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I’m an Adult Learning to Skateboard. Let Me Explain.


“Come on, Jon! Just commit!”

I was 15, dithering at the prime of a mini ramp as my close friends egged me on. I leaned ahead hesitantly and dropped in.

Wham. The board shot out from below me, and I slammed backwards into the ramp.

That was very significantly the extent of my skateboarding expertise. Due to the fact then I have typically trapped to the sluggish, steady tempo of endurance sports activities like running and nordic snowboarding. But immediately after paying most of a weekend playing the reboot of Tony Hawk’s Professional Skater one+2 last yr, I felt the urge to go exterior and do the serious matter. I was reminded of the skating society I in no way engaged with and motivated by other folks discovering—or rediscovering—the activity all through lockdown.


Popping the board upward with the back again foot and leveling it out in the air by sliding the front foot ahead. Rodney Mullen executed the initial flat-floor ollie in 1982.

In the spirit of the marathon teaching strategies I diligently adopted in several years previous, I appeared for a regime that would be suitable for an damage-averse adult and would assistance me learn to pop an ollie (see sidebar)—the foundational trick of street skating. No dice. Skateboarding, it turns out, doesn’t appeal to a good deal of health and fitness obsessives hunting to routinize the learning method. So I devised my individual, based mostly on guidance from expert skater and fellow Minnesotan Davis Torgerson.


Falling tricky while skateboarding.

Torgerson told me to enjoy skateboarding videos—not just YouTube clips, but also basic skate films—to recognize the circulation of skating. Stretching also will help in staying away from damage. But typically he pressured paying a good deal of time on the board and remaining patient. “Learning to skate is about owning a comprehensive feel for the board underneath you,” he reported. “Trust me, it’s tricky to learn. I have been doing it for just about 20 several years and I slam every time I go skate.”

The teaching regime I settled on (see “My Just one-Month Ollie Program,” underneath) was sluggish going at initial. Just pushing myself all around proved to be a great deal of do the job, and I was doubtful I’d get airborne in only a thirty day period. But a pair weeks and numerous stumbles later, I received relaxed. Yoga served my sore muscle tissues recover, and observing skate movies saved me motivated. Much more typically than not, I went out once again immediately after logging my each day practice hour simply because I’d experienced some epiphany I needed to check out.

Three weeks in, I was assured plenty of to attempt an ollie. Soon after a several times, I figured out the sequence of motions while holding on to a fence. Then I slash myself free. Later on that day, I crouched down, popped upward, felt the board rise to my ft, and landed on all four wheels with a fulfilling clack.

The author performs an ollie

By the conclusion of 7 days four, I was in a position to get the board a several inches off the floor. That’s not a good deal, but it was an ollie—my ollie—and it felt very fucking amazing. I knew I could not stop there. Contemplating which trick to conquer up coming, I took to heart one more recommendation from Torgerson.

nollie frontside hurricane

An highly developed rail trick that Davis Torgerson pioneered.

“The only guidance I have in conditions of methods is to get addicted,” he reported. “You ­almost have to lie in bed at evening pondering what you’re going to try out, how significantly tougher you’re going to commit.”

Though, as of this producing, I’m only a thirty day period in and my ollies hardly crystal clear a crack in the pavement, I can say that I’m addicted: going to the park every day, figuring out methods, observing the created landscape in a new way. I possibly won’t at any time hit a nollie frontside hurricane like Torgerson, but perhaps I’ll at last drop into a mini ramp.

My Just one-Month Ollie Program

There are two things you have to have to triumph at skateboarding: persistence and a good deal of practice. In this article was my two-hour each day regime.

one. Just one hour on the board. 30 minutes warming up and practising what I’d discovered so far, and 30 minutes performing on a new trick or talent.

Rodney Mullen

The godfather of street skating. Text do not do him justice.

2. 30 minutes of yoga, with an emphasis on stretching, steadiness, and equilibrium. During the pandemic, I started off following the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene. (There is even a lesson precisely for skaters.)

3. 30 minutes observing skate movies. Some favor­ites incorporate Torgerson’s portion in Boon­doggle, Environment Industries’ Trilogy, and just about anything with Rodney Mullen in it.

To manual my progress, I targeted on the adhering to expertise:


Pivoting on the rear wheels to modify direction.


A wheelie. Balancing on the front or back again wheels while rolling.

7 days one: Pushing, turning, relocating commences.

7 days 2: Kickturns, manuals, finding on and off the board in a variety of methods.

7 days 3: Driving diverse terrain, viewing a skate park, starting off to ollie.

7 days four: Ollie, ollie, ollie.