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Interested in starting skateboarding

AwkAwk Registered User regular
edited July 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello. Ive got a bit money saved up and i was thinking of getting some rollerblades to help keep active and then i figured, hey, why not try skateboarding for a chance.

So im new at this and wondering if i can get some tips. What should i look for in a skateboard? Should i buy it from a local shop or elsewhere? Anything in particular to help me get started is appreciated. Tips on skating will be helpful. And lastly, is this a bad idea and should i just stick to rollerblades?

Awk on

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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    The only real advice I have is get the proper protective gear whichever you decide on. Unless you're unemployed or something and don't mind breaking bones pretty often (wrists especially). There's nothing "wrong" with skating, I did it a bit back in high school (not much, mind you) and the general attitude of some of the sub cultures in it can get pretty annoying. (rollerblading and skateboarding are both called skating a lot of the time, go figure.... the sub-cultures tended to hate each other and were both equally idiotic about it most of the time)

    I would suggest you buy a cheapy-board from just about anywhere and decide whether you even like the feeling before you invest in anything. Skating costs about as much as playing paintball or any other casual hobby. You wont know if you like it til you try, though... so there's no reason to go all out with the money and find out you hate it.

    dispatch.o on
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    LaviLavi Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    ^ I agree, I've seen some cheap complete boards at Walmart for around 10$.

    What do you want to get out of skating? Do you want to eventually progress and do tricks or just ride around? You could look into getting a longboard as well.

    Oh yeah I don't know about wrists injuries but speaking from experience and from my friends, ankle injuries are the most abundant type of injury. Also wear a helmet even if you think its dorky, believe that first time you fall, hit your head and it doesn't split open you'll be thankful.

    Lavi on
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    AwkAwk Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Id be interested in quick transportation to small distances (see friends and such) and eventually once im more comfortable do some small tricks and see from there. How does a longboard differ, besides being.. long?

    Awk on
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    Panda4YouPanda4You Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Casual skater for ~4 years here. Skateboarding is indeed pretty goddamn fun, though I'll try to present some things to keep in mind:
    Skating is very much a social sport, hanging out with a friend or more and picking up pointers or inspiration from them. Having someone to skate with makes for a whole other experience, and flattens the beginner's treshold, than kicking it alone. Any old buddies that skate or used to, and put the board on the wall, are invaluable to help you along the first tries and getting comfortable on your board. Also, youtube got lots of how-to on the basic techniques.

    The learning curve can be rough, at least with streetskating, so be prepared to do a lot of practice to pull off anything other than the basic ollie up/down a curb. Having a secluded spot where you can practice in your own pace, without any distractions, goes a long way. You don't have to be especally fit, and the coordination will come of its own after a while. Seconding some basic protective gear (knees, elbows) when you're doing trick training, if you're not already familiar with falling technique from snowboarding or other rougher sports.

    Personally I found skating in miniramps much more accessible, and not as demanding on the trial-and-error side of things. Miniramp is mostly just keeping your balance on the board whereas street makes you fall on the ground a great deal more at the smallest mistake.
    Also see your skateboard as an unassuming mean of transportation. If I'm off to the store or a friend's place it can be nice to bring the board to just roll downhill. This is good for getting regular balance training and control over the board. Sometimes kickpushing on some sweet smooth road is just as satisfying as pulling off a few tricks.

    Skateboarding fucking will wear you out in an hour and a half (plus some bruises), but it's not really that much of a body exercise imo, so if you're looking at the two from a fitness point-of-view maybe the rollerblades would be the wiser choice. Skateboarding is a damn fun, challenging and creative sport though, requiring nothing more than a basic skate deck really, so I'd recommend you at least try it out. Borrow a board if possible.

    Panda4You on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I saw someone cruising down my street the other day on an electric board he surely cobbled together off plans from the internet.
    Looked like an awesome way to travel.

    Improvolone on
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    LaviLavi Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Awk wrote: »
    Id be interested in quick transportation to small distances (see friends and such) and eventually once im more comfortable do some small tricks and see from there. How does a longboard differ, besides being.. long?

    Cruisers are usually around 35inches. As the name implies they are used for cruising around.

