Perhaps you’ve been toying with the idea of getting into longboarding as an adult. Nightmares of broken bones and kids laughing behind your back pull you back to reality, and you ignore that adventurous side of yourself who whats to push out of her comfort zone.
We’re here to let you know that YOU AREN’T TOO OLD TO LEARN HOW TO LONGBOARD! Age really should not be a limiting factor when deciding if you should pick up skating, or any new hobby for that matter. Instead, ask yourself if you are in decent physical shape and if you have enough time to invest in learning a new skill. If you are and you do, we have a few nuances the “later-skater” should take into consideration before hopping on a board.
For adults, longboarding is a better option than skateboarding. We’ve already explored the differences between longboarding and skateboarding, and as you may recall, longboarding is a very sensible mode of transportation. So for the adult commuter looking to spend less time behind the wheel, longboarding could improve the quality of time spent getting to and from work every day. You can also coast around your neighborhood or local parks at a leisurely pace. Maybe you are too old to do tricks at the skate park and go flying down hills at high speeds, but that doesn’t mean this sport doesn’t have something to offer you. The daring can still learn some basic tricks too, while still only needing one board to cruise.
“Old” is a relative word, depending on where you are in life. In regards to longboarding, or any other board sport, let’s break down the various considerations decade by decade.
In your 20’s:
- You are DEFINITELY not too old to learn! Perhaps too old to aim for a professional career in skateboarding but you’re still a young buck.
- You will, however, start to realize you’re not invincible. You may heal slower from injuries and have less energy than you did as a teenager.
- You have years of health and activity ahead of you and could take some calculated risks in the tricks you attempt.
In your 30’s & 40’s:
- Remember, the only thing holding you back is physical capability. Your age is just a number. 35 looks different on everyone depending on how active of a lifestyle you live, how much you weigh, how healthy you eat, etc. If you consider yourself fit, give longboarding a whirl. But do not expect to keep up with the 15-year-olds.
- Don’t push your body beyond its physical limits. If you have a bad back or old injuries that cause you trouble, one fall off a longboard will likely make these problems worse. Make sure you’re feeling your best before stepping foot on that board.
In your 50’s:
- Be honest with yourself. Tony Hawk is still skateboarding at 49. Are you Tony Hawk?
- Some people in their 50’s are skating because they started young and never stopped. Starting from scratch at 50 could be a whole different story.
- When starting any new exercise program or physical activity, run in past your doctor first.
It’s important to explore what it is that you’re actually afraid of when you question your qualifications for getting on a longboard. That others will judge you? That you’ll hurt yourself? That you won’t look cool? If you’re concerned about potential embarrassment, there are a few thing you can do to avoid total public humiliation. If you live in a dense, urban area, drive out to the suburbs or a more rural area near your home. Find a quiet cul de sac or dead end street and use this as your practice space. There will be fewer people watching in comparison to your audience at a skatepark. It’s also important to know your limits and focus on making small, tangible progress. Another mature decision would be to pay for a lesson with a pro. Why slug it out on your own when you can learn the correct and safe way to longboard from day one? You can also get social with it and check meetup.com for longboarding groups. If your city doesn’t have an active meetup group, start your own for the 30/40/50+ skater and see who comes out of the woodwork.
At this point, we have to be honest with you. If you spend enough time on a longboard, you’re eventually going to fall off. And it’s true; you aren’t as “bouncy” as you were as a teen. A wipe out as an adult means slower healing time. If (when) you get hurt, be sure to allow yourself proper time to fully heal before getting back on your board. In the meantime, protect yourself the best you can. Buy all the gear - the helmet, pads, and wrist braces. Borrow a trick from the snowboarders and buy crash pants (extreme snowboarders wear them to protect their hips). If you have joint issues or have injuries from your youth that still bug you, these will help protect you should you fall on concrete. You’re old enough to know better now! And old enough not to care how you look.
There may be a subsect of readers out there who skated as a kid but have long since given it up. If you’re considering picking up this old past time of your youth, there are a few things to revisit. The first is to get a new board. Do not pull out your old board from middle school out of your parents’ basement. You’ll likely be surprised how designs have improved over the years. You are also (hopefully) in a better financial position now than you were as a teenager, so spend the extra dough to get a high-quality board. If you go into a skate shop, you’ll likely even find your own peers running the place - lifelong skaters who can give you proper help and advice, adult to adult.
Skateboarding gets the bad rep of being a reckless, dangerous and sometimes illegal activity for punk kids. The reality is that is can actually be an environmentally friendly mode of transportation for adults, as well as a fun way to get outdoors and stay active. So really, why wouldn’t a grownup longboard?! There is research that shows a correlation between remaining physically active with longevity, health, and happiness. So relax, and don’t worry if it takes you longer to learn the basics. There is no end goal in longboarding; it’s about having fun along the journey. You’ll never look stupid doing something you enjoy!