Should you skate during the COVID-19 crisis?
March 28, 2020
I’ve noticed a lot of people are picking up skating or thinking about getting a board during this crisis – and it makes sense. Skating ticks a lot of boxes in this time – it’s a great way to get some fresh air, exercise, and you can do it when you’re all alone, plus the weather is getting really good too! Sounds perfect right?
However, it is a risky activity – injuries do happen. You don’t want to be that person taking a hospital bed away from a COVID-19 patient who sorely needs it. So what are we to do?
Today I’ll be talking about skating in this time. Whether it’s right, wrong, and what you can do to keep safe should you decide to do it.
Should you be out skating (or doing any activity) during the COVID-19 crisis?
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to skating in this period. Those who say just stay home and do other stuff and those who say yeah skate, but do it safely. It really is up to you which you decide to align yourself with. I briefly discuss both sides of the coin below.
Who (probably) shouldn’t skate?
A complete beginner doing any sort of skating
Beginners are prone to get hurt because they don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know how to skate properly, how to push properly, or how to stop. They also don’t really understand their ‘limits’ and what they should be or shouldn’t be doing. It’s simply not that good of an idea.
DH skating is especially dangerous. It is probably one of the more risky forms of skating (or longboarding). If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could seriously hurt yourself.
I remember getting hurt pretty much every session I went out when I first started. To be fair, the injuries weren’t serious – some bruises here and there. But they could have been worse,
If you’re a beginner, just stay home, or stick to cruising and really basic skating.
If you don’t have protective gear
Protective gear is there to keep you safe from injuries. Helmets are there to prevent serious head injuries and pads to cushion you from hard impacts.
If you don’t have either, you could get hurt pretty bad. How does brain damage or a shattered knee cap sound?
And you don’t have to be doing anything dangerous for these injuries to happen. You could be cruising at 2mph and have a really bad fall. I broke my hand when I fell going like 3mph.
It’s a good idea to always have protective gear on. If you want to keep yourself safe in these times, protective gear is absolutely necessary.
If there is a government lockdown
If the government wants you to stay inside, please do so. It’s part of their plan to slow the virus and infection rate. Please do your part as a citizen. It will help everything to go back to normal faster.
If you have to interact with others
If you have to use the bus, train, tram etc, to get to your skate spot, you’re really putting yourself at risk. To combat this virus, we have to rely on others doing their part – which is a terrible strategy. I have little faith in the hygiene of others and their respect for shared spaces. It just takes one infected person to place their infected hand on an elevator button, a bus door handle, a chair etc. And boom. You have the virus on you.
And the same goes for you. You might have the virus without knowing. You then go around, touching up the place and spreading it everywhere you go. Obviously you don’t mean too, but this is the reality of what could happen. After all, I don’t think anyone would intentionally spread this virus around.
The best thing I can recommend is staying away from others … or just staying home altogether.
Group skates like the one below shouldn’t happen any more.
Imagine a situation where you bring the virus home un-knowingly. This is a double-shit situation if you live with others. Below is potentially what would happen:
- You yourself get infected and have to isolate for 14days.
- You inconvenience everyone, and they have to plan around your isolation. This could be temporarily moving you out, putting you in a hotel, hospital, the garage, etc.
- You, in turn, infect a roommate, sibling, parent, spouse, or even your kid. The same goes for them as far as isolation.
In the best-case scenario, you all heal up, are slightly inconvenienced but your lives pretty much go on.
In the worst-case scenario, the situation could be devastating to your family. You could end up with shit tons of medical bills, lose your job, or god-forbid, lose a loved one.
Out of all the arguments, this is the strongest one against going out skating. And it’s not even the act of skating itself, it’s just being in a public space where you could get infected. It’s absolutely not worth it when your loved ones hang in the balance.
Who could maybe get away with skating?
The last time I was in the hospital with a skate related injury was over two years ago. These days I skate really conservatively and I just don’t fall as much (or at all).
That said, accidents are accidents after all. They occur when we least expect them too.
