The Skateboard Moms' Blog

A Blog by Women Skaters, for People Everywhere.

… so, that’s why i decided to start skateboarding. January 28, 2009

pattiwheeling

i watched shaun white win his gold medal on the halfpipe at the winter olympics in nagano. he looked like he was having so much fun!  he was always laughing and joking around, even during the stiffest competition of his life.

i was 39, and i was tired. i had spent my whole life working 60-80 hours a week, volunteering in my off time, and raising a kid. i rarely laughed, and i yelled at my 6-year-old daughter more than i wanted to admit. i wanted to have more fun, and be silly like the Flying Tomato! i thought about learning to snowboard, but there’s no snow here. then i saw shaun do a mctwist on a skateboard, and that’s all it took! i wanted to know what it was like to fly in the air like that. i knew i’d have to work hard. i figured it would take about a year to learn to skate like shaun white. 

one day, i asked my dad to take care of my daughter, and drove to the local skate shop. i parked the car and took a deep breath. i prepared myself for ridicule. i didn’t know anyone who skated, and i was sure there were no adult skaters in my area. i walked in and told the 17-year-old street skater behind the counter that i wanted to learn to skate ramps and bowls. i had no idea what to buy, i had never set foot on a skateboard. the store clerk stared at me for a good minute (or what seemed like it), and then went to work. he showed me different boards, trucks and wheels. he explained the virtues of each, and let me choose after narrowing the selection down to two or three. an hour later, i had a really nice first setup. he suggested that i buy a helmet and some pads, as well as some special shoes. i thought all of that might be unnecessary, but followed his advice anyway. the store owner rang me up. he said that i’ll fall a lot at first, and that most women prefer longboarding.

i took my shiny new board home, and stood on it for the first time in the living room, on the carpet. i fell almost immediately, and my dad laughed. my wrists hurt! i laughed too.

see? it was already working. 

in the last three years, my job has been on autopilot, i’ve quit most of my volunteer work, and i’ve suffered more injuries than i have in all my other years put together, all the direct result of skating. it makes me sad sometimes when i think of what’s gone, but i can’t say that i regret any of it. for the first time, i’m being true to myself. i’ve laughed more, learned more and loved more than i have in all my other years put together. and i don’t yell at my daughter anymore.

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60 Responses to “… so, that’s why i decided to start skateboarding.”

  1. Lucy Says:

    Patti that is a great essay. Skateboarding keeps me calm and fun as well I am a better parent becauseI am a skater.
    thanks for sharing.
    -Lucy

    Like

  2. Claudia Says:

    Oh, I loved reading it! That’s awesome!!
    I don’t know if I was laughing less before skating, but I do know I’ve cut a lot of my volunteering because of my new addiction… heh
    And I’m still working at the yelling part LOL

    Like

  3. Matt Says:

    Hi Skate mom!

    Love the blog – just wanted to share this with you. Not sure if you’re into Skate vids, but this Snickers thing has become a big issue. Keep up the great work!

    http://digg.com/other_sports/Snickers_Rips_Off_Fully_Flared_Skate_Video/who

    Like

  4. gresshoppe Says:

    This is the koolest thing I have read in a long time!
    I am starting skateboarding at the moment myself, and I thought I was a bit to old(25) but heck no! Thanks for being an inspiration ❤

    K

    Like

  5. biba46 Says:

    Hey, I just wanted to say that you are so inspiring. I’m 20 and my family and freinds say I’m a bit old to start skating, but I want to do try so badly. My problem is that I’m too embarassed to go to my local skatepark because it is so crowded.
    Can you give me any advice?

    Love

    Like

  6. biba46, if you want to learn to skate, there are MANY basics you need to pick up on flat ground before you go anywhere near the skatepark.

    Once you have the basics, don’t be afraid to go to the park.

    And you are not too old to skate. Check out this clip from my FREE instructional skate video with skaters of every age….

    Like

  7. Gregg Says:

    Hi Patti,

    If you could help out by posting this, or perhaps may be interested yourself, we have a skateboarding job opening. Also, we are happy to have you, or whoever takes the job, bring your kids with you!

    My summer camp in Waterford, Maine, Camp Waziyatah (a.k.a. the camp from the TV show “Bug Juice” (www.wazi.com) is looking for a skateboard instructor/counselor.

    Details: Must be over 18. Must be able to live with and supervise a cabin of 6 to 10 kids. Must be a good skater, who can teach kids on a Fresh Park small obstacles park. Must pass a background check. Be fun and energetic. No obvious, offensive, or major tattoos or piercings. Summer camp is a blast. This is a very fun and great job and how many people really get paid to skateboard every day?

    Dates needed are June 19th to August 25th.

    Please let me know if you can post this message or help suggest someone. I can be contacted at gregg@wazi.com.

    Like

  8. Melissa Says:

    Great and inspiring post!

    Like

  9. Pat Rick Says:

    Cool story. Inspiring, like others have said.

    I just started skating again (haven’t skated since I was 10). I am 31 years old and feel a little silly about it. But once I got back on the board it felt great. I had a lot of fun skating as a kid. All those happy fun feelings came back, but too bad my skills didn’t. I almost fell today, but I’ll keep at it just because it’s so fun, and because you inspired me to.

