Flea is a super-enthusiastic but newbie skateboarder. Actually, she’s been having skateboard lessons for a few months now at the Projekts Centre in Manchester.
It’s a wonderful council-owned facility that gives kids access to a safe place to skate. There are regular girls’ only nights, holiday clubs and there are coaches around to help kids. Although if you prefer you can book one-to-one lessons.
If you’re in London, the House of Vans also offers similar facilities along with a drop-in movie theatre and loads more facilities – it’s well worth checking out.
As Flea’s confidence has grown, she’s putting a LOT of wear on her skateboard. Apparently it’s a badge of honour if your shoes are trashed and the wood of your board is visible because you scraped all the paint off it while jumping ramps.
Sigh. I feel really old, sometimes.
Getting a decent skateboard for kids is essential, though. I’ve seen plenty of kids riding cheaper boards that have split in two after a few enthusiastic jumps and flips.
For younger riders, I think the Penny board is a fab buy. These colourful plastic boards are available all over the world, and a fully-fledged classic.
Chances are you’ll look at plastic skateboards and think they’re all the same, but those cheap plastic boards? They’re not Penny boards. A genuine Penny board gives a really smooth ride, and the quality of the board, wheels and hardware means it will last as long as your child wants to ride it.
Flea’s first Penny was the classic 22-inch board. It’s small enough for even young kids to handle, and a great design for skating on streets. Flea also had a Penny backpack that holds the board, making it great for when we’re going on holiday. Flea took her board to California last summer and used it almost every day.
This year, we were invited to try a new Penny Board so it was the perfect chance to try the new, longer 27-inch board from Penny. Flea chose the “Blackout” model with black wheels and a black board and it’s “completely awesome”.
Specifically the longer board is a bit more stable, making it ideal for kids like Flea who are learning tricks on their boards. The quality is just as good as the smaller boards, and I like how solid the board feels.
Of course, the all-black design was a winner with my almost-teen and she can’t wait until her next lesson to REALLY put it through its paces. But we’ve already taken it for several rides in local skate parks and along the seafront and it’s a “wicked ride” by all accounts. The Penny “Blackout” 27 inch board currently retails at £99.99 and is available from a whole host of retailers online.
If you’re buying a board for a child in the family, I strongly recommend also investing in a set of skate trainers. These are really clever little rubber cages that fit over the skateboard’s wheels, keeping the board static while the child practices a jump, or trick – without the odds of the board rolling away. I’ve found these have been amazing at improving Flea’s confidence and the speed with which she can pick up new techniques.
And as a happy bonus, they make me a teeny bit less nervous when I’m watching her flinging herself about on a board!
We were sent a Penny board for the purposes of this review. To check out the full range, please visit the Penny UK website!