Longboard dancers and freestylers are an interesting breed of people, because we’re so IN LOVE with what we do, there’s not many things that will stop us from doing it. Rainy day? Find a parking garage. Negative temperatures outside? Put more clothes on. Crazy schedule for the day? Get up super early and start the day with a session.
And the list goes on and on, we’re devoted to our craft and it shows. But if there is ONE solo thing that can really sideline a longboard dancer, it is injuries.
This past August, I was participating in the first ever longboard dancing and freestyle contest at the 2019 Pangea ABOUT YOU festival in the North of Germany. It was a smaller venue, but nonetheless, I was still super stoked to go up there with friends from Berlin, and see some other longboarders I know from all over Europe. These events are just so great because we share so many special moments and memories together.
Unfortunately while I was warming up, I jumped off the board weirdly after failing something, and landed awkwardly on my left foot, promptly snapping my outer-most middle foot bone into two pieces. I even heard it when it broke.
Thankfully it was a super clean break, and at the time all the doctors and surgeons told me I should make a 100% recovery and get back to doing all things I love doing (I’m also a passionate street dancer, so that was also going on a pause). I didn’t even need a cast, I just had to wear this weird shoe thing for a month, and afterwards start physiotherapy.
It’s now November 15th, more than 2 months after the break happened, and I am still in my recovery phase. I’ve started riding my board again, and have even started dabbling back into dancing and freestyle already. Am I back to my previous level? No, I am not. I am still suffering from some balance issues, and to be honest, I think a lot of it is in my head still, but I am riding again.
But as with all bad things in life, I’ve learned from this. Mainly – how to stay positive and jazzed with everything, even when you’re on the sidelines.
5 ways to stay jazzed about longboard dancing when you’re hurt
1. Get better at something else that is related to longboard dancing, that doesn’t actually involve longboard dancing
The amount of project ideas here are endless, really, it just depends on what every single person is into.
I got pretty lucky, I had only launched LD.World about a month prior to my break, so the site was still pretty new and raw. I used a lot of my hurt time to optimize the site, implement technical necessities, create content, create a clothing shop, work with other ambassadors to help spread the word, etc, etc.
Am I saying that every hurt longboarder needs to make a website, not really, though that would be pretty cool haha.
Another thing I did in this down time was actually take the time to learn how to use Final Cut Pro X a little bit better.
Until my injury, I could muscle my way through the program and end up with a decent video, but I would take me FOREVER.
So I took the time to learn the program properly, from its basics, how to import properly, keyboard shortcuts, file types, frame rates, etc. But again, it helped me stay connected because ultimately all I want to do is create better longboard videos. For those looking to get better at all around filmmaking, I found the tutorials on YouTube by Potato Jet extremely well made, easy to follow, and informative.
I feel video is a good start for anyone in this scenario, because it is just such a massive and broad topic. There’s programs to learn, shooting techniques to get introduced to, after all, there is a reason being a filmographer is a full time job.
Hell, it even took me about a week to start getting comfortable with the Gimbal I bought for my iPhone!
2. Don’t stop going to longboarding events
This one surprised me actually, but in the end I am super glad I went. The next weekend after I broke my foot, I had a fully booked and paid for trip to Paris already in the books – the reason – none other than to compete in the first ever Paris 360 event!
This hurt the most about the break, because I was really excited to be able to participate in the first ever Paris 360 Competition, and knowing that I wouldn’t be able to really sucked. The thought of going there, seeing all my longboard friends, seeing the competition, and only being able to sit on the side sounded absolutely dreadful.
But I figured everything was already paid for, so I might as well head down.
I am glad I did, just being around the energy of the event was amazing, and actually getting to see a bunch of my longboard friends again is never a bad thing, plus I got to meet a ton of people that I “know” from the scene, but up until this point I only knew them via Instagram.
I was really happy to have been present there, and leaving Paris made me even more motivated to get back on my board as soon as possible.
Another amazing event I got to attend was the Finland X Sweden event in Helsinki at the end of September.
This event was another life changing event, and even though I still wasn’t able to skate here, I met some of the most amazing people ever who are now life-long friends, and I even got to be a judge at the event’s competition.
Never ending laughs and smiles at both events, so even if you’re hurt, get up and get out.
3. Keep the other parts of your body in shape (if you can)
Full disclaimer on this one, I’m no doctor, so you should check with your doctor before engaging in any kind of activity while you’ve got an injury.
But, I know how to be hurt and how your body can react to it. The broken foot wasn’t my first busted thing in my life, and I know that when something is immobilized during an injury it is going to lose almost all of its strength and mobility.
The thing is, as longboarders, we don’t necessarily need to be in body builder shape, but we have to have a decent amount of fitness to enjoy our sport properly.
My foot was busted, but I was still able to work out my core, arms, and good leg (to some extent, pistol squats anyone?) during my recovery period.
Plus since you’re not skating, you’ll need some kinda physical activity to release all those feel good hormones, right?
4. Look up new longboarding gear you might need (if you can afford it).
This one also a bit dependent on money, but if you’ve been meaning to update any parts of your overall setup, this is a good time to do it.
Dig up review videos, do some price comparisons, research the things that are important to you so you can make informed decisions.
Breaking my foot put me in a position to really reconsider how good my shoes were. I have been skating with all black Vans Authentics forever. I find them comfortable and I always liked how they had the perfect combination of slipiness and grippiness on the board.
But from a protection and support standpoint, they’re basically flip flops. So I started researching new skating shoes. This for me is a huge pain in the ass, and way more time consuming that it should be, because I’m a vegan. This means I won’t be shoes with leather or suede in them, which makes the search that much harder.
After about a week of researching, I decided to order the Nike Nyjahs to give them a shot. Additionally I bought a set of G-Form pads for my knees and elbows, because I figured I should start being more careful as a whole.
The nice thing about this, is it gives you something to look forward to, which can take some of the negative vibes of being injured away.
5. Accept very early on, that you’ve got a road to recovery
I think this might be the most important thing to understand here, especially if this is your first injury.
First and foremost, don’t even get on the board until your doc clears you to do so. The very last thing you wanna do is make your injury worse, and be off the board for even more time than originally planned. Take the time to let your body heal properly.
Secondly, know that when you DO get back on the board, you’re not going to be the longboarder you were before the injury. There’s gonna be some fear, excitement, frustration, and unbelief hitting you all at once. When I first got back on my board after the injury, just standing on it was a bit terrifying. But it all quickly started to come back after a couple weeks.
Accept that, and take the time to let your body and your mind feel the flow again.
I think this mindset is one of the most important things you can do while you’re in the recovery phase, just so your expectations are properly set.
Wrapping it up
So there it is boys and girls, five things you can start implementing into your recovery phase, to make being injured and not skating suck just a little bit less. Will this take all the suck away, no, definitely not, but I do hope it helps.
What injuries have you had, and how did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below!