Learning to Longboard in Victoria

I have been attempting to learn how to longboard for about two years.

In the past few months, I have been some more effort into it and it seems to be starting to pay off. Now I know, learning to longboard in your late 30's may seem like an odd decision, but it is a fun way to get around and a great way to see the city.

I bought a cheap used Sector 9 40" longboard on UsedVictoria for about 40 dollars and have put about 30 dollars into making it more comfortable for me to use. Every time I look around online, I see quite a few inexpensive used boards, so there are a lot of options to get into it on the cheap. New longboards are not too expensive either. Coastline Surf Shop and HTO have complete decks for around $250 (and no they did not pay me to include them, I just like both of the stores).

Great Places to Learn

Not wanting to look like a complete idiot when I first rode the board in public, I started out riding at night in parking lots. The best place I found was the well lit parking lot at the end of Seymour Place.

The lot has some hills and sidewalks, so there is a lot of opportunity to try out different surfaces and develop your skills.

After losing my initial fear of the public's perception of my new found hobby; I tried out a few more places that had a good surface and were devoid crazy hills for me to break a bone on (Figured this would be the best way to kill my enthusiasm at an early stage). 

The two best that I have found are Rutledge Park, which is very close to the Seymour parking lot and Oswald Park, a hidden park just off of Cedar Hill Road. 
Rutledge Park circle pathway is a great place to practice.

Rutledge Park has two great aspects to it for learning to board. First, it has many different types of surfaces and paved pathways, including some small declines. Second and perhaps my favourite part, is the large paved circle path that goes around an idyllic Willow tree. No matter which way you go there is both an incline and a decline and it really fun to just coast around the tree. Of course with any of these locations be respectful. There are bound to be people going for a walk or enjoying one of the benches and I try and give them their space as that is why they are there. 

After spending a lot of time at Rutledge and getting a little bored of it, I found a secret park that is longboard learning paradise. Oswald Park is tucked behind a bunch of houses in the Oaklands neighbourhood. (see the map below)

As you can see there is a path that goes around the border of the park. The path is smooth and gives you nice moments of speed; spots to practice your curves in either direction; and a paved court to try some smaller corners. It is a beautiful family setting as well. Half the park is a dog park and dogs are not always huge fans of longboards. Apart from the threat of being eaten by a dog, this is a great place to board.

I have been riding a fair bit more on streets now and am getting some practice in even on my way to work. It is a little unnerving to ride along aside cars and bikes at first, just take it easy and keep to the quieter (and smoother) streets and you will be fine. 



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