    I used to have one before, they are quite fun to ride around.

    But with whatever you decide to go to, Panda4You's advice is quite handy. Go to a semi-secluded spot or empty parking lot to try it out. Or if that isn't available, a place with little car traffic.

    Lavi on
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    Panda4YouPanda4You Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Lavi wrote: »
    ^ I agree, I've seen some cheap complete boards at Walmart for around 10$.
    Boards like these, sold cheap at toystores and such, can be really heavy compared to a proper deck and have shittier handling. Which may or may not matter in a ramp environment but streetskating tricks will be clunky.
    Awk wrote: »
    How does a longboard differ, besides being.. long?
    I wouldn't really recommend a longbard; It rules out any kind of tricks, is unwieldy as hell to carry and 95% of the people owning a longboard (at least the ones I see :)) will never utilize it the way it's meant to be ridden. For cruising/slaloming down a gentle slope a regular board is just as good.

    Panda4You on
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    KrisKris Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Lavi wrote: »
    ^ I agree, I've seen some cheap complete boards at Walmart for around 10$.

    While you can find setups at wal-mart for super cheap, you seriously get what you pay for, and it may be frustrating to start with crap. I had some wal-mart boards before I had the monies to buy my own setups, and the decks split super fast around the truck mounts, the bearings were crap, and one of the trucks actually snapped after doing just a simple ollie. Honestly, the most frustrating part were the shitty bearings. Nothing ruins skateboarding more than losing all your momentum shortly after pushing like crazy, or stopping dead in your tracks after a trick instead of rolling away from it.

    If you go into a local shop and talk with someone, you and them should be able to get yourself a complete setup for around $130 (CDN) that will do you pretty well (note: go for blank boards instead of paying for graphics you'll just scrape all to hell), and will make sure that only your skill level will frustrate you, not the board itself. :P

    Kris on
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    KrisKris Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Panda4You wrote: »
    Awk wrote: »
    How does a longboard differ, besides being.. long?
    I wouldn't really recommend a longbard; It rules out any kind of tricks, is unwieldy as hell to carry and 95% of the people owning a longboard (at least the ones I see :)) will never utilize it the way it's meant to be ridden. For cruising/slaloming down a gentle slope a regular board is just as good.

    If you have no interest in tricks, and just want to cruise around and get some exercise, then I'd say a longboard is definitely a good option. The huge wheels and wider trucks will make for a smoother ride, plus if you get a board with some good flex, pumping and carving is pretty fun times.

    Kris on
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    NappuccinoNappuccino Surveyor of Things and Stuff Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    No pressure or anything but, you should be the next this guy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1U-cgn3cEGA&feature=related

    Nappuccino on
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    KajustaKajusta Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    If you know anyone with a proper setup, you should really try to get your bearings on it first. Borrowing a board is generally the best route to take.

    I'd say buy a cheap complete board from Walmart if you don't know anyone else who skates to see if you actually want to invest the time and energy. After you've made up your mind, I'd spring for a nice setup, pro deck and what not.

    Kajusta on
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    TrinisTrinis Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    8 years of skateboarding here, until the repetitive injuries (especially rotator cuffs) finished me off. This is a great way to get some exercise and feel really accomplished at the same time.

    Do not get any kind of "super cheapie" board. At certain websites like ccs.com you can pick up a complete (deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, and hardware) for a bit over $100US. Do not pay any less for a complete set-up than this if you are buying retail, you will regret it.

    Although it is much easier to ride a long board or a fat style old-school 80s to early 90s board, if you want to progress to tricks you'll need a much smaller board. An 8" width board (or even maybe a 8.5" if you're tall or heavy) is good for learning the basics, and provides enough stability to learn on. Once you get better you might want a smaller board though.

    Depending on your local conditions, you might want to try starting at a local skate park. There are usually mellow areas for beginners, and falls don't hurt as bad (especially if you don't have to worry about nails and broken glass and all the rest of the shit that street skating entails).

    The main things with learning to skate are patience and pain tolerance. Patience is the more difficult of the two, it will take you forever before you can even push the board in a straight line.

