Each week we send members of the USC team to try out a new activity. This week we sent them to Cologne to live their childhood dream of being professional skateboarders…
What is skateboarding?
Skateboarding is an action sport which involves performing tricks. The recreational activity is considered an art form and has bred it’s own culture for years, inspiring film, music and representing youth culture around the world. It’s also a handy mode of transport.
What can you expect?
Halle59 is located in the backstreets of Cologne. The front desk is more of a graffiti-covered shack and the hall itself is full of ramps and half-pipes. “Where can we find Jan and Jonas?” We ask the man at the desk.
“You’ll have to walk through there.” He says and points to the other side of the hall. “Be careful.”
So we slowly navigate our way through dozens of scooters, BMX and skateboards whizzing past us. I just shut my eyes and prayed none of them would hit me.
Miraculously we made it to the other side to meet our trainers for the day, Jonas and Jan. “Have either of you skateboarded before?” They ask.
I explain how I used to be obsessed with Jackass and would turn in circles on a skateboard in my bedroom.
“Okay…” Jonas says and hands me a helmet.
How was the workout?
We started in a small area where we wouldn’t get knocked out by one of the young boys whizzing past. Our first lesson was from Jan who told us “always keep your legs bent and don’t face forward, face the side – that way you’ll keep your balance.”
I put one foot on the skateboard. It felt so unstable I was scared to stand on it properly – I was sure it would whizz out from underneath me.
Eventually I mustered the courage to put both feet on and roll around a little bit. Jonas explained I need to lean with my body weight forward to keep my balance. Slowly I gained confidence and was able to roll from one side of our area to the other.
“Now try to turn on your board,” Jonas said. I thought back to when I was 12 years old and obsessed with Bam Margera from Jackass. I used to spend hours rolling around my bedroom trying to turnon the skateboard.
I tried the turn and failed, however after several attempts I managed to roll up a part of the ramp, turn and roll down it. Jan and Jonas cheered as if I’d just broken a world record – it felt like a huge achievement.
Then Jonas seemed to think it was time for me to go into the centre of the skate park and roll down a ramp. I was actively terrified but I knew I needed to push myself if I want to become a pro-skateboarder. Jonas helped me as I rolled down at rocket speed (it wasn’t actually very fast.) I was very happy I did it but also very happy to return to our original secluded spot.
Here I got cocky and tried the turn again. I misplaced my foot and stood on the tail of the skateboard, which catapulted from underneath me. I fell hard and fast and hit the back of my head so hard on the floor that my ears were ringing even through the protection of my helmet.
Immediately Jonas held his hand out to help me up. “Get back on the board before you get too scared.” I did as he said. I rolled around and did a few more turns but quickly decided that I’d done enough extreme sports for one day.
How did I feel after?
I did have a bruised elbow and mild whiplash from the fall, however I’m determined to carry on skateboarding – I loved how quickly I improved and within an hour went from barely being able to stand to making a turn on a ramp.
Benefits of skateboarding
You’ll be part of a supportive community and culture where even minor achievements are celebrated
You can see yourself progress quickly – skateboarding is the epitome of ‘practice makes perfect’
Skateboarding is a great cardiovascular activity as you can skate all day long
The more you skate, the more you learn how to fall which actually prevents injuries
Don’t forget to bring…
I wore Vans and my normal clothes – just bring your game face and accept the fact that you’re probably going to fall over.
If you’d like to try out skateboarding for yourself pay Halle59 a visit.