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I am an avid surfer and snowboarder and over 50 years old so keeping in shape and keeping my balance is important for both sports. There are so many videos on the internet about how to improve your paddling stroke, how to catch a wave, how to ride a chair lift and how to select the right board, but not that many on how to keep and improve your balance as you age.
That being said, there are zillions of balance devices to help you improve and I think I’ve tried them all. Starting back in my Systema training (a version of self-defense used by Soviet Military) I stand on a 10 lb. medicine ball. It takes a while to get the hang of it. First putting one foot on the top of the ball and then hopping up with the other so you are balancing like a seal. When you get really good, you can squat up and down and some folks can actually balance on two balls, one for each foot. While this is really great for balance, I wasn’t sure it would really apply to my boarding activities.
Then I tried the ½ Ball that we have all seen at every gym in the world. It was pretty good for providing a challenge on all planes, front, back, sides but after a couple of sessions, I mastered it and it was no longer a challenge. So, I was back looking. I then stumbled across the Goof Board, and the name felt like what I was up to so, I tried one. Warning, they are expensive and Amazon has oodles of imitations but I found the Goof Board really sturdy for my 200 lb. + frame. It took a bit of training to get the hang of it. It’s perfect for working on your side to side balance and practicing your toe and heel sides for surfing and snowboarding and it’s long enough you can walk up and change over feet. I really found it pretty easy to master, but I started out on carpet. Up the challenge by moving it to hardwood or a concrete surface, and it will get even twitchier. All in all, a great balance tool.
These worked well at home and I started to think if there was any other activity or device that would more accurately reflect the surfing and snowboarding balance requirements. I came across the OneWheel, it’s an electric single wheel in the center type skateboard. The ride was amazing but at $1799, it’s not for everyone. Someday, I think I’ll probably get one, but it is more about sheer excitement than the balance training quest I was on. But finding the OneWheel led me to think about skateboards. I had not skateboarded since I was a kind and these days you think about them being more for tricks and jumps…but maybe it would be a good add to my balance training.
But what kind of skateboard would be good for balance training and for an over 50-year-old who, by surf and snowboard standards, is a big boy at 200+lbs? After reading several articles on what decks, wheels, trucks are best for the style and size of rider, I decides I wanted a board that was at least 30” long and 8” wide with 70mm mag wheels. Then, the search was on. I also wanted a deck that was sturdy. I looked at several models and decided upon the Craver Greenroom.
It is 9 7/8” wide, 33.75” long and smooth as smooth can be. The first day I took it out I realized that this would be a great add to my balance routine. It provides the forward motion, allows the toe and heel movement and also allows for moving your body forward and backward and up and down. Furthermore, the carving motion really feels very close to surfing and I can see how my snowboard skills would improve with more hips and dips. I’ve been skateboarding daily on fairly flat surfaces and getting the hang of it again. However, the challenge of stopping or getting off when going too fast is taking a little longer to master. Remember when we were learning how to snowboard? When you were going to fast or felt like you were...you hit the heel side hard and your butt hit the snow. Well, that’s not going to work for me here, but the Carver board is amazing even if I am not.
I’ll finish by saying that my stopping skills are still a work in progress. Overall, adding a skateboard component to your balance training is a MUST! I have found it very beneficial and you will too!
#surfskate #gomaloo #radracks