A Basic Guide on How to Properly Ride a Skateboard

How to Ride a Skateboard
If watching a skater perform those mind-boggling stunts can give you an adrenalin rush, imagine the thrills you will experience when you actually skateboard yourself.
Performing some stunts on a skateboard can give a euphoric feeling, which no drug can match. Ask most of the skateboarders, and they will say that those moments when they rode a skateboard, made them feel like God. It wasn't the case when they started out as beginners though. When trying to learn some stunts as beginners, most skaters fall and injure themselves. But that does not deter their spirits. With every fall, they rise up to take a new plunge in the exhilarating sport of skateboarding! You will require a lot of determination and passion to be a great skater.

Riding a Skateboard

Firstly, decide on a proper area for practice. Generally, you can start practicing on a concrete driveway or sidewalk, although beginners are advised to practice on grass, or on a carpet surface, so that the wheels get traction and don't slip. Given below are some of the basics which will help you get started.

Proper Skateboard
As a beginner, selecting the right skateboard is very important. Getting a fully assembled skateboard is recommended. You can decide to make your own skateboard after you are familiar with skateboarding, and can customize a board as per your preferences. Make sure that the skateboard is of good quality. This means that the wheels should not be plastic or rubber. They should be made of neoprene, which provides an efficient grip. The 'truck', or the axle, should be good quality metal, and not just heavy metal painted over. You should also check whether the wheels are turning freely. Lastly, the board itself should be of good quality. It is suggested that beginners use wider boards to help them balance better.

Proper Gear
Proper gear is necessary, not only for the safety, but also to enhance your skating prowess. Wear shoes that have a flat bottom, as it provides a larger area to grip the skateboard. Wear protective gear like skateboarding helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads.

Balancing
It's always good to get comfortable with the skateboard first. You can do this on grass, and make sure you center both your feet just behind the bolts of the skateboard deck. The bolts are the place where the truck is attached to the plank. The feet should always face sideways and not forward. Balance on the skateboard by spreading you arms on your sides. Always keep your knees bent. This helps in lowering your center of gravity, and helps in better balance and maneuvering.

Stance
Deciding on a stance which you are comfortable with is very important. Don't decide your stance by aping your friends. Explore what you are comfortable with, because skills can't be borrowed. You can either opt for a regular stance by skating with the left foot forward; or a goofy stance by skating with the right foot forward. Some of you might find the mango stance comfortable, which involves pushing with your back foot, rather than front. Decide on the most comfortable stance, which helps with your balance and flow.

Pushing
Pushing is fairly easy, if you don't confuse yourself. First, take the stance on your skateboard. Put your back foot on the ground, and push backwards. Then return your feet to the starting position as you roll forward. After getting comfortable with this, start giving more forceful pushes to go faster.

Turning
While pushing, when you bend your knees, try to shift your weight on the right side, to turn to the left. Similarly, shift your weight to the left side, to turn right. This is not as easy as it sounds, but don't worry, this is where your determination and practice comes in.

Stopping
Whenever you are caught in a situation where you need to stop abruptly, just take off your back foot, and let it drag on to the ground. You can also heel drag when you get more comfortable with the skateboard. Heel drag involves dragging your heel on the ground, with the front half of the back foot still on the board. Practice the above things until you get perfect with the basics. Once you are proficient with the above mentioned steps, you can start practicing some skateboarding tricks.

If you find riding a skateboard difficult at first, don't give up. Practice, practice, and practice, till you perfect it.
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