Happy summer vacation! Schools out and that means it’s time to take a much deserved break from homework. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, so why not kick back, relax, and do some math!
“Math? Gross!” I hear you say “Who does math on summer vacation?” Well, if you’re a skateboarder, then you do. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz on this, but the truth is that skateboarding is nothing but math. With all the spinning and flipping that goes on in skateboarding, it may seem like just a chaotic blur, but each skater actually relies on math to help find the griptape and roll away safely. Each trick is math. Take a look at your local park and see:
Fractions- A quarter pipe is ¼ of a full pipe. A halfpipe is ½ of a full pipe.
Friction- Is your board sticking on that rail or ledge you’re skating? Ensure that your coefficient of friction is low enough to allow for a proper slide with the aid of skate wax (or just go faster!).
Rotation- From the 180 kick turn, to Tony Hawk’s iconic 900, the conservation of angular momentum helps you rotate efficiently without flying off your board. It keeps your center of gravity spinning around a specific axis
Force - Constant and ever changing amounts of energy applied by both feet to steer the board. Here is an excerpt from a Wired.com article about the physics of skating:
“To summarize, a skateboarder's feet need to do two things successfully to complete an ollie. They need to provide a changing force to move the board correctly, and they need to provide different amounts of force with each foot to steer and turn the board into the right orientation.”
You can read the entire article by clicking here.
Still hungry for more examples of math in skateboarding? Then why not watch this video of the godfather of street skateboarding and total math enthusiast Rodney Mullen explain the connection between math and skating by clicking here. Then, go grab your skateboard and go do some math!