Skateboard Basics for Beginners
Getting on Board
Kainalu Canubida, known as Kai by family and friends, embodies the meaning of his given name: waves of the ocean. His skating style is fluid and smooth yet full of energy just as the whitecaps that break against the sands. His love of the water and air as a surfer parallels his enjoyment of skateboarding on land. As Kai puts it, "I love going in the air. It feels like flying and reminds of surfing on water."
Inspired by his dad, Craig, to take on the sport, he took to the longboard at only four years of age. It wasn't long before he realized he truly loved the on-going challenges of skating. Today, Kai, at thirteen years, is an aficionado of surfing but also fosters his passion for skateboarding. While developing his own skills, he helps others with skateboarding basics as he rides the rails at the local YMCA skate park. Kai is a true sportsman at heart.
I love going in the air. It feels like flying and reminds me of surfing on the water. It really is me!— Kai Canubida
Advice for Beginners
An online search will result in numerous videos and articles on how to begin skateboarding. They all make it look easy, and for some it may be so, but most beginners have to practice over and over until they reach perfection on the board. Just standing on the board alone is a skill!
Kai's advice to newcomers to the sport is to learn how to push off. It helps you center your body on the board which is important to overcoming the fear of falling. Taking a fall is something he says is inevitable, although skaters eventually learn to bail -- avoiding a crash. He also shares as there is always the potential for falling, a risk he is willing to take, his skill level is higher now and he wears pads and a helmet for protection.
He warns not to mongo the board. Pushing off with your back foot gives you more control, especially when other skaters are around you. While I watched and to help me understand, he demonstrated how just getting on the board takes lots of practice. The wheels don't stand still for you! Catch Kai's demonstration on the video that follows below for the perfect launch.
He himself spends hours perfecting certain skills, airing ollie, as he puts it. Mastering the trick "disaster" is one of his favorite challenges on the ramp. Trying to land the coping a certain way, while attempting to break a board, gets him stoked. Kai says "It's hearing the shrill sound of grinding metal, telling you your're doing it right." Watching Kai, one can feel the excitement and flow of a lift-off, his body managing the pop and slide of the skateboard action. Beginners should know patience is key to becoming a pro on the board. Like the old saying goes -- practice makes perfect.
Basic Push Off & Ollie on the Skateboard
Skateboarding requires ease of movement to do those exciting and complex tricks. Today's riders want to look the part. Beginners want to fall in with the others in style and that includes clothing. Skaters wear shorts, jeans or baggy pants. Hats are in and hair styles vary from short to long. Overall, riders should wear what makes them feel good and not focus too much on looking like the crowd.
Since Kai's skateboard status is well known among competitors, occasionally he receives product to try out from his sponsors, Vans, Stance Socks, and Syck Trix to name a few. He showed me his socks, mismatched at the time but totally cool, telling me skaters wear brands and styles but each has his or her own personal style. Skateboarder clothing is a form of artwork and creative expression regardless of current trends. About his socks ... "I like to wear them this way".
Share Your Thoughts
Do you sometimes dress to fit in with others?
Coping with Life
Kai not only skateboards but also plays the guitar and ukulele. When at home he can be found shooting hoops with friends or bike riding around the neighborhood. His favorite music is R&B, rock and pop. He is definitely well rounded and is not afraid to take on new challenges (I think his surfing would prove this!).
What really made Kai notable as a young person to me was his positive and mature attitude. He believes skateboarding helps him in other areas of life by keeping him focused. "Most days I'm out here practicing tricks. Other kids my age are out trying to find themselves, probably doing drugs. Not me, I'm here." What a profound statement for a young teen!
Kai is ranked nationally as 96th in park and 406th among 900 plus skaters in theBoardr.com, a skateboard company known for top coverage of skating events. In 2017, Kai placed first in the Grind for Life Bowl Intermediate series in Knoxville, TN, and first in Brandenton, Lakeland, and Sarasota, Fl. competitions. Last we talked, he was getting ready to do another circuit of the skateboard competitions in Florida. Very impressive for this young athlete. I'm sure he will make a great impact on the board and continue to be a role model for future skateboarders.
© 2018 Dianna Mendez