    You'll need to learn which foot to lead with. Try this to figure it out - pretend a space of floor is ice coated, and you're going to run at it and slide on your shoes. Whichever way you turn naturally, left or right, will be your natural footing. Left foot forward is regular foot, right foot forward is goofy foot. Don't let anyone tell you it has anything to do with whether you are left or right handed, this is bullshit. I'm right handed and skate goofy.

    Learn to push correctly before anything else. You push with your back foot. This will give you much more control and speed. If you get in the habit of pushing with your front foot (mongo style), you will regret it when you get good enough to know the difference.

    Everything else is just personal experience and a steep and interminable learning curve. Make some friends who skateboard and let them help you learn, it is far better than any kind of trick tips crap you will see online or on video.

    I hope it works out for you and you stick with it. It is an incredibly expressive sport and a very fulfilling way to spend your time. Good luck.

    Edit: on rereading the thread let me address the skates vs skateboard thing. I'm not advocating giving a shit about what other people think, but many skateboarders think rollerbladers are a joke due to the difference in difficulty of the two sports. Check out which spots you'll be skating to see how the social dynamic goes, some places rollerbladers are flat out not welcome.

    Trinis on
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    ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    As a fairly long-time skater the post above me is great info.

    Do not buy a cheap skateboard. Buy a complete deck from a company that sells skateboards. I would definitely use CCS if I didn't have my local skateshop.

    Be wary of cops when and where you skate. It may be ok for you to be in a certain area but that does not mean cops will not harass you. I'm still bothered on a regular basis no matter where I go.

    Invest in decent shoes. DC makes tough shoes and Vans are always a favorite. I've skated a lot in Nike Dunks actually too and they are surprisingly good skate shoes. Not as good for the wear though I'm afraid.

    Learn how to fall! Practice tripping and rolling through. The first time you catch rock-bite will be quite scary and probably surprising. However you can get to the point where you can almost predict when you're going to fall and you can easily avoid serious injury. Do your best to never land on your hands or absorb impact with your hands.

    Lastly SKATE WITHIN YOUR MEANS.

    Shogun on
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    KrisKris Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Shogun wrote: »
    Learn how to fall! Practice tripping and rolling through. The first time you catch rock-bite will be quite scary and probably surprising. However you can get to the point where you can almost predict when you're going to fall and you can easily avoid serious injury. Do your best to never land on your hands or absorb impact with your hands.

    This too is great advice. I took some really shitty injuries before learning how to absorb impact and roll with your momentum.

    Kris on
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    AwkAwk Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    hey i live in Sherwood Park, recommend any skate shop in Edmonton?

    Awk on
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    KrisKris Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    The only one I really hit up with any regularity is Plush on Whyte Avenue, mainly just cause it's really close and convenient for me. Although, I've passed through West 49 a couple times, and they seem to have some pretty decently priced complete setups, that will for sure be way better than anything you'd get from a Wal-Mart and such. I'm not sure if they still have a store in Kingsway Garden Mall, but there is definitely a huge one in WEM.

    Kris on
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    PhthanoPhthano Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I used to skateboard frequently about three years ago, and I cannot impress upon you enough that you have to spend a little bit on a board. About 100$ US is what you need for a decent board. On shitty Wal-Mart/Toys-R-Us boards the bearings don't spin properly and you can't actually ride them properly. You push off and you go ten feet. With a nice pair of Bone Reds (a popular/cheap/good type of bearing) you can push off once and go much much further. The way to test if it has an actual decent bearing on the wheels is to spin the wheel with your hand. If it spins smoothly for a while without any added force, it's an actual skateboard bearing. If it stops almost immediately, (provided it isn't clogged or anything) it's a shitty Toys-R-Us bearing.

    One of the brands of boards I particularly like is Habitat. You can get a complete one of those for about 100 USD, and the way the wood is fashioned it is particularly durable. In reality, you don't always have to spend 100ish on a board for it to be decent (occasionally you will run into one on special for 60-80ish) and that could be a good board, but for your first one just go ahead and spend the money and get one recommended to you by someone you know who skates.

    I bought most of my stuff from actionvillage.com when I skated, but they don't seem to carry much in the way of complete skateboards anymore. Times they are a changin'.

    Don't pay attention to the subculture. It's... horrible.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions, this is actually a topic I know a lot about and would be glad to help you with.

