Eighteen and wondering whether you’re too old to start skateboarding? Hmm, let’s see. At that age, it’s pretty hard to find something you’re too old for. This might sound like a phrase you’d easily find inside some cheap guide to teenage self-esteem improvement, but you don’t want negative thought patterns messing up your plans. Luckily, this article will provide you with more than just an answer to the question: is 18 too old to start skateboarding?
It’s pretty safe to assume some folks think that professional skateboarders somehow learned to kick-flip while still in their diapers. Even though most of them started really young, there is nothing (expect self-sabotaging thoughts, of course) stopping you from trying your best to catch up. There’s a slim chance you’ll achieve professional status, but who knows? Still, reaching the stars is probably not the main inspirator for your (sudden) need to skate.
So, is 18 too old to start skateboarding? To give you the simplest answer: No, it’s not. The skateboarding subculture is full of open-hearted people and they certainly won’t be critical of your age. Also, if you’re motivated enough, years mean nothing. Just make sure you wear protective gear and practice regularly, and you’ll be just fine.
First things first, let’s get you warmed up. Recommended background music: Bones Brigade – Skate or Die. Or just about anything from the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtracks.
Table of Contents
Hear the public opinion
We can all agree that internet forums and message boards aren’t always the places where you’d expect to find the most comforting words. Now, here’s an interesting fact: in this case, it’s the other way around. Wherever we checked, we found nothing but words of encouragement. So, if you’re worried about how people might feel about the decision to grab a board and start skating… Well, you shouldn’t be.
Skateboarding communities are well-known for their hospitality and their one-for-all-and-all-for-one stance. You’re bound to meet some wonderful people at the skate park. They’ll introduce you to most aspects of their subculture. Also, it’s good to know you’ll always have someone to back you up whenever you feel under the weather.
Motivation is key
If you’re motivated enough, anything is doable. Especially when you’re eighteen and you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. In other words: you should leave no room for painfully unproductive pessimism. Need some cool stories to get you started? Check the next two paragraphs.
The curious case of Marcio Maciel De Melo
You probably haven’t heard about this fella. He’s a Brazilian-born, London-based chef, who learned to skate when he was thirty-five. If you were to see him in action right now, you’d never guess he stood on his first board only five years ago. Once you find your true passion, age turns out to be quite irrelevant.
Chinese Grandmaster, Ye Jiangchuan
Chess doesn’t have a lot to do with skateboarding (although both are hard to master), and you might wonder how will mentioning this guy be of any help? Well, Ye Jiangchuan learned to play chess at the age of seventeen, only to win the Chinese national championship three years later. He won the championship seven times altogether.
How to choose a good beginner’s board?
Now, let’s talk business. As a beginner, find yourself a wider board (anything between 8.25 and 8.5 inches is fine) and some size-independent or venture trucks. This combination (bigger boards, bigger trucks) will give you more stability and you probably won’t have a hard time keeping the balance.
Custom-made or pre-made board?
When starting to skate, it might be best you find a good complete board in your local skate shop. Talk to the person working there and see if he/she can help you choose what’s best. Make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for.
Start in the grass
We know it sounds kind of corny, but a patch of grass should be your first training ground. Even a piece of carpet will do the trick (clear the room of any breakable objects). Here are a few examples of what you could try: jumping on and off the board, balancing, or simply leaning forward and backward. Repeat this for an hour or two, and you’ll be a bit more ready for the skate park.
Should I practice falling also?
Good question. There’s not a better surface to practice falling than grass. How to prepare for a good fall (en général)? Here are some tips:
- Don’t go stiff while falling, relax your body.
- Crouch down once you start to fall.
- Try landing on the fleshy parts of your body. It’s better than falling on your arms and hands.
Patience is a virtue
Whenever you’ve chosen to try out skateboarding, whether you’re eighteen, ten, or forty, it’s crucial to have a decent amount of patience. Since you’re pretty new to the sport, there’s a chance you might get easily discouraged if things don’t go the way you’ve imagined. Start slowly, without putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Going to the skate park three times a week for an hour or two is a good beginner’s pace.
The first time you check out the skinny, mad crowd at the skate park, you’ll probably feel a bit ashamed of your i-can’t-do-a-single-trick pose. Try to get your thoughts in order, and don’t feel pressured into doing tricks when you’re not ready. Don’t worry, once you start to feel more at home with your board, you’ll know the timing is right.
It took a lot of time and practice before folks you’ll see at the park learned to skate the way they do now. It’s certainly not something that happens overnight and you shouldn’t expect to hear a magical click! sound the first time you put your foot on the board. Practice hard and you’re bound to see some results.
Practice early in the morning
Now, here’s a little piece of advice: at first, you might wanna visit the skate park early in the morning. You’ll probably have the place all to yourself, so you can practice in peace, undisturbed by the everyone’s-looking-at-the-clumsy-old-me narrative. Maybe you’ll get to meet some fellow beginners.
Warm-up for the session
Take a couple of minutes for yourself. Do some stretching exercises, walk around a bit, or do whatever you find the best way to prepare for some physical activity. You should also introduce a daily exercise routine, but more about that in the paragraph below.
Get in shape
If you’re still wondering is 18 too old to start skateboarding, we’ll let you know that there are fifty, even sixty-year-olds still shredding some bowls. How do they achieve that? They exercise. Keep in mind that skateboarding itself is a great exercise, especially for the legs.
Are you used to training or exercising on an everyday basis? If not, you better get used to it. Being in shape is an advantage when starting to skate. Aside from the warm-up before you start to roll, it would be best to find some daily routine. Finding an hour of your spare time daily to do some exercises should be enough.
Wear protection even though you might think it’s uncool
Beginners are bound to fall every once in a while. To prevent major injuries, make sure you wear protective gear. It’s better to stoically endure stupid jokes directed at your gnarly elbow pads than to accidentally put an end to your skateboarding days. As the famous saying goes: better safe than sorry. It’s not something your everyday skater would stay, still…
If you can afford high-quality protective gear, go for it (whatever it costs). Avoiding major injuries should be one of your top priorities. Also, with high-end protection, you’ll feel more confident from the start, which will ease out the process of adapting to your newfound passion.
Make sure you obtain all the necessary gear. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A perfect-fitting helmet
- Knee pads
- Elbow pads
- Goggles or shatterproof glasses
Safety rules for starters
Here we’ll mention some safety rules you should follow as a beginner:
- Avoid riding in the street (an empty parking lot or a smooth driveway should be your pick).
- Skateboarding in wet weather should also be avoided.
- Make sure you check out the rules of the skate park before you enter one.
- Put your headphones aside while skating (even though it’s a tough decision).
- Avoid hitching a ride (whatever the vehicle is).
By obeying these rules, you won’t put yourself in a weird position. Injuries can easily discourage beginners from further adventures in skateboarding. Once you become more confident, you’ll know which one of these to ignore.
A few words at the end
That’s about it. Hopefully, this article gave you an answer to the question in the title. By following these tips, you’re bound to make a great start. Also, one thing’s for certain: there’s a lot of fun moments ahead of you.
Grab your board and provide people with a physical manifestation of the answer to the question: is 18 too old to start skateboarding?