The Board Blazers Blog


Skateboard Shops: Know Before You Go!

Is it time for new wheels? Want to buy a board for yourself (or someone else) for the first time? Are you grabbing a few copies of the latest Transworld Skateboarding magazine? Head to your nearest skate shop! Whether you’re a regular around there or a complete newbie, it’s best to be prepared before you go, and we’re here today to help!


First, you’re going to need to find a skate shop, if you don’t have one to which you’re already loyal. While Googling “skate shops near me” will definitely return results, we’d suggest you try Yelp.com if you haven’t already. It's a business search engine that allows you to narrow your search area by adjusting the map and then will return results to you based upon ratings and reviews by other users. And when it comes to skate shops, you want a good honest place. People are vocal about great stores, so trust the masses to help you find a killer business. Start by searching for “skateboard shop” with the area being the city or town where you live, and then go from there.


You’re likely to come up with loads of results ranging from the usual sporting goods stores (think the kind that also sells canoes, tents, and basketballs), to hardware stores (believe it or not, some do sell skateboards!), to colossal skate/punk retailers like Zumiez and PacSun. Amidst all of these choices, you will find a few diamonds in the rough – the local skate store owned and staffed by lovers of all things skateboarding. THAT is the place you want to go. While the other stores are satisfactory in their own right, a genuine skateboard shop will offer you the best experience and all of the benefits we are about to share with you.


Once you’ve got a place in mind (or maybe you’ve already got a great storefront you love!), here are a few things to remember. Firstly, you’ll want to have some idea of why you’re there, even if you know it's only to browse. Staff at great stores will offer to help you as soon as you arrive, and knowing what you want, even some small idea of what you might want is super helpful to the salesperson.


Let’s take a quick minute here and make a point that might seem obvious: Don’t try to impress the salesperson. Be honest about your knowledge of products or lack thereof. One of the worst things you can do is walk in and try to look cool or educated to the staff. There’s no need to impress anyone; if you’re looking to buy a board for your nephew or granddaughter and you know nothing about skating, say so! They won’t judge you, in fact, they will be of MORE help to you because they will know the right questions to ask as a follow-up. If you over or undersell your knowledge and skating ability, you might walk out of the store with the absolute wrong product, and that’s a bummer for no one but you, my friend. In our experience, the staffers at local skate outfits are very kind and not judgmental, so speak freely about your level of knowledge and skill.


The salespeople at these stores are basically like professors at a mini-skateboard university. Selling skate gear is what they do with their life, and they know a TON about it. We recommend asking as many questions as you can and then actively listening to the answers. Unless they say something totally off-the-wall (hasn't happened to us yet), trust their advice. It's their job, and they know what’s up. Let’s say you walk in hoping to buy a specific skateboard and based on your skills the salesperson recommends against it, listen up. Odds are they know what they’re talking about and you might be way happier shredding on a different piece of equipment. Look at it as an opportunity to build relationships with some of the most knowledgeable skaters in your area. The employees are a treasure trove of info. They should be your first ask when you’re looking for gear, recommendations, spots to skate, insider tips – anything!


Lots of people walk into a skate shop looking to buy a skateboard, either for themselves or someone else. If that’s you, RAD!! We are stoked you want to start skating, or continue shredding with a new setup! If you hit up your local skate shop you’re definitely in the right place, but be advised, you might not leave the shop with a skateboard that same day. Chat with the salespeople and get their advice. Choosing a board can be difficult (if you want to simplify the process, see our How-To here!), and it can be deeply personal. Don’t be disappointed if you leave without a board or need to gather some follow-up info before settling on your purchase. You’ll be glad you put in the effort and eventually ended up with the perfect product!


Although you might think that all skateboards are created equal (especially if you’re not a skater), it’s important to be committed to purchasing the correct gear for yourself or someone else. The right equipment can make all the difference in your experience of the sport! If you aren’t sure, and you NEED to make a purchase that day (I’m looking at you, dads shopping on Christmas Eve, ha!), we suggest a gift card and some skate stickers. Any skater will flip (pun intended) for money to spend on skateboarding gear, and skate stickers are always sick. Sometimes your local shop will toss some your way for free! And if you want to make the gift extra legit, throw in a set of Board Blazers - they'll elevate anyone's night skate experience for sure!


