When you become a skateboarder, it means you get the honor of mastering several disciplines. Skaters wear the badges of their respective disciplines proudly; vert skater as a high flyer, the lightning-quick longboarder, and the brave faller.
Wait, faller doesn’t seem right. Who wants to be the best at falling?
As ridiculous as it sounds, every skateboarder must master the art of the fall. In skateboarding, you have to pay the cost to be a boss, and believe us, all of the great legends of skating paid the cost. Over, and over, and over.
Anybody who wants to master skateboarding must pay this same cost. Taking your bumps and bruises is not only a right of passage in skateboarding like college fraternity hazing; it’s a necessity to learn to protect their bodies from serious injury.
Why would you learn how to fall to protect your body from a serious injury? It seems a little backward.
As crazy as it seems, we can assure you, there’s nothing backward about it.
The bottom line is this; there’s no way you’ll ever avoid falling in skateboarding. It doesn’t matter how good you are, how lucky you are, how amazing your balance is, or any of that. Skateboarders have always fallen and will continue to fall for as long as the sport goes on.
Have you ever wondered, out of all the nasty wipeout videos you’ve seen, there are rarely any cracked skulls? There are plenty of broken bones, bruises, sprains, and muscles pulled, but hardly any major head injuries.
The reason for this is because these skateboarders have mastered the art of falling. If you’re new to the sport, we’re going to teach you the art of falling also. Continue reading for our guide on learning how to fall when you skateboard.
Table of Contents
Why Do You Need to Learn How to Fall On a Skateboard?
When you skateboard, regardless of your level of experience, falling is a regular thing. Skaters wear protective equipment like elbow pads, knee pads, and helmets, but sometimes that isn’t enough.
Falling from a huge vert-ramp or off a rail poses a huge safety risk whether you’re wearing said protective gear or not. Learning how to fall in ways that protect the head and neck saves skater’s lives and careers.
One of the number one rules of skateboarding is “never injure the head.” You’ll hear veteran skaters echo this sentiment everywhere you go. It doesn’t matter what you sacrifice to do it, but avoid head injuries at all costs.
Don’t worry; you don’t need to break a wrist or an arm (at least not every time). There are specific techniques that avoid broken bones too.
Learning to fall requires a small amount of education because there are several specific techniques to this art, depending on how you’re landing (or not landing in this situation).
In the next few sections, we’ll go over the various falling styles so you can master this art gracefully.
Avoiding Broken Arms and Legs and Fall Safely
Whenever someone is taking a particularly nasty fall, the first instinct is to brace for the fall by extending the hands and arms. There’s not much you can do about the first instinct you have, but the key is to not lock the elbow.
The best way to complete this spill is to position your arms and hands underneath your body, in front of your chest with your palms facing outward. It will look like you’re doing a push-up.
Alternatively, you can fold the arms underneath your body and attempt to roll when you come down.
The same technique is true for the legs as well. Bend your knees when you come down if you’re lucky enough to land on your feet. Never lock your knees, or you risk breaking a knee, leg, or ankle.
Fall Correctly In All Directions
There are three main directions you want to try and fall in. These are the basis of any other falling techniques.
· Falling forward: This is when you tuck your head, position your arms beneath you, and lower your shoulder. When you hit the pavement, roll over your shoulder instead of extending your arms.
· Fall backward: This is when you tuck your head, raise your legs, and fall on your back or shoulder.
· When you fall sideways, fall on one arm and roll towards your back to protect your head.
Distributing the Force
When you’re coming down for a nasty fall, the best thing you can do is roll out of the fall. Rolling distributes the force evenly throughout your body so one area doesn’t take the full blow.
One area of the body taking the majority of the impact is how bones get broken. When you roll, the force of the fall rolls with your body and is not nearly as severe.
Instead of the impact being absorbed in one spot, imagine the force traveling throughout the outer perimeter of your body. It’s almost like the effect of aerodynamics.
Practicing for the Real Deal
We don’t expect you to start falling on concrete at full speed as soon as you begin your skateboarding career. Below is the best way to learn while you slowly acclimate yourself to falling.
You should start in an area that is concrete or asphalt, then transition to grass.
1. Start moving on the board, pushing towards the grass
2. Once you hit the transition from concrete to grass, the board will stop abruptly
3. Allow yourself to fall forward while tucking your head and shoulders.
4. As you approach the ground, tilt your head down and do a somersault. This roll will take away most of the impact.
Practice doing this over and over until you get the hang of it. We recommend trying it fifty times in a row or until you’re confident about your falling abilities.
Related: Where to Skateboard
Tips to Improve Your Safety
Use these extra tips to improve your chances of avoiding injury every time you skate.
Check Your Skateboard
Always inspect your board before you go into a skating session. Look at all the vital components of the skateboard to make sure they are in safe, working order.
The trucks should be on and tightened to your satisfaction. Make sure none of the wheels are loose or wobbly.
Inspect the grip tape and make sure no corners or pieces are sticking up that could get snagged or make your trip. Finally, check for any wood splintering from the deck.
Don’t Skate Out of Your Class
What do we mean by this? Stay within your boundaries of skateboarding ability. Don’t go to the skatepark and try to show off.
Stick to your scope of tricks and techniques. If you’re not experienced in getting big air, don’t go drop in from the highest point in the skatepark.
Showing off is a good way to get seriously injured. There’s plenty of time to learn new tricks without rushing and breaking something in the process.
Dress for Success: Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, Wrist Guards, and Helmet
You already avoid some of the risks for severe injuries and breaking bones by wearing protective gear. But your regular clothes matter too.
What you wear when you skate is one of the most important elements of your game. Don’t wear overly baggy clothes or loose-fitting shoes.
All of your clothing should be snug and fitted to your frame. It helps if you wear a belt also. Make sure your shoes are laced properly and tied tightly. Baggy clothes can lead to poor balance.
Practice Falling: How to Get Over the Fear of Falling
When you first start learning to fall, you’ll have an initial fear that you need to conquer. This is the best way to get over your fear of falling.
1. Fall in the grass a few times first. Try to mock how it would feel or look falling off the board. Just take a few tumbles right in the grass.
2. Take your time when you’re learning. Don’t just nail a few quick falls and think you are finished. Get your technique down and learn the process correctly. It helps if you treat learning to fall the same way you would learn a new trick. It deserves the same attention.
3. Commit yourself to learn correctly. Commit at every level. Don’t forget to practice falling. When the time comes, don’t hesitate to fall. You have to commit to the fall, otherwise, you could get hurt worse. Hesitating is the worst thing you can do when you’re trying to fall correctly.
Nothing is embarrassing about learning to fall on a skateboard. It helps to think about it in this manner.
If you’re going to continue to skate, you have to learn how to fall. If you don’t, eventually you will get seriously injured. It’s not a matter of if, but when. It makes more sense to fall now and get a few bruises, as opposed to falling later and sustaining a severe injury because you were too afraid to learn.