    Like

  10. mike hopkins Says:

    I am 44 years old. I used to skate 1/2 pipes, 1/4 pipes and pools when I was 14-20 years old. I gave it up for, of course, a woman. years have gone by and I have decided to pick it up again. I have twisted both ankles skinned up my arms popped my knee out of joint and have had bad stitches in my side…..I love it!!!!! I am now skating bowls and half pipes and I have found most of the younger skaters are stoked at seeing the “old dude” skating. Oh yeah I forgot to include I am skating an old school 10×30 caballero deck. I love reading these stories it gives me inspiration to try harder.

    Like

  11. Jay Says:

    There’s always that one thing that makes everything else seem so non important. Awesome to see its skateboarding for you too 😀

    Like

  12. John Says:

    It was a honor to read this article. When I saw the headline I thought it would be about your kids. But when I read it I was blown away. Super cool mom.

    Discount Supra Footwear

    Like

  13. We need more cool moms like you. Keep up the good work!

    Like

  14. Henry Says:

    Hey, I am glad to hear about your story…
    its great to see someone see skateboarding as something they would like to try…take the challenge to try it and then stick with it…

    Like

  15. Daphne Says:

    With the birth of my last child in March and my 5 year old finding my old skateboard in the garage, I decided to relearn skateboarding this year. I am looking forward to it! My (now) 6 year old and 3 year old are totally into it. We have started practice sessions in our basement (why should snow slow us down!).
    It is something I loved to do till working two jobs and having children interfered – now is a good time to take it back. I wish I knew more families that did this together. I am glad to have read this article.

    Like

  16. skaterone Says:

    I guess everybody who wanted to have fun and saw someone skateboarding thought for a minute to start this great sport. I started when I saw some guys doing some tricks and was curious.

    Like

  17. Neto Says:

    That´s great!! Wish my mom was a skater.
    Retta Skate Shop

    Like

  18. Stix Says:

    Man, i have to agree with all of you. I started skating because I liked the skate culture. Always had my parents buy me skate shoes but now the time has come for me to buy my own hehehe

    Like

  19. Bill Says:

    Good job on the blog! We need more open minded people within our industry.

    Like

  20. glenda maier Says:

    I loved your article. I got on a skateboard for the first time about four months ago, out of curiosity and fell in love with it. I’m not good yet, but have a blast. In Germany, I am probably the only almost 50 year old woman who is learning how to skate, but I’ve gotten positive reactions from the younger kids – not so positive from lots of people my age. When I found this site and read your article, and saw the video of one of your Skateboarmom events and saw a lady in her 80s skating, I thought “wow, I want to skating when I’m 80.” I just broke my ankle and am bummed about breaking it so soon after beginning to skate, but I can’t wait to get back on the board again. It makes me feel good – it’s fun – it’s the best way to connect with my kids – and I don’t yell anymore either 🙂

    Like

  21. klachopis Says:

    Inspiring! I’m a 40 year old dad, and I’ve been skating since I was seven. A few years ago I encountered a health problem that left me with some neurological deficits. Coordination, agility and such are affected. Not horribly, but it was disappointing to try and skate at first. I had to take it super easy. But I’ve kept at it, and I’ve been having a blast, slowly doing more and more again. To know that a 39 year old learned to skate from scratch and is out there ripping bowls and whatnot, that’s inspiration for me to keep re-learning at 40. Thanks!

    Like

  22. sara Says:

    wow thts a great story. thats amzing tht u took tht chanse on skateboarding. your amazing woman for it.

    Like

  23. blackboard Says:

    also look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omR2cpjlZS8

    Like

  24. glenda maier Says:

    I was at the Girls and Chocolate Bratwurst event yesterday with my boys. It was the first time they had seen their idols up close. The guys put on an awesome show.

    Like

  25. Skateboarder Says:

    Patti did you stop skating. We need more articles.

    Like

  26. Excellent and great story. You are really good with your words!

    Like

  27. Steve Says:

    What a great read Patti!

    Like

  28. Kitty Says:

    Just what I needed to read Patti, I am 40 and a few months ago bought a longboard and have been having so much fun. But I skated vert for a short while as a teenager and it has been nagging at me, so I too went to the skateshop, expecting ridicule. Got the nicest guy to help build a board, and (with pads, helmet) went straight away to the skatepark. Almost chickened out, and then just said “f*** it” and am so happy. Also so bruised and sore and back to the flatlands for some remedial help. Everyday is scary on that damn board, but I push on. 🙂 Every guy I’ve talked to at the skatepark has been awesome, very encouraging and offering tips. Very different from 1985!!!

    Like

  29. I started skating because I didn’t fit in with any other kids at school. Kinda cliche’, but it’s true. I just did it as an outlet. I’m no where near as socially awkward as I was then, but I still skateboard.

    Like

  30. Julie L. Says:

    Hi Patty,
    I am looking for moms who love skateboarding to try out a new board product, The Shred Sled. Also, need moms to perform live on tv. Know anyone? Send them to me at jl@childsplaypr.com. Thanks! Julie

    Like

  31. James Walker Says:

    I was watching the flying tomato during the X-games this year. It is crazy how someone can be that good at two sports. You can also tell that he is a snowboarder just from his style.