    Phthano on
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    DekuStickDekuStick Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Everythings been pretty well explained so I'll just pop some quick notes in.

    Shop at local skateshops, not big brand stores like Wal-Mart/West49. Support your community. They also know their stuff a lot better than your average Mall Skateshop kid.

    Shoes are rather important. Don't break the bank however. I prefer Lakai.

    Longboards are probably the best start for skating. They roll smooth, are big enough to comfortably stand on and they are easily controlled.

    Helmet!

    Have fun.

    DekuStick on
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    PracticalProblemSolverPracticalProblemSolver Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Get the biggest, softest wheels you can find.

    Also, health insurance.

    PracticalProblemSolver on
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    TrinisTrinis Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Great info guys, can't believe I forgot about the shoes. The trend in skate shoes seems to have gone really big and basketball shoe-like. Personally I can't skate in them at all, I need something closer to my actual foot size. If you get a pair of Vans or something like that they will work great but have holes in them within a month of skating. I really like the old school DC Manteca model, durable and small, but I don't think they make them anymore. Maybe they have something similar these days.

    Big soft wheels are great for cruising and terrible for tricks. This is a fact.

    Helmets are for pussies! No seriously though if you're going to wear a helmet wear it from the get-go. I didn't wear a helmet ever until I went to a park that required them around 2001, and it completely fucked me up. If I had been wearing one from the start it probably wouldn't have mattered. If you notice all the really good street skaters don't wear helmets, but many of the really great rock musicians shot heroin, so... make up your own mind about that.

    Trinis on
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    RecklessReckless Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Let me put in another vote for Longboards. I started skating a few years back on an Element shortboard mostly because a lot of my friends skated, and enjoyed it, but it was never something I really loved. Once my buddy and I started Longboarding last summer, everything changed. Nothing is more satisfying than crusing around town on those big, wide, smooth machines.

    I picked up a good Sector9 for about $150 at my local shop.

    Reckless on
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    AtomBombAtomBomb Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I skated for about 10 years in the 80's and 90's. I've occasionally picked it up again for a few months here and there, but it's frustrating to not be able to do what I did before.

    People are right about not buying a super cheap board. It's hard enough to get the hang of it when you start, it really doesn't help to be riding a piece of shit on top of that.

    I'm sure I'm in the minority on this, and I agree that it isn't logical, so feel free to ignore this. I almost never wore safety equipment. LEARN TO FALL. Besides really good balance, that is one skill that has stuck with me. I'm clumsy enough that I probably fall once every few months when I go running (doesn't help that I run after dark), but I don't ever get very hurt. Scrapes and stuff but no broken anything. As said, you need a pretty good pain tolerance as well. There's a reason that most of the Jackass guys are skaters :)

    Most of my injuries were things that safety equipment wouldn't have helped. Most common would be a torqued/sprained ankle. Most painful that I can remember was fucking up an ollie impossible (ollie and board rotates 360 vertically under you). Board didn't get all the way around and I ended up with the tail of the board in my crotch. With the board perpendicular to the ground I came down but my crotch made it down before my feet. The board was so perfectly perpendicular that it balanced straight up rather than hitting and sliding out. Luckily it dug in an inch or 2 shy of the family jewels, so I just got a really good slice with a lot of bruising (and little pieces of board because the tail was starting to delaminate and was fucking sharp from lots of use). Other things like railslide gone wrong leading to rail slamming into my tailbone weren't fun either.

    If you do go the safety equipment route, I would get gloves first. You'll land on your hands alot, and I recall picking gravel out of my palms quite a bit. Don't land with your arms straight out. Even if you don't break anything you will fuck your wrists/elbows/shoulders up.

    I'd suggest some Chuck Taylors or the like for shoes. You want to be able to feel the board under your feet, and you want the bottoms to be pretty flat and grippy. You also want them to be cheap, since they will wear out fast. I once bought a pair of Vision Street Wear when they came out, because all the cool kids were doing it. Expensive, and they had a hole in the bottom after 3 days. Pieces of shit. They were nice and grippy for those 3 days though :)

    Now I might have to go digging for an old board...

    AtomBomb on
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