Book Review: Skateboarding Made Simple Vol. 1 by Aaron Kyro

It's been almost a year since I last wrote about my not so successful attempts at getting back to something that resembles my peak skateboarding abilities of the mid 1990's. I can say I've improved a bit but my confidence level is still pretty low.

However my confidence has started to improve since I purchased Skateboarding Made Simple Vol 1: Master the basics of Skateboarding by Aaron Kyro.


I've linked to the book on Aaron's website, Braille Skateboarding, but it is also available through Google Play (where I purchased it) and iBooks.

Altogether there are six volumes in the series. I'm only half way through Volume 1, which covers absolutely entry level stuff through to kickflips and heelflips in just 33 pages. Each trick is explained both in writing and with an accompanying video demonstration of every step.

I particularly like Aaron's approach which is not simply to show you the trick and explain as he goes but instead, he breaks everything down into separate exercises. Each exercise is something you can practice over and over until eventually your muscle memory takes over. Keep practicing each aspect of a trick until you feel you've got that down, then move on to the next part.

You may feel like a complete noob doing some of these exercises at the skatepark but, by yourself in your own driveway, I can't stress enough how useful it is to practice just part of a trick over and over, instead of trying to learn the whole trick in one step. Which is why I've never been able to land a kickflip (except for that one time).

To really understand Aaron's method watch him explain it in the short video below. I watched this video (bearing in mind this is just a promo video not an actual lesson) and realized he's just highlighted what I've been doing wrong with kickflips all these years.



If you're a beginner this is a great starting point. Everything in volume one can be done on any suitable, flat skating surface such as your driveway, empty parking lot etc.

If you're a used to be okay skateboarder who's seriously out of practice like me, this course is an excellent way to get your confidence level building back up again. At age 46, fear of falling is a real concern because I don't bounce as well as I did 20 years ago.

A lot of the trick break downs give you things to practice that have almost zero chance of you falling over. By the time you've got the full trick mastered you'll have reduced your chances of messing up and falling off considerably. Which is not to say you'll never fall over - falling off is inevitable - but you'll be more confident about getting back up, knowing what went wrong.

As I said, I'm only half way through volume one. However I feel my ollie technique has improved, with the board staying under my feet and not flapping as much at the back as it used to. I've got frontside 180 ollies back and am getting backside 180 ollies working most of the time (was never that great at them anyway). I'm now onto pop-shove-its, which I've also never really mastered in my hey day because they'd flip away from me most of the time.

I can't recommend this first volume highly enough. I've got Tony Hawk's Trick Tips DVDs that he put out many years ago and Aaron's teaching method is better. I'll definitely be buying Volume two and probably the rest as well.

2 comments:

  1. Is this a series of books or DVDs? Just wondered with you saying it had an accompanying video with each thing. I've clicked on the links of the video and your one again.

    I notice they don't wear any protection such as helmet, knee and elbow protection, but maybe they do for competitions. Also, I wonder if your shoes need extra cushioning in them so your ankles and legs don't get too jarred? Can't be too good landing on concrete from a highish drop. Wonder how their bones fare up in later years. Just wondering. Looks a good series.

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    Replies
    1. I think you can actually buy a DVD version of the book but what I bought is the electronic book (ebook) version which means you can embed videos with the text.

      As far as padding goes, most skaters tend to forego pads and helmets and just learn to anticipate falls as best they can. You usually only see skaters wearing a full set of pads and helmets on vert ramps because it's less jarring to knee slide down a transition than it is to try and run it out (which is what you have to do if you don't have pads).

      Pads can be too restrictive for street skating and on smaller mini ramps. Plus if you also use your skateboard for transport pads are hot to get around in all the time.

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