Adult beginner skateboarder
As an adult beginner skateboarder or “mature” beginner shredder (the moniker given to me by David Wood, my awesome skateboard instructor and co-owner of Talent Indoor Skateboard Park), taking up this action sport stirs admiration, but mostly friendly inquiries into my sanity preceded by a scary list of bones I could potentially break.
How Skateboarding Hooked Me
As a kid, I was a scrawny stringbean filled with secret aspirations of being athletic. Later on in my 20s and 30s, I took up autonomous sports like road biking, swimming, and yoga that I could grow into on my own. As much as I wanted to keep it “safe”, there was a part of me that craved a challenge. It first appeared after I learned to swim, I joined an open water swim club that practiced in the San Francisco Bay. A decade later, I trained and completed a cross-country bike trip.
Two years ago, I got my first taste at a thrill saturated sport when I started mountain biking. It was a bumpy start. A broken hand from a bike mishap was the turning point where in my previous life I’d quit from the fear of more injuries. The accident happened in mid-June and an acquaintance suggested off-handedly it was the end of the season for me (ie. done for good). I was about to sheepishly agree, but something in me flared up and I said, “No, actually it isn’t.” I agree it was rather foolish of me to go back mountain biking with a broken hand, but it was my rides following that I fell in love with the bumpy rock beds and tree roots, sweaty hard climbs, and adrenaline-filled downhill Whoop-Dee-Doos. Grinning ear-to-ear, I never felt happier. Fear, that once closed so many doors to things I wanted to try, was now opening them.
Skateboarding bloomed from an idea I had last summer. I knew it was dangerous, so I picked the brains of two skateboarder friends. Like most skaters, their high enthusiasm and encouragement was the inspiration I needed to make the jump. And not a single peep about falling and injury. I signed up for a group class, where all the students were under the age of 12. Balance, coordination, going down ramps, there was an endless list of movements to learn. The thrill, grins, and fear conquering was all there. I was hooked.
Falling for Skateboarding
Falling is a part of learning to skateboard. Period. From Day One, I’ve worn a helmet, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads, and a bum saver (oh yeah!). Bruised knees and scabbed up elbows, let alone broken wrist or a concussion, isn’t a luxury I can afford with a job and child. Protective gear gives me confidence and confidence makes the learning experience a positive one. When I fall, I know I’m able to get up and shake it off. As my coordination and balance has improved, I don’t wear all the gear depending on the trick, but whenever I’m learning anything new, I don the full set.
Enjoying The Ride
I keep my goals modest and minimal. As I’ve progressed, the tricks and moves that once seemed daunting and impossible appear doable, of course, with time and practice. And this is what I love about skateboarding, I can make it whatever I want.
Golfers can identify with this: the frustration of hitting one lousy shot after another until you swear you’ll quit the game. Out of nowhere, one long, straight, beautiful shot resets all the things you love about the sport. With skateboarding, I practice the same move over and over. I think to myself that if I fall or trip one more time, I’m done, no more. Then my tick-tack smooths out; I can do a manual (wheelie) longer than before or I pump in the half-pipe without stopping. Yes, those successes are few and far between and I have to work my tail off for them, but it’s that one fleeting moment of glimmering triumph that keeps me coming back for more.