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


“Come on, Jon! Just commit!”

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

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

That was fairly substantially the extent of my skateboarding practical experience. Because then I have typically stuck to the slow, steady speed of stamina sporting activities like operating and nordic skiing. But right after expending most of a weekend participating in the reboot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater one+two final year, I felt the urge to go outdoors and do the authentic factor. I was reminded of the skating tradition I never ever engaged with and inspired 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 entrance foot ahead. Rodney Mullen performed the initially flat-floor ollie in 1982.

In the spirit of the marathon teaching plans I diligently followed in many years past, I seemed for a regime that would be acceptable for an damage-averse adult and would assist me find out to pop an ollie (see sidebar)—the foundational trick of avenue skating. No dice. Skateboarding, it turns out, doesn’t appeal to a ton of fitness obsessives wanting to routinize the studying method. So I devised my personal, based on assistance from experienced skater and fellow Minnesotan Davis Torgerson.


Slipping 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 movement of skating. Stretching also assists in staying away from damage. But typically he pressured expending a ton of time on the board and being affected individual. “Learning to skate is about owning a complete really feel for the board underneath you,” he mentioned. “Trust me, it’s challenging to find out. I have been performing it for approximately 20 many years and I slam every time I go skate.”

The teaching regime I settled on (see “My A single-Month Ollie System,” under) was slow likely at initially. Just pushing myself around proved to be a good deal of do the job, and I was uncertain I’d get airborne in only a month. But a couple months and numerous stumbles afterwards, I bought snug. Yoga served my sore muscle tissue recuperate, and viewing skate video clips held me inspired. More typically than not, I went out yet again right after logging my day-to-day practice hour since I’d experienced some epiphany I wanted to take a look at.

Three months in, I was confident enough to attempt an ollie. Following a couple times, I figured out the sequence of motions while holding onto a fence. Then I slice myself free. Later on that working day, I crouched down, popped upward, felt the board rise to my feet, and landed on all four wheels with a fulfilling clack.

The author performs an ollie

By the finish of 7 days four, I was in a position to get the board a couple inches off the floor. That’s not a ton, but it was an ollie—my ollie—and it felt fairly fucking awesome. I knew I couldn’t cease there. Thinking of which trick to conquer next, I took to coronary heart yet another suggestion from Torgerson.

nollie frontside hurricane

An sophisticated rail trick that Davis Torgerson pioneered.

“The only assistance I have in phrases of tricks is to get addicted,” he mentioned. “You ­almost have to lie in bed at night pondering what you are likely to try out, how substantially tougher you are likely to commit.”

Even though, as of this writing, I’m only a month in and my ollies scarcely distinct a crack in the pavement, I can say that I’m addicted: likely to the park every working day, figuring out tricks, looking at the developed landscape in a new way. I most likely won’t at any time strike a nollie frontside hurricane like Torgerson, but probably I’ll at last drop into a mini ramp.

My A single-Month Ollie System

There are two points you have to have to realize success at skateboarding: patience and a ton of practice. Below was my two-hour day-to-day regime.

one. A single hour on the board. 30 minutes warming up and practising what I’d discovered so much, and thirty minutes functioning on a new trick or talent.

Rodney Mullen

The godfather of avenue skating. Terms really do not do him justice.

two. 30 minutes of yoga, with an emphasis on stretching, stability, and balance. Through the pandemic, I began following the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene. (There’s even a lesson specially for skaters.)

three. 30 minutes viewing skate video clips. Some favor­ites involve Torgerson’s portion in Boon­doggle, Globe Industries’ Trilogy, and nearly anything with Rodney Mullen in it.

To guideline my progress, I centered on the adhering to techniques:


Pivoting on the rear wheels to transform direction.


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

7 days one: Pushing, turning, transferring commences.

7 days two: Kickturns, manuals, getting on and off the board in numerous ways.

7 days three: Driving diverse terrain, browsing a skate park, beginning to ollie.

7 days 4: Ollie, ollie, ollie.