The Board Blazers Blog


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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Jobs in Skateboarding

Investment banking, Real Estate, Medicine, Law… all of these career paths have one thing in common: direction. Enter school, declare a specific major (Finance! Business! Pre-med!), and off you go. There are advisors to help, and a mostly predetermined path set before you. But what about when your interests take the road less traveled? There’s no entirely determined path to becoming a pro skater. There’s no “Skateboarding Industry” major. But there’s so much more to the skateboarding world than just skating on a pro tour or working at Zumiez. Nearly ten years ago the New York Times estimated the annual worth of the skateboard industry to be just over $5 Billion per year. And like every other major business sector there are many ways to break in. If you’ve ever wondered how to break into an actual skate-focused career, we’re going to tell you all about it.

Photo/Video
A career as a skateboard photographer/videographer is entirely possible! Like any arts-based career, a personal vision and style are essential, and if college is in the plans, then consider majoring in photography or videography and focusing your projects and homework on the skating industry as often as possible. And with the advent of photo and video sharing platforms like Instagram and YouTube, it's easier than ever to get noticed for your skills. If you love digital art, and you’re willing to put in the hard work to shepherd your personal brand and grow your following authentically, you’re bound to get noticed. Eventually seeking out a photo career for Thrasher or applying to be Tony Hawk’s creative director might seem like reaching for the stars, but everyone starts somewhere!

Consider Writing
We’re not talking dissertations here. The skateboarding industry is based on FUN, and the writing style reflects that. From brand blogs to magazines, to websites like Vice and BuzzFeed, there are piles of platforms looking for great writers. And while it may not seem as glamorous as becoming InstaFamous, but it’s stable, lucrative, and incredibly fun! Majoring in creative writing or communication is a great start, as is writing for a school news publication. Take time to hone your individual voice, grammar, and storytelling skills. This will make you even more desirable. Want to be a freelance contributor to Transworld magazine? Skateboard novelist? Extreme sports reporter? The options here are as open-ended as you dare to dream.

Pro-Skating
This is the option most skaters dream about, and hey – why not? This potential career is also arguably the most challenging, time-consuming, and brutal path into the skateboarding industry. The first and most crucial step to becoming a pro skater is to get SERIOUSLY good at skating. According to practice experts, it takes roughly ten thousand hours of deliberate practice (not just going out for a fun cruise) to become great at any skill. If pro-skater is the goal, be prepared for the time investment, and also be prepared to possibly relocate. If you don’t live in California, you’ll want to consider it. We’re not saying a rise to pro-skater stardom is impossible in Cleveland, but it doesn’t help your chances. If pro-skater is the goal, also consider a degree in business or sports industry management. These fields of study will help you manage your brand when you make it big. Read more about how to become a pro skater here!

Products and Gear
Skateboarding is a product-heavy industry. For proof, check out this post about our favorite products and gifts for skaters! From helmets to wheels, to shoes to ramps, there are millions of skating accessories, and each one of those has entire teams of people developing that particular product. The options here are truly endless. Product design is an incredible industry with tons of creative opportunities. If skate clothing is your jam, consider a degree in Fashion Merchandising. Are you always tinkering with your board? Why not get an industrial design degree and create your own skateboard line? Consider a degree in sales and help bring new skate products to market. A degree in computer programming would put you on the cutting edge of the latest skateboarding tech. The most lucrative portion of the skateboarding industry is all of the accessories, and this is a great way to get a slice of that pie.


Skateboard Entrepreneur
Doing your own thing might sound scary, and for a good reason – entrepreneurs work tirelessly to develop and bring to life their ideas, and if they fail, there’s no 401k to hold them up. BUT, nothing compares to building something from the ground up off the sweat of your brow. Every enormous skateboarding company or brand started with one person who had a dream and was willing to do the work. If you have a great idea and a killer vision, just GO FOR IT. We’re personally biased toward entrepreneurs because of our own story! Our founder, Greg Rudolph, spotted a skater on campus at Arizona State University with Christmas lights duct taped to the bottom of his skateboard and thought, “There’s got to be a better way.” Risking his personal savings, he created the original fully-customizable LED underglow board lights, and the bright idea quickly took off (read more about our story here!). Does that sound like you? Do you find yourself thinking, “How can this be better?” or “Why not try a new way?” You might just be a serial entrepreneur. Consider a business degree to help foster your passion. Or risk it all on your next great idea. You only answer to yourself, and that’s a vision we can get behind!

There are so many ways to build yourself a life-long career in the skateboarding industry. Find what you love, be it photography, writing, inventing, skating, or something entirely different, and foster it. Whatever the direction of your passion, do that thing and do it well. Hustle. Work hard. Hone your craft. Put in the effort and believe you will succeed. A career in skateboarding is just one great idea away.


