Learning How to Skateboard as an Adult

One of the largest misconceptions about skateboarding both non-skaters and media portrait is that skateboarding is a sport or activity reserved for kids or adolescents. This cannot be farther from the truth.

Tony Hawk is still ripping half pipes and skating well into his 50s. Every skatepark from Los Angeles to Barcelona sports a healthy skate scene made ofskaters of all ages.

Whether you’re looking to add an extra healthy activity to your exercise repertoire or you’re having regrets for not sticking to your favorite pastime, now is the perfect time to begin your journey for Learning How to Skateboard as an Adult.

Luckily for you, GOSKATE is here to get you rolling with proven tips and insightful rules of thumb to help foster your skills and love for skateboarding.

Once you’ve read these proven tips on learning how to skateboard as an adult, feel free to contact us about how you can take your skating to the next level via our skate classes.

As always, we invite you to stay connected with GoSkate by following us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest skateboard news and tricktips. Now, let’s GoSkate!

What Not To Do

Sometimes the best way to get started with something new is by having a general understanding of what not to do. Here are a handful of useful maxims to keep in mind when learning how to skateboard as an adult. 

Avoid Pushing Mongo: What the heck is mongo? Mongo is when you pedal with your front foot instead of your back foot.

The awkward motion of taking your front foot off and turning your body is a defining characteristic of beginner skaters and it is deemed ‘ugly’ and unbefitting to the artististic nature of skating. It will also make it harder to perform certain tricks in the future by elongating the pedal process.

Don’t develop bad habits!

Longboard is the Wrong Board: At first glance, a longboard and a skateboard are the same thing, but in reality, they are more unalike than alike. Since you cannot perform tricks on a longboard, including the most fundamental trick in skateboarding–the ollie–moreover, the enlarged, extra grippy wheels tailored for speed are very dangerous to skate around at a skatepark as it limits your mobility.

Sorry if you already purchased your board but this also means no penny or nickel boards. See our first tip to know which skateboard is the ‘right’ board.

Respect the Risk: Skateboarders are naturally confident people but that doesn’t mean we don’t respect the risk. Skateboarding is highly dangerous at all levels, it’s part of what makes it so rewarding. Even so, you can’t just hop on a board and start cruising downhill without knowing what you’re doing.

Wear a helmet and pads if you need to, especially as an adult and always approach a new obstacle with caution. Respect the risk and the risk will respect you. 

Comparing Yourself to Others: Comparing yourself to others is a sure way of feeling insecure and intimidated at a skatepark. It’s important to always remember skateboarding is about how much fun you’re having, not about how good you are.

Look for inspiration not comparison and you’ll see skaters generally don’t discriminate against others based on skill level. Because remember, it’s all about having fun! 

What To Do

Get Inspiration

Many other people learn skateboarding later in life. Many professionals still do daring tricks in their 50’s, and 60s!

Check out this list of “Older Skaters”

  • Neal Unger63 years old of Anaheim, California, Instagram: @neal_a_unger
  • Lloyd Kahn81 years old of Bolinas, California, Instagram @Lloyd.Kahn
  • Ronnie Creager 48 years old of Orange, California, Instagram: @ronniecreager
  • Lance Mountain56 years old of Pasadena, California, Instagram: @lancemountain
  • Tony Hawk53 years old of Carlsbad, California, Instagram: @tonyhawk
Tony Hawk
Tony Hawk is still skating in his 50's. Photo by Stefan Magdalinski

Learning How to Skateboard as an Adult

Buy A ‘Real’ Skateboard

One of the biggest mistakes we see with adults who have an initial interest in skating but fail to foster the skills necessary to learn how to skateboard, is buying the wrong type of skateboard. What exactly do we mean by this? You might be thinking anything with a board and four wheels is a skateboard but just like most products, not all skateboards are created equal.

One of the most common and largest mistakes is people go into a Big 5 or a Walmart and buy a pre-packaged board off the shelf.

These Walmart boards are made of the lowest quality goods and are seldom produced by real skateboard manufacturers. This not only takes your support out of the real skateboard economy but leaves you with a product that won’t sustain the demands of skating or even get you rolling in the right direction.

There are not specific boards made for adults.

Typically, adults in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and up should buy boards with a width of 7.75 inches and greater.

  • It’s okay if you don’t know what to buy, ask the worker behind the counter for a beginner-friendly board. Some shops will even have pre-assembled boards specifically for beginners that usually come with a discount and free stickers.
    • A good rule of thumb is to buy what ‘stands out’ to you because whatever gets you excited to skate is really what’s best.
  • Where to buy? Buy your board at a local skateshop, not online. It’s not only a great way to support your local skate scene but also, nurturing a relationship with your skateshop will help you gain more understanding about skateboarding in general.
    • Everything from the skateboard economy, industry, to what it means to be a skateboarder is on full display at your local skate shop.
Steve Caballero - Age 56 - Pro Skateboarder

It Starts in Your Driveway

Remember when your Dad took you to an empty parking lot the first time you sat behind the wheel? Stepping on a skateboard for the first time is exactly the same. This is true no matter what your age. You wouldn’t let a new driver get behind the wheel on the freeway right? It’s the same with a skatepark.

