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 pals egged me on. I leaned forward hesitantly and dropped in.

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

That was fairly substantially the extent of my skateboarding experience. Because then I’ve largely stuck to the slow, steady pace of endurance sports activities like working and nordic skiing. But just after spending most of a weekend participating in the reboot of Tony Hawk’s Professional Skater one+2 last year, I felt the urge to go outside and do the genuine matter. I was reminded of the skating society I in no way engaged with and impressed by others discovering—or rediscovering—the activity all through lockdown.


Popping the board upward with the again foot and leveling it out in the air by sliding the entrance foot forward. Rodney Mullen done the very first flat-floor ollie in 1982.

In the spirit of the marathon education strategies I diligently adopted in several years past, I seemed for a program that would be acceptable for an damage-averse grownup and would assist me discover to pop an ollie (see sidebar)—the foundational trick of street skating. No dice. Skateboarding, it turns out, doesn’t bring in a good deal of physical fitness obsessives on the lookout to routinize the mastering approach. So I devised my individual, centered on guidance from experienced skater and fellow Minnesotan Davis Torgerson.


Falling challenging while skateboarding.

Torgerson instructed me to check out skateboarding videos—not just YouTube clips, but also classic skate films—to have an understanding of the stream of skating. Stretching also helps in averting damage. But largely he pressured spending a good deal of time on the board and keeping affected individual. “Learning to skate is about possessing a full feel for the board beneath you,” he reported. “Trust me, it is challenging to discover. I’ve been undertaking it for almost 20 several years and I slam every time I go skate.”

The education program I settled on (see “My A single-Thirty day period Ollie Approach,” down below) was slow going at very first. Just pushing myself about proved to be loads of get the job done, and I was uncertain I’d get airborne in only a month. But a couple weeks and many stumbles later, I received snug. Yoga assisted my sore muscles recuperate, and viewing skate video clips retained me impressed. A lot more typically than not, I went out once more just after logging my every day observe hour because I’d experienced some epiphany I wished to check out.

A few weeks in, I was assured ample to attempt an ollie. Soon after a couple days, I figured out the sequence of motions while holding onto a fence. Then I lower myself loose. Later on that day, I crouched down, popped upward, felt the board rise to my toes, and landed on all 4 wheels with a satisfying clack.

The author performs an ollie

By the stop of 7 days 4, I was ready to get the board a couple inches off the floor. Which is not a good deal, but it was an ollie—my ollie—and it felt fairly fucking neat. I knew I couldn’t halt there. Taking into consideration which trick to conquer upcoming, I took to heart another recommendation from Torgerson.

nollie frontside hurricane

An superior rail trick that Davis Torgerson pioneered.

“The only guidance I have in terms of tricks is to get addicted,” he reported. “You ­almost have to lie in mattress at night time pondering what you’re going to try, how substantially harder you’re going to commit.”

However, as of this creating, I’m only a month in and my ollies scarcely apparent a crack in the pavement, I can say that I’m addicted: going to the park every day, figuring out tricks, looking at the constructed landscape in a new way. I almost certainly won’t at any time hit a nollie frontside hurricane like Torgerson, but probably I’ll last but not least drop into a mini ramp.

My A single-Thirty day period Ollie Approach

There are two issues you need to have to do well at skateboarding: patience and a good deal of observe. Here was my two-hour every day program.

one. A single hour on the board. Thirty minutes warming up and practising what I’d uncovered so much, and thirty minutes functioning on a new trick or skill.

Rodney Mullen

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

2. Thirty minutes of yoga, with an emphasis on stretching, security, and stability. All through the pandemic, I began following the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene. (There is even a lesson specifically for skaters.)

3. Thirty minutes viewing skate video clips. Some favor­ites incorporate Torgerson’s part in Boon­doggle, World Industries’ Trilogy, and just about anything with Rodney Mullen in it.

To guidebook my progress, I concentrated on the pursuing techniques:


Pivoting on the rear wheels to alter way.


A wheelie. Balancing on the entrance or again wheels while rolling.

7 days one: Pushing, turning, relocating starts.

7 days 2: Kickturns, manuals, having on and off the board in several techniques.

7 days 3: Driving numerous terrain, checking out a skate park, starting off to ollie.

7 days 4: Ollie, ollie, ollie.