Am I too old to learn skateboarding? 10 tips for old geezers


skateboard in a skatepark

If you’re a little bit older and wonder if it’s too late to learn skateboarding, just go for it. There are many older skaters that never skated before their 30’s. Now you’re not as flexible as you used to be and your body can’t take impacts like a 20-year-old. So when are you too old to learn skateboarding?

You’re never too old to learn skateboarding, at least when you’re still healthy and in reasonable physical shape. There is no age limit, whether you’re in your twenties, thirties, forties or even fifties. It might be a little embarrassing when you start skateboarding at your 30’s or 40’s but practice makes perfect. Your first days will be awkward but as soon as you start finding the right balance you’re in for a ton of fun. Learning a new skill takes time so think about when and where you’re you’ll be practicing.

If you only practice once a week it will take a significant amount of time before you start seeing results. Try to practice at least two times a week depending on your personal goals. If you just want to be able to ride you should be fine. Once you have the hang of it you might want to learn some tricks, but I wouldn’t force anything and wait until you’re ready.

Learning tricks is physically demanding and incredibly complex. Only do this when you’re in good shape and master the basics! Being able to ride confidently is very satisfying, don’t pressure yourself into anything you might regret. Keep this in mind when your older and start skateboarding

  • Respect your body and don’t take too much risk.
  • Wear protection at all time, you will fall!
  •  You have an increased risk of injury and healing takes longer.

If you’re picking up skateboarding again after a long time (like 10-15 years you’ll probably not be able to get back on your old level right away. I had a break for 8 years and it took me a while to get back to where I left off. To be honest I’m not as skilled as I used to be but the feeling of freedom and accomplishment gets me motivated.

If this is you, take it easy! I learned the hard way and had some nasty injuries. I’m not in my twenties anymore and healing takes a lot longer than it used to. I injured my heel and bruised my ribs before I decided to take it easy. Nowadays I just keep it at the basics, only when I feel in control I try to do the harder tricks. I learned I can enjoy myself just as much while keeping myself safe.

It Takes Time

Skateboarding isn’t something you’ll learn in a few days. Younger skaters will pick up skateboarding faster in general but you need time and dedication before you get anywhere. Try to skate at least 3 times a week for an hour or two, more is better but that might be difficult because of responsibilities like work and family.

Never start doing tricks if you’re not ready, you’ll hurt yourself. Stop trying to pull off a trick if you’ve been doing it for over an hour without success. Frustration will make it harder and you’ll lose focus, go do something else and try again later.

How fit are you?

Your physical condition matters, a lot. If you’re in good shape and have a strong core it’s going to be easier to learn skateboarding. If you’re in bad shape consider getting in shape by going to the gym or workout at home, train your core and legs and improve flexibility. Even when you are in good shape make sure you wear protection.

Beginners are more vulnerable and get injured more often. Ankles, knees, hips, and elbows are common to injure. Don’t forget your head, you’ll need a brain to skateboard so wear protective gear. Also, you’ll fall harder if you carry a bit more weight.

Skateboarding in Your Twenties

You might think you’re too old to skate but really, don’t worry about that. You’re still in prime and (I hope) in good shape. Learning to skateboard in your early twenties is perfectly fine. You probably won’t become a pro but that doesn’t mean you can have a lot of fun. There’s still plenty of time to learn aggressive skateboarding, stop saying you’re too old!

Skateboarding in Your Thirties and Forties

Here’s where age starts to matter. Maybe a little early for ear growing out of your ear but you need to take some extra precautions. I’m in my thirties and when I fall, it usually hurts. I bruised some ribs and injured my heel in a short period and realized I had to slow down. I just keep it at the basics and only do hard tricks when I have a great day.

Skateboarding in Your Fifties

I only know one skateboarder in his fifties but he started when he was young. I would recommend to pick up longboarding if you’re in your fifties and want to start skateboarding. There’s less risk involved and at that age, you want to avoid risk as much as possible.

You also could consider an electric skateboard, very easy to learn and not physically demanding but it’s just not the same. Please gear up for the sake of keeping your body in one piece.

Even people over 50 still shred! I got this awesome comment from Steve a while ago, before I was forced to disable them because of all the spam.

I’m nearly 61, started skateboarding when I was 59. Some background fitness from running and cycling.
Skating transition – miniramps and bowls (when I can find one) early morning as you suggest or outside schools holidays (part retired). Dropping in now 6-7 foot and mainly carving.
Need all the padding I can get including hip and back protectors as my falls are unpredictable!
Younger skaters generally really supportive.
Needless to say, really great fun. Progress is slow but gains are SO satisfying.
Certainly wouldn’t put 60 as an age limit, but patience definitely needed!
Thanks again,
Steve

10 Tips to Learn Skateboarding When You’re Older

skateboard and shoe on a patch of grass

Here are 10 tips for the old geezers out there that want to pick up skateboarding.  These tips come from my own experience and observation.

