Overcoming Skate fear: A reader’s perspective

Words by Aimee Hutchinson

We enjoyed this first person reader perspective on overcoming the skate fear demons and thought you guys would like it too. Thanks to Aimee for sending it in. Ride on.

I skated when I was younger. And by “skated” I mean I skated to skate parks in and around Manchester, then stared through the railings in awe of the boys doing awesome tricks, far too scared to actually go in. Then I would skate home and play Tony Hawks on the playstation, telling myself “Next time, I’ll totally get through the door”.

I’m not saying this wasn’t fun, but in three years of teenage skate passion I just about learnt to do on ollie. I loved skating and skate culture – the clothes, the music, the attitude. But I didn’t know any girls who skated and the park was just too intimidating.

Fast forward to the age of 24. College, university, jobs all happened and made me forget about skating. Then on a whim I took a Snowboard Beginner Course at Manchester Chill Factor. I loved it instantly. It brought back everything I loved about skating but with none of the fear. I found that snowboarding and snowboarders make for a very beginner friendly culture. I quickly met a group of people to board with of all abilities from absolute beginner to semi –pro. And I didn’t feel intimidated about joining in with the big lads because they were, for the most part, helpful and encouraging.

My love for boardsports was back. I went to Newquay for a week of surf lessons and was in my element. And also a world of pain (it looks so effortless, it’s not!) Sadly, Manchester is not renowned for its waves so this was only ever going to be a holiday pursuit.

I have read Cooler magazine for a few years both online and in print. I read the “Introduction to Longboarding” article [do click on it, it’s super useful!] earlier this year and was desperate to try it. But for some reason the old “Skate Park Fear” came back. I couldn’t imagine just picking up a board and going for a skate around Salford Quays. I’m 28 years old. I should be playing squash or some other sensible sport! What if I Fell In Front Of People? The Shame!

Months were spent looking longingly at longboards everytime I was in a skate/snowboard shop. Watching the Longboard Girls Crew videos. Reading longboard and skateboarding articles on Cooler…

Then last week I went to Barcelona with a fellow boarding-geek. Longboarders were everywhere. Effortlessly cruising around La Ramblas or along the beachfront. We decided (after a cervesa or tres), now or never.

The next day we found a skate shop that rented Longboards (Inercia, Calle Roger De Flor) and went in acting as casual as possible and like, we totally did this all the time. 15 Euros later we left the shop with a longboard each and two whole days to play with.

We wobbled. We caused danger to pedestrians. I fell and did the splits. There were bruises, grazes and a lot of sore muscles. But it was FUN. Cruising along Barcelona beachfront, weaving in and out of people and rollerbladers and tiny, angry dogs, it doesn’t get much better.

I’m so glad I tried it. If you are hesitating, if you have “the fear”, just stop overthinking it.

Since I’ve got home I’ve done nothing but look online for cruisers to buy and places to skate when I get one. Who knows, maybe I’ll even make it to Salford Quays.



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