Skateboarding is more than just a sport. It’s a cultural phenomenon that has influenced language, music, arts and fashion. Aside from competitive events, the sport has no rules, and this somehow has created a rebellious spirit within the skateboarding culture which has been wholeheartedly embraced by millions of youths from around the world. While UK can’t boast a large population of skateboarders yet, the interest in the sport is growing, particularly among children and young teens. Many parents worry about their child when they declare their love for skateboarding, due to the injuries associated with the sport and even sometimes with the rebellious culture that surrounds it, but fear not, here is a quick guide to get you ready if your child asks for a skateboard.
Type of Skateboards for Kids
Technically, there is very little difference between skateboards for kids and adults. The footwork between a child and an adult on a typical skateboard, which measures about 27″ to 31″ in length, is hardly different. However, some companies do market slightly smaller models with decks measuring about 21” to 22” in length.
Either length is fine for your child. However, in the long run, it’s perhaps better to get the standard sized one. Otherwise, when your child eventually upgrades from a smaller to standard sized skateboard, he or she will have to spend a considerable amount of time adapting to new size.
However, you have to pay close attention to the grades of the skateboard, which are typically classified as Beginner, Advanced and Pro. What is the difference between the three grades? Just one difference – the type of materials used in the wheels and bearings. Beginner grade boards are usually fitted with softer materials that allows for smother movement on street and pavements. Pro boards, meanwhile, use harder materials which are more durable and reduce the ‘bounce’ when landing.
The final consideration when buying kids skateboards is the artwork. As far as possible, leave this decision to your child, who will decide on the type of artwork that speaks loudest to him or her. It will probably involve some graffiti, a tribal motive or the image of a prominent anti-establishment personality.
It’s also probably worth noting that there are electric-powered skateboards in the market designed for children age five and older. They are a bit heavy, but that’s fine, because all five-year-olds want to do with them is cruise- just make sure they are supervised!
Okay, but what about longboards?
Although they look similar, longboards are not only bigger than skateboards, they also serve a different function. Measuring approximately 33” to 59” in length, longboards are designed for high-speed cruising and turning. Competitive longboarding usually involves extended downhill runs and slaloming. Performing tricks on a longboard is exceptionally hard, but they are easier to master for beginners.
Skateboarding is a dangerous sport; your child will probably get injured numerous times. To minimise the risk of suffering a serious injury, they must wear a certified skateboard helmet. Make sure the helmet fits your child well, and do not move around when he turns or nods. Next, get elbow and knee pads, as well as wrist guards. Instil in your child the habit of wearing all the protective gears every time he or she goes skateboarding. You should probably also check out the local skate park to make sure the place is professionally managed.