So I would say, err on the side of caution. If you skate often, know what you’re gonna be doing and don’t be out doing anything dumb. Skate as conservatively as possible.
Just cruising around
If you’re just cruising around, you aren’t likely to end up in a hospital. Especially if are an experienced skater.
Just skate carefully and be as safe as possible. Don’t go bombing hills, jumping stair sets, or try land any big tricks.
Keep it mellow, calm, and enjoy the cruise.
If you live alone
If you live alone, you really only answer to yourself. If you get sick, you can just hideaway for the next 14 days with relative ease. And when it comes to bills, it’s really all on you. If you’re comfortable with this happening, then send it I guess.
What can you do to ensure you skate safely?
As much as you probably should stay home, I know a majority of us will still be out skating. Here are some things you should do to stay safe and protected.
Skating with the right protective gear
I cannot stress this enough. If you want to stay safe when you’re skating, protective gear is necessary. It will keep you injury-free and out of the hospital.
The necessities are:
- A helmet (with safety certifications),
- Knee pads,
- Elbow pads,
- Wrist guards (slide gloves for downhill skating),
- A back protector – for downhill skating, especially if you can afford one.
- Hip pads – again for downhill skating.
At the bare minimum, you should have a helmet.
If you are a beginner and don’t have any safety gear, please stay off the streets and don’t leave your house. You’re putting yourself in danger and that’s really not appropriate with the prevailing situation.
Maintaining the COVID-19 prevention rules
I’m sure you already know them by heart, but here they are again with some of my recommendations too.
- Keep 6ft from people.
- Carry hand sanitizer, and sanitize your hands every so often.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep your hands to yourself – don’t touch surfaces unnecessarily.
- Wash your hands before eating.
- Don’t touch your face.
- CLEAN YOUR PHONE AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep your keys, earphones, wallet etc. by the door and don’t touch them until you leave home.
- Wash your hands when you get home and take shower (if you can).
Don’t try any new shit
Personally, I only really get injured when trying new tricks or doing something new. This is also the same for other skaters.
If you’re doing something you are accustomed to, then you’re likely not to get injured or hurt.
By not trying new tricks, you greatly decrease the potential for injury.
A good example is Josh Neuman. Josh is almost always trying new shit and pushing his limits. It’s made him a great skater yes, but he has eaten ALOT of shit along the way. Don’t be like Josh. Just putt around and take it easy,
Also, it doesn’t look like it, but Josh wears a lot of protective gear. Apart from the basic slide gloves and helmet, Josh has G-form knee pads, crash (hip) pads and sometimes a back protector on. Josh is prepared to eat shit but isn’t an idiot. He stays protected.
Skating isn’t the only thing out there
Ultimately, skating isn’t the only thing in life. There is a bunch of other stuff we can do to.
I’ve recently started playing a ton of video games and doing a couple of home workouts. That stuff works for me and kinda helps. I’ve also been skyping friends and talking to a lot of people that are close to me. I’ve also caught up on a lot of new movies and series!
Skating is important to me for my mental health and it really sucks that I can’t do it. I know a lot of people are out there feeling the same. However, there are other methods of dealing, some more effective to help your mental health than skating. Video games can be a means of catharsis – raging when you die for the 14th time in Dark Souls helps, who knew?
Finally, investing in constructive hobbies (like creating content for downhill254), learning a new programming skill, helping around the house, etc., help me feel useful, wanted and appreciated.
In a way, we’re all being personally challenged to find alternative methods to live our lives and be healthy. It sucks, but it can turn out into a really good thing if you give it your best shot.
What will I be doing?
Hopefully, this article has helped open your eyes. I can’t decide what’s right for you, but I can provide you with information so you can do so for yourself.
I think I’m going to keep skating for the most part. I’ll be avoiding public transport and will try to eliminate any contact I have with others. When I do skate, I will do so conservatively and limit my contact with my friends.
However, do understand that my COVID situation is nowhere near the level of other countries. The Kenyan government (probably) has it under control for the most part. so I’m not at risk as other people who are reading this are. Finally, I also mostly skate alone so it’s easy for me to avoid contact with others.