Everybody who’s stepped on a skateboard within the past five years has heard of Braille Skateboarding. They are one of the most prominent skating companies of the past decade and continue to grow. It all started with Aaron Kyro designing a business model around making skateboarding more accessible to everyone worldwide. In 2013 he released one of Braille’s first products, Skateboarding Made Simple Volume 1. It’s an e-book that serves as a starter guide for people who are interested in skateboarding or have just gotten their first board and don’t know how to get started. I bought this book shortly after it came out and knew most of the tricks by then. I was still curious about how this is structured. Teaching skateboarding to others is one of my favorite aspects of skateboarding itself.
When flying through the pages, you can already see that every chapter serves as a separate lesson. First, the skateboard parts, then the riding basics, and then all beginner tricks up to the Kickflip. The order of the chapters makes sense as the maneuvers required board control gradually increases. The steps are quite detailed, more than the average internet content for beginners. Still, he doesn’t go too much into detail, probably to not overwhelm starters.
This is the first chapter after the introduction and serves as a quick guide to knowing a skateboard’s separate pieces. Aaron doesn’t get too much into detail here, which I get, since that would be too much for a complete beginner to take in. It might even scare some away from the start. He also says what he is currently using and gives straight forward tips that serve as a guideline for beginners. Though he introduces (almost) every part of a skateboard to us, he doesn’t explain how to set up a board, which would’ve been more than a welcoming addition to this relatively short chapter.
One of the most challenging questions to answer is which foot to put forward. This is hard to answer, especially if one has never stood on a skateboard. However, Aaron uses a good example that can lead a beginner to the right answer. He uses excellent analogies as he teaches the first baby steps to take when learning how to ride on a skateboard. Kyro also mentions that it’s crucial to spend a lot of time just riding the board as it is often overlooked by beginners.
As you know, this is what I also tell every beginner. One thing that I would’ve thrown into this chapter would’ve been Reverts. But he doesn’t even cover stances like Fakie, Nollie, or Switch. I get that it may be too much for an absolute starter to take in, but I think these are crucial enough to mention.
Ollie, Frontside 180, Backside 180
Every single part of each trick is well broken down into little baby steps. The videos are relatively short (less than five minutes) but still manage to be more detailed than your average YouTube tutorial. The text is an excellent addition to the videos, as every step is described again. You can easily pull out your phone when skating and take a look at the individual parts. There shouldn’t be any issues or misunderstandings when learning these, as he made everything clear.
Pop Shove-it, Frontside Shove-it
The baby steps in which Aaron Kyro explains these tricks really help to take away the fear at the start and helps to commit to the tricks later. He provides us with simple practices to learn how to build up the muscle memory to make the skateboard do the maneuvers without much of a risk of getting hurt. Again the instructions are very detailed and easy to understand.
This chapter’s videos are six to eight minutes long but break down every step you need to know and practice. I’ve learned Kickflips before I learned Heelflips, which (due to neglecting and barely ever trying it) I still struggle with. Going through the Kickflip-chapter, I can see why it took me almost two years of trial and error until I landed one. As I mentioned earlier in this review, I bought this e-book shortly after it came out about seven years ago. Truth be told, I just wanted to finally land a Heelflip. With the help of SMS, I learned the Heelflip within a matter of one day. Once again, everything is highly detailed and well broken down into baby steps.
I have not seen every single tutorial on the internet. But the ones I’ve seen aren’t even as close as detailed as the ones in Skateboarding Made Simple. Sure, you could get away with the YouTube videos or, even better, having a patient skater teaching you this stuff in person at your skatepark or spot. Still, there is no doubt that SMS Volume 1 is a great way to learn skateboarding right from the get-go. I think it’s worth the money (6,99€), especially if you consider the additional text alongside the video, which could serve as a checklist, for example. Since it’s an e-book, you will have the instructions and videos downloaded on your phone, so you won’t have to worry about your data plan when you’re out skating. If you want guidance for your tricks and want to get down skateboarding basics, get Skateboarding Made Simple. However, keep looking over the fence and do research on your own since this book won’t tell you everything.
Before we went on our extended break, I had reached out to Brian about possibly reviewing old skate shoes for the sake of skating shoes I wish I had bought previously. After skating them, I realized that it’d been seven years since my last Converse review, which all fit well.
In episode number two of the second season of the SkatePunk Podcast, we’re talking about everything but skateboarding for the first twenty minutes. Shortly after, the topics get more skating-related, as we’re discussing influences in our skateboarding and our aspirations to be influencers (NOT THAT SOCIAL-MEDIA-LOOK-AT-MY-FANCY-SPONSORS-INFLUENCER-THING) ourselves. If you want to be a guest on…
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