Getting to know your local skate shop is a great experience, and knowing what you need and what to expect before you head out the door will enhance your experience. So what are your favorite local haunts? Hit us up on Instagram @BoardBlazers and let us know! We blaze all over, and who knows? You might just run into us at your killer local skate shop next time you’re there!


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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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How to Teach Your Kid to Ride a Scooter

Zooming down the street on a scooter can be one of your child’s first tastes of big kid freedom! Like a skateboard with handlebars, kick scooters are a great way to get outdoors and enjoy your neighborhood. And even though adults may jump onto a scooter and zoom away without thinking, there’s actually a lot of skill that goes into learning to ride one. Today we’ll outline everything you need to know about teaching your kiddo (or maybe yourself!) to ride a kick scooter.

As with any new skill, it’s important to put safety first. Make sure any new rider is equipped with the proper gear: a well fitting helmet, knee pads, wrist guards, and a set of Board Blazers – you never know when you’ll need the extra light! Once you’re all suited up and scooter in hand, you’re ready to head outside!

The first thing to determine for any scooter rider is their dominant foot. Like handedness, the majority of people are right foot dominant, giving this the name “regular stance.” However there are still many people in the world that are left foot dominant, or “goofy footed.” Despite the name, there’s nothing abnormal about being left-foot dominant; it’s just less common. There are many ways to determine your child’s footedness, and we’ll describe two of them here. First, try having your child stand with both feet about shoulder width apart on the flat ground. Then have them slowly lean forward as if falling, until they suddenly put one foot out to catch themselves. The foot they use to stop their fall is their dominant foot. If that sounds a bit scary for your child, simply have them stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs with both feet flat on the ground. Then ask them to walk up the stairs. The foot the child chooses to place atop the first step is likely their dominant foot. While this test is sometimes slightly less accurate than the “falling” test, it’s also less scary for some children.

Once you’ve determined your child’s footedness, it’s important to teach them that their strong foot (whichever one caught them while falling or was placed atop the bottom stair first) should always be BEHIND their less dominant foot. Their strong foot will be the pushing foot, and their weaker foot will remain on the scooter.

The scooter should also be set up accurately for your child’s height. Most kick scooters will have adjustable handlebars, and it’s important to set these at an appropriate height for both rider comfort and safety. While balancing the scooter for your child, have them stand flat-footed on the deck with proper outdoor sports shoes. Then adjust the height of the handlebars to fall somewhere between their hip height and waist height. We recommend closer to waist height for beginners. While it can be tempting for many kiddos to want the handlebars higher than their waist, discourage them from this option. Handlebars that are too high will cause them to lose control of the scooter. Waist height is a perfect setting for a beginner.


It’s finally time to get up on that scooter and… scoot! Ensure that your child has ample open space on a flat paved area. If you’re not sure where to find this, try a school parking lot on the weekends, or a basketball court at a nearby park – both of these are great options for paved open areas! Once you’re all set, have your child straddle the scooter with hands on the handlebars and both feet on the ground. Then, have them place their non-dominant foot on the scooter while keeping their dominant foot on the ground. This will ease them into basic scooter balance. Once they are confident in balancing the scooter while it is stationary, it’s time to introduce movement. While standing nearby to offer assistance if needed, ask your child to use their dominant foot to push forward a bit, pick up his or her foot and then set it back down. Basically, you’re asking your child to walk with the help of the scooter: stand, push, glide, step back down, stand, push, glide, step back down, etc. This may come naturally to some kids, and that’s great! But don’t worry if this stage lasts a while for your child, or finds both of you frustrated. Remember that this should be fun! If you or your child is feeling stressed, walk away and come back later.

These slow step & glide motions will naturally progress into quicker steps and longer glides. Eventually, encourage your child to place his dominant foot (the pushing foot) on the scooter behind his lead foot. Challenge your child to see how long he or she can glide with both feet on the scooter deck. Congratulations! You now have a proficient scooter kid in the house!


