How to Skateboard
Have you just got your first skateboard? Perhaps you've watched skaters at your local park. Do you know what sort of gear you need to get sorted?
Skateboarding took off in America in the 1950s. It was started by bored surfers who were looking for something else to do when there weren't any waves. It is an extreme sport now enjoyed all around the world. New skateboard designs are released every year and board can be customised to give your own identity.
Skate shoes – these are specially made to better grip the board and are often reinforced so they don't wear as fast as conventional shoes.
Helmet – it's a good idea to wear a skateboard helmet, especially when you first start out. Banging your head is not fun.
Elbow and knee pads – really useful if you are learning some crazy tricks as they can protect you when you fall.
The board – Start with a smaller board for a child with a smaller deck.
Refreshments – Chilled Sunny D to keep you hydrated so you can keep on skating.
What to wear
Jeans, skate t-shirt, sweatshirt and, of course, a cool skate cap.
Guide to skateboarding lingo
Decks – A deck is the long wooden plank you stand on. It is made of laminated maple wood and comes in a variety of lengths and widths.
Griptape – a bit like sandpaper, this layer sits on the top of the deck and provides grip for the rider to stand on.
Trucks – these metal 'T' shaped items allow the rider to turn left and right.
Wheels – the wheels are made from a rubber like material to give a smooth ride. They come in all sorts of sizes. Bear in mind that the larger the wheel the faster you will go. Wheels vary in hardness. Hard wheels are good for tricks on ledges and waxed surfaces as they slide easier. Soft wheels give more grip.
Bail – if you 'bail' you either fall or jump off the board just before falling off.
How to Skateboard, Step by Step
First things first - standing
First, it's important to get comfortable standing on your skateboard. Put the board on the grass and try standing on it and jumping on it. Try balancing on the front or back wheels. Move your feet into different positions. Trying your board out in this way gives you a chance to get used to the size and the feel of the board and gives you an idea of how to stand on it and what's a comfortable stance for you.
Regular or Goofy?
Next it's time to get your skateboard stance worked out. This means working out whether you feel most natural skating with your left or your right foot forward. There will be a position that feels easier to you. If you skate with your right foot forward this is called 'Goofy'. If you prefer skating with your left foot forward this is called 'Regular'.
If you need help working out with stance is right for you, try this simple trick. Stand in front of a football and kick it. The foot you kicked it with is best as your back foot on the skateboard. The foot that didn't kick the ball is best at the front of the board to give you balance.
Now you're ready to have a go on your skateboard. Choose a good space – a pavement or paved area is good. Stand on your board as outlined above and try rolling the board forward. Use your back foot to push off with so that the board starts rolling. Once you're off, you can rest the back foot on the board. As you slow down, push off some more.
To stop the board, simply remove your back foot and drag it on the ground.
For beginners, the easiest way to turn the board is to simply lean in the direction you want to turn. As you get better, you can balance on your back wheels and swing the front wheels the direction you want to change to.
If you have a local skate park, try spending some time there. Watch some of the good skaters and ask them for tips and advice.