The twitter-fest on Friday night resulted in the following conversation between me (@parentlounge) and Eric Henning (@ericcycles):
me: Sk8terdude is floating on the clouds after meeting @mikevallely - thanks for taking the time for a young fan!
@ericcycles: met Mike in 89? Savannah Slammah. He taught me how to roll into a Ho Ho. He was just as cool to a young fan then.
me: hmmm...as a Mom, do I really want to know what "roll into a HoHo" means? (I'll look on YouTube!)
@ericcycles: grin. A Ho Ho was a hand stand with board on your feet. Roll in means ride into without stepping. All upper body. I was 19.
After spending a few quick moments on YouTube and on google, I knew what a HoHo looked like in action. And I continued our twit-versation.
me: [HoHo] was listed as top 10 worst tricks! I don't think Sk8terdude is quite ready for a ho ho (of either kind!)...
The exchange got me thinking about all the things I didn't know about skateboarding (like hoho), the things I had already learned (eric: I did know what roll in meant!), and the things I still wanted/needed to learn. And THAT got me thinking about Skateboard Parenting 101: a class that would teach parents of beginner (or not) skateboarders all the things they need to know as well as things their kids would like them to know about skateboarding.
My list of questions and topics is below. Some of these are things I've already learned along the way, some are things I'm still learning. In either case, feel free to post an answer in the comments section. Or, if you are still learning, feel free to post a question!
Equipment and Accessories
1. What should I look for when buying a skateboard (especially for a beginner)?
a. how do I know what length/width is a good "fit"?
b. why are different skateboards different shapes?
c. what's all this talk about trucks, wheels, bearings, and bushings?
2. What is the average cost to get a beginner started with a decent skateboard?
3. How do I make sure my child's helmet is fitted properly and why should or shouldn't my child just use his/her bicycle helmet?
4. Does my beginner skateboarder need wristguards and elbow and knee pads, even if they aren't required where s/he skates? How do I know when it's "safe" for him/her to stop using them? (personal question for the crowd: Sk8terdude says he needs to talk off his wristguards so he can learn to do "grabs"...really??)
5. How often can I expect to replace equipment - or how long should decent skateboards/wheels/trucks/etc. last? (Otherwise known as: how much am I going to be spending per season on my child's latest obsession???)
6. Are all types of grip tape created equally?
7. Does my skateboarder need "skate shoes"? (Yet another corollary to how much is this going to cost???) And if you tell me s/he needs skate shoes, you'd better be prepared to explain how they differ from every other pair of sneakers on the market!
8. The local skateshop sells a "skate tool." Do we need one of those, too? Who can teach my skateboarder how to use it properly?
9. I take my bicycle to the bike shop each year to get checked over before the season begins - does skateboarding have an equivalent "check up"?
10. Besides a skateboard, helmet, and pads, what should a skateboarder take to the skatepark? (water bottle, etc.)
Skateboarding terms every parent should be able to define and/or differentiate in order to have a basic conversation with the skateboarding child
11. skating regular vs. skating goofy (or mongo, or any other words that mean the same)
12. frontside vs. backside (for turns, since, apparently, it's not the same for grinds)
13. olley vs. nolley (spelling?)
14. ramp, quarter-pipe, half-pipe
15. kick flip vs. heel flip
16. roll in vs. drop in (hey, I know that one!)
17. 180, 360, etc. (I know those, too)
18. rail, bench, pyramid, funbox, a-frame, spine, bowl (okay, basically: give me labeled pictures of all the elements in a park, please!)
19. fakie, axle-stall, grind, nosegrind, etc. (see, now we're reaching the outer limits of my personal knowledge, so I'm probably putting a bunch of words in this category that don't actually go together...)
20. street vs. vert....and anything else?
21. I'm not even sure how to formulate a question here. I think it's something about the image of skateboarding in the media, how young skaters are treated (that's a site-specific question - some skateparks are friendlier to beginners than others), etc. Feel free to expand this section!
Things Skateboarders Wish Their Parents Knew (or not) - otherwise known as the sentences you want your child to finish:
21. I don't want you hanging out at the park while I'm skating because...
22. I need to borrow the camera/video or I need my own because...
23. Just because I like to skate, doesn't mean I'm automatically going to....
Is Skateboarding a Viable Career Option
24. What does it take to get sponsored (and what does that mean)?
25. What can I expect if my skateboarder wants to start competing regularly?
26. Are there skate programs that help skateboarders develop their talent (e.g. camps, teams, etc.)?
27. If my skateboarder is serious, how do I evaluate the competency of a teacher/program/etc? (After all, just because someone is a good skater, it doesn't mean s/he is necessarily a good skate TEACHER...)
28. Who are the current top skateboarders in our local region? Professionally?
29. What's the name and number of the local orthopedist? (lol...I keep the ortho's number on speed dial on my cell phone, but none of Sk8terdude's broken arms have been skateboarding accidents)
30. open question and answer period