Drop In On The Skate Park

After skating for a while it's natural to want to push your roll a little further. Much like aggressive inline skating, taking roller skates to the park means you might need to change a few things about your setup. Here are some of the things to consider when you drop in on the skate park.

The right wheels for the right surface

Whether it’s on a board, blades, or skates, the type of surface you tackle will determine the type of wheels you need. Harder wheels are key to mastering the smooth, polished surfaces of a skate park. Something with a higher and harder Durometer is great. The Moxi Trick wheels have a thin profile with a 97a hardness that gives you lots of speed with little resistance, while a set of Rollerbones, wide and soft at 80a, would give you a lot more grip and control. There’s a lot to consider when picking the right wheels for your roller skates.

Something to grind against

A grind block sits between your wheels and allows you to slide or rails and the coping of bowls. There are a few different shapes and styles, but the idea is the same all around. It's important to have a surface to grind against that isn't your plate or boot. Some models like the Suregrip or Chaya Karma Grind Blocks are designed specifically to work with one type of plate. Whereas Wildbones or Disco Grind Blox are made to fit a majority of plates because of the way it attaches to the kingpin. Picking the right block will depend on your model of roller skate plate and preference for shape.

Plates and trucks

The best plate for your roller skates can come down to personal preference, but there are a few things that can sway that choice. When looking at materials, think about the types of tricks you want to do and the types of stresses that might put on your plate. A nylon or carbon composite plate Powerdyne Thrust is very light and has some flex to it in transition, though they can end up cracking under impact. An aluminium, magnesium or alloy plate like the Suregrip Avanti can be heavier but will provide far more stability and durability over time. Also, consider the kingpin. Many trucks will offer varying degrees of articulation, basically the range of movement allowed. More degrees of action the kingpin has, the more agility the skates have, but this can mean less stability when landing or performing advanced manoeuvres. Additionally, the hardness of your cushions will affect how sharply you turn and balanced you are – soft cushions squish for more turn, hard cushions stay strong for stability.

Boots and park packages

Everyone has different needs and tastes, but most people will either want a high-cut boot with a lot of support and stability, or a mid-cut for extra agility and mobility. The Bont ParkStar and Moxi Lolly boots have a classic high-cut profile and supple mouldable upper. This combination allows for heaps of comfort but enough structure to keep you stable at speed. Meanwhile, something like the Chaya Kismet has a mid-cut shape that allows for more agility. Because it's cut lower at the ankle it allows for more movement and flexibility.

Necessaries and other accessories

There are a few final things to think about at the skate park. Wear and tear – You're going to be scraping and scuffing your skates a lot. Think about getting a toe guard or cap to protective front of your skate. Alternatively, applying a few layers of cloth tape to stress areas can do wonders for the life of your roller skates. Smooth grinds – rubbing a bit of skate wax on your spot can help with problematic grinds. Lastly, it's always important to wear the right kind of protective gear for your skill level and the type of skating you want to do.

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