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Using a back protector when you skateboard

Skateboarding can be a fun, rewarding hobby. It’s also relatively easy to injure yourself, especially when you’re skating vert or before you’ve learned to fall safely. Along with standard safety gear, such as helmets and pads, you can use a spine protector to avoid serious back injuries. 

While spinal injuries from skateboarding aren’t widespread, learning how to use a back protector for skateboarding can give you some extra peace of mind, whether you’re skateboarding or helping others.

What is a back protector?

Spine protectors generally take the form of vests or shirts with padding down the back to protect the spine from injury. They can be made from a range of protective and shock-absorbing materials, including EVA foam, kevlar and hard plastic. Back protectors have been used in a range of sports and activities for years, including horseback riding, skiing, motorcycling and mountain biking. Still, you can use them for skateboarding if you choose. 

Do I need a back protector for skateboarding?

You might be wondering if you need a spine protector for skateboarding. While we’re huge advocates for wearing safety gear while you skate, a back protector will be overkill for most. Unless you’re attempting some extremely gnarly tricks, you generally won’t need a spine protector for street skating. 

However, those who skate ramps are more likely to get hurt and may choose to wear a spine protector to avoid severe back injuries. We’d especially recommend a back protector if you’re new to skating vert, as it’s more likely you’ll get injured while you’re learning new tricks. The more impressive the trick, the worse it can go wrong if you don’t land it. 

Are back protectors designed for skateboarding?

No. The majority of back protectors aren’t designed for skateboarding. They’re mainly meant for snowboarding, skiing, motocross, mountain biking or motorcycle riding. 

You can, however, use them for skateboarding, but choose carefully. To stay limber on a skateboard, you’ll need your back protector to be reasonably flexible. We’d recommend one designed for skiing, snowboarding or mountain biking, where you need a good deal of flexibility. Stay away from spine protectors made specifically for motorcycles.

Do back protectors limit movement?

It can feel strange wearing a spine protector at first. As long as you choose the right one, you should be able to move naturally and retain a full range of motion while skateboarding with a back protector. 

Back protectors designed for sporting use often have cutaway pieces or are made from flexible materials so you can move freely. If your chosen back protector feels unnatural to skate in, even after trying it out a few times, you may have chosen the wrong one for you. 

Other skateboarding safety gear

Wearing a spine protector while skateboarding is excellent, but it shouldn’t be the only piece of safety equipment you wear. If nothing else, you should always wear a helmet when skating, but it’s a good idea to wear pads, as well. 

Skateboarding helmets

Wearing a helmet while you skate could prevent serious head injuries and even death. Choose a helmet specifically designed for skateboarding since others might not offer the correct degree of protection. Make sure your helmet fits snugly with the chin strap tightened appropriately.

Skateboarding knee pads

You’re likely to fall on your knees a lot, especially if you’re new to skateboarding. The right pair of knee pads will absorb the bulk of the shock to your knees, both lessening pain from falling and playing a part in preventing knee injuries. Hard-shell knee pads are your best option for skateboarding, but they must be adequately padded inside. 

Skateboarding elbow pads

It might not seem like you’d fall on your elbows much when skating, but you certainly can, especially when you come off your board backward. Like knee pads, elbow pads absorb shock and help prevent injury. 

Skateboarding wrist guards

It’s better to roll or knee-slide when you fall off a skateboard than to stick your arms out to catch yourself, but sometimes you have to. In these cases, you’re less likely to hurt yourself if you’re wearing wrist guards. 

Skateboarding padded shorts

These are less common than the protective gear listed above, but you may choose to use padded shorts to protect your buttocks and thighs. These can be useful for newbie skateboarders who are still regularly falling on their butts. 

What you need to buy for safe skateboarding

BenKen Anti-Collision Spine Protector

BenKen Anti-Collision Spine Protector

This back protector is breathable and allows a good range of motion. It’s available in a wide range of sizes and fits most adults, with long-sleeve and short-sleeve options.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Triple Eight THE Certified Sweatsaver Helmet

Triple Eight THE Certified Sweatsaver Helmet

This helmet offers excellent protection when skateboarding. It’s made by a reputable brand and is even endorsed by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Pro-Tec Street Knee and Elbow Pad Set

Pro-Tec Street Knee and Elbow Pad Set

We love these hard shell knee and elbow pads with plenty of padding to help prevent injury. No matter how many times you fall, their shock-absorbing power means it doesn’t hurt too badly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

187 Killer Pads Wrist Guard

187 Killer Pads Wrist Guard

The combination of padding and extra-thick splints makes these wrist guards perfect to prevent injury if you catch yourself with your hands when you fall. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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