If the exciting world of skateboarding has caught your attention and you’re wondering how to start skateboarding for yourself….you’ve landed in the right place! We’ll attempt to answer all your skateboarding for beginners questions based on our roughly 35 years of skating experience.
So let’s get started with the most common how to start skateboarding question I get…
Is it hard to learn skateboarding?
No, I don’t think so. The basic concepts can be learned in about 10 minutes from an experienced coach…but skateboarding is about balance. It’s probably the most important skill to master early on. If you don’t have a good sense of balance or there is a prohibitive reason why you can’t balance well…skateboarding most likely isn’t for you.
If you have previous experience surfing, snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, rollerblading or roller skating you will be well positioned for trying skateboarding. Previous experience in these areas isn’t absolutely necessary but it will help you understand the basic concepts of balance and carving which are some of the most important to beginners.
How long does it take to learn to skateboard?
It depends. The answer will be different for everyone based on their previous athletic experience, commitment to practice and ability to balance. When I’m coaching new students I always challenge them to practice 3-4 days a week, 30 minutes a day for a month straight. I believe that if you do that….if you make that practice time commitment…you will become quite comfortable skateboarding in about a month.
What is the best skateboard for beginners?
An inexpensive one. When you’re starting out you’re going to suck…big time….and there is the real possibility that you’ll decide that skateboarding just isn’t for you. Therefore, grab an inexpensive, adult, complete skateboard. A complete skateboard means that the board, wheels and trucks are pre-selected for you and are shipped in one piece or as a package for you to assemble yourself.
Stay away from temptingly cheap, plastic penny boards as these postage stamp sized skateboards are for more experienced skateboarders. Also, avoid anything labeled as a mini cruiser, short board or shortie as these are also best for people with some experience under their belts.
There will be variation in widths and lengths of skateboards. I think beginners need to have as much surface area as possible for their feet. The wider and longer the board the better (at least when you’re starting out). Shoot for a board that is at least 8 inches wide. Also pay attention to the length and grab a board that is no less than 31″ long. Anything shorter than that is probably geared towards kiddies. I have some recommendations for you below….
BEST BUDGET SKATEBOARD FOR BEGINNERS
This complete, maple skateboard is good looking and well rated. It comes in at the lower end of price range on our recommendation list of best skateboards for beginners. It’s 8″ wide and 31″ long which leaves plenty of foot space for beginners to learn on a wider board. This skateboard comes completely assembled right out of the box ready to enjoy. I want to emphasize this is a BUDGET board and with the lower price should probably come lower expectations. You may have to replace wheels and bearings as time goes by. You can read the full reviews and more about it HERE.
BEST MID RANGE SKATEBOARD FOR BEGINNERS
This complete, Canadian maple skateboard is highly rated and is middle of the range in price on our recommendation list of best skateboards for beginners. It’s 8″ wide and 31″ long which leaves plenty of space for beginners to learn on a wider board. This skateboard comes completely assembled right out of the box ready to enjoy. You can read the reviews and more about it HERE.
BEST QUALITY SKATEBOARD FOR BEGINNERS
This complete, maple skateboard from Element is highly rated and is on the upper end in price on our list of best skateboards for beginners. There is a reason for that….this is a quality board that will last you a few years. It’s 7.75″ wide and 32″ long which is close to my 8″ width requirements. This board is an excellent value if you are fully committed to learning how to skateboard and willing to spend a little more for better quality. This skateboard comes completely assembled right out of the box ready to enjoy. You can read the reviews and more about it HERE.
BEST DIY SKATEBOARD FOR BEGINNERS
This complete skateboard package from Santa Cruz is an excellent value because Santa Cruz is (IMHO) the best board and wheel maker here in the states. My personal board + wheels are from Santa Cruz and it’s all that I buy. This skateboard comes as a package deal but you have to assemble it yourself. This is great for people who really want to learn and understand the under pinnings of a skateboard. Assembling a skateboard isn’t that difficult if you have the basic tools and consider yourself somewhat handy (or are willing to learn). Keep in mind you’ll also have to purchase and apply grip tape separately. There are many videos on Youtube which illustrate how to assemble a board and apply grip tape. You can read the reviews and more about this skateboard package HERE.
How do you learn to ride a skateboard?
First, you’ll want to start out with your skateboard in a flat grassy area or on the carpet in your living room to master balance. You may want think about using skateboard trainers which keep your wheels from moving. Practice balancing along the center line of your board with one foot at a time. Practice the kicking (or pushing the board) motion while balancing with one foot on the board. Learn to pop up on the board with both feet so you can cruise. Most importantly, get comfortable with your board and master balancing before you ever hit the pavement with your skateboard.
These aren’t easy concepts to describe with text so you might want to check out a video I made about all the concepts you need to master before your first day on the pavement with a skateboard. Even though I’m talking about longboards in the video….the concepts are exactly the same when your learning how to start skateboarding.