A word about brakes:


Different scooters employ different braking systems. A fair few have hand brakes (operated on the handlebars), most have foot brakes (a push-down contraption on the rear wheel), and some have no brakes (the classic drag-your-shoe method). It’s essential for your child to know how to apply the brakes and also to be capable of doing so. Hand brakes require that your child is strong enough to apply them, and usually requires some extra practice. Often a scooter is a child’s first experience using hand brakes, which can be confusing to little minds. “I push with my foot and stop with my hand?” is a reasonably befuddling new skill until your scooter rider gets enough practice. Foot brakes are more intuitive, but require a good sense of balance, since you must apply the brake mid-glide with your dominant foot. Also be SURE to always wear proper shoes with scooters that have foot breaks. The friction between the wheel and the brake creates an enormous amount of heat that will easily transfer to your child’s foot. Wear good shoes, and absolutely NO scooting barefoot!


Any child that’s old enough to walk and run is old enough to ride a scooter with proper supervision. Learning to scoot can be an excellent way for little ones to be active with the family. And let's face it, scooting is fun at any age! So grab your kiddo, your scooter, and your safety gear and get outside – an entire world of scooting possibility awaits!


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What Makes An Amazing Skatepark?

Skatepark: concrete, iron, a light or two... pretty basic, right? While it might seem as simple as throwing together a few bowls, ramps, and concrete benches, there is an incredible amount of preparation and effort that goes into designing a good skatepark. And while the behind the scenes efforts aren’t always immediately apparent, well-designed skateparks are a pleasure to use. Any skater will tell you that there are AMAZING skateparks and... not-so-amazing skateparks. To take the guess-work out of it for you, today we'll let you know exactly which elements make up a stellar skatepark!

 

FEATURES

A skatepark is made of up tons of different kinds of features for different types of skating, some for street skating and some for trick skating. And both kinds of skaters can be equally happy in the same park, so long as it’s designed well. A killer park should feature multiple ramps, bowls, curbs, and rails so that many skaters can be making runs simultaneously. If you can’t count at least two of each of the above features at any given park, move on and look elsewhere. In a recent poll of our Instagram followers, skaters ranked their must-have skatepark features in the following order: #1 Bowls, #2 Ramps, #3 Curbs, #4 Rails. So when in doubt, look for parks with tons of ramps and bowls, and make a secondary priority of curbs and rails. Bonus points if the skatepark has different areas for skaters, scooters, rollerbladers, and BMX. While everyone can coexist in one large combined space, separate areas give each sport a place to practice their unique activity.

 

FLOW

If you’ve ever been in-the-zone during any activity and then been interrupted, you know how frustrating that can be! For skaters, a killer run can often be interrupted by a poorly placed skatepark feature. It is essential that the entire park has multiple logical skate routes to it. A skater should be able to start a run and easily transition from bowl to rail to curb without having to stop to run up a flight of stairs or navigate around a poorly placed water fountain. Movements should be natural and fluid, not forced and awkward - any skater can tell you the rush of a run with the perfect flow! If possible, check and see if your park was designed by a skater (many are). Skater-designed parks are known for their smooth and logical flow from feature to feature.


SAFETY

We can’t say enough about keeping yourself safe at the skatepark. Always wear your helmet and safety gear (click here for our recommendations!), and bring along your Board Blazers for extra light during those night skating sessions! But some safety factors are beyond individual control and are left up to the skatepark. In our opinion, every skatepark should have a fence, not just to keep skaters in, but to keep vehicles and danger OUT. A decent lighting scheme is also crucial. Before you settle on a favorite skatepark, make sure to visit at night and be sure the lighting is adequate and well distributed throughout the park – not just at the entrance. The better parks will have attendants on the premises to monitor the grounds, the safety situation, and step in when problems occur. And you’d think it would go without saying, but a trash can is a necessary item at a skatepark. Many parks are without them entirely, or there are too few for the number of skaters. Plus, who doesn’t love to jump a trash can or two?! Lastly, you’ll want a park that is well maintained. Nothing is sadder than a park allowed to atrophy. Cracked concrete and features caked in skate wax are a sure fire way to drive away skaters. Look for a park with a regular maintenance schedule, where necessary repairs are made quickly and completed well.

