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Learn To Skateboard At 40 Or 50: You Can Do It Too

Learn To Skateboard At 40 Or 50: You Can Do It Too

So you’re in your 40s or 50s and have this crazy dream of learning to skateboard. You may be wondering is skateboarding is for you and if learning it at your age is a good or bad decision.

The short answer is, yes you can learn to skateboard at age 40 or 50! I should know because I’ve done it. Skateboarding is one of the greatest sports on earth, it can gives you unequalled pleasure and a fantastic workout.

However, not everyone can learn to skateboard at 40 or 50 with the same ease, it depends on your physical and mental abilities. Skateboarding can be a physically demanding sport, even in its soft form e.g. simply cruising on a longboard.

In this post, I ‘ll guide you through the 8 simple steps I went through to learn skateboarding at age forty-something – I have friends in their 50s who learned the same way.

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

1. Can anyone over 40 learn to skateboard?

A prerequisite for learning to skateboard in your forties or early fifties is to know your own abilities and limits. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you a sporty person? Being active and physically fit will greatly help you a lot in learning to skateboard in your forties or fifties
  • Do you have previous boarding experience? If you’ve practiced say snowboarding, surfing, or stand up paddling in the past, learning to skateboard at age 40 will probably be much easier for you
  • Do you have any serious physical issues? Many people in their forties (like myself) tend to have joint mobility problems, back problems, or other issues that can get in the way of learning to skateboard.
  • How are you balancing abilities? Some people have very bad balancing skills – and they often get worse with age. Learning to skateboard at age 40 or more requires “normal” balancing abilities.

Just because you’re not really fit or you have back or joint problems doesn’t mean you can’t learn to skateboard at age 40 however. I took up skateboarding a couple of years after suffering a bad disc injury that kept me from walking for several months. I was still able to learn to skateboard in spite of the reduced mobility in my lower back.

Learning to skateboard can be a good way to get back into shape in your forties. You just need to be aware of your physical limitations and take them into account as you build up your skateboarding skills.

2. Pick the right skateboard

learn to skateboard at 40 - pick the right skateboard

After you’ve cleared your physical self-checkup, your next step is to pick the right board. This is crucial for learning to skateboard at age 40 or 50: choosing the wrong board can lead to failure and discouragement for you!

The topic of how to choose the right longboard for learning is a very broad one but I’ll share my takeaways from learning to skateboard in my forties.

  • Board size: I recommend you choose a longboard instead of a regular skateboard for getting started. A larger deck will give you more comfort and room for error when learning.
  • Ride height: a board that rides closer to the ground will make you feel safer and make pushing easier for you, particularly if your knees and hips are not as fluid as were in your thirties.
  • Big soft wheels: having large and soft wheels will give you a smoother ride and good cushioning when rolling over cracks and bumps. This will help you get comfortable on your skateboard faster.

The Arbor Dropcruiser (see my full review) and the Landyachtz Switchblade (full review) are two great longboard skateboards for a person aged 40 or 50 to get started on. Both offer ample deck room and ride low to the ground due to their drop-through and dropped platform construction.

Of course, other factors may affect your choice of skateboard including your future riding goals – do you plan on using it for cruising, commuting, distance traveling, carving, downhill? If you have specific questions about choosing a skateboard at age 40 or 50, drop me a comment below.

3. Get appropriate protective gear

learn to skateboard at 40 - protec certified skateboard helmet

If you pursue your plan of learning to skateboard at age 40 (or 50), you should know you will eventually fall! I managed to avoid it for a few months by being extra cautious and avoiding getting ahead of myself, but it happened eventually. I busted my chin open and messed up my jaw.

How risk-averse are you? Do you have good health insurance? Are there emergency facilities nearby? Not to scare you off, but if you start skateboarding at age 40 or 50, make sure you’re clear about these things.

Remember that, if you’re 40 or older, you’ll likely take longer to recover from injuries. Broken wrists, concussion, bruised knees or elbows, or cutting yourself open with stitches needed (spelling ugly scars).

When I first fell, I wasn’t wearing any protection as I felt I wasn’t doing anything risky. I now realize you have more chances of falling when going slow.

How much protective gear should a new skateboarder/longboarder in his/her forties or fifties wear? You may be wary of looking goofy, but my advice is, while you’re still in the learning phase, get at least a certified helmet, kneepads, and wrist guards. If you’re not sure what to get, check out the Pro-Tec helmet, elbow and knee pads, and 187 wrist guards (Amazon).

4. Find your stance and balance

learn to skateboard at 40 - stance and balance

So now you’re all set up with the right board and protective gear. Your first step in learning to skateboard as a 40-year old is to find your natural stance, i.e. regular (left foot forward) or goofy (right foot forward). To find out, simply stand on the floor with your feet together and ask someone to give you a shove from behind – you’ll catch yourself with your natural front foot.

