What should big or tall skaters do when learning to skateboard?

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One skateboarder named Martin asked, "I'm a big guy for skating , 6' 2", and I have size 12 feet. I haven't met any skaters as tall as me. I know that Tony Hawk and Andrew Reynolds are big guys, so it's no excuse. I was wondering if a bigger skater should approach skating differently?"

I get this question a lot, actually. Being a bigger guy just means you’ll have to work harder. Your center of gravity is a lot higher so you’ll fall easier, plus if you are heavier you’ll have to push and jump that much harder to move around.

Is a Bigger Board Necessary?

Some bigger skaters get wider, or larger boards to compensate. That does work, but mostly only if you want to stick to ramp riding. If you want to do tricks, you’ll still want a smaller board. Having a smaller skateboard just makes doing technical tricks so much easier. Yeah, your bigger feet will get in the way, but with practice, you’ll do just fine.

So, my suggestion to most larger guys is to just skate like anyone else. And, just like any other skater, if you find yourself wanting a larger board, then go get one. But I wouldn’t say that getting a huge board is the key or anything like that. Really, the key is just more work! It’s not the answer most guys hope for, but it DOES work out!

Protect Yourself

One thing you can do, though, is to wear more padding. When you are bigger, you get hurt more when you fall. And when you’re taller, you just fall more. So the combo can be pretty vicious.

If you can stand looking lame, wear some pads. Always wear a helmet, plus maybe some elbow pads, wrist guards, knee pads if you are on ramps or even padded shorts. By no means do you NEED to do this, but you CAN! And if you are nervous about looking lame, well, aren't you bigger than everyone else!?

So, the bottom line is, if you are a larger skater, unfortunately, there isn't any quick fix to get good at skateboarding. It's going to take work, but not an unreasonable amount. On the plus side of being a large skater, if you collide with anyone at the skatepark, they will likely lose in the exchange. People won't mess with you as much. If you take to bombing down hills, you should be able to get up to wonderfully dangerous speeds. Plus, if you get at all good, you'll attract more ladies than puny skaters.

See, it all works out! Relax, have fun, and take learning to skate at your own speed. Don't compare yourself to other skaters - enjoy yourself, keep practicing, and you'll learn to skate just fine!