Learn to skateboard: an adult’s definitive guide to start out skating
By Kyle Ayling
Updated January 19, 2023
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By Kyle Ayling
Updated January 19, 2023
Sierra Prescott with a flawless boneless.
If you want to learn how to skateboard, this will be one of the most important articles you’ll ever read.
Why? Because it covers almost everything you need to get yourself rolling on a skateboard — in no time flat.
Let’s dive right in and go over some common skate stats and break down some myths.
Your first thought about skateboarding might be, "hey isn't this a hobby for the young?"
Sure, most skateboarders are younger. Don't let that scare you away.
That stat is changing. And changing fast.
In 2006, 70% of skateboarders were between the ages of 12-17.
Now it's 45%.
With that said, you may have never stepped on a skateboard. Or you’ve been out of the game for years.
Are you scared or nervous about giving it a try? Or getting back into skateboarding?
So you're an adult with responsibilities? Same here. That doesn't disqualify you from learning.
It's natural to be a little anxious about jumping into something new. With this guide, you'll learn the right approach and you'll be cruising along in no time.
As an adult, skateboard training is going to be awkward. What did you expect? Everything is weird at first until you get the hang of it. Then it's not.
The key is to start with the right mentality.
You must be confident. You must stay focused. And you must have fun.
Skateboarding is something people of all ages, and all walks of life can enjoy. Even you.
Whether you’re starting or starting back, the point is you need to learn (or relearn) the basics.
Before you can even get that far, you need to have 3 things:
Like we said earlier, your mentality is everything in skateboarding. Everyone struggles at first. Taking a slow approach to learning will come in handy in the long run. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Do yourself a favor and don't go to Target or Walmart for your first skateboard. You're going to get a better quality skateboard by heading down to the local skate shop. If you don’t have a local skate shop near you, there’s always the option to shop online. If you're serious about it, invest between $100-$175 in yourself and your first skateboard.
No one likes helmets, but who likes hospital bills? So get yourself a good helmet. And you may also want to invest in elbow pads and knee pads. You can even wear long sleeves t-shirts and pants for added protection from scrapes when you fall. And always make sure you get the best skateboard grip tape you can get your hands on. It’ll keep you from slipping off your skateboard. And if it's your first time buying grip tape online, here's how to apply skateboard grip tape.
Now that you know what you'll need to get started. Let’s discuss some specific steps to get you rolling.
When you're learning to skateboard, you might be thinking, "where do I practice? Should I head down to my local skatepark?"
And while you're not wrong for thinking that... Consider this.
Packing up your gear and heading to your local park might not sound like a bad idea. But how does the thought of skating in front of dozens, or even hundreds of people seem? It might make you want to give up.
And remember, we must stay positive. So let's start somewhere else and work our way up.
The great news is you can practice the basics in your driveway, on the sidewalk, or even on your front lawn.
Make sure you have a nice surface that you feel safe and confident to skate on.
Why? Because half of all skateboarding injuries happen on irregular surfaces.
Like all pros, you must master the basics.
Before you start cruising down the street and see the world in motion, you need to make sure you can stand on the board.
Balance comes first. It's everything in skateboarding.
Your body must adjust to the feeling of having wheels underneath you. This will take time, but it's well worth it.
To master balance when learning, adults must get the proper foot position.
Here's what we recommend, but adjust to what feels comfortable to you:
To start, place your front foot on the board with your other on the ground. As for which should go in front, it all depends on which feels most comfortable to you.
Your left in front makes up a "regular" stance. And your right foot in front makes up a “goofy” stance.
Go with whatever makes you comfortable. It's like being a "righty" or a "lefty."
Make sense? Great, let's continue on.
Now make sure you get used to the feel of bending your knees a little. This will help with balancing your center of gravity over the board. And always make sure, while your riding, that your feet are shoulder-width apart.
You may find it helps to hold onto a rail or other solid objects as you move your back foot into place. Over time this will build your confidence. It's like having training wheels on a bike. You won't need it forever.
After you’re comfortable balancing on the board, the next step is to start pushing off and moving.
You should only try pushing off if you feel confident with everything before this step.
Like the photo above this, once you have the balance with both feet on the board, let's take your back foot off to push.
So after you push off with your back foot, you'll return back onto the board. Pretty easy, right?
The key is to keep your weight even while in motion. Like you did while stationary.
Are you seeing how this all ties together?
Don't forget to keep your weight on the balls of your feet. This will help you adjust to the movements of the board.
Try not to rock your board in either direction. The smallest movements can have a significant impact on your performance and balance.
Minor adjustments are the key. Whether you’re trying to keep your balance or move forward.
It can be natural to panic and make quick movements. That’s the last thing you want to do.
You should also avoid putting your weight on the nose or the tail of the board.
If you do, you can cause the board to pop up or slip out from underneath you. Believe me, you don't want either of those to happen.
As you progress and build confidence, you may decide to learn tricks. When that day comes; you'll put your feet in different areas of the board.
But while your learning how to skateboard, adults, please focus on your balance first.
From there get comfortable with moving short distances. Keep your feet over the bolts on the board.
When we’re talking about making your first movements, there’s one more thing to cover – how to stop on a skateboard.
It's simple. Since you'll be going slow while you're still learning. All you have to do is take your back foot off the board and drag it on the ground to stop.
There are other ways, but we have found this to be the best way so far.
These are beginner tips for learning how to skateboard as an adult.
But these are words on a screen. And if you learn better under the guidance of someone else, consider lessons.
Kids aren’t the only ones who can get skateboarding lessons.
For those who need some hands-on help, a teacher can offer significant help.
If you're more of a visual learner, YouTube has a ton of videos you can look up. Ranging from maintaining balance, stopping, and so much more.
If you think that will help, do it from the beginning.
No matter what your approach is to learning, the experience will always be the best teacher.
Everyone learns at different speeds. But every second you're on the board (even standing still) you're learning.
It can be easy to feel intimidated about learning to skateboard as an adult or to be wary about falls.
Letting falls hold you back from practicing will tank your progress.
Whether you’re someone who always wanted to learn to skate or someone who fell away from it, it’s never too late to pick it up.
Even if you’re an adult, with a job, a mortgage, children, and other responsibilities. The fun of skateboarding transcends ages. And will teach more than you can even imagine.
With this guide, you’ll be standing and moving on your board in no time. Keep at it. And in no time, you'll be grinding rails and owning the ramps at your local park.
For more on skateboarding and guides like this, check out the Cloud 9 Blog.