Buying Inline Skating Safety Gear: If don’t wear protective gear, you have no protection when you fall! You may only go down once every few years... but it’s like air bags... you only need them that one time!
Wrist Guards /Hand Protectors / Sliders:
- Wrist guards are highly important to protect Inline Skaters (who doesn’t need to use their hands to drive, to keyboard, to hold a pen, etc.???)
- Back in the early 90’s double brace (top & bottom) wrist guards were the norm (to avoid straining / breaking wrists & for their forward sliding benefit). The double-sided guards were somewhat bulky & were awkward for hand movement (resulting in a lot of skaters choosing not to wear them)
- Most Inline Skate Shops are now selling the newer wrist protectors with only bottom slide plates (thicker to keep your skin farther from the pavement!) & Velcro straps running over the top of the hand & wrist (so they are not as warm or restrictive)
- If an inline skater has taken thorough Inline Skate Lessons they will also learn how to reliably do forward slides (with soft ‘touch-downs’) which benefit usage of any wrist guards but are particularly valuable for palm sliders (whch have no wrist brace at all) which are the preferred style for advanced & expert inline skaters (as they minimize restriction & heat build-up)
- If you only wear the wrist guards, they will give you some protection , but if you go down with your full weight on your wrists you can still fracture or dislocate something (or roll on to your skin). If you use all 6 slide plates you can divide up the pressure of your weight (plus some of the force from your momentum) into sixths. If you take a lesson on how to utilize the the 6 slide plates in a lowered impact with fluid skill you can dramatically reduce the chance of injury (or amount of injury), & likely eliminate injury
Knee Pads / Elbow Pads:
- Buy pads that fit you!
- If you try sliding on them (on the grass or your carpet) you may find that they slip out of position, but remember they were designed for one usage so re-adjusting them after sliding is normal
- Inline Skating pads are primarily slide plates (not cushions) so don’t expect them to give a lot of cushion
- It is better to use small pads than no pads at all! (Give yourself the protection rather than abandoning them to work on your tan) Scars look much worse than Skater’s Tan
- Take a inline skating lesson from a certified Inline Skate IA or IISA ICP Instructor on how to use the safety gear!!
- If you’re planning to ride Skate-Parks, Quarter Pipes, Half-Pipes, Grind Rails, Stairs, etc. buy some ‘aggressive’ safety pads (with lots of padding)
- Inline Skaters are more likely to fall on their wrists than their head,….but if you fall on your ‘noggin’ it is not a good thing (especially for kids who are still psychologically going through their developmental phases). You may only fall on it once,..but one brain injury is one too many!;
- Bicycle Helmets can be used for inline skating although for beginners helmets with aerodynamic points on the back are not recommended. If you fall backwards they tend to slip forwards. For intermediate skaters they are common & preferred for racing or skating in hot climates (so the vents can cool your head). For racing you’ll see helmets with 16, 20, or over 30 vents; Check with your salesman to see what safety ratings are on the helmet;
- For Skatepark or Freestyle riding you’ll typically see bladers using ‘Pro-Tec’ style helmets (like BMX’ers or Skateboarders wear) which have a flatter back (to provide more Occipital area protection;
- Bright colours are a great idea for being seen!;
- Visors do prevent sun glare,..but I quickly got rid of mine because it kept catching the wind. Perhaps someone will develop one with less wind drag???
- If you do inline skate at night or in the twilight,..take some advanced inline skating lessons from a certified instructor first (& then buy some lights)
- There are lots of inexpensive mini-halogen lights on the market (red flashers; white lights to go on your helmet);
Crash Pad Shorts:
- I have 3 pairs (that I wear for skate parks, racing, & trying new moves). I wore them all the time when I was a beginner! Lots of advanced skaters have them but most people never notice because often they are worn under baggy shorts;
- If you can’t find any in your community have someone sew some padding into the tail-bone & hip corner areas. Literally they will save your butt!! In Vancouver ‘Shop-Task’ carries them & in North Van ‘Larry’s Skate Shop’ stocks them!