Safety gear for skateboarding — What to get and where to get it

Skateboarding is super fun, but also comes with some risk. It’s important to wear safety gear while skateboarding, especially for beginners because you’re going to fall off your skateboard a lot. That’s how we learn. If you’re thinking about doing new tricks or learning to drop in, you’ll need protection.

Safety gear for skateboarding

Helmets — Protect your brain. If you’re under 18 helmets are mandatory at 100% Skate Club meet ups and events — but we think they’re beneficial for all ages. As most skaters can tell you, it only takes a little rock or someone snaking you to throw you to the ground and onto your head. Broken bones heal, but the effects of head injuries last a lifetime. You can get one helmet that’s good for all of your fast moving sports like cycling, roller skating and skateboarding.

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Knee pads — Probably the second most important pieces of safety gear, especially for bowl skaters. When you’re 8 feet up on a transition and you lose your flow, you can just drop to your knees and slide it out. Spend some time watching bowl or vert skaters and you’ll see how they drop to their knees when they have to bail. You’ll need proper fitting knee pads that have thick plastic caps on them, and that stay in place and won’t slide down when you need them most.

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Elbow pads — These will save you from broken arms and elbows, especially if you fall backwards or sideways off your board when learning to drop in.

Wrist guards — Great if you tend to fall forward and use your hands to break your fall. But, some people say that wrist guards contribute to broken wrists because all your weight is going on your wrists instead of your knees, as proper knee pads offer much better protection.

Padded shorts — Many older skaters, both men and women, wear padded shorts for skateboarding. They offer hip and tailbone protection for our heavier aging bodies. Many pro skaters wear pads under their clothing and you don’t even notice them. Snowboard or roller derby padded shorts are perfect for skateboarding too.

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Shoes — Skateboard shoes are flat bottomed and smooth on the sides for the most contact with the grip tape and deck. Running shoes don’t work because the bottoms tend to flare out, making board flips and ollies impossible. If you tend to get ankle bite a lot, get some high tops.

Proper sizing and fit

You want your safety gear to fit you properly. If your knee pads don’t cover your knees all the way, or slip down after a couple of minutes, they won’t protect your knees when you need them the most.

Helmets should be strapped snuggly under your chin with only enough space for a finger or two, and the top shell should cover about half of your forehead. If your helmet is too loose and is tipped back, revealing the front of your head, it won’t protect you from brain injury. Some skaters, and some bmx riders, wear full face helmets to protect their teeth and jaw as well.

Where to buy your safety gear

Most skate shops sell skateboarding safety gear. But they might not all have the right sizing for you, and proper fitting gear is important.

Youth Brigade Snow and Skate has the largest selection of safety gear for children and youth in Calgary. They carry combo packs with elbow, wrist and knee pads. They also have a wide selection of certified helmets for both youth and adults.

You can find a large selection of adult skateboard and roller skating pads and helmets including the highly rated 187 Pro at Nerd Roller Skates in Inglewood.