Skateboarding. - Fun For All (even a 50-year-old mum of 7)

I lived through the original skateboarding heyday but somehow managed to never even step on a board. The older I got the more scared I became. At the age of 50 I figured I had missed my chance to learn but then I heard from Skates And Ladders.

feet on skateboard

 Skates & Ladders  (#AD) is the number one, fastest growing, for all ages, skateboard, longboard and penny board lessons company in the UK. 

Skater owned and run, their mission is to make learning skateboarding easier, more enjoyable and accessible to everyone. 

They are passionate about encouraging everyone to take part in skateboarding and understand its many benefits.

Did you know  skateboarding will be debuting as an Olympic Sport in 2020? Hopefully this sport will have an even bigger revival helping screen-mad kids and couch potatoes get fresh air and exercise, make friends and push their own boundaries helping them become more confident in all aspects of life.

Skateboarding is a unique urban sport. Not only does it benefit you physically through working muscles all over the body, burning between 300-500 calories per hour and improving mental health, it also has made huge contributions culturally: through fashion, music, urban language and charitable work.

Skateboarding has helped people and communities grow, families come together and encouraged inclusion and positivity.

There are currently 13 million skateboarders- a number which increases 10% year on year, making skateboarding one of the fastest growing sports across the world. 

My older teenage daughter, DD1, is a big fan and built her own custom board which has long board wheels as she uses it as a method of transport.

skateboarding teen girl in Kensington

My younger daughter DD2 vowed she would never set foot on one and I have to admit, I shared her concerns about attempting what looks like a tricky activity.

However with the opportunity to head into a beautiful London park and be taught by an expert with all equipment (including that vital safety kit) included we couldn't really turn it down.

madmumof7 and daughter skateboarding in Kensington Gardens

DD1 already looks the part as she likes the fashion that many skaters embrace.  I am more Home Counties mum than skater girl and DD2 rocks her own look but thanks to Slick Willie's in Gloucester Road SW7, London's original skate store established in 1970, we were all getting the chance to get kitted up skater-style before heading for our lesson in Kensington Gardens. (#gifted) 

They do say it's easier to be confident at something if you look the part and it certainly helped me feel less like a fish out of water wearing comfortable gear which made me at least look a little less like a total newbie.

madmumof7 and daughters outside Slick Willie's skate shop, London

madmumof7 and daughters outside Slick Willie's skate shop in London
Slick Willie's stocks everything anyone could possibly want or need for skating, skateboarding, long boarding, penny boarding or scooting. 

Helpful staff will help set you up with equipment and clothing and even throw in a free skateboard lesson with Skates And Ladders as part of one of their deals. Ask in store or check out their social media channels for details.

I was blown away by the quality of the clothing and my Slick Willie's hoodie is my new favourite piece of clothing. It has a huge front pocket with mini pockets concealed inside plus an elasticated loop maybe so your keys don't go flying while performing head over heels tricks? 

It even has thumb holes in the wrist cuffs keeping hands warm. My daughters have worn theirs at every opportunity since we picked them up. Add a stylish Slick Willie's beanie and you have autumn wear sorted!

Transformed from rural mum to urban skater (in appearance anyway)  I headed with the girls to the Albert Memorial, opposite The Royal Albert Hall, for our hour-long group skateboard lesson.

Skates & Ladders offers private, one to one and group lessons at skate parks, public parks and skate spots all over London. You can even book a birthday party or get them to run an after school club. 

They are open to coming to a suitable space near you too. All instructors are DBS checked and first aid qualified, fully qualified with lots of experience.

We were met by our friendly teacher Jordan who got us set up with helmets, gloves, elbow and knee pads and a board each. My older daughter and one of the smaller girls used their own equipment. If you are particularly large or small or have a big or very small head I'd recommend taking your own safety set if possible.

I was wondering how Jordon would manage to teach our motley group with four young children, a young teen, an older teen and three adults all looking to him for guidance.

But his instructions were clear and easy to understand and within minutes we were standing on the board, then jumping onto it, then actually skate boarding down the wide, smooth path in front of the memorial.

By the end of the lesson everyone was able to travel and turn and some of us even managed a couple of basic tricks, the pancake flip (captured my daughter mid-flip, below) and the caveman where you walk holding the board then while still walking, drop it and jump on. We achieved so much more than I expected - I was very impressed.

Skates & Ladders Instructor teaching a skateboard trick the pancake flip

I was pleasantly surprised too at how fulfilled I felt. Once I got over my initial fear I really enjoyed myself and felt very proud of learning a new skill. My younger daughter who had said she would come along and watch but probably not ride also had a wonderful time and spent the whole hour practicing her new skills.

The only person to fall over in our family was my older daughter who has skated for years. She was attempting to learn a new trick though so just laughed off her undignified tumble and got right back on the board.

teenage girl doing pancake flip on skateboard

It was a lovely activity to do as a family and certainly dispelled my preconception that skating is for teenaged boys and men who should know better. 

It's an excellent activity to help you keep fit - we were all tired after just an hour of full-on skating and when I woke the next morning I felt muscles I didn't know I had.

Having said that it proved the perfect sport for someone like me with a chronic fatigue condition (I have Fibromyalgia) as I could stop and rest when I needed to and at the level I was skating it wasn't high impact.

It's a versatile sport where you can enjoy a gentle trundle through a beautiful park or go full extreme mode in a skate park with ramps and jumps making it perfect for the whole family to enjoy at their own level.

With skateboarding's Olympic debut imminent now is a great time to take up the sport or encourage your children to get into it. 

So I have the style and I have the skills. Maybe I should ask Santa for a board.....I'll be the coolest mum on the school run.
madmumof7 and daughters on skateboards in Kensington Gardens

Disclaimer: We enjoyed a 1-hour skateboard lesson free from Skates & Ladders and a selection of promotional clothing from Slick Willie's for the purpose of writing this honest review. 

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