Falling in love with skateboarding is like trying to tame a lion.
You might succeed, but you’re definitely going to end up with some gnarly battle wounds.
Although skateboarding injuries are non-negotiable when it comes to learning and loving this sport, there are certainly many ways to mitigate the damage and strive to protect your safety.
Keeping yourself safe and protected is one of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to skateboarding.
Please read on to discover some of the best ways to prioritize your own protection from skateboard injuries, but at the end of the day, keeping yourself safe when persevering with this sport mostly boils down to more protection.
The answer is always more protection.
Table of Contents
Overview of Protective Gear
There are a number of different types of skateboard safety gear, and if you’ve come from a different sport/have any familiarity with any other sports, some of them might even already seem familiar to you.
Especially if you want to perform tricks. But don’t only buy a helmet! Make sure to buy all the gear.
Why Should You Care?
Keeping yourself safe may not seem like the largest priority when it comes to learning how to skateboard, but look at it this way: the more proactive you are about skateboard safety, the longer your body will hold out, and the longer you’ll be able to skateboard.
One of the most familiar brands out there for protective gear is Pro Tec. Pro Tec was founded in 1973 and it is, as one might guess, the original name brand for skateboarding protection.
Because of Pro Tec’s longevity, many other competing companies have tried to replicate their design, but no one else has managed it yet.
You’ll find that most of the items on this list will have some sort of foam composition in their makeup. The reason for this is that not only is foam malleable—which is helpful when it comes for adjustability and comfort of the skateboarder—but foam is also great at absorbing shocks.
When it comes to skateboarding, foam is your best friend.
Trust the foam.
Love the foam.
Believe in the foam.
The first type of protective gear we’re going to discuss is that of the helmet. Not that any particular type of protective gear is nonessential, but in particular, skateboard helmets are one of the most important.
As you’re probably aware, this particular safety equipment is placed on your head to protect that part of your body from injury.
If nothing else, protecting your head is of paramount importance! Make sure to always wear a helmet!
Skateboarding helmets can be purchased from a number of places, such as Walmart, Amazon, and Target.
As with all protective gear, helmets are meant to protect your head from harm or extensive injury if you happen to fall.
Even if you don’t think you need to worry because you’re taking any sorts of risk with your skateboard, it’s still very important to wear the helmet to prevent head injury.
You never know when you might fall—and you never know when your head might sustain injury—and as such, it’s important to always be prepared and wear a helmet.
Skateboarding helmets are actually built to be both protective and comfortable. The inside of a helmet’s hard outer shell is actually filled with padding and ventilation for comfort and to prevent your head from overheating.
Helmets, across the board, tend to have very similar designs. They’ll have a harder outer shell—the better to protect all the squishy bits in your head—and then, on the other side of the shell, you’ll find padding (likely made of foam), which will allow for comfort and safety.
How To Wear
When you place the helmet on your head, make sure that it’s a snug fit; we don’t want the helmet to be uncomfortably tight! If anything is uncomfortably tight, you likely need a different sized helmet.
Make sure that whatever helmet you choose to wear, it fits well on your head, has decent padding, and is well-reviewed regarding how it adheres to safety standards.
Once you’ve found a helmet with a snug fit, comfort, and good protection, double-check that the helmet that you’ve chosen has intact safety straps. The safety straps will wrap from one side of the bottom edge of the skateboard helmet to the far side and will wrap beneath your chin.
Make sure you understand how to secure the straps—typically, the helmet will have some sort of velcro straps or a buckle type.
Whatever equipment you choose, make sure that you become familiar with how the helmet is supposed to feel on your head so that you’ll know immediately if anything’s wrong with it when you wear it.
Once again, always make sure to wear your helmet!
No matter your age, one of the most common injuries in skateboarding is that of broken wrists. This most commonly happens when you fall while skateboarding and try to catch yourself with your hands.
That is, unless you protect yourself with wrist guards!
Indeed. We’ve reached the section of this article where wrist guards get to shine; it’s much harder to break them if you’ve got wrist guards protecting those small bones!
As much as you may want to keep this from happening, it’s natural human instinct to try and keep yourself from kissing the ground whenever you lose your balance.
Because of how easy it is to break your wrists when skateboarding—one wrong fall and you get a one way ticket to the hospital—when it comes to skateboard pads, wrist guards are very important to have.
How To Wear
Make sure that your wrist guards fit correctly but also that these pads are not too tight. You don’t want them to be restrictive or too flush with your wrist, because that can also lead to your wrist bones giving up the ghost.
As with all of the other safety gear on this list, you want to make sure that your wrist guards are comfortable and secure while you’re wearing these pads.
Most pads come with adjustable straps, so that you can make sure to put them on in the most comfortable way that is unique to you.
Now let’s move down to the elbow pads. When you think about skateboarding, you may wonder why in the world you’ll need to protect your elbows. It’s not as if you’re elbowing anyone, so why is this equipment so important, you might ask?
It comes back to falling; in fact, all of this protective gear is mostly to keep you from getting injured when you fall. No matter how experienced you are, you will fall.
However, unlike the head, which has all that important gray matter trapped up in there, all that elbow pads will help you with are trying to protect your bones.
