Tips to help you get started park skating and join the crew
1. Respect the Park
Whether you’re visiting a small park, a massive community behemoth, a backyard ramp or a pay per session indoor park you should always respect the environment. Don’t tag or litter and treat it like it’s your own. Be respectful of the locals too, and you’ll be welcomed in no time.
3. Take a