.

Buying the First Board

There's no definitive type or brand of skateboard you should buy as a beginner, but there are a few pointers you can use to find your child an ideal setup. Quality skateboard completes — those that come with a deck, trucks and wheels — cost upward of $100 for adults, but you don't have to pay that much cash for your child’s new hobby. Most major skateboard companies offer more affordable options for kids, which cost around $50 to $100. Shop for your skater’s new ride at a locally-owned brick-and-mortar or online skate shop, because the cheaper boards at big box stores can be poorly designed and dangerous. Ask a professional at the shop for help choosing the perfect entry-level board. Our earlier blog post also offers 7 helpful things to look for when buying your first board.

Safety First

Skateboarding, like most extreme sports, gets a reputation for being dangerous, but there's plenty of protective gear available to help your child advance more safely and with confidence. The following pieces of safety gear are essential for anyone learning to skate:

  • Helmet— The helmet is the No. 1 piece of safety gear in skateboarding. Purchase a skateboard helmet that sits on top of your child's head without rocking backward, forward or to either side. Always check to ensure the helmet is buckled before letting your kid ride.
  • Pads — Knee and elbow pads will protect your little ripper from scrapes, bruises and broken bones that can be extremely painful and deter your child from getting back on his board.
  • Wrist guards— Beginner skaters often use their hands and wrists to break their falls. Wrist guards will protect your skater against broken bones while he masters his new skills.

Know the proper safety gear: Helmet, pads, and wrist guards. Don’t forget Board Blazers too!

Still, you don't want your little one to rely only on his helmet, pads and wrist guards for safety. Instruct your child to crouch low when he feels off balance and to tuck his elbows and head in to his body when he starts to fall. Advise him to land on his bottom, back or sides, and to roll out of the fall whenever possible. Learning to fall properly is an essential part of preventing skateboard injuries.

Your child isn't completely protected from injury with safety gear and proper falling techniques. Teach your kid about the safe places to skateboard in your area, and don't let him ride where cars might drive. Encourage your skater to advance his or her skills at a steady pace and to take breaks when tired.

Start with the Basics

Skateboarding takes years of practice to master. Parents who are completely unfamiliar with skateboarding may want to enroll their child in lessons at a local skate shop or community skate park. Although, you don't have to be an advanced skater to help your child learn the basics.

  • Find your skater's dominant foot by letting him or her kick a soccer ball. The foot he uses to kick the ball will be his rear foot on the board. It will also be the foot he uses to push the skateboard.
  • Start by having your youngster stand on the deck of the board on the grass before putting it on pavement. This will help him get a feel for the board under his feet.
  • Advance your child to the pavement and consider purchasing a board for yourself. You can learn the basic of skateboarding together while keeping an eye on your child’s safety.
  • Take your skater to the skate park. The advanced skaters at the skate park can be intimidating to novice riders, but parks are a common place for beginners to make friends and advance their skills together, too. Make sure your youngster is outfitted in all of the proper safety gear and relax while watching him improve his skating.

Skateboarding is a sport that can teach your child healthy habits, patience, and the importance of diligently working toward a goal. Purchase the proper safety gear, provide encouragement, and help your little one advance at a steady pace to spark an interest in this lifelong sport.

 

About the author:

This article was provided by the staff at Windward Boardshop, They have been in business since 1982, and specialize in everything snowboarding, skateboarding, longboarding, stand up paddle and swimwear.

Interested in contributing a guest post to our blog? Contact us!


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