    Like

  32. Jeff Says:

    That is awesome. I used to skate when I was younger and my son just picked up his first board so I am back into it again! There is hope to all the older folks out there too!

    Like

  33. Teresa Says:

    Thanks for this blog. I found it because I really need the support. I started skateboarding this year at the age of 37, and the focus required for it helped me regain my sanity. Thank you so much! And it IS great exercise.

    Like

  34. jay mann Says:

    Man good article. I think skating is one of those things that you can never get away from. You always have that itch to get out there and slash it up. The hard part as you get older is finding time to do it.

    Like

  35. animal chin Says:

    Come back Skateboard Moms!

    Like

  36. Alicia Harbes Says:

    Hey I’m a skate mom too!! Add me on facebook: Alicia Harbes. Maybe we can skate together someday

    Like

  37. Corky Says:

    Awesome story, thought I was the only older (52) crazy chic, maybe I am, but what the heck I’m giving it a go!

    Like

  38. skateage Says:

    I had no idea there were all of these moms skating. It almost brought a tear to my eye. I wish my mom would skate…

    Like

  39. alexandra Says:

    I love this post. Sk8g has brought much needed excitement into my life too!

    Like

  40. Will Says:

    Hi Skate Mom

    Loved your story. You don’t get a lot of girls skating here in England let alone Mothers. To just decide that you are gonna take up skating and drop everything else is quite a leap of faith and really quite amazing.

    Like

  41. skateboardmoms Says:

    Wow! It’s been a long time since I visited this blog post. Thank you sooo much for the encouragement and support! Yes, I’m still skating two or three times a week. I built a small miniramp in my basement, which makes winters pass more quickly, and I travel as much as I can to visit new parks and meet new people! I’m also giving vert skating a go … I’ve been trying without much success to learn to drop in. Someday my efforts will pay off! Keep rolling friends!

    Like

  42. Colleen Says:

    This post made me cry

    Like

  43. Great article! Keep sk8n!

    Like

  44. Anonymous Says:

    Heeeip!!!!:)I also started to skate at older age. For me it is 26.
    My bog:

    http://olddianaskate.tumblr.com

    🙂
    kEEP GOING!:)

    Like

  45. Anonymous Says:

    I am father and i have a son too. I am 35 years old. I have been working hard for years very sad and stressed.. eight months ago i decided return to skate.. and it is the best I’ve done in my life!! sk8 for ever!

    Like

    • Hi everyone.
      This blog is truely inspirational as I haven’t shreaded for about 16 years and are now keen to start again. It has been just great reading everyone’s stories as I am 32 with 2 young sons and have just thought, bugger this I need to do something for myself that makes me feel on top of the world. Hopefully my boys will want to give it a go one day. Eventually I would like to be confident enough to drop in on a skate bowl, but we’ll see. I live in Adelaide, South Australia so hopefully I can find some like-minded mammas and pappas that will go for a cruise too! Thanks for starting this blog and happy shreadding!! 🙂

      Like

  46. Trish C Says:

    This is truly inspiring, I’m 23 with a 1 yo daughter and for a few years now I’ve been wanting to learn skateboarding, but I had reservations because of my age, I also want to try to open a skateshop one day, I live in a small island with no skate shops/parks and very few skaters. Thanks to you I have the strength to carry out my dreams, you are wonderful!

    Like

  47. Neil Says:

    Hey enjoyed reading this
    I am 45 and ride longboards mainly
    I know how you feel about the age thing
    And I think your right some times you
    Just have to follow your soul and get out there and ride ..
    Stay stoked
    Neil

    Like

  48. Anonymous Says:

    Good to know there is someone around 40 who started skateboarding. I am 44-yo mom of 2 boys. I started to skateboard with my 8-yo for the first time in my life! I love love love it. Go to the park every weekend with my sons, and my hus thinks am addicted to it… 😀

    Like

  49. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for this post. It feels good to know there are other mom’s like me. I turned 39 this year and started skating for the first time. I’ve messed around on boards before, but I’ve never felt confident on one until this year. I bought my children a secondhand board after I noticed it had nice trucks that weren’t quite broken in. My boys weren’t sure how to get started pushing around. I taught them the little I knew, then turned to You Tube for some lessons. Well, at 11:30pm after watching an hour of ‘how to skateboard’ video’s I took to the quiet suburban streets to try out what I learned. AND, bam I’m skating everyday and feeling ready to go to the park for the first time as a skater and not just the skater’s girlfriend. One of my son’s is a natural, I’ll be brining him along too. My other boys aren’t as interested, yet!!

    Like

  50. Gjd Says:

    Thank you, thank you very much. I am your age and live in Southern California. I have two children. They both like skateboarding. Mostly cruising. I am inspired by you. I feel angry frusted alot. I dont laugh as much as when I was a kid. I can totally relate to you. Do continue to post on your progress or injuries or your good times. That would be nice to connect with you.
    New skating mom

    Like


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