During the early years of skateboarding, when the sport was young and its presence and sphere of influence small, it was rare to see girls skateboarding. Since then, and due in large part to the influence of the Internet, popular video game franchises and the X-Games, skateboarding has become a worldwide phenomenon. Amazing women like Elissa Steamer and Lauren Perkins have shown the world that girls can skate with the best. And they've become role models for a wave of young girls who want to skateboard. There are some beginner's tips to keep in mind when first starting off.
Things You'll Need
- Helmet Knee pads Elbow pads Wrist guards Skate shoes
Before attempting any new sport, it's important to get the right gear. There are many different types of skateboarding, and girls can be seen practicing all of them. There are long boards, short boards, all-terrain boards and more. Decide what kind of skateboarding you want to attempt to learn and get the appropriate board and protective gear. Since the majority of girl skateboarders fall into the long board and short board categories, this article will address only those arenas. Long boarders tend to skate primarily as a form of transportation because the size and weight of their boards make them difficult to ollie and harder still to flip. Their larger wheels make them ride more smoothly over debris or rough terrain. Long boards are also more stable at high speeds. Short boards can be found in skate parks, on ramps or skating street, though they also are used for transportation. Decide what kind of board you want based on the type of riding you want to do.
Buy a skateboard. Buying a skateboard for beginning skateboarders can be very difficult. Walk into most skate shops or click on an online retailer, and you'll find hundreds of skateboard combinations to choose from. A skateboard has three key components: the deck (the wooden part upon which you stand), the trucks (the metal hardware holding your wheels to the board) and the wheels. A simple way to decide what type of deck to get is to pick a favorite pro skateboarder, find out what she rides and buy that model. For example, pro skater Lauren Perkins rides a World Industries short board, her pro model. She rides World Industries trucks with World Industries wheels. The best place to buy a skateboard is your local skate shop, mall, sporting goods store or online action sports retailer. Buying a "complete" means buying the entire board with deck, trucks, wheels and accompanying hardware.
Get the appropriate protection. Buy a good helmet. Girls' helmets are a little smaller than those of their male counterparts and are available at most skate shops alongside the boys' helmets. Buy knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards. Wrist guards are essential for beginners because most new skateboarders fall to their hands when they wipe out. Broken wrists are common and can be very debilitating. Skate shoes are also an essential part of protective gear. Girls' skate shoes can be found at skate shops and most sport stores and online retailers. Even if other skateboarders around you refuse to wear protection, as a beginner, wearing the proper protective gear is paramount.
Decide whether your stance is goofy foot or a regular foot. Climb on your skateboard and decide what feels more comfortable, having your left foot forward or your right. If your left is forward, then you are a regular foot. If your right foot feels better in front, then you're a goofy foot. There are girl pro skaters that skate both stances. Skating "switch" means you're skating the stance that is not your regular stance or skateboarding backwards.
Next, learn how to push and stand on your skateboard. Skateboarders, with rare exceptions, push with their back foot. Learn to turn the board by leaning on either edge or by lifting the front of the board and turning it from side to side, "tic tacing."
Attempt your first skate trick. This section applies specifically to short boarders. The ollie is the quintessential first trick in skateboarding. Being able to ollie separates the women from the girls and opens doors to harder tricks. Ollie by crouching low on your skateboard. Place your front foot about halfway down your board. "Pop" your board by jumping and slapping the tail with your back foot simultaneously. While in the air, slide your front foot forward and lift your back foot up. Bring both knees to your chest to achieve maximum height. Crouch down with the landing to absorb the fall. Once you master the ollie, you can officially tell people you can skateboard.
Tips & Warnings
- Find your local skate shop and ask for advice. Find other girls to skateboard with you. Skateboarding is more fun with buddies, and they may be able to teach you new tricks.
- Don't attempt skateboarding tricks that are way beyond your ability. Skateboarding can be a dangerous sport. It's important to be patient and skateboard within your ability.
- Photo Credit Brandon Hansen,Dave,gilles van leeuwen