So you want to start skateboarding, but none of your friends skate. Or you already skateboard, but maybe you just moved or life has separated you and your skateboarding friends.
Or maybe you just want to skate alone as a relaxing hobby. That’s totally fine too.
When I got back into skating during grad school, I started skating alone at first. Probably for the first 3 months back at it, I was skateboarding on my own and I had a great time nonetheless.
Honestly, one of the things I love about skateboarding is that you don’t need anyone else to do it.
So let’s go over some tips that helped me and can help you make the most out of the experience of skateboarding alone.
1. Don’t Push Your Boundaries Too Much
If you are skating alone by yourself often you want to focus on improving a trick or learning something new. You don’t have friends to distract you and it can be soothing to focus on a challenging new trick you want to learn.
This is great for flatground and you really can’t go wrong there. However, for certain tricks you need to understand that you are by yourself and no one is around to help you.
So this means skating deep bowls, vert ramps, or doing tricks of stair sets are much riskier. Not that you’re more likely to injure yourself, but if you do get a head injury with no one around then things can turn deadly quick. Heads bleed a lot. So something that wouldn’t be a big deal with a friend to give you a towel and drive you to the hospital could become genuinely deadly on your own.
I’m not trying to scare you, but just want you to keep that in mind while you’re skating on your own. I usually stick to flatground when I skate by myself or do transition tricks I’m already really comfortable with.
2. Video Yourself
One of the most entertaining things to do with skating is to make your own video clips and share your skating with friends or the internet. If you are by yourself, then it is normal to think that you won’t be getting any good video or pictures of your skating.
This is not the case.
If you are skating a bowl or transition then a selfie stick and a go pro can make amazing footage. A simple tripod and iPhone can let you get great clips of your skating that you can edit afterward. So give it a try. At the very least you can see how much you’re improving over time.
I seriously can’t recommend this enough. Plus you can really get some sick edits from little to no gear. Start with a simple tripod and your phone. If you’re having fun then move onto a go pro and attachments for your helmet and a selfie stick.
3. Focus on How You Want to Skate
One of the benefits of skating by yourself is that you can focus completely on what you want to improve or on how your want to skate. If you’re a beginner and you need to spend 3 hours failing to ollie, then there’s no pressure from other skaters to do anything else.
There simply isn’t anyone around who cares. I’m not saying you should skate to impress others, but it’s easier to work through the grudging aspects of skating on your own. At least I have felt that way.
Additionally, if you’re on your own at an empty skatepark, you can spend as much time as you want to build up the confidence to drop into that quarterpipe for the first time. You can be selfish and use a ledge over and over without sharing. There is no one else around to share with.
There also really is no one to judge you. You can play your own music and skate at your own pace. Enjoy a beer and cruise around the neighborhood. Or grind out the tricks that have been alluding you.
If you are struggling with doing an ollie while moving then check out our data-driven guide of common problems that happen while doing a moving ollie.
4. Explore Hidden Spots
One of my favorite things to do on my own, whether I’m skateboarding or not, is to explore new places. I get such a thrill out of it. Also, most people might not be willing to show up somewhere completely random just on the off chance that you find a new spot to skate.
Plus there is no letdown for the other person if you don’t find anything. If you can find a like-minded exploring buddy, then more power to you, but this often isn’t the case.
Because you can skate anywhere, skateboarding lends itself to urban exploration. So go out and try it. Maybe you’ll find a great new spot you can keep for yourself or tell your friends. It’s up to you. How, where, and when you skate is all up to you. It’s your own little world.
In the wise words of Alien Workshop, create your bubble. I don’t know who actually said that, but I saw it on an Alien Workshop skateboard and liked it.
5. Go Skate Whenever is Convenient to You
If you aren’t making plans with other people, then you can go skate whenever you want. This especially applies if you live in the city and have a car. When I felt upset or needed a mental break, I knew I could hop in my car and go skate somewhere.
I went skateboarding around midnight on a Friday summer night simply because I wanted to get out and hadn’t made plans. I skated the roof of a lit parking garage at my local university. It was secluded, the moon was shining, and I could just vibe and skate to my own music.
There was little chance that I could call up a friend for a sudden midnight skate session. So skating alone was my only option at the time. I went and had a wonderful time. I felt so in control and free to pursue whatever I wanted to do.
