Top Hazards and How to Mitigate Them
1. Not Knowing How to Fall
Mitigate: Learn the art of falling. If you feel like you’re about to lose control, crouch down so you don’t have as far to fall. Beyond that, try landing on the fleshy parts of your body and rolling rather than absorbing the force with your hands, wrists and arms. As much as possible, go limp rather than tensing up as you tumble. Finally, practice falling properly on grass or another soft surface.
Mitigate: Keep away from motorized vehicles and pedestrians by skateboarding in a supervised skate park that has professionally designed ramps, bowls and rails. Knowing the basics of how to stop, slow down and turn before you put yourself out there with others will significantly cut down on your number of crashes.
3. Attempting Tricks Beyond Your Skill Level
Mitigate: Find yourself a good coach/tutorial, take it one step at a time (i.e., be patient), and, ideally, practice in a controlled environment that has access to emergency medical transport and care.
4. Failure to Properly Inspect and Maintain Your Board
Mitigate: Check your board for problems that need repair before hopping on, such as loose or broken parts, sharp or jagged edges, a slippery top surface, and nicks or cracks in the wheels.
5. Inadequate Protective Gear
Mitigate: Standard safety gear includes 1) a properly fitted skateboard helmet that meets industry
standards; 2) close-toed shoes with gum rubber soles; 3) wrist guards; and 4) elbow and knee pads.
6. Inadequate Strength Training and Stretching
7. Sketchy Conditions
Mitigate: Avoid homemade ramps, skateboarding in wet weather, and irregular surfaces with rocks and debris.
MUST-HAVE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
This one is a no-brainer (pun intended), since skateboarding is a sport that poses a significant risk of your head hitting something hard, like concrete, steel or asphalt. For starters, you’ll need a helmet that meets Consumer Product Safety Commission (ASTM F1492) or Snell Memorial Foundation (N-92) SKATEBOARDING February 2019 standards for skateboarding. Keep in mind that you must replace your helmet if visibly damaged (e.g., a cracked shell or crushed liner) and/or when directed by the manufacturer. Check for the following recommended helmet features:
Sits flat on head with bottom edge parallel to the ground
Has side straps that form a “V” around the ears
Has a tightly fastening buckle, with room for only two fingers under the chin strap
Comes with removable pads for customizing fit
Doesn’t move when you shake your head
Doesn’t interfere with your movement, vision or hearing
Speaking broadly, skateboarding shoes should be closed-toed and slip-resistant. Beyond that, you need
to choose between two types of soles, depending on your skateboarding style. Vulcanized soles, which
are slimmer, lighter and more flexible, provide better feel but less cushioning. The bulkier cupsoles
provide more cushioning for heavier landings and more aerial tricks. Other features to look for in a skate
shoe include a durable upper material, such as suede, reinforced stitching, lace guards and flat soles
with sticky gum rubber, rather than rubber infused with PVC.
Since people instinctively try to break their falls with their hands, wrists are the most common body part
injured in skateboarding. A good pair of wrist guards will significantly reduce the risk of twisting,
spraining or breaking your wrist and allow for more sliding and less pounding when you fall. Not to be
confused with gloves, which primarily protect the palms of the hands, wrist guards have a rigid piece of
plastic that arches the wrist back to some degree, thereby limiting the range of motion and protecting
Elbow and Knee Pads
A sturdy set of elbow and knee pads will not only reduce the severity of cuts, scrapes and bruises, but
also absorb impact and promote sliding during wipeouts. For skateboarding, you’ll need hard outer shells surrounding soft EVA foam cushions on the elbows and knees. Pads should be snug so they don’t
slip off, but not so tight that they restrict movement or cut off circulation.
Promotion of all skateboarding disciplines.
Advocacy for safe and affordable public skateparks.
International governing body for skateboarder and roller sports.