10 Skateboarding Tips From The Pros
Whether you’re a seasoned skater or just starting out, there’s always a way to step up your game. This is just one of the reasons that skating is such a rewarding activity. We’ve compiled this list of 10 top tips from the legends of the pro skating world, so you can take your skating to the next level.
1. Skate Your Own Game
Ryan Sheckler, star of the MTV show Life of Ryan and listed in Fox Weekly's ‘15 Most Influential Skateboarders of All-Time’, describes skateboarding as ‘pure freedom’. He says, “You don’t have to skate like anyone else or try the tricks that anyone else is doing.”
Photo by Locale
Looking to others can be great for inspiration, but when you’re on your board, it’s all about what you bring to the table… so, clear your head and skate your game.
2. Get Back Up When You Fall
We’ve got a couple more tips from Ryan Sheckler, and this one is a lesson in resilience. He explains that it takes willpower to fall really hard, but to get back up and try again. “It teaches your brain how to never give up.” This dude really practices what he preaches, as in a 2015 interview he shared how he has broken his elbows a whopping 10 times!
3. Visualise All Your Tricks
Ryan Sheckler also shares how he visualises all his tricks. He says you should visualise ‘over and over’ your body position, the landing and how you want it to look.
“Maybe you will land your tricks, maybe you won’t… but that’s the risk you take and that’s exciting.”
He’s not the only pro to preach visualisation. Bob Burnquist, the first skateboarder to land a ‘fakie 900’, has shared in interviews about the powerful tool of visualisation.
4. Practice Until You Could Do It Blindfolded
Ok, let’s move onto Rodney Mullen, who is widely considered the most influential street skater in the history of the sport, being credited for inventing numerous tricks, including the flatground ollie, kickflip, heelflip, impossible, and 360-flip. In his book The Mutt: How to skateboard and not kill yourself, Mullen shares that part of his training schedule includes‘doing my runs over and over with my eyes closed’. Now, I’m not sure this fits the book title, but it goes to show just how much muscle memory Rodney Mullen has, how much he trains and how well he knows his board and tricks.
Photo by X Games
Some say practice makes perfect; others say practice makes progress. However, there’s no denying that practice is a huge component to being a competent skateboarder.
5. Think Of Skateboarding As Art
Mark Gonzales, pioneer of modern street skateboarding, talks of art and skateboarding on the same level. He says, “Thinkof art and skateboarding as a way of conquering boredom and blues.”
Photo by Transworld Skateboarding
Today, there is a lot of talk around mental health and how we can improve it. I think it’s interesting to hear a pro-skateboarder sharing about the use of skateboarding to conquer the ‘blues’. If you think of skateboarding as more than a hobby, but a work of art and a channel to express your emotions, it opens up a whole world of possibility.
6. You Have To Be Disciplined, Determined And Work Hard
Tony Hawk, probably the most recognisable name to those in and out of the skateboarding community because of his hugely successful video games, shares that being disciplined, determined and working hard are crucial to successful skating. In an interview, he shared that he actually believes he is not a natural skater. It was something he had to work on a lot, but his older brother was a surfer who also skated and some of his neighbourhood friends skated too, so he picked it up. As a result of his discipline and determination, he has skated almost everyday for 43 years! That’s putting in some serious skating hours.
Photo by Sony
7. You Can Start Skating At Any Age
Tony Hawk also shared that it’s not just for young people. Although he says, “Starting young helps with resilience and balance,” he doesn’t think you have to be young to be a skateboarder. In fact, he shares that there are plenty of facilities to try skating if you’re older.
8. There Are So Many Tricks - Be Open
Back to pro Brazilian-American skateboarder Bob Burnquist. In an interview, he shared the frustration he had if he wasn’t learning multiple tricks a day, but when you are learning new tricks, it’s a process. Put in the work with the basics and you can always build, so keep progressing and pushing.
“Whether you see it or not, in your mind you have to visualise it to materialise it.”
Photo by X Games
So be open to learning new tricks and find the belief to materialise what you can visualise.
9. It’s Not Only For Dudes
Elissa Steamer is a shining example of a woman who tore her way into the skateboarding hall of fame in 2015 as the pioneering female pro, paving the way for more women in the sport.
Her achievements include:
- Being pro for Toy Machine, sponsored by Bootleg and riding for Zero
- Achieving 4 times X Games gold medalist in the women’s street division
- Gaining multiple first place titles at Slam City Jam, Gravity Games, World Cup, Vans Triple Crown and the Malaysian X Games
- Being the first female to star in a Tony Hawk video game
- Being the most successful professional female skateboarder in history
Photo by My Hero
So if you’re a chick and you want to skate, there is opportunity out there for you.
10. Have A Fearless, Unapologetic Attitude
Let’s face it: you don’t make history by following the crowd and you can’t push boundaries without doing your own thing. The late Jay Adams was awarded the TWS Legend Award and was known for his attitude as described by even more of the greats of the skateboarding world. Steve Olson said Jay Adams had an attitude of “I couldn’t care less what you think. This is what I’m going to do, make it or not,” that he had 100% passion and commitment. Dave Hackett said Jay Adams was spontaneous and did things just because he would feel it. Lance Mountain described Jay Adams style as ‘emulating surfing’.
Photo by The Hundreds
The point is, Jay Adams wouldn’t be as revered as he is today if he hadn’t had an unapologetic attitude about doing his own thing, and this holds him in legend status amongst the skating pros.
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31 marzo 2021 — Sarah Rachel