So this is a great benefit that you only really have when you are skating alone. You can skate whenever you want. If you want the skatepark to yourself, then you’re free to wake up at 7 am and go. If your plans get canceled you can just pivot to go skate instead.
6. Bring Headphones or a Bluetooth Speaker
If you don’t have other skaters or skateboarding friends to chat up then music is essential for a skate session. I usually use headphones, but a Bluetooth speaker is the best option. That way you don’t need to keep your phone in your pocket while you’re skating. It’s easy to end up having it fall out or you could land on it and crack the screen.
One interesting thing about skateboarding alone is that there is no one else to complain about music or complain about your song selection. You can play whatever artist you’re vibing at the time and even at whatever volume you want. As long as the space isn’t too public that is.
If you don’t have a Bluetooth speaker you can get a cheap, decent one for about $20-$30 on Amazon. Otherwise, if you are using headphones then I recommend wireless headphones. The wires can get caught on your clothes when you pop an ollie.
My personal favorite artists to listen for a skate session are Mac Miller, Vince Staples, and Brockhampton. Check them out.
7. Don’t Shy Away from Skateparks
Skateparks are often the best place to skate in an area. The obstacles are designed to be skateable, the concrete is smooth, and there aren’t any cars or bystanders around other than other skaters.
If you are skating alone, it is easy to think that you should steer clear from skateparks as you don’t want to be seen alone. This is crazy. Going to the skatepark can be intimidating if you are alone or a beginner, but it shouldn’t be. People show up at the skatepark alone all the time and you don’t need to be self-consious.
Often you will need to start showing up at the skatepark alone if you want to start meeting other skaters. Just be friendly and not afraid to ask for help with a trick or to just say hi. Most people are friendly and happy to meet new people.
If you are nervous about skating in public, you can check out our guide to overcoming the fear of skating in public and in skateparks here.
8. Understand the Freedom
Skateboarding embodies freedom in itself. Honestly, the whole sport was born of counter-culture groups. This counter-culture attitude really took hold in skateboarding in the 1990s and persists today.
Skateboarding is about expressing yourself, finding your own style, and spending time away from the pressures and reality of normal life. This theme is presented again and again in skateboarding documentaries, fictional adaptations such as Skater Girl, and in the personal stories of so many skaters. It’s amazing and it’s just true.
So as you’re skateboarding alone, embrace that. You have complete control over this space in your life. You choose when, where, and how you skate. You choose your own style and the design of your board, wheels, and grip tape. You don’t need to conform to conventional skater fashion, because it doesn’t matter.
Look at Ali Boulala skating in leather jackets and tighter pants imitating Sid Viscious. Ali was a legend.
What matters is that you express yourself and you feel free to do so. If someone tells you you need to wear baggy pants and these types of shoes then they’re childish and don’t understand what skateboarding is. Their ego is caught up in the image of skateboarding.
You are free and skating alone can help remind you of that. Even if you feel stuck in a bad day job or family situation and you feel there is no way out. There is. It might take time, but there are always ways to make a situation better.
And in the meantime, skateboarding can help be your piece of freedom while you work towards changing that situation.
9. Don’t Care What Other People Think
People might see you skating alone and stare. They might see you fall and laugh. They might judge you for skateboarding as an adult.
These judgments might even come from other skaters. But none of them matter.
How you spend your free time and what skateboarding means to you is personal to you. People judge others all the time over things they can’t control. Some people think those who work in the service industry don’t deserve respect or poor people deserve to be poor. They actually believe in the idea of meritocracy in our capitalistic society and project that while evaluating other people’s worth.
I’m not trying to ramble too much, but your personal values and your personal goals and aspirations are more important than what any stranger might have to say. People will always judge you. You’ll never escape that, but you can surround yourself with understanding and supportive friends. And you can simply be proud of who you are and not pay them any attention.
Whether you are skating alone or pursuing your dream job, don’t care what other people think. You understand the reasons why and you don’t owe anyone an explanation.
So there are my tips to skating alone mixed in with some general life advice.
These ideas and tips really helped me when I first got back into skating and was exclusively skating on my own. I still love to go skateboarding on my own and have figured out these tips from my own experiences.
So thanks so much for reading and look out for more articles from Board and Wheels. There is lots of more content coming soon.