Our Favorite Board Sports and Tips to Staying Safe
Board sports continue to grow in popularity, and with summer upon us, it is a great time to choose one of the many board sports out there and give it a try! Often they are called extreme sports, but with so many options to choose from, all skill levels and age groups can find something that suits them. The term “board sports” encompass any sport that is played with some type of board as the primary equipment. Some of the more well-known board sports include skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding. But there are also lots of lesser-known board sports like sandboarding, paddle boarding and even sky surfing for those looking for something extreme. We’ve picked out favorite four board sports to discuss what they are, what to expect, and of course tips how to stay safe from a slip and fall off your board.
One of the more popular board sports, skateboarding has been around since the 1940s and will be represented for the first time in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. With that type of coverage, we expect more people to start giving it a try and for good reason. Skateboarding is excellent exercise and a ton of fun. However, it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing—which shows in the numbers. In 2015 alone 125,145 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms after being injured skateboarding. Don’t let that deter you from the sport, but be sure to read up on the history of it, practice safe falling techniques, and make sure you choose your board and safety equipment wisely.
Our quick safety tips on being smart about skateboarding include:
- Grab your safety gear! Even if you don’t plan on doing flips, jumps, and tricks, you should still make sure you have on safety gear. A slip-resistant closed toe shoe, skateboarding helmet (make sure it is appropriately sized), and knee and wrist pads are all critical to keeping safe. You might also want to wear skateboarding gloves which can save your hands if you do take a nasty spill.
- Buy the right board and make it safe! With so many boards to choose from, you will want to make sure you purchase a board that not only fits your age range, but also the type of riding you intend to do. Vert skateboarding and street skateboarding are two very different styles. Speed skateboarding or freestyle? These are all things you will want to research and decide upon to make sure you invest in the right board. Once you have your board, make it safe! Check out our Griptape for skateboards which provides an excellent grip to prevent slips, but won’t rip up your shoes.
- Practice falling! Sounds weird, but you will want to practice falling down. Why? Because in this sport you will fall, but you can prevent injury by knowing how to fall smart. Even pro skaters practice a few common fall techniques such as running out and bailing out. Hopefully, you won’t have to ever slam, but be sure to practice the slamming fall technique also. By practicing, your body will easily remember to fall on your knees (because you’ll be wearing knee pads, so it will soften the blow). Rolling out of any fall is always the preferred method because it distributes the force of the blow to prevent additional injury.
If you have an ocean nearby or are vacationing to one this summer, you should consider taking a surfing lesson. Dating back to the late 17th century, surfing now boasts over 35 million surfers who ride waves in over 162 countries. It is one of the most affordable sports out there (unless you are traveling to do it), but also one of the most complex thanks to having to deal with elements like wind, tide, and swells. However, it is an enjoyable learning process and great exercise—so make it a point to hop on a surfboard if you are near the ocean this summer. Just make sure you read up on our tips before heading out.
Our quick tips on being smart about surfing include:
- Choose your surf spot wisely! Many surfers will say to start on a beach break because it is safer, but that is not always true. If you can, grab an experienced area surfer or set up a lesson. These are the folks that can really tell you where to go in the area based on your skill level, and that can make the difference in having or not having a bad surfboard slip and fall accident.
- Get a board designed for your size and skill! Having the right board goes hand in hand with your ability. It can mean riding no waves or riding ten waves. Starting out you will want more volume, so go for either a longboard or foam board. Visiting a shop that specializes in surfboards is the best route to go because they can make sure you walk out with the best board for your skill level and size. Once you have your board, make it safe! Being in the water, you’re bound to slip once in a while, but putting a non-slip surfboard tape on your board can help. Choosing a fine grade vinyl tape specifically designed for wet, slippery areas will significantly reduce the risk of injury from slips and falls. Our Flex Track 4100 series is a good choice for a surfboard tape.
- Understand basic technique and etiquette! Yes, etiquette is important, even in surfing. From not stealing others waves to knowing where to surf based on your ability—these are just a few of the basics to remember when hitting the waves. Having an experienced friend or surf coach teach you the basic techniques and etiquette the first few times is always a good idea.
If you live near large dunes, this could be the perfect board sport for you! Sandboarding is usually done in large, steep coastal dunes and is a blend between snowboarding and skateboarding.
- Grab the right board for you! Just like the other board sports, a variety of sandboards are on the market depending on what you are looking to accomplish. Longer boards are better from drawn-out lines on big hills, and the shorter boards will surf better on smaller hills and are easier to maneuver.
- Don’t forget the safety gear! Also, like the other board sports, you’ll want to have your safety gear on before hitting the dunes. Pros recommend wearing gloves, goggles, a helmet, and knee and elbow pads. You’ll want to wear closed toe, slip-resistant shoes and it is recommended to use a skateboard grip tape, like this one to help in preventing slip and fall accidents. Some sandboarders also like to apply a sandboard wax to offer additional grip.
- Know where to go! Sandboarding can alter the sand movement dynamics and ruin the ecosystem, so make sure you know where you’re carving the dune with your sandboard. If you find yourself in Lane County, Oregon, be sure to visit Sand Master Park which is home to the first sandboard park and offers lessons, rentals, ramps, sliders, and freeride zones.
Paddleboarding can be done on any body of water, so no ocean is no problem! The first official paddle boards were introduced in the 1930s, as an alternative to surfing.
- Sit, kneel, or stand! It’s up to you how strenuous you want your paddleboarding experience to be. Stand up paddleboarding can be one of the best balancing and toughest exercises out there while sitting while paddleboarding is a more relaxing option.
- Grab the right board for you! The length of a board plays a major role in determining how the board handles. Short boards (under 10’) are more maneuverable than long boards and are great for kids. Medium boards (10’ to 12’) are ideal for all-around use and for yoga. Long boards (12’6” and above) are great for fast paddling and long-distance touring.
- Be safe, not sorry! The majority of the time it is safest to wear a leash, and a life vest when paddle boarding and make sure before you hit the water you know the weather conditions so you can dress appropriately and be prepared. It’s also a smart idea to apply non-slip tape because being in the water; it is bound to get slippery. An excellent non-slip surfboard tape should be a fine to medium grade which is more comfortable on bare feet and make sure it is specially made for wet conditions. Our Flex Track 4100 series is an extremely popular non-slip surfboard tape to put on a paddle board.
Recently we received an order for griptape to be used for cliff diving! Talk about extreme sports! All of these board sports have one major thing in common: balance. If you aren’t the most coordinated person, fear not. Balance can be a learned skill, and it will benefit you outside of board sports to achieve better balance. The more you hop on the board, the better your balance will become, and before long it will be second nature, and you won’t even have to think about that aspect of the sport. It also helps to make sure you have griptape or non-slip surfboard tape on your board to lessen the risk of a slip and fall. Once you start getting comfortable, that is when the real fun starts, and you begin to develop your style! So tell us—which board sport are you trying out this summer? Please send us pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will feature you in our social media pages.