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What to Bring to the Skatepark

Nothing beats the wind in your hair as you cruise down the street on your board. But if your skate plans include anything other than a short cruise, you’re more than likely packing up a bag and toting your gear. Today we’re going to help make packing your skate bag a load easier with our picks for skateboarding bag essentials. First and foremost you’re going to need a…

Backpack

Every skater has a solid bag. It's kind of like the first and best dude in your skate crew. He carries all your junk and is super supportive. If you haven’t already invested in an excellent backpack here are a few of our recommendations:

We dig this Element Mohave Skate Backpack for a few reasons. It comes loaded with pockets, and it’s roomy without being enormous. Plus the chest clip is ideal for keeping it in place while you’re en route to the skatepark.

Another killer choice is the Dakine Mission Backpack. Dakine is the gold standard in durability, and this bag might outlive the skatepark itself. It’s got nice cushy straps to lighten the load created by all of the rest of your gear!

Safety Gear

Your body has to be in one piece (or pretty close ;)) to skateboard, so keep it that way with your safety gear. We love this helmet (also multi-tasks as a bike and snowboard helmet!) because it looks cool and keeps your noggin safely attached to your neck. If you’re into trick skating also consider some wrist guards (these are stellar!), and a set of knee and elbow pads. If you’re tempted to think they look dorky, just consider that nothing looks lamer than sitting on the sidelines with a busted elbow while you watch your whole crew skate. Wear the gear and shred all year. #themoreyouknow

Clothing

Spare clothing might seem non-essential, but hear us out. You’ll at least want a hoodie in case your day session turns into a night shred. We have a few favorite skate clothing brands, but you can’t go wrong with a classic Santa Cruz hoodie like this one. Also, consider bringing an extra shirt in case yours rips or eventually gets drenched in sweat. Extra clothing doesnt create too much extra weight, and you’ll be glad you brought a change of clothes. Ever bust a shoe at the skatepark? You’re not alone. Bringing a spare set of laces is another way to add insurance to your skate sesh without adding much weight to your bag. If your skate shoes are getting older, you might also want to carry a roll of duct tape (old school!) or pick up some Shoe Goo.

Busted shoe? No problem, slather some of this paste on it and keep right on shredding. And definitely, don’t forget your sunglasses!

Make sure they have 100% UVA/UVB protection – your eyes will thank you. In case you’re looking for a new pair, we dig these from Bones Wheels.

Skate Gear

Naturally, you’ll bring your board, but what else are you going to need?

ALWAYS carry a Unit Skate Tool. We’ve hyped it before, but it's truly so sick that we mention it a lot. It’ll complete any board-related repair that you have while you’re out, with the exception of a busted deck - can’t help you there. And depending on the age of your gear you might consider bringing bearings and wheels, just in case. Skate wax is a no-brainer, and if you’re in need of a recommendation, we love Shorty’s forever.

Bondo

Bondo is a MUST to create that smooth ride, or prep a surface for a sick grind. Remember that you’ll need a putty knife and a place to mix it up (we like to use a spare bit of cardboard). Check out this video for instructions! 

Lights

And if you're shredding at night, we have to mention Board Blazers! They'll amp up your night skate while keeping your skate bag light; they're a must-pack item for us!

Sustenance


You have to eat and drink, right? Any trip to the skatepark should include water. This Klean Kanteen will keep your beverage cold and looks legit with its matte black finish. Nalgene is also a solid choice; its easy to clean if you decide to fill it with Gatorade. Since your beverage needs are filled, we'll move on to food. Our most essential refreshment is (stick with us here) FRUIT SNACKS.

I mean, sure, we’ll take a granola bar anytime, but have you eaten fruit snacks at the skatepark? There’s something about popping these while you’re perfecting that treflip – it’s fantastic. Bonus points if you FREEZE them before you go. Try it. You’ll love it.

Phone & Accessories

Last but certainly not least, you have to bring a phone. It’s essential for safety but also needed for ambiance. With a sick skate playlist (try this one!), your phone can be your ticket to skateboarding heaven. Of course, you’re going to need a killer pair of headphones to get the most out of the experience.

We love these from Leophile because they look sweet, perform well, and they’re water and sweat proof. Do you want to document your day? Take a camera along as well (don’t forget batteries and memory cards!).

If you want to keep it simple, spring for the AMIR smartphone camera lens kit. These little lenses snap onto the camera on your phone and produce images as high quality as professional DSLR cameras. Bonus: with your pics already on your phone, you’re one step closer to Instagramming your latest moves.

Just in case you missed anything, here’s a quick roundup of everything that lives in our skate bag:

Backpack
Helmet
Wrist Guards
Knee & Elbow Pads
Hoodie
Extra Shirt/Laces
ShoeGoo
Sunglasses 
Unit Skate Tool
Bearings/Wheels
Skateboard Wax
Bondo & Putty Knife
Board Blazers
Water Bottle
FROZEN Fruit Snacks
Headphones
Camera Lens Kit

With all this gear in a killer bag, you should be prepped and ready for an incredible day at the skatepark!

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