With the high levels of traffic and foreign obstacles, you would stand a better chance on the freeway than a skatepark full of veteran rippers. In all seriousness, the driveway or an empty parking lot is the perfect place to hone your center of balance and other basic moves. These initial moves lay the foundation which will allow you to learn tricks and seamlessly become a part of a skateparks ecosystem. It is also where you will foster your personal relationship with your skateboard.

  • Finding your center of balance is key to learning how to skateboard as an adult. This means being comfortable with crouching down (think of a surfer on a wave) and knowing when your feet and head are too disconnected.
    • If you feel like you’re wobbling or losing your balance, crouch down. It’s better to fall from a few inches off the ground than a few feet.

  • Learning how to stop is arguably more important than learning how to go. Gaining speed is one thing but you’ll need to learn how to drag your foot and hop off your board in case of oncoming collisions. Doing so in your driveway or into the grass is a great way to learn how to stop.

  • Learning your stance is one of the defining characteristics of who you are as a skater.
    • Have a friend or family member line up behind you while you stand at attention. Have them gently nudge you from behind so you have to take a step to maintain your balance.
    • Whatever foot steps out is your front foot, and thus, your stance. Cool, right?

Have a Skate Buddy

Just like most activities, having a friend to do it with makes it easier and safer. Additionally, skateboarders are some of the most inviting and inclusive people on the planet.

While, you’ll want to have a certain level of skill before you are ready to become a local of your skate scene, there are skaters out there (like ourselves) who want to help you succeed.

Having an older skate buddy will help motivate you and learn new tricks of the trade. While you’ll help push one another, you will also be there to promote safety and keep the good times going.

Here are some tips to making a skate buddy in no time.

  • The morning session at a skatepark is a great way to meet other adult skateboarders who might be getting a session in before work or are hoping to beat the afternoon rush. Don’t be afraid to compliment someone’s griptape art or recently landed maneuver and you’ll be exchanging phone numbers in no time.
  • Taking a group skate lesson is a great way to meet other beginner adults skateboarding in their 40’s and 50’s.
    and learn tools for progressing your skating you just can’t get from an article. Skateboarding has many focal points but none of them are arguably as important as community. Get out and meet people and don’t be afraid to be a student. Better yet, you might just teach someone else a thing or two.

Learn to ‘Love’ Falling

This might sound counterintuitive to the new adult skateboarder because shouldn’t you want to avoid falling?

Wouldn’t falling be a sign I am not very skilled or even worse, won’t people think I am a poser if I fall? None of these questions could be farther from the essence of skating.

No matter what your age, we must learn to balance the risk of falling with the thrill.

Skateboarding teaches us to laugh in the face of our failure and in doing so helps us get up every time we fall. If you’re even remotely attracted to skateboarding, you’ve undoubtedly noticed how we seem like some of the happiest people on the planet.

Well, in skateboarding, you fall more than you land, so if you learn to love the falling, you’ll ensure you’re always having a good time.

Trust us when we say, every skateboarder has spent innumerable amounts of time falling off their skateboard and they see your falling as a sign of progression not regression.

  • Respect from the locals will come not from sitting in the corner of the skatepark but from trying your best even if that means taking a few slams. Sometimes the first words from a local will be–”You good?” Because we’ve all been there and had someone help us up from off the ground.

  • You don’t ever have to give up–when it’s all about having fun. Remembering this simple yet profound truth will help you remember each time you fall; why you got into skateboarding in the first place. Even when learning how to skateboard as an adult might seem like the hardest thing in the world, remember you’re your own rule maker and breaker. There are no rules besides one, have fun.

If Grandparents Can Learn, So Can You!

Signing up for our skate lessons can be a great idea. Instructors will be there with open arms to catch you if you fall.

We taught a 72-year-old grandfather to skate at GOSKATE in Miami, FL. He wanted to ride with his grandkids!

Another student of ours was a 52-year-old woman from Lexington, KY who learned who to ollie!

It’s NEVER too late.

Learning to skate with others expedites the process and adds more fun.

Find out today how you can have a similar experience to these grandparents by contacting GOSKATE.

Now that you’ve been given some proven tips on Learning How To Skateboard as an Adult, you’re well on your way to accomplishing your skateboard dreams.

Remember, skateboarding is best with friends. Have fun and GOSKATE!

Zane Foley

Zane Foley has been writing professionally since 2014, since obtaining his BA in Philosophy from the California State University, Fullerton. Zane is an avid skateboarder and Los Angeles native. Follow him on Instagram for links to his other published works. @zaneyorkfly