After you’ve watched that video you should checkout a short video I made about the next steps of learning how to skateboard. I move you out on to the pavement and show you how to get rolling and what to focus on during your first days.
If you’re still feeling a bit uncomfortable with these concepts after watching my videos on how to start skateboarding, it might be worthwhile to ask for help from someone who knows how to skateboard or longboard. You can also take lessons at a private skate park from a private coach.
IS (Insert age here) TOO OLD TO START SKATEBOARDING?
You can learn to skateboard at just about any age if you have the will and desire. I DO suggest that if you are 50 or older that you speak to your personal physician before attempting to take on a somewhat extreme sport like skateboarding. Chances are you will endure a fall or two along the way and you need to make sure that falling is okay in your current season of life.
At the time of writing this article I am 40 years old. I still fall occasionally but I’ve learned to fall the right way (and yes….there is a right and wrong way). You can limit the physical damage by always wearing protective equipment (we recommend this helmet, elbow guards, hand/wrist guards and knee pads) and covering your skin up with jeans and long sleeves.
At 40 years old I’m not doing crazy skate park tricks anymore….I’m mostly cruising along paved trails and boardwalks. It has become the funnest way I know of to stay in shape and keep those extra pounds from sneaking up on me. I think it’s so much fun and it’s really hard for me to fathom a time where I won’t be skateboarding anymore.
If you think you might be more of a late in life cruiser like me then something like longboarding may be better suited for you. Not too long ago I wrote an article about the differences between skateboarding and longboarding and how to get started in longboarding which you might want to check out before you leave today.
Can I lose weight skateboarding & Stay in shape?
Yes, absolutely! It is a fun and exciting way to lose weight, burn fat and stay in amazing shape. Not only is skateboarding good exercise it works practically every muscle from your lower back and abdominals right down to your feet. You will tone your glutes, hamstrings, quads & calves. The pushing motion (or “kicking” as it is actually termed in skateboarding) resembles (and feels like) your doing a lunge…over and over again.
To use myself as an example, I usually skateboard about 3-4 times a week for a solid hour. I can cover about 5-6 miles and burn 500-600 calories (keep in mind that I’m a petite, 40 year old female so your calorie burn may vary from mine- the bigger you are the more calories you will burn). That’s a lot when you make comparisons with boring, downright life hating, hamster wheel workouts at the gym.
I’ve written a complete article on all the health benefits of skateboarding that you should check out if you want more detail on how you can reap the cardiovascular, strength & weight loss benefits of skateboarding.
Where should I practice skateboaring?
The best place(s) to practice skateboarding are all around you. Do a web search of your local parks for paved trails, skate parks, tennis courts or basketball courts. The sidewalk in front of your house (assuming it is relatively level) can be the best place because if needed you can fall into the soft grass. Many primary schools have covered basketball courts with nice, smooth pavement. This is a fantastic place to go in the winter for some private, dry practice space.
I skateboard on our local paved trail system (which used to be an old railroad track). These areas are often referred to as “rail to trail” systems and if you want to see if there is one near by you can visit traillink.com which has over 30,000 trail systems in their searchable database. You can cruise for hours, uninterrupted by cars, people or other hazards. It’s totally rad!
What clothing should I wear to practice?
Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing that will protect skin in case of a fall. Loose fitting jeans and a long sleeve shirt is best when you’re starting out. When you get more comfortable balancing and build confidence on you board you can switch to things like shorts and t-shirts.
Please, please, PLEASE for the LOVE of all that is holy….wear high top skate shoes like these high top Vans. Skate shoes are designed to give you more surface area grip on the board where most other casual or athletic shoes cannot.
I’m not trying to scare you with this next story but just a few days ago a skater friend of mine was dropping down into a fountain, landed wrong and broke his ankle. He posted a photo on Facebook of his broken ankle from the hospital room and you know what…he wasn’t wearing high tops.
I’m really pounding the table on high tops here because you get the best ankle support. It’s pretty common that you’ll have to step off the board and you want to land fully balanced to avoid rolling an ankle. High tops will help you keep those delicate ankles fully supported.
how to start skateboarding today…
First, order that skateboard so it on its way!
Next, you can start getting your legs conditioned for your first days on the board by doing lunges in your living room. Be sure to alternate both legs so you are getting both legs conditioned.
Work on balance and conditioning together by standing on a flat surface with one leg and bending your knee slowly up and down. Make sure that you alternate legs so both legs are getting worked
When your board comes in, take it slow but just get started. I always say to my students “a year from now you’ll wish that you had started today”.
You’re going to be sore and you might even fall. But whatever you do….don’t quit. Learn to rest…not quit. If I had quit everything after a fall I wouldn’t be doing any of the things I’m loving and teaching YOU how to do.
I hope that you found our article on how to start skateboarding useful and you feel confident starting out in this new and exciting sport. Do you have questions on how to start skateboarding? Leave me your questions in the comments section at the bottom of this page.