Skateboarding is one of the most popular extreme sports in Shanghai and teaches practitioners self-discipline and perseverance. Most youngsters take up skateboarding because it’s fun and they like the challenge. A common concern about skateboarding among the public is safety. Bobby Male, a 2015 Shanghai International Excellence Award winner, is a skateboarder and skateboarding coach in Shanghai and provides some tips for getting started.
Wear proper protective equipment Before getting on your skateboard, empty your pockets of all hard and sharp objects and put on your protective gear. Essential protective equipment includes: a properly fitting helmet, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads and shoes.
• Choose a safe environment Skateboard only on smooth pavement away from traffic and crowds, preferably in a supervised skate park. Never hold onto the side or rear of a moving vehicle while riding a skateboard. You could fall or be thrown into oncoming traffic if the vehicle suddenly slows, stops or turns. Never use your skateboard in wet weather. Don’t skateboard in crowded walkways or in darkness. Always screen the area before you skateboard, inspecting surfaces for rocks and other debris.
• Use a quality skateboard You’d better choose quality and professional skateboards from stores owned by professional skateboarders instead of supermarkets or fashion stores. Ask for expert advice before choosing your own skateboard that is the most suitable for you based on your ability. Skateboards have three parts — the deck (the board itself), the trucks (the mechanism to which wheels are attached) and the wheels.
• Don’t push yourself too hard Skateboarding isn’t much more dangerous than any other sport as long as you’re careful and learn it step by step. No one has to jump down stairs or slide down rails. If you pay attention to your movement and don’t push yourself too hard, you can be safe since you don’t have to play against others during this kind of free-style action sport. Even if you are eager to try some hard tricks you can’t do and fight for a little bit, you can still learn how to fall safely.