What type of skateboard should I buy?
There are several varieties of skateboard with different functions, including longboards, penny boards, and cruisers. The type we use are usually referred to as short boards, street boards, or just plain ol’ skateboards. They’re easy to identify because they are almost symmetrical, meaning both front and back have the same shape (think of a popsicle stick).
When buying a skateboard, DO NOT rely on stores like Walmart, Canadian Tire, or Toys R Us—these are low-quality and unresponsive at best, and completely useless at worst. Many children are discouraged from skateboarding because of these types of skateboards; most of the time they do not function properly and make the learning process far more difficult than it needs to be.
A proper skateboard should be purchased when your child has shown some level of commitment to skateboarding. Before that time, it’s highly recommended that you borrow a skateboard from us. That way your child can experience a quality board and drastically speed up their progress.
Skateboarding can be dangerous, and like many sports, the risks are severely reduced by wearing the proper safety equipment. Here are some general guidelines:
The head is the most important part of our body to protect. There are helmets designed specifically for skateboarding, which offer adequate protection, as well as comfort. The most popular brands of skateboard safety gear are Triple 8, Pro-Tec, and 187 Killer Pads. Most skateboard shops will carry one or all of these brands, but they are only effective if they fit properly.
Unlike most bicycle helmets, skateboard helmets are designed to withstand all-around impact, rather than just front-impact. Some brands have inner padding which is sweat-wicking and easy to remove for cleaning.
The fit is what’s most important—a helmet should fit snugly on the head (should not wobble with nodding or side-to-side head movement). The front of the helmet should rest about two fingers width above the eyebrow. The chin strap should also be snug, with just enough room to fit two fingers between the lower chin and the strap. Check out this video for a visual explanation.
After head protection, knee pads are arguably the next most important. Proper knee pads can be relied up on not only for accidental falls, but as part of a technique to avoid injury (knee slides).
Elbow pads and wrist guards offer additional protection, but learning how to fall is as important as learning how to ride, in order to avoid serious injuries.
Where should I buy equipment?
A quick Google search will list skateboard shops in your area, though not all of them carry skateboards and equipment in children's sizes; be sure to call ahead.
We always suggest Hammer Skateboard in the Beaches area of Toronto. They are kid-friendly, have a great selection, courteous and knowledgable staff, and very reasonable prices.
Hammer is also a "core" skate shop, which means that they are dedicated to skateboarding only, and are skater owned and operated—something that we feel is important as a subculture becomes increasingly mainstream and profitable.
What will my child learn at Impact?
Skateboarding is hard, but it's also a lot of FUN! Your child will learn a new skill set (or improve on existing skills) in an environment that is safe, supportive, and engaging. Our participants learn that seeking and overcoming challenges is exciting! We often hear from parents and kids that their achievements at Impact inspire them to achieve in other areas of their lives, helping to increase independence and self-esteem.
Goals are set, met, refined, and reset, under the care and supervision of qualified instructors who mentor participants to meet their potential. You can find out more about our programs here.