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Skateboard 'Advice' That Lost Its Bearings

Saturday, April 23, 2005; Page A17

As an avid skateboarder, I had issues with the "solid" advice offered in "Get Out: Try Skateboarding" [Sunday Source, April 10].

First, do not ever under any circumstances purchase a skateboard from a toy store. The wheels are plastic, not urethane, the bearings are crude, the trucks are as stable as Play-Doh, and the actual deck feels like balsa wood. Go to a reputable skate shop and slap down $70 for a "blank setup" including: real urethane wheels, bearings that actually spin, solid trucks and a deck that will support your newfound hobby.

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Second, do not go to the skatepark until you can navigate safely. Go to an empty parking lot, put on your pads, and learn to push, turn and stop. Be sure to use your back foot to push; using your front foot to push is called "mongo." Pushing mongo is the same as wearing a hot pink fanny pack on a Harley -- don't do it. There is no point going to the skate park if you cannot push, because you are not ready to use the obstacles and will be only a lurker.

Third, instead of paying $80 for lessons from a hipster who should get a real job, pay $20 for an instructional video. Also: wear a helmet, ignore people who laugh at you, and have fun. If all the kids at the skate park are flying 10 feet over your head, and all you can do is roll up a ramp, don't sweat it. If you're not having fun, do not even be rolling.

-- Aaron BaldaroArlington


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