It was the mid 80’s and my early teens when I first stepped on a skateboard, and that skateboard was a banana board. After only a week of rolling up and down my street on that little thing I was hooked. Now when I wasn’t riding my BMX I was skating!
It wasn’t very long before I needed something a larger than the banana board, so I then got myself a full size, albeit toy grade, skateboard.
As the summer months rolled on and my skills improved it was time for another upgrade, so I scraped together all of my pocket money and bought myself something that was well above my skill set: A Santa Cruz Hosoi with Indy trucks and Bullet 66 wheels.
By the end of that summer I had just about mastered the basics, including the Ollie, Nollie, No Comply and 720 Frontside Spin.
A few years later mountain biking hit the scene in a big way, and by the end of the 80’s my short-lived love affair with skateboarding came to an end as I spent more and more time on two fat tyres.
28 Years Later
It was summer 2018, and while out shopping I spot a toy skateboard for sale and buy it for my 9-year-old niece. She’d never actually ridden a skateboard before, but I knew she would love to try. Before showing my niece how it was done I decided to have a sneaky go first while no one was looking, and so for the first time in 28 years I stepped back onto a skateboard.
It was a wobbly start but before long I was cruising around the car park, and it was then that I felt a sudden rush of nostalgia followed by a little regret, regret that I stopped skating all those years ago. After the lesson I started to wonder if there were many people my age still skating, so I asked Google and it turned out that there are loads of them, in fact there are some still skating in their 70’s. I then heard about the Middle Age Shred Facebook group (MAS) which is specifically aimed at skaters aged 35 and over.
After joining MAS and introducing myself, a few members told me that they regularly meet at my local skatepark and suggested that I go along to the next session even though I didn’t have my own skateboard yet. The following week I headed down to my local skatepark and met the MAS guys and it was fantastic, one of them even brought along a spare board for me to try out. What really blew me away was how many skaters there were who were my age and older, there must have been at least 30 of them!
Once again I was hooked and my mind was made up: I’m buying a skateboard.
It’s been 4 months since I first stepped back on a skateboard and I’m now regularly frequenting my local skatepark. My setup is a Death Skateboards pool shaped deck with Ricta wheels and Film trucks from Native Skate Store.
I’m a lot more cautious skating now than I was when I was a rubbery-boned child. Falls are a lot harder and injuries take a little longer to heal, but despite all of that I’m loving it and making some progress. I’m slowly relearning the Ollie, I’ve mastered Powerslides, I’m hurtling down ramps, Kickturning on ramps, doing Frontside 720 Spins, all fairly basic stuff at the moment but improving a little more with every visit.
I do occasionally feel a little self-conscious when I’m on the board as I know there are people out there who don’t think you should be skateboarding when you’re over a certain age. The way I see though, if it’s ok to ride a bike, hit a golf or tennis ball, kick a football, ski, snowboard, run, or do any other kind of sporting activity after 40, then skateboarding should be no different.