Which, just in case anyone is curious, are almost as important as your brain, so please make sure they’re protected when you’re skateboarding. Injuring your elbows is no fun for anyone—imagine hitting your funny bone, but then like a million times worse.
However, even though your bones are—arguably—not quite as important as your brain, that doesn’t mean you can neglect wearing elbow pads! Your bones are more likely to get injured during skateboarding if you don’t have protective pads because of the ways in which you naturally try to catch yourself when you fall.
If you want to avoid the risk of broken bones when skateboarding, elbow guards are truly one of the best ways to keep yourself safe from injury.
Similar to helmets, elbow pads are made of soft, densely packed foam that is specifically shaped for cushioning, and it also has a hard shell of plastic to try and absorb more of the blow.
In a similar vein, knee pads are important when you’re skateboarding, because—surprise—these pads are there to keep yourself safe when you fall.
One of the most common and detrimental injuries in skateboarding is knee damage, and that damage can have long-term and unexpected consequences.
Skateboard knee pads are typically made out of a cloth material that is stretchy and malleable so that it can stretch to fit snugly around your knee. Most knee pads also come with adjustable Velcro straps so you can make sure that the knee pads fit comfortably.
As with the other safety gear on this list, it features a hard shell and foam innards to hopefully absorb some of the shock when you fall.
How To Wear
The best type of knee pads are those that fit comfortably and sit securely on your knees, but also that don’t restrict your range of motion—you don’t want to have trouble bending your knees, as that will lead to other problems and risks.
To make sure that you’re buying gear that is as safe as possible, consult a sizing chart to make sure you’re choosing the best gear for each knee.
Think about when you were a child and you had to kneel somewhere for a long period of time. Actually, assuming you’re older, picture trying to kneel anywhere now for an extended period of time.
Your knees will thank you down the road if you protect them now, and they’ll serve you faithfully if you keep them from getting shattered when you impact the ground at extremely fast speeds.
Do it for your knees.
Weren’t expecting to see this one on the list, were you? But attachable lights can be very important when it comes to talking about skateboarding safety gear.
They certainly won’t have much of an impact when it comes to skateboarding in the daytime, but if you should ever decide to skateboard at night—not that we’re recommending that—having lights attached to your board can really save your skin.
Again, we’re not recommending that you skateboard at night, but if it ends up happening, being able to see and be seen will protect you twofold. Not only will you not have to worry as much about unseen obstacles but, if you happen to be in an area that also sees quite a bit of traffic, you’ll be visible to any cars on the road.
Needless to say, should you decide to install lights, make sure to research the best placement and adherence methods to make sure that your lights will work and that they also won’t prevent your board from working.
That’s all you need: to be in the middle of doing some sick tricks and then have one of your wheels go crunch-crunch as it breaks a light and launches you across the ground.
They can also look really cool in the right setting if you want to show off your skills.
Now, this one might seem a bit odd when it comes to an article discussing skateboarding safety, but making sure that your skateboard is maintained is one of the absolute most important things you need to do to keep your worries about injuries as low as possible.
You could have all the best gear in the world, but it won’t make a lick of difference if your board is made out of shoddy, sub-par materials.
Then again, even if your board is made of the best, safest materials, if you don’t make sure to maintain it, it’s not going to help you out very much. Before you go for a skate, make sure to check the condition of your board.
Check that the wheels are spinning correctly and that there are no issues with the mechanism that keeps their rotation smooth.
When it comes to your skateboard, alongside checking your wheels, make sure to look into the condition of your deck, as well.
The skateboard deck is the part that your feet stand on when you’re skateboarding. Make sure that the wood is flexible, but not cracked, and that it can hold your weight without snapping.
It doesn’t matter what type of skating you’re doing or how many tricks you’re trying to perform. At the end of the day, if your skateboard isn’t well-maintained, you’re going to end up with injuries.
As with your skateboard (mentioned above), make sure that all your gear is always in tip-top shape. Sure, there will be freak accidents where you do all the preparation and something still breaks mid-trick, but it is much less likely to happen if you make sure your gear is constantly in good standing.
We’re talking your skateboard, your helmet, any and all equipment that you wear, your padding, etc. If you’re coming off of a hard day of practice, also spend some time checking over your board and gear.
The smallest thing can turn into a large problem, so if you can catch it before it gets to that point, you’ll be saving yourself some pain—both literal and figurative.
Keeping your gear maintained is as much part of the process of mastering skateboarding as learning the tricks and learning how to ride is.
Your skateboard is as important to the whole process as you are, as you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere without it. Make sure to take care of all of your gear so that it can take care of you.
At the end of the day, you can only do your best when it comes to keeping yourself safe. There will always be worry, and there will be injuries in your career.
However, if you take the time to make proper preparations and you make sure that your gear is as safe as possible, you’re giving yourself your best chance.
There are a number of different forms that skateboarding protective gear can take. No matter if you want to perform tricks and no matter your skating style, you should make sure to make sure that protection is your priority.
Your safety is paramount, so make sure that you keep this protection in mind when you’re buying your protective gear. Make sure to check the safety standards of your skateboarding gear and do whatever you can to stay safe.