I am 35 y/o non-athletic male with an average body. I have never skated before (neither board nor blades) and have not done surfing either. I would like to give these sports a go but am concerned about potential injuries (both physical and emotional) while learning. I have seen people who are older than me and still surf (not sure about skateboarding though) but they have probably been doing this for a long time. I, on the other hand will be starting from scratch.

Is this age suitable/safe for such sports?

  • 2
    One thing I would recommend when picking up skateboarding - which sounds silly at first - is practicing how to fall correctly. It sounds silly because falling is not perceived as a skill since it is the contrary of what you're ultimately trying to achieve. But learning how to fall properly (not trying to catch you solely with your hands but rather rolling over your shoulder/back/side to take the momentum out of your fall) will keep you save while practicing. Growing up means for us adults that we unlearn falling (simply 'cause we don't do it anymore), which makes it essential to practice it.
    – TehQuila
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 12:56

4 Answers 4


35 is definitely not too old to take up a new sport, and that includes relatively "rough" sports like surfing or skateboarding. As with anything though, don't be stupid about it: take it easy at first, and don't expect to be able to pull the same tricks that the 16 year olds who have been riding since they could walk in a few weeks, or possibly even ever.

So long as you don't push yourself too far beyond your boundaries and you take appropriate safety measures for whatever sport you're participating in then there shouldn't be too much risk of physical injury. The mental side is pretty much up to you and your personality: if you're the kind of person who doesn't take failure well, then skateboarding might not be the right sport for you as you're going to fail a lot, fall over a lot and probably look quite silly a lot while you're learning. If you're the kind of person who sees failure as a learning experience, then you're good to go :-)


I started surfing when I was 32. It feels like the learning takes a bit longer than if I was younger, probably because I am not as reckless now. Still, after surfing probably around 30 days total in the last 3 years, I can select and surf a nice green wave waist/chest high and have a lot of fun.

I also have a relatively unfit friend, who is 48 years old. He took lessons with me for 5 days in a row and had fun. He did not manage to stand up, but he enjoys the challenge and the fitness aspect of the sport.

I have a very fit friend, who is 39 years old. He could stand up on the first day and try surfing green waves on the 3rd day.

Keep in mind the saying: "the best surfer is the one who has the most fun."

I would recommend to go and try it with an instructor for a week and see how it goes.

Also, have a look at Tim Ferriss's 4-day introduction to surfing.


35 is too old for skateboarding if you are not athletic

My Skating Pain

I grew up on the west coast of California. We surfed and skateboarded in empty pools and ruined everyone favorite park benches. Skateboarding is brutal. I broke my collarbone twice before I was 15. If you aren't athletic and have no co-ordination related to skateboarding and rollerblading, there's no point in doing this. Now that might be easy for me to say because I had the opportunity to do it for years and years in the 80's. I wore my Dead Kennedy's T-shirt and believed in Anarchy. My knees were, and still are, a disaster. I've had 5 cracked elbows. Quite a few concussions. I went off a curb once, hit a little rock that locked my skakeboard up and went headfirst into a car bumper. Cracked my cheekbone. That was really fun. I cracked my elbow and gave myself and nice spiral fracture grinding my trucks on a curb when the skateboard caught. Other injuries include several broken noses, lots of cuts and scrapes. Constant cuts and scrapes. Broken tail bone, 3 times. Bent my thumb backwards. Cracked two teeth on a sidewalk. Water on the knee many times. Torn ACL. Hyperextended my right knee twice. Many pulled hamstrings.

Surfing Pain

Not near as bad as skating. but I was a chicken when it came to really getting out there. Not a fan of large bodies of water. BUT, I did get drug along a reef a few times in Monterrey.

Surfing can be just fine. Just don't go out and surf on shallow reefs. If you go down and have the wave pull you along the top it can be pretty brutal and bloody. I have friends that now wear rock climbing helmets while surfing from getting so many scalp cuts. Certainly it's not cool but when your 35 plus, who cares. Just ensure that there is sand beneath you and you will be fine. Perhaps get too much saltwater up your nose or some sand in your eye.


Skateboarding has brutal injuries for the young and old. It does not discriminate. When things go bad, they go bad....especially if your a novice and you can't anticipate the movement, which makes it worse.

I skated for years. I will not skate anymore. I don't need another broken colar bone. I don't need to fall and land on my tail bone. I don't need to hit my cheek bone on a parking block.

  • 2
    It sounds far more like your injuries were the result of recklessness and a lack of practise, than mere non-athleticism. Regardless, a person need not be athletic to learn to surf, just able to swim and with some degree of fitness. As for skating, learning how to fall safely and wearing appropriate equipment takes care of the risks, while learning to balance and propel on the board don't either require any significant athleticism.
    – Nij
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 13:28
  • I haven't said athletic coordination isn't useful. It's just not perfectly necessary - learning to balance on a skateboard, or a surfboard, or a bike, only requires the ability to stand up and walk. The rest is practise. A less coordinated person will learn slower, but they will learn eventually.
    – Nij
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 1:56

Go for surfing. If you know how to fall, you can fall into relatively soft water and don't have to worry about hurting yourself very easily.

Skateboarding is much more injury prone as other posters have mentioned. It's also much harder to stop (when going down a hill for example). In the process of learning skateboarding you will definitely have a few falls that really hurt, something you probably don't want at 35.

Whatever you do, you need to have dedication! When you start, you need to take a week off whatever you're doing and spend all that time learning the basics (taking a lesson or two) and really figuring things out. Then you can move to a few times a week and you'll really enjoy the activity because you know how to properly do it.

  • Why the downvotes? All of these answers have useful information on them.
    – teradyl
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 22:23

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