By Luke Kenton
After being told they were ‘too old to skate’, these defiant pensioners were determined to break down the ageist boundaries confiding them – so they set up an online community, simply for silver-haired daredevils.
It’s safe to say that founders of the ‘Very Old Skateboarders’ – Elizabeth and Lena – are far from your average sixty-somethings.
Swapping their slippers for Vans and bus passes for skateboards, the daredevil duo met by chance at the Woman’s Longboard Cup in 2013, bonding instantly over their mutual love for the sport and perspective on getting older.
Determined to unite others fighting similar battles against the stigma of age, the ‘Very Old Skateboarders’ Facebook group was born, and has since inspired over 1000 other 54-to-66-year-olds to pick up a board and pursue their passions.
One such recipient of inspiration, Keith Martin, a 54-year-old lecturer at the University of the Arts London, admits his students are always shocked to learn of his favourite hobby, but it doesn’t deter him from strapping on his knee-pads.
Keith said: “The Very Old Skateboarders group helps people realise that you don’t have to be a teenager to enjoy this stuff – we’re certainly old enough to know better, but skating is an inspiring way to stay fit and young.
“I first started skating when I was 12 – but that only lasted a year. I didn’t pick it up again until I turned 47.
“I now skate every week, usually using my longboard as a regular method of transport.
“Longboards are bigger than your average skateboards; they’re better for travelling proper distances without shaking your fillings out.
“We’ve all heard the cry ‘you’re too old for that’, but much less than you might think.
“I’ve heard a lot of positive comments, too – I get into lots of conversations when I’m carrying my board.
“My wife tolerates my obsession with good grace, but she’s never been tempted to try it herself.
“Our members aren’t too old [for skating], but they’re all old enough for someone to say that they’re too old for this.
“Our message to everyone is simple: that’s rubbish – jump on a board and have fun.”