AMENITIES

You’re going to work up a sweat with all that shredding, so make sure your park has at least one water fountain, if not several. Most skaters will bring a bottle of water or an energy drink to the park, but as you start to sweat, you’ll need regular access to water. Vending machines are also a huge plus! Bonus points if they stock a decent variety of drinks and snacks. And while it might seem obvious, make sure your skatepark has a well-maintained and safe restroom. Nothing is worse than having to cut a session short to answer the call of nature.

BONUS

When you find a skatepark with every one of the above features, you should feel like you’ve found a fantastic place. Success! But if we're designing the skatepark of our dreams, there are a few more things we'd add to our list. Sometimes one of the crew is down for the count, and when that happens, skateparks with proper seating (and we’re not talking about sitting on the features – don’t be that guy!) are incredible. Shade is also at a premium in most skate parks, so shaded seating is the holy grail if you can find it. We also dig parks that have a spot for newer skaters, typically wide open and away from other more challenging obstacles. This way everyone can enjoy the park at their difficulty level without hindering one another. Many skateparks are incorporating signature elements unique to their park, and we couldn’t be more excited about it! Something that sets your park apart can take your shred experience from good to excellent. Lastly, location is often a real barrier due to larger parks often being an inconvenient distance from other amenities in the city. If you are lucky enough to find a large centrally located skatepark, consider yourself blessed by the skate gods!

No matter where you choose to skate, we know you’ll have a fantastic time. But now that you know the ins and outs of amazing skateparks, there’s no need to skate at a bummer park ever again. Where are your favorite parks and what are your favorite features? Hit us up on Instagram @BoardBlazers and let us know. We’re always on the hunt for that next incredible place to shred!


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Show Us Your #DECKPIC

Art is probably not the first word you associate with skateboarding; it’s perhaps not even in your top TEN skateboarding words. And while art and skateboarding can seem like polar opposite ends of the spectrum (think stuffy old museums vs. wild and eclectic skate parks), the intersection of art and skateboarding is incredibly rich and vibrant. Street art, like graffiti, has been on the upswing in popularity for its accessibility and relevance to mainstream people. And skateboard photography is gaining traction in more upscale art galleries. But in the coming weeks here at Board Blazers, we are going to focus on the most widely-available avenue to self-expression in skateboarding: the skateboard deck.

In case you’re scratching your head right now, the deck of a skateboard is the flat, typically wooden part of the skateboard that you stand on. And while the top of the deck is often covered in grip tape (see our article on how to clean it here!), the bottom is a huge opportunity for self-expression! Most skateboard decks come branded by their production company, but skaters rarely leave those designs intact. There are infinite ways to customize your skateboard deck ranging from stickers to carvings and paintings, to all out works of art. We’ve got our favorite boards – who doesn’t? But we’ve been dying to see what the rest of the world is cruising on. Which brings us to our latest project…

#DECKPIC Yeah, you see what we did there ;) Ladies and gents we want to see your decks. We know this is where the heart and soul of your skate personality lies. Maybe it’s scraped and scarred from hours of grinding. Maybe it’s painted and pristine because cruising is more your style. Hopefully, it’s rocking your Board Blazers either way! If you follow us on Instagram (@BoardBlazers), and we hope you do, we want you to tag your #deckpic photos so we can see your art and skate style in a whole new way! Just toss the #deckpic hashtag in when you post or story, and we’ll be following along looking for you!

Try following the #deckpic hashtag yourself and see what other members of the Board Blazers skate crew are rolling on! We’ll spend the next weeks reposting what we love, so make sure you #deckpic for a chance to be featured. And let’s take just a minute to say that we like reality over here. We love all things skateboarding, and that includes every board, not only those who have custom or tricked out decks. Whatever board inspires you, whatever board gives you life and freedom through skating – that’s the board we want to see, whether it’s handcrafted or straight out of the box. But if you’ve been looking for an excuse to trick out your deck, or add that newest skate sticker then don’t wait any longer, for sure!

We’ll be showing you some sick vintage and handcrafted decks as well as famous skater’s decks right alongside your #deckpic tags! Whether you're riding a longboard, Pennyboard, or anything in between, it's as easy as flipping your board, snapping a pic and adding #deckpic to your post. We are stoked to see our skate crew’s boards!! Follow us on Instagram @BoardBlazers and show us your #deckpic!


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