I took a long break from skateboarding and didn’t skate for over 10 years. Getting back into skateboarding after a big hiatus isn’t as difficult as you imagine. Sure you won’t shred like you used to but it’s still a great sport.
Here’s how you get back into skateboarding after a long break:
- Take it slow, just start riding a bit until you feel comfortable again.
- Consider warming up. You’re probably not as flexible as you used to.
- Wear protective gear if you feel uncomfortable.
- Don’t push yourself or let others push you doing tricks you’re not ready for.
- Just repeat the tricks you can do, over and over again. At some point, you’ll move on to the next trick without much trouble.
If you’re a bit older and gained some weight, pay extra attention. If you get overconfident you’ll hurt yourself and you won’t heal as fast as you used to. You also slam a lot harder compared to the early days, at least that’s my experience. After my hiatus, I went in way too hard and bruised my heel and a couple of ribs.
Yeah, that was painful, my wife had to help me get out of bed the next day and I soon realized I had to call in sick. My colleagues had a good laugh though.
It’s never too late to start skateboarding again
Over the years I asked myself why I stopped skateboarding. The main reason was that life happened. I moved to a different town to study (and party) and there wasn’t much to skate. I did some commuting once every while but I soon forgot how to do basic tricks and was afraid to get injured. Even ollies up and down curbs scared me a little, hah! The years went by fast and time seems to speed up the older you get.
I think this goes for many skateboarders that quit. Somehow it’s hard to let go of it consciously or not, the feeling of grinding a rail or sliding an obstacle is something that is embedded in your mind. It’s like a drug, you desperately want to experience that feeling again.
It haunted me in my dreams, those dreams where you can do anything like Rodney Mullen. This never went away until I started skateboarding again, and now I regret I didn’t pick it up any sooner. I mainly skate transition nowadays, the street is a bit too hardcore for me and I got a job and family to take care of. But that shouldn’t stop you, skateboarding is the only sport where I completely forget about the world, and when I’m done I leave with a huge smile on my face.
Lose the competitive attitude
Back in the day when skateboarding with my friends we always pushed each other and competed in a friendly way. 20 years later we still have that attitude but to a certain extent. We all have responsibilities and we don’t want to see someone gets injured.
We joke of course and encourage each other but sometimes it’s easy to forget you still need to get home in one piece. Still, I need to restrain myself of doing tricks I’m not ready for or when I’m just having a bad day. I learned this the hard way as aforementioned.
Nowadays I just ride and do basic stuff. When I feel great and in control, I take a bit more risk and try some more technical stuff. This really works for me and I haven’t injured myself after that. I just needed to accept that I’m not going to get back to my old level.
Accidents happen, even if you take it slow. It’s part of the game. I recently skated a tiny mini ramp with a friend, he fell and injured his elbow badly. He’s over 40 and a great vert skater but broke his elbow in a mini ramp, go figure.
Get the right gear
As a younger guy skateboarding was an expensive hobby. I got a well-paying job nowadays and love buying new decks. Here’s the catch, I have the money to buy great stuff but I don’t have the luxury of going out there whenever I want. The complete opposite from when I was a kid, no money to buy nice gear but all the time in the world. Funny how that works.
When I got back into skateboarding I just used my old skateboard. The bearings where horrible, grip tape was starting to come off, the bushings were crushed and the board was waterlogged. It didn’t really bother me until I decided to get a completely new setup, a huge difference in performance and stability. Also, don’t forget about proper shoes and cushioning!
If you decide to grab your old skateboard make sure to check the following:
- Inspect your bearings, check if they make noise and clean them.
- Make sure the nuts and bolts are still tight, you don’t want your wheels to come flying off.
- Inspect your deck for cracks and delamination.
- Check your bushings, they may be dry or squished. Replace them if necessary.
If your board is beyond repairs consider one of my recommended boards, they’re not overly expensive and have decent components.
I bought a setup online and was excited as a little kid. I checked the order status multiple time a day until it finally arrived. It was like Christmas! I loved assembling my new skateboard and couldn’t wait to get out there. Fancy titanium trucks, a graphic I just adored and wheels whiter than a Colgate smile. It rained that day, the perks of getting back into skateboarding offseason!
