Skateboard Completes? You Know Where to Find Them.
Is Skateboarding Dangerous? Here's How to Skateboard Safely!
It's true; skateboarding is a gnarly sport. You've got to be tough because there's one guaranteed truth: you will fall.
With big airs, concrete landings, ramps & stairs galore, it's an ordinary (and rather reasonable!) question to ask… Is skateboarding dangerous?
I've raised groms whose feet are seemingly more on a skateboard than the ground. I've spent countless hours on the grip tape of my own skateboard, and I know a ton of really amazing people whose lives have all been shaped and positively impacted by this radical board sport.
With that, I know a thing or two about skating and can offer some insight into how dangerous skateboarding really is.
Here's a piece of my mind and a few tips on how you can hugely reduce the risk of skateboarding to make it a way safer, less painful activity.
How Dangerous Is Skateboarding?
Yes, there are dangers and risks associated with skateboarding. You will fall, and it's not going to feel good. You will also watch your groms with anxiety-ridden anticipation as they attempt to drop in for the first time or ollie their first two-set of stairs, so it's pretty hardcore.
Skateboarding is dangerous, and it accounts for plenty of visits to the ER to wrap up a broken bone or throw on a few stitches. But, just like with most of the things we love and enjoy in the realms of 'extreme', skaters are aware of and accept these risks.
And, I hate to do it, but it's also one of those things where, at the end of the day, we can get hurt to equal extents walking to the store or taking an arvo drive to the beach… So although it's important to remain aware of the dangers and to understand what you're getting yourself into, if you want to learn how to skateboard, then a little risk-aversion goes a long way in reducing the risks.
When you follow some simple guidelines, you really can skateboard safely. Here's how to do it.
How to Skateboard Safely
Is skateboarding dangerous? Not so much when you follow these steps! Again, nothing is full-proof, but there's so much you can do to skateboard without fear.
1. Wear The Pads. Who Cares What People Think!
Don't Be A Kook! Wear Your Pads!
If you want to reduce the dangers of skateboarding to the absolute highest extent, you MUST wear the proper pads. This means the full get-up, not just tossing on a helmet and calling it a day (although that's at least better than nothing…).
If you consistently wear your pads, it would take a rather severe & rare mishap to get hurt. So if you want to skateboard with peace of mind, throw them on. And I know- skatepark phobia is a thing, and it's worse when everyone else isn't wearing pads, and you are.
Honestly? Although it's part of skating culture, not wearing pads is silly, and no one will judge you. So get out there with a full set of pads, own it, and preach pad-positivity to the groms!! We need it.
2. Take it Easy!!
This Chica Isn't Getting Hurt! Safe and Rippin', All Padded Up.
Part of the reason most skateboarding-related ER visits are young adolescent boys under 15 is a simple lack of judgment. Their friends push them to try new tricks, those that might be too far out of their comfort zone, the peer pressure convincing them to go beyond their safe & controlled level of skating. And what do ya know? They get hurt.
There's a lesson we can all learn here. To skateboard safely, you must remain aware of where you are comfortable. YES, you will have to try and attempt new things. And you will fall doing so. But it's up to you to judge what those new things are.
By taking your skateboarding step by step and building upon the necessary skill sets like the base of a pyramid, you ensure that when you do try something new, you probably won't get hurt! Again, not risk cancellation, as that's impossible, but risk aversion.
The more you skate within your comfort zones, the more you can call skateboarding 'safe', so this is one instance where you have control over your sport's safety.
3. Wet Surfaces are a Big No
Instant gratification is a real thing. When you want to skate, you want to do it badly. With this, I've seen plenty of skaters at the park just a few hours after the rain. Sure, it's dry enough. But sometimes, they'll skate around puddles in the middle of ramps and, honestly, skate before the ramp has thoroughly dried!
These wet surfaces will take a skateboard wheel and slip it right out from under you. I know you want to skate, but to do so safely, wait until you think it's dry. And then wait just a little longer. Or hit the indoor skatepark and call it a day, yeah? Besides, who want's to deal with a waterlogged skateboard, anyways?
4. So are Rough Surfaces…
Your skateboard stops, but you keep going. When skateboarding, always try to keep an eye on the road ahead. Loose concrete areas will surprise you with a rock halting your wheel, stopping your board, but not you, in its path.
And to further avoid the risk of catching a pebble, try to avoid ultra-rough surfaces. The smoother, the safer!
5. Are Skateboards Safe?
Let's talk about your primary piece of equipment: your skateboard! That's one part I like about skateboarding- the general simplicity of what's required to skate. Yes, there are plenty of intricacies regarding the shape, design, and makes of your deck, trucks, etc. That said, there are no mechanical parts, they don't break easily, and skateboards are super easy to maintain. Answering the question, "are skateboards safe?" with a big ol' yes!
To promote safety while skateboarding, give your skateboard a once-over before you ride. Make sure the bolts are tight, the wheels are runnin', and everything looks/feels good to go. It doesn't happen often, but losing a skateboard wheel while you ride can happen, so why not totally avoid an instance like this or similar by taking two seconds to run over your board with a skate tool?
6. Covered Toed Shoes
A little barefoot surfskate here and there is all good and fun. But when you skate barefoot, you always risk a much higher chance of injuring yourself. Not only do you not have the same level of control, but if you do fall, it's guaranteed to hurt your feet worse.
Also, the ability to stop yourself at high speeds with your foot is taken away.
Is skateboarding dangerous if you don't wear shoes? Although we're guilty of some barefoot sessions, it really is.
7. Have a Spotter
When learning how to drop in, ollie, or anything similar, you can always opt for a little help, especially regarding the groms. When they're first learning how to drop in, you can spot them along the way as they get the feel.
When practicing flat ground tricks, some people like to hold onto a railing to help get the feel before trying it on a moving deck. You can even use indoor skateboard trucks to practice before hitting the concrete!
The more acquainted you are, the better. And having someone there to catch you on your first drop-in will make you feel more confident, reduce the risk of injury, and help you check it off the list more safely.
Spotters Build Confidence!
8. Avoid The Streets. Follow Road Rules.
Always, always, always do your best to avoid skateboarding near busy roads and cars. Avoid them at all costs, and remember, street skating will always be more dangerous than skating at a park.
Follow every road rule when skateboarding along a road, and practice awareness the entire time. Cars are a big part of the danger associated with skateboarding, and this is literally the easiest thing to avoid if you want to. So if safe skating matters, then keep this in mind.
9. Follow the Park Rules, Watch the Crowd
Just like surfing etiquette, there's unspoken skateboarding etiquette at the park. You want to do your best to avoid getting in someone's way and always give more advanced skaters the right of way when they're piecing together a line (a series of tricks performed in a row, flowing each one together on a different obstacle).
Practice communication if and when needed, and stay conscious of everything around you. It's a lot, as skateboarding is a fast-moving sport, but you'll eventually understand where the safe zones are for learning.
When you're first starting out, avoiding the crowd as best you can will help promote the safety of yourself and other skaters around you.
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Live rad, stay salty.
- Ash, Dev & The Salty Shreds Fam.