skateboarding at 40

Why Learning to Skateboard at (Almost) 40 is a Disastrous Mistake: Part 1

Hi Everyone,

This is the 1st instalment of my new blog series on why old dudes shouldn’t try learning to skateboard and why I completely ignored my own advice and decided to have a go anyway. Will I learn from my mistakes and massively bruised arse? Of course not. I’ve always been a slow learner and apart from the excruciating pain I had an awesome time! Already arranged for next Wednesday!

So how did this come about? Well . . . . . . . working in marketing for Urban and other companies in the past I’ve put on a few events over the years and on 18th August we put on a skate event with Dynamix skate park called ‘The Great British Skate Off’ which basically drew a lot of the cream of the crop from the North East skate scene. Check out our blog and vlog of the event HERE.

The event was awesome and I particularly enjoyed the bowl comp, there is just something about the speed, style and smooth lines of a really good bowl session that just has me buzzing every time. I guess it probably reminds me of the really old dog town pool session vids and is anyone else old enough to remember ‘Gleaming the Cube’? Anyone? Will if you are then you know what I mean about that old school style of riding.

Since I had to give up riding downhill MTB a few years ago (Knackered thumb means I can’t grip properly) my summers have been a bit devoid of that kind of close to death, high speed fun that I have been so used to and my pot belly has also taken the opportunity to grow a canny bit due to the lack of exercise.

So, with all the excitement of the skate jam in my head and a young keeno 17-year-old apprentice who really fancied giving it a go, I thought sod it why not.

Well. . . . . . . . . . . .

We decided to go last night and our good friend and Dynamix instructor Kettle and Anth Simms (an awesome flatland skater btw) were kind enough to hang out and give us some tips (see below for his bowl session). Obviously, as I started I did the typical bloke thing of thinking, ‘I can snowboard, how hard can it be.

Give me 10 minutes and I’ll have it nailed’. Well, the answer is, there are probably a fair few similarities but it doesn’t half hurt a lot more when you fall and as an older feller I just don’t have the bottle I used to have! It also doesn’t help if you have a 17-year-old with you who has no fear, is far fitter and just ‘get’s it’.

Although that was what I thought I would look like, the reality was more different than you would believe, after getting used to the boards a little we started hitting the bank and getting the feel for turns using the side walls. Again, in my mind I was going to be cruising the coping in no time, the reality though is a slow ride up the side and hanging on for dear life, it’s weird how your body naturally wants to lean away from the impending ride up the wall even if you are telling yourself to stay neutral. Oh, and ye, they kindly gave me a set of knee pads to ride in, did I fall on my knees or on my front at all. . . . . . Did I bollocks!

After a few turns I was getting used to the feel and after a few little falls were making it to around midway up the bowl, I thought I was doing OK, and then it hit me, and by it hit me I mean I hit the floor, HARD! I’d been advised to try backside first as it was easier and was doing OK with that. It was then that Kettle suggested attempting front side. I genuinely thought it was a good idea since while snowboarding (and back in my wakeboarding days) I’ve always preferred approaching things frontside as it gives a better view of the obstacle. This overconfidence was my downfall. As I pushed to gather speed on the approach I was nice and relaxed, the board hit the transition and then BOOOOM, literally, you could have heard the noise of my 16 stone frame hit the floor from miles away. As I accidentally and unknowingly leaned back all of a sudden my legs and the board carried on forward yet my upper body decided to start going backwards, what proceeded was a full on back slam on to the floor of the bowl. I hit with such force, although I hit my bum on the floor the shockwave sent through my body full on winded me! It was a killer. As you can imagine I had to take a few minutes to get myself composed again, not because of any lingering pain, although there was plenty, no, I’d literally knocked myself dizzy and a little bit sick. I didn’t tell the lads that obviously, so please keep that between me and you!

After recovering I had to get straight back on, so took my time had a bit of practice and watched young Keiran really get the hang of it. Overall, although I am sat here in super pain with a dead leg (arse) and a rib-cage which hurts every time I breathe I would recommend to anyone, no matter what age, to give it a go. OK, so it’s going to hurt a bit but let’s face it, nothing worth having in life is easy, and I want to look like an old dude version of Ricky Alverez, so we are already arranged for next week (I should have healed by then). If you are around the North East region and fancy a go, pop in and say hi, you can’t look any worse than I did!

So ye, the video above shows you what I thought I’d be like. Want to check out my skills? I thought so! In case you can’t pick me out I’m the old fat dude who keeps falling over! Enjoy!

A big thanks to Anth Simms for the video (Check him out on insta @anthonysimmskate), just two little rough cuts.

Ian Hughes

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  • Ian 31 July 2019 @ 08:10

    Just read your post as a 42 yr old who hasent skated since I was 16! Having just ordered my 80s retro rebuild I thought it would be interesting to see, a year on, if you stuck it out and where you are today!? I’m building my board this week 🙂

  • Andy 8 September 2019 @ 13:51

    Try surfskate instead of this. 16 stone is too much gravity to be lugging onto rails etc. Asking for broken ankles. Im 41. Just bought a Smoothstar, Manta Ray. Much more realistic for a gent of our age and weight. Good luck.