As soon as the weather cleared up I got out there to shred. Well not really, I had to get used to my 8.5 deck which took a couple of days. I’m now fully comfortable with my setup and go out there every opportunity I get. Sometimes I just take it easy and sometimes I go in hard depending on how I feel.
One thing you should really consider is getting protective gear, even more so if you’re older. I know, it isn’t cool and might feel restrictive but it makes a difference. Knee pads and a helmet are recommended and prevent injuries when landing a trick a bit sketchy. It’s up to you, of course, I wear a helmet when I go for more technical tricks that are risky. I always wear quality knee pads and got used to them eventually.
Consider cruising for a while
A good way of getting back into skateboarding is by just cruising around. Even just commuting your local area is fun and will help you get your balance back. Soon you’ll able to hop curbs again and pop a few 180’s, the basics are still embedded in your muscles and brain.
Watch out for those pesky rocks though, get a set of proper wheels that allow you to cruise and do a couple of tricks. If you really just want to cruise around check for mini cruisers. They’re easy to carry around and provide a smooth ride.
Even an old school board is great for riding, the wider board provides a lot of balance and with some higher profile trucks, you can slap a couple of bigger wheels on them.
No, you’re not too old
If you start skateboarding after your 30’s or picking it up again you might tell yourself you’re too old. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Consider it a healthy exercise and a fun way of spending your time off. I admit me and my friends got called out once by an old lady who told us we were too old to skateboard, “It’s for kids!”. We shrugged and laughed it off, none of your business lady! We didn’t say that out loud though.
When you’re older and just starting out it might feel a bit awkward. If you’re embarrassed about people seeing you struggle you can always start indoors. Maybe you have a garage or an abandoned parking lot nearby. Perfect to learn the basics and you don’t have to worry about what other people say or think. To hell with them anyway, it’s about you enjoying yourself.
Too busy with work and or family?
If you’re too busy with your kids and work just plan ahead. Even if you can only skate an hour a week or once every two weeks. grab your schedule and plan a skating session, if possible bring your kid(s) along and teach them. Skateboarding is a great activity to do with your kid and it will stop you from doing stuff you’re not ready for. You still have to be able to drive them home.
If your job gets in the way plan something at weekends or any time you have a few hours to spare. Get a babysitter if you have to. It’s a great exercise to get rid of stress and you’ll feel like a million bucks. Any form of exercise is excellent for the brain and you’ll work more effectively when you’re at your job if you workout.
Minimize risk and use common sense. It goes without saying that your family needs you and you want to keep your job.
Skateboarding after an injury
If you injured yourself while skateboarding, don’t get back into it before you healed again. A rolled ankle is weaker and you’ll you run the risk of rolling it again. If you’re still in your early 20’s, you’ll heal much faster but after you hit 30 you need more time to heal.
I remember rolling ankles and getting back into it after a week, well that doesn’t work anymore. My last injury took over a year to heal, it was a severe heel bruise and I had to get some extra cushioning to feel less pain.
My only advice is to take it slow and listen to what your body tells you. Take it real slow and as soon as you start feeling pain or feel restricted in movement, stop and continue another time. You just want to go out there and shred but by doing so you might even make it worse. If you do get injured watch some skate videos to mentally torture yourself.
The gist of it
No matter how long your break from skateboarding is, 5 years, 10 years or even if you pick up skateboarding again after 10 years, just take it slow. It’s not like you have to learn it all over again, the muscle memory is still there. The mind is willing but the flesh is weak.
Soon you’ll be able to do some of your old tricks again you just have to be a little patient. Going into hard will throw you back even further and it actually made me a bit scared of certain tricks. I now associate 50-50’s in the mini ramp with bruised ribs and they scare me. I’m perfectly capable of doing them but there’s that nagging feeling I get every time I go for it. It will go away eventually, I just need to keep working on my technique and balance and so should you.
If you’re still a bit scared of committing remember to not overthink it and be sure you’re ready. Here are a couple of tips if your fear is holding you back, just use common sense and make sure to get home in one piece.