by hamish richardson ~
I’ve learnt to skate with two friends over lockdown. We’re all twenty-five (well, I’m twenty-four and three quarters, but who’s counting) and none of us had stepped foot in a skate park before November. It’s been amazing and has changed my lockdown life. Whilst saying this, having been sucked into Warzone with three friends, I could’ve probably (and happily) spent the last twelve months on my sofa/in Verdansk. Here are a few random thoughts my frazzled work-from-home brain can muster about learning to skate. FYI the purpose of this column is to convince people to learn how to skate and/or learn something challenging and new.
Outside of a work environment, I can’t remember the last time I learned something new. Over the last few years since leaving university, I’ve been settling into London and my cushty routine: bit of work, bit of touch rugby, bit of partying (covid-willing). It’s hard to find a fault with this, I’ve been spending good time with good friends. I didn’t realise what I was missing until I started properly learning something new. This is a cliché, but I challenged myself and it was awesome.
I felt uncomfortable going to the skate park (scary teenagers), it hurt when I fell (my right bum cheek has been bruised for the last six months) and it took fucking ages to get good (I use define ‘good’ in the most abstract way). It was thrilling learning new tricks each week, it’s been exciting to explore different outside skate parks in London and I’ve met a load of cool people I would never have crossed paths with (scart skatepark teenagers aren’t that scary).
The last thing to say is that skating is objectively cool. It’s like smoking. “The bottom line is, smoking is cool, and you know it.” (Bing, 1994). Skating is cool, and you know it.
Where to start:
- Buy yourself a board. Don’t go for the cheapest board on Amazon, it’ll be shit. Get yourself a simple board on Route One, £40-80. https://www.routeone.co.uk/collections/complete-skateboards
- Buy yourself some pads. Safety first. I saw an experienced skater fall without a helmet in Clapham last week. He gave himself a concussion. I bumped into him at the park this morning and he was wearing one, swearing he’d never go without it again. Helmet, knees, elbows and wrists are a must.
- Skate around the streets first. Spend a few weeks getting super comfortable cruising around the streets before even considering doing anything in the park. You need to be able to walk before you can run.
- Once you feel comfortable on the board, I’d recommend getting a skate lesson to introduce you to the park and give you next steps. Money well spent at places like Hop King, £45. https://shop.hopking.org/products/private-skateboard-lessons