Skateboarding may be one of the only thing that connects Gen-X, Millennial and Gen-Z generations like nothing else. Simply riding the streets and sidewalks in the urban jungle with style and speed makes skateboarding more than just a worthy hobby. Today, this activity is also considered a solid mode of transportation.
Be it on the skating rings or on the streets, a good skateboard is not the only thing that matters, but the safety equipment you wear while riding it is important as well. We are talking about considerable speeds in the midst of active traffic and hard surfaces where you are bound to fall off at one point or another. So, in this case, it’s far better being safe than sorry.
Check Yourself (Before You Wreck Yourself)
The simple act of protecting your head, arms and knees will provide you with several benefits. Not only are you safe from the pavement and serious physical injury, but you also feel safer, hence, you can ride on the more extreme side with very little worry. This is not to say that just because you have pads that you can go off the rail and attempt Tony Hawk-esque tricks wherever. Protection and padding in the form of adult skate helmets can only protect you so much before gravity does what it does.
First thing’s first! You want to protect the most important part of your body, which is, of course, the head. Even minor head injuries may cause serious problems, which means choosing quality adult skate helmets is an absolute necessity.
A typical adult skateboard helmet consists of a hard shell exterior construction that’s made to be tough, strong and reliable and an interior foam that adds gentle dampening to your head to absorb as much of the shock as possible.
Hard-shell is characterized by a bonded combination of a moulded ABS shell over a layer of impact-absorbing foam. The ABS shell protects the foam from scratches, dings and nicks.
The EPS foam is a lightweight material that constitutes the inner liner of the helmet, sitting inside of the hard-shell. The foam liner is the main component that crushes during impact to absorb and dissipate the energy upon impact. EPS liners are not always meant for multi-impacts, though they do meet all required safety standards. EPS foam liner is featured in most certified helmets and offers a lot more protection than the softer 2-Stage foam.
2-Stage foams are usually found in uncertified helmets. While they do protect the head from soft spills, they do not disperse the energy away as well as EPS foam liners.
Under the layer of EPS foam liner usually lies a comfort liner that compresses to conform the helmet to your head for a snug and comfortable fit. Comfort liners feature sweat-wicking materials that are built into most liners, making sure that your helmet will push the sweat away from your face and eyes. Some liners are even washable so you can keep the stink at bay.
Knee Pads and Elbow Pads
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With your head secured, it’s time to focus on the rest of you. Seeing as how your knees are the closest movable joint from the ground and most often get scraped or bruised when you almost fall off the skateboard, a good set of knee pads can make a world of difference. The same thing applies to the elbows. Both these areas come in to contact with the ground and surrounding debris and softening your fall from a more serious body or head injury comes at the expense of the elbows and knees.
Pads for both areas are composed of the same materials and offer a similar level of protection. Most of these pads come with hard, stiff plastic caps, though some are made with more flexible and thinner materials, which are generally not recommended for beginners. They do come in two main models.
Standard pads are your typical safety pads that are made out of foam, high-durability fabric liners and have a hard outer shell. They utilize nylon fabric and Velcro to strap on securely to your arms and legs. They provide the most protection for your knees and elbows in case you wipe out.
Sleeve pads though are made out of stretchy nylon materials that feature a smaller foam pad. These pads are made to be worn under your normal clothing to ensure a safe, and yet low-profile feel. They offer some level of impact protection, but no much abrasion protection.
Skateboarders know of the risks involved in skating at high speeds or doing tricks, hence why many choose to use at least some amount of protective safety gear. I would recommend using as much protection as possible while you’re at the beginning stage of learning to ride a skateboard or longboard. Just keep in mind that the straps and padding will loosen up over time as you use them, so when measuring for size, always go with a smaller model that will loosen up on you.
With the main locomotory areas secured, the only thing left is to protect your palms with slide gloves. These may be the most important item to have when riding aggressively on your longboard. They are built to withstand concrete impacts without being shredded to pieces. By learning to use your gloves properly, you will open up a whole new world of tricks and terrain to conquer.
Plastic pucks attach to the palm and fingertips of the slide gloves, thereby providing protection while also allowing your hands to slide smoothly on the ground when you inevitably lose balance.
Thick padding is present in most areas of the slide glove. This padding helps to protect you from pain upon impact with the ground.
Abrasion-Resistant strong materials such as Kevlar or synthetic suede make up the gloves’ exterior. They are strong enough to withstand brutal sliding across the pavement without shredding, thus keeping your skin safe.