When I hear the word “skater”, the default image that pops into my mind is a young kid with his cap turned back doing a kickflip. The thing is that most skaters have picked their first boards while in their teens or even younger. But what about those who think of trying to skate in their later years? Even if you don’t have the energy of a teenager and don’t heal as fast, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stay active and hop on a board. If you’ve been asking yourself whether it’s too late for you, don’t worry, you can master anything with enough dedication.
Take Dean Atkinson, who learned to skate at the age of 39, and found a great feeling of accomplishment, or Daredog, a girl who was “tired of the same old safe activities” and wanted to try something more extreme. She is blind, you know.
There’s no limit to your age, just a certain limitation regarding your physical ability. You will have a harder time skateboarding if you have troubles with walking, of course, but if you’re healthy enough to try it than longboarding is the style for you. Longboarding is really skateboarding, but a longboard provides a different flex, and is somewhat larger and longer than a skateboard. It’s also called sidewalk surfing, a boarding style that doesn’t require putting so much pressure on your legs and joints.
Leave the tricks alone
If you’ve found that you don’t have the agility and strength to learn skateboarding tricks, stop trying. Just by pushing yourself to glide on the concrete, and getting from point A to point B can benefit you a lot. Skateboarding is good for improving coordination, burning calories (between 150 and 500, depending on the intensity), and flexibility (the more inflexible and tense you are, the harder it is for you to skate).
A skateboard is also a means of transport – you surf pavements, rather than the street along with the annoyed drivers, it’s greener than a car, and quicker than a jog. If you enter a subway train or a city bus, your board won’t take up space (unlike a bicycle, for example), so in the end it seems quite a sensible means of transport. If you think you’ll look ridiculous, know that you don’t have to be ‘sick’ or ‘rad’ like teenage skaters, because you’re not one.
Things to know when starting to skate
You need to keep a few things in mind when you start learning to skate past your teens.
Relax. It will take you some time to learn the basics, so take as much time as you need and just enjoy learning. Don’t get stressed or frustrated if your kids learn it before you do (if you’re starting along with them) or if you keep falling by making the same mistakes. Push yourself and have fun, because there is no final goal in skateboarding.
Be honest to yourself. Can you actually handle it? Yes, some people skate in their fifties, but you’re about to start in your fifties. So, it’s important to make sure you can handle it, as it can be tough on your body. Wear pads, and take it easy and slow.
Skating equipment. An adult has ways to afford much better equipment than a teenager. If you can afford it, don’t cut corners, just go for it. Buy a good skateboard/longboard at a well-stocked skate shop and a pair of quality skateboarding shoes.
You heal slower. Don’t try to play yourself – you will get hurt when trying to skate. The thing is your body is older so it heals slower (unlike teenagers). However, you can minimize the number of your falls just by not pushing yourself past your limit and by taking your time. If you do fall and get hurt, give yourself some time to get better. Always wear pads and a helmet, to protect your wrists and elbows.
Get advice and help at a local skate shop. Skate shops are run by older and experienced skaters. If you need any help or advice, from the choice of gear to riding techniques, the best place to seek it is at your local skate shop.
Don’t put limitations on your abilities, and if you’re interested in starting to skate in your 40s or 50s, go for it. If your legs are still strong enough, go get your board and safety gear, don’t be afraid of looking stupid, and be prepared to fall. However, you should bear in mind that a child’s broken bone can mean a few weeks without school, but for a working grown-up, it’s a few weeks off work or a cancelled holiday.