When you think about skateboarding, one of the first things that comes to mind is that it is a dangerous sport. While it is true that skating can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, it doesn’t have to be if you have a good idea of your limitations.
In reality, skateboarding is an excellent way to stay in shape at any age. But you might still be asking the question: am I too old to skateboard? The answer to this question will largely depend on exactly how old you are and what physical condition you’re in. While your doctor might tell you not to get on your skateboard at age 50, the truth is that there are skaters who still skate well into their 50s and even their 60s.
Take Tony Hawk for example, he landed his last 900 at age 48 and is still shredding to this day at age 53. Of course Tony is one of the all-time greatest skaters to ever live and started skateboarding when he was a kid, but it just goes to show you that skating well into middle age is possible as long as you take care of your body and know your limitations.
In this post we will go over just how long you can continue skateboarding as well as provide you with advice on how to continue skating well into your middle aged years.
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How Old is Too Old?
If you’re wondering if you’re too old to skateboard, you’re not alone. While most skaters usually start as young kids, in most cases, it’s never too late to start skating. At the end of a day, age is just a number.
Those who are in great physical shape can start skating well into their 40s even if they’ve never stepped on a board before in their life. However, if you’re over 40, you will want to take some precautionary measures.
Wear Protective Gear
One of these precautions is wearing protective gear. Wearing protective gear like a skate helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards can be a great way to avoid any serious injuries. While some of your fellow skaters might laugh at you when you show up to the skatepark wearing all your protective gear, the truth is that their laughs won’t hurt as much as breaking your wrist or arm.
Use A Stable Board
If you’re just starting out you might also want to consider using a bigger board. Wide boards are easier for older skaters to ride and provide more stability when you’re first starting. You could consider buying a longboard or a fun cruiser if you’re just looking to get a little extra exercise.
Finding a decent board that is easy to ride is highly recommended when learning to skateboard at an older age. Finding a high quality board will be crucial if you’re looking to improve your skills over time while avoiding injury.
Picking the Right Gear
Picking the right board is crucial. When you start skateboarding at any age, it is important to decide what type of skater you want to be. If you’re looking to just cruise around, you can look into getting a longboard or cruiser with decent trucks and wheels. Longboards and cruisers are definitely the most stable boards you can buy.
Buying new cruiser wheels that are larger and smoother than regular skateboard wheels can make it easier to ride over big cracks or gaps in the sidewalk. As we mentioned before, choosing a wide board when you first start skateboarding is usually the way to go. Wider boards are easier to balance on and offer greater stability.
Middle aged skaters are also going to want to pick the proper shoes. Shoes with a generous amount of padding and grip can help skaters learn skateboarding a lot easier and can prevent a serious foot injury.
Learn Your Stance
One of the first things you’re going to need to do as a new skater, no matter what age you are, is to learn your stance. Do you ride goofy or regular? Goofy footed riders are those who ride with their right foot in front of their left. Regular-stanced skaters ride with their left foot first.
There is no right way to ride, it will all come down to what feels more comfortable to you. A good way to figure out what stance works for you is to run and jump onto your board while it’s on a soft surface like grass or carpet.
Whichever foot intuitively goes in front of the other will determine your stance. Your foot position is ultimately not important in determining how great of a skater you will become, but will be necessary to know when you’re first starting.
Know Your Limitations
While there isn’t an age limit for learning to skateboard, the truth is that it is important not to push your limits. When you start skateboarding, it is important to start slow. Most injuries occur when skaters try to do too much taking on bigger ramps and rails than they’re ready for.
Only you can know your own body and what you’re comfortable with. If your skills aren’t quite at the level where you can ollie off a high ledge, or grind down a long rail, you probably shouldn’t even attempt these advanced tricks until you are ready to do so.
For the most part, older people who are just starting to learn skateboarding, are usually not in it to become the most prolific and skilled skater. They’re just looking for a fun way to relieve stress, express their creativity, and get some great exercise.
If you’re an absolute beginner and a middle-aged skater, we recommend getting really comfortable with performing basic riding maneuvers like turning and stopping before attempting any difficult tricks.
Once you’ve become more comfortable on your board you can then start to push your limits and learn a new skill. But this should only happen once you’ve gotten the basics down.
Street Skating Vs Skate Park Skating
If you’re a newer skater, you might want to start out by learning the riding basics in your neighborhood before hitting the skatepark. Skateparks are great in that they are designed using smooth materials that are easy to skate on, however, they also have a lot of steep ramps and obstacles that can be difficult for a newer skater to take advantage of.
With that in mind, we recommend that older skateboarders start by riding around their neighborhood or a secluded smooth parking lot to learn some of the basic maneuvers before they tackle the skate park.
Once you’re comfortable, you can then start going to the park to improve your skills and meet other fellow skaters.
Consider Skating on a Mini Ramp
Older skaters that have learned the basics of riding can start skateboarding on a mini ramp if they feel confident enough to do so. The great thing about mini ramps is that they’re short in size and have an extremely smooth surface. This makes it a lot easier to fall gracefully without getting too banged up.