1. Get Yourself a Wider Board and Decent Trucks

Make sure to get a board that is between 8.25 and 8.5inch. Go for size Independent or venture trucks if you want more stability. It will take a longer time to find your balance and a bigger board and trucks will make a big difference. Skateboarding will feel very alien at first and wider boards and trucks will help you keep your balance. If you don’t know what skateboard you need, check out my recommendations for complete setups (great for beginners) or check my guide on how to assemble one yourself. If you really just want to cruise or commute, consider a mini cruiser.

2. Gear Up, Make Sure You Wear Protective Gear and Proper Shoes

To prevent injuries wearing protective gear is a no-brainer. As you’re older it’s harder to recover falling will have more impact. Not only should you wear a helmet, knee pads, wrist guards and elbow pads. You might also want to consider butt pads. You can take a few hits but after that, it can become unpleasant very quickly.

Get some quality shoes with proper cushioning, your feet will take many impacts and you could injure your heels and achilles.
Other than preventing pain and injuries, protective gear helps you to feel confident. Don’t cheap out if you can afford it. Proper equipment will last longer and good gear makes all the difference.

3. Start on a Patch of Grass or a Piece of Carpet

This may seem a little bit strange but it’s a great way to start. To get to know your board a little, just start out on a patch grass or a piece of carpet. Try to balance the board and lean forward and backward. Jump on the board, jump off, even try to fall to see what it feels like. Do this for an hour or so to get familiar with the board and. The advantage is that the skateboard won’t take off without you. You can even practice this indoors if you have room for it, make sure to clear all near objects.

4. Take Some Lessons and Film Yourself

If possible take some lessons, maybe there’s someone you know that can help or consider paying for a couple of lessons. This will give you a head start and you don’t have to figure everything out yourself. Basics like foot position, posture, bending your knees and balance in general are the areas you should start working on.

After that film, yourself, could be your phone or a cheap GoPro knockoff. Observe yourself and analyze what you’re doing right and wrong.

5. Visit Skateparks Early in the Morning

Skateparks are great to learn skateboarding, the only downside is other skaters. As a beginner, it’s hard to follow the rules and not get in the way. You might know the rules but it’s hard to follow them if you lack the skills. So go there early, there won’t be many people and sometimes you’re completely alone.

6. Inspect Your Gear, Bring Some Tools and an Old Phone

Make sure your wheels are spinning properly, inspect the bolts attached on both ends of your trucks. If they come off you might lose a wheel and come down crashing. Sometimes your trucks are a bit stiff or a tad lose.

Too loose means you’ll be all over your board and you’ll have a hard time finding your balance. Too tight and you’ll have a hard time controlling your board like it has a will of its own.

If you’re by yourself or don’t have anyone that can watch your stuff, bring an old phone. Leave your expensive smartphone at home or use a disposable in case of emergencies. You’ll need a phone just in case you have an accident and can’t move.

This might sound dramatic but accidents happen. If you don’t feel comfortable bringing a phone just use one you don’t mind losing. Let your spouse or friends know where you’re at.

7. Warm-up your muscles

Ever since I passed my 30’s I notice muscle ache after skateboarding. Before I start doing my routine I just cruise a little and warm up my muscles. If you can’t ride yet just walk around a bit and loosen up. I notice this, even more, when I ride a bowl or mini ramp. Just take a couple of minutes and you’ll able to come back the next day, you’ll thank me later.

8. Don’t Be Embarrassed

This probably goes for all ages but don’t feel embarrassed because you aren’t rocking it yet. It takes time before you feel comfortable riding a skateboard and everybody feels uncomfortable sometimes. It might even hold you back. Expect people to make remarks, last year I was skating with a couple of friends, all well in their thirties and an old lady walked by. “Hey, aren’t you a little bit too old to skateboard?” We looked at each other and laughed.

I wonder if she also says this when she sees men playing football. Meanwhile, we are still better than most of the young kids out there (for now) so that’s comforting.

9. Respect the Culture

I probably shouldn’t have to explain this bit. It’s very important to be respectful to your fellow skaters. Skaters will be very supportive when you ask for guidance, like for example dropping in a mini ramp for the first time. Don’t just ride anywhere, make sure you observe the area to prevent collisions.

10. Once You’re Comfortable, Try Transition Skateboarding.

When you know how to ride a skateboard and want to move on, consider transition skateboarding. Transition skateboarding means skating quarter pipes and mini ramps. Mini ramps are great fun and are less risky than the street. Start out by riding up and down quarter pipes and practice kick turns and fakies (riding backward). Once you are used to that you should try out a mini ramp.

That’s all for now

So there it is, all the tips I can think of for now. If you want to know more about learning how to skateboard, check my guide for beginners. Remember you’re never too old to start skateboarding, it’s all in your head. Just make sure you’re safe and avoid risk. It will take months before you get the hang of it and it might even take years before you do your first ollie. It’s about fun, skateboarding is a great sport both physically and mentally.

If you have kids (6+) try to involve them, skateboarding is great for bonding and they will remember it for the rest of their lives. I’m currently in the process of teaching my son, he’s a bit impatient like me so I’ll be sure to write about that soon. Now go out there and skate!

Ruben Vee

I 'm an aged skateboarder, but I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago and I'm out there whenever I can.

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