Yeah, I did it. Got a skateboard. Longboard, actually. They're different breeds of the same four-wheeled animal. Quite different critters.
Then my inner voice, which hopefully isn't a senile or self-destructive one, spoke to me. "Dude, do it!" Since it used the word dude, I trusted the voice. Figured it was in tune with the skateboarding vibe.
After talking with the dudes at Salem's Exit Real World skateboard/snowboard shop, I settled on a Landyachtz longboard, The Switch. The description appealed to me, even though I have no idea what the "new school freeride movement" is.
Sure seems like something I need to be a part of, whatever it is.
Our premier freeride specific board which has helped define the emerging ride style of today's longboarder. This board has given riders of all levels the chance to experience the new school freeride movement making stand up slides and drifting easier than ever.
I like: how the platform is dropped low; it feels stable... how the board is symmetrical, so I can't get it pointed the wrong way... how there's "dropped hips" (sounds like my aging body) at each end where my feet can get pretty much locked in.
If you are a 50'ish AARP member or even -- gasp! -- a social security recipient (I'm both) who is considering getting a longboard, my main message is what I said above. Dude, do it!
After you think about it. Like I did.
I'm physically fit. I do Tai Chi. I ballroom dance. I regularly lift weights and do the ellipical trainer aerobic thing. I'm handling my longboard quite well after just an hour or so of practicing. Video evidence below. Many fellow senior citizens could follow in my Vans-clad footsteps.
Step 1 at the skateboard shop: tell the salesman, "I want to look cool, even if I end up longboarding like shit."
Step 2: be safe. I ended up buying a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and gloves. So far I've only worn the knee pads and gloves, because I've been practicing at slow speeds on flat ground. When I go out on a road, the helmet and elbow pads will go on also.
I've ridden a big Suzuki Burgman 650 scooter for three years, never failing to wear a full set of protective gear every time I get on it. (I'm selling the scooter, figuring that one risky activity at a time is enough for me; the skateboard shop dudes, by the way, told me that longboarding is way safer than motorcycling/scootering; I agree.)
So I'm used to reducing risk by wearing the right gear. Us senior citizen skateboarders need to be particularly attentive to this, given that we heal more slowly than younger folk.
In my two days of practicing, I've had a few stumbles, but no falls. I've even been able to hold my iPhone while I recorded some on-board video action. My wife said, "Who wants to see where you're going, without seeing you on the board?"
Well, I'm not expecting my Senior Citizen Skateboarder series will go viral on You Tube. And soon I'll share some third-person view videos of me in my oh-so-cool Vans shoes doing whatever I'm able to do on my longboard.
Which is, so far, push off... go in a straight line... stop by a foot drag... make sweeping turns on flat ground.