Before dropping in from the top, it is recommended that you start in the middle of the ramp. Start with a couple of pushes with your non-dominant leg to ride toward the coping of the ramp. Once both feet are up on the board and you approach the top rail, shift your weight clockwise or counterclockwise depending on your stance and turn your board 180 degrees to ride back down the ramp.
When you reach the other side of the ramp, do another kick turn to ride back down. If you lose your balance and are about to fall off your board, try to land on your knee pads so you can slide down the smooth ramp without hurting yourself. Once you’ve gotten the hang of just riding up and down the ramp, you can then move on to dropping in from the top of the ramp.
To drop-in, simply take the tail of your board and place it on the edge of the rail. Stand on your tail with your back foot and take your front foot and push it down as hard as you can on the front of the board.
Make sure not to lean too far forward when doing this to avoid diving into the ramp face first. Keep your weight balanced and centered on the board, and you’ll find yourself dropping in with relative ease.
Getting started on mini ramps is a great way for skaters to begin transition skateboarding and can allow them to advance their skills while having a lot of fun in the process.
Dropping Into Quarter Pipes
Once you’ve mastered dropping in on mini ramps, you might want to move on to larger quarter pipes. Learning this new skill can be a great way to gain enough speed to ride up another ramp or to approach a rail that you want to slide on in your skatepark.
Dropping into a steep quarter pipe can be intimidating, and should only be done by skaters who are very comfortable on mini ramps. Dropping in on this type of ramp is essentially the same process as dropping in on a smaller mini ramp. The only difference is that you’re usually dropping in on a steeper and higher ramp.
This can be scary the first time you try it because you are typically higher up and will gain more speed the second your wheels hit the ramp. But mastering the drop-in on a quarter pipe is an extremely rewarding experience and will feel great if you can nail it.
Listen to Your Body
If you’re learning to skate at an older age, you need to pay close attention to what your body is telling you. If you’re feeling unusual aches and pains, it could be a sign that you need to slow down.
While being sore is going to be inevitable, you shouldn’t be aching to the point where it is difficult to walk. If you notice muscle or joint aches that are more severe than you’re used to, it might be a sign that you need to take it easy.
Even if you felt perfectly fine the day before, the last thing you want to do is aggravate an injury. Doing a warm-up can help before any skate session is especially important for old skaters. You can warm up by doing basic stretches or just riding around casually while not exerting too much energy.
Having gone over some of the best ways to get started with skateboarding even if you think you’re too old, it can’t be overstated how important it is to not push yourself too hard. Dropping into steep ramps and jumping off tall ledges isn’t wise when you’re first starting, and especially if you’re older.
While you might think you know the basics and can move on to more advanced maneuvers, the truth is that taking too many risks can result in serious injuries. This is why it is important to always know your limits.
Of course, wearing protective gear is a great way to mitigate the risks of skating, but if you’re trying to perform tricks that are beyond your physical capabilities, you could land yourself in the emergency room and risk never skating again.
Outline Your Goals
If you’re a new skater that is a bit older than average, it is important to have realistic expectations. You aren’t going to be as athletic at 40 as you were at 20 or 30.
While this isn’t always pleasant to hear, the truth is that as our bodies age, our bones become more brittle, and our muscles begin to weaken. This means that your progress as a skater will not be as promising as it could have been if you were to have started at an earlier age.
This doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Older skaters can still improve their skills beyond their wildest expectations, but shouldn’t expect to compete in the X Games any time soon. But that’s ok. You don’t need to be landing big air 540s to have a fun time and get some great exercise.
No matter your skill level or progression, it is important to have realistic goals and remember why you decided to pick up a skateboard in the first place. You picked up a skateboard to have fun and learn a new skill while getting a great workout at the same time.
Having gone over the main considerations that should be made when learning to skate at an older age, we hope that you found this article informative and inspiring. The truth is that there is no age limit to skateboarding. However, this doesn’t mean that this great sport doesn’t come without its risks.
Skating at any age can be dangerous, but if you take the proper precautions by wearing protective gear and learn the basics before moving on to more advanced skills, you will find that skating can be done well into your 40s, 50s, and beyond.
The main point is to start the right way by purchasing high-quality gear and the right protective equipment. In doing so, you will set yourself up for success and will be able to participate in one of the world’s greatest pastimes.
Skateboarding can be challenging, but it can also be extremely rewarding. By following the considerations laid out in this guide, you can pick up skateboarding no matter how old you are.
As long as you start slow, listen to your body, and try not to do anything too dangerous before you’re ready, you should be able to skate safely without experiencing any major injuries.
Of course, falling will be part of the process, but if you take your time to learn the basics, you will find that skating can be done safely at any age. As long as you know what you’re getting into, you can expect your skateboarding journey to be one of the most enriching experiences you could ever ask for.
So how old is too old to skateboard? There is no right answer. As long as you’re healthy and physically fit, you can skate much longer than you could imagine. You just need to listen to your body.