Next you need to practice balancing on your skateboard. For many people, learning to balance on a skateboard as a 40-year-old may be a bit harder than at age 20 or 30, but with practice, you can still learn quickly.

There are a couple of ways you can practice balancing on your skateboard. One way is to place your board on grass or on a thick carpet so it won’t roll, then step onto it and move your arms and hips around until you feel comfortable. With your skateboard still, press onto the rails with your toes and heels to make the wheels turn left and right.

Another way you can practice balancing is using a balance board. This is a fun way to build up your balancing skills without taking your skateboard into the streets just yet.

5. Find a good place to ride

Once you feel comfortable standing and moving on a static skateboard, your next step is to learn to stand on your rolling board. For best learning results, you need to find a place with flat and smooth pavement.

If you’re learning to skateboard at age 40, you may live in a quiet suburban area (or know people who do) where you can go to a quiet parking lot or spacious flat driveway to practice rolling for the first time. Another option is to head to the park and practice rolling on uncrowded alleyways.

If you have access to a smooth surface with a slight slope, make sure there is soft dirt or grass that you can roll onto for stopping. The incline should be small enough so you can easily bail and run off your skateboard.

People who learn to skateboard in their 40s or 50s often practice at night when all is quiet and the streets are traffic-free. If you do, be sure to choose a well-lit area so you can spot cracks and bumps ahead of time. See my post on skateboarding at night.

6. Always warm-up and stretch

As a 40+-year old – or even more so as a 50-year old – your joints and muscles may feel a little rusty when you get on your skateboard without any preparation. I always try to warm up my knees, hips, and lumbar area before I go riding. This applies to you if learning to skateboard at an older age.

Like for any activity, doing a quick cardio warm-up to get your blood pumping and your heart rate up is a good idea, e.g. through a quick jog or even some jumping jacks.

Another thing I try to do before getting on my skateboard is stretching my lower back, hips, and hamstrings, i.e. the core muscles that get engaged when riding a skateboard. I use the Foundation Training approach for doing that.

If you practice riding your skateboard for hours on end, take the time to also do some thorough stretching after your session in order to reduce muscle soreness and joint fatigue.

7. Learn to push and turn on a skateboard

learn to skateboard at 40 - learn to push and turn

At this point, you’ve done the hardest part of learning to skateboard as a 40-something. You’re now ready for the real fun. You’ll want to practice pushing and turning on your moving board.

Pushing involves balancing on your front leg while you kick the ground with your back foot. The key is to bend your front knee enough to lower yourself and reach the ground with your opposite foot. You then push off the ground to give your skateboard speed.

Turning involves shifting your weight onto one side of the skateboard, pressing onto the edge with your toes or heels to steer the boards left or right. This requires having your balance down and standing firmly on your moving board.

8. Find your skateboard riding style

Many “mature” skateboarders in their 40s or 50s become passionate about long-distance pushing, which involves learning skogging i.e. pushing with alternate feet over longer distances.

Other 40-year-old longboarders are passionate about carving and pumping, which involves propelling yourself on your skateboard through hard successive turns to build up energy into your trucks and wheels.

Distance pushing and pumping are two examples of skateboarding disciplines that you can learn and become good at well into your 40s or 50s. These riding styles give you amazing workouts and fantastic riding experiences, not mentioning a passionate community.

Freeride and downhill are other styles some mature skateboarders opt for. These are more technical styles that involve higher speeds and therefore higher risks. Fewer skateboarders in their 40s and 50s who get into them.

Final words

More and more people learn to skateboard at age 40 or 50 – again, I am one of them. There are challenges, both physical and mental, but if you are in decent shape, choose the right skateboard and protective gear, and follow the right learning steps, you’re on for an amazing experience and a great sport you can practice for many years to come.

***
Photo credits:
– Photo section 2: courtesy of Arbor Collective
– Photo section 7: “Embracing the toeside carve” by Adam Colton; Rider: Sam Peters; Permission: @LoadedBoards

juan

Sunday 29th of August 2021

Many thanks for this video, your tips and encouragements.

I am 45 and started skateboarding one year ago. As teenage I had hung out with many skater friends but had never practiced myself. I am a occasional skier but other than that, never surfed or snowboard. I first got a 30 euro penny board, and the feeling was so amazing that the day after I came back to the store and got a proper cruiser, a large one a Globe Big Blazer, I would recommend to anyone( I a not affiliated with the brand at all).

Discovering skateboarding at this time in my life was like some sort of revelation - i feel I want to do it for the rest of my life, the feeling of freedom and amusement is equal to no other sport I know (and had practiced many sports throughout my life). I cruise and also do some downhill in roads int he countryside where there is no traffic. The progress I made in one year is amazing. And it is all simply hapiness> After a nice session then you keep thinking about it.

I have two slipped disks in my back but I keep myself in shape and that is ok

so to anyone, if you are fit and are looking to a life changing experience, then go to the store and get that frigging board!

Now I am starting to think about getting into freestyle, like riding in skateparks. I think that is probably the most challenging thing when you are not a kid anymore- just that you can get into stuff that is more dangerous and your body will suffer more from falling, but at the same time, how not doing it?

any advice on type of board? I am 190 cm tall btw

thanks a lot!!

Tom

Friday 13th of August 2021

hey Jesse, I've been cruising around on a big 33' cruiser with nice big soft wheels. love it.

But I am really keen to try and enjoy the local skatepark(within my limits) and particularly find a board that's a bit easier to learn to ollie up on kerbs etc. (ie so I want to Ollie/kick flip and hopefully take on some small half pipes/bowl etc).

Can you help suggesting a setup for that? In your vid you mention skate shop guys often try put you on a board that's too small.

im a 6ft guy, size 11US shoes, 200 pounds.

do I want a Popsicle shape? how about wheels and trucks? I'd be super stoked if you could help dial in a setup for me.

Tony Croft

Thursday 12th of August 2021

Hi thanks for not making us feel like idiots. I am 62 and learnt to snowboard at 40. The covid lockdown saw no winter hols so I bought a 42"mako pintail and started to teach myself. Now riding my 3rd board and can pivot and do a few basic tricks. I get odd looks and I'm too old for the park but I get out and cruise the streets at every opportunity... I love it and will keep it up till I can't. Tony Croft

Big Kahuna

Thursday 12th of August 2021

Hey Tony, thanks for sharing! More and more older guys and gals are getting on board and feeling the stoke. What kind of board are you riding now? Have you looked into distance pushing and/or pumping? Awesome and safe workouts for all ages and you'll have a blast every time.

Mandy

Sunday 25th of July 2021

Hi! My 8 yr old boy is a natural ok his skateboarding…. He just finished a week of skateboarding camp which completely humbled him! But he is super motivated.

I’m his “mom” and in my 40’s… I want to skate board with him. Cruise bike paths. Show an interest with him. I want to encourage him to go to skate parks…

My question is- should I get a long board? Or is a regular skateboard fine? I do want to get comfortable and be able to do a few miles with him and go to to playgrounds and fool around.

Thanks!!

Big Kahuna

Sunday 25th of July 2021

Hi Mandy, what size are you? Are you fit? Any experience with board sports? Are you looking to hit the skatepark too? That requires a lot more skills and a very different board than just cruising bike paths.

If you just want to cruise, I would definitely suggest a "longboard" but these range from tiny mini-cruisers (e.g. 27") all the way to full-size dancing longboards (e.g. 45"), so just saying "longboard" won't help.

If you're completely new to boarding and don't have particularly great balancing skills, a larger, more stable board is probably your best best. On the other hand, if you want to ride on small city sidewalks and back alleys, you'll want something more nimble and turney. For only bike paths though, a drop down is probably the most stable, comfortable, and safest feeling option. See my previous comment in reply to Priscilla in this same thread. All the best with your child! Jesse

PS: also check out this post for 8-year olds

Priscila

Sunday 23rd of May 2021

Good to see all the comments here, I don’t feel like the odd lady that wants to skate…. I’m 45 (yikes, am I? On paper I guess)…and never got to skateboard even though I have always wanted. I’m a disaster rollerblading, roller skating, etc. I do “surf” a little and by surfing I mean just standing up on a fun board and going a straight line/small waves. I guess I just have a mental block when it comes to falling if there is no water around so I’m not so sure if I’ll ever get over my “fear”. Since I play guitar and also draw for a living, I am super scared of getting hurt. What would be a good longboard (there are so many it’s confusing!) to slowly cruise the strand by the beach (I’m in l.a) from point a to b, NO turns! Seriously, I just want to go a straight line for a few blocks, that’s enough for me. Some people say those pintail ones, some say those with the longer shape and wheels “exposed”. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Big Kahuna

Sunday 25th of July 2021

Hey Priscilla, the truth is it's quite easy to fall and hurt your wrist even if simply mellow cruising, all it takes sometimes is a pebble while going too slow, so regardless of the board you choose, wear wrist guards! I do even though I'm experienced.

With regards to which board to choose, the easiest type for you would probably a drop down (aka double drop), very low riding and stable, super easy to push on, turn OK but not tight, great for cruising on bike path from A to B. Those are great to build confidence as a beginner. You can later move to something turnier if you wish such as a pintail or regular cruiser. Check out the Sector 9 Fault Line. See also this post.