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Let’s face it, skateboarding can be a dangerous activity, especially when a skateboarder moves into more advanced styles that include stairs, rails, and ramps. I’ve watched pro skaters take falls that I figured they would never get up from, and not only did they get up but tried the trick again. So what’s the secret? There are two things that will minimize your risk as a skateboarder:

1. Wear safety equipment. No you won’t look cool, but the simple fact is that you won’t look cool in a cast or a coma. When attempting a stair set, or anything that puts you more than a foot or two off the ground WEAR A HELMET! If you want to look cool, then practice the trick alone with a helmet until you can get it right 10 times in a row, after that, take off your helmet and show off for the bros. I also recommend that you wear elbow pads, knee pads, and even wrist guards when you are trying something new. Remember, never try something without pads until you have mastered it with them. As a bit of a disclaimer, I recommend that you always wear pads no matter how experienced…that’s why they make Shaun White wear them in the X-games, even though he rocks.

2. Learn how to fall. You are going to fall, no matter how good you are, you are going to progress and try progressively more difficult things. You used to fall trying to kickflip, but now you are going to fall trying a blunt kickflip fakie…catch my drift? Since you’re going to fall, and you’re wearing your safety equipment, what else can you do? I learned how to fall in Army Paratrooper School while in the Marine Corps. Since you are hitting the ground at such a high rate of speed, if you don’t do it just right, there are going to be injuries. What I learned is to allow my body to continue the motion of the fall in a controlled manner. Normally when attempting a ramp at the skate park, the fall will have downward/forward momentum. The more spread out your legs are when you impact, the greater the chance of injury because you have more force on one the other. Learn to continue the motion of the fall by allowing your body to continue the motion without putting too much of the pressure on any of your limbs: hands, wrists, feet, etc.

Watch videos of professional skaters falling. Study how they do it, and get back up to do it again. Lastly, study videos of rail falls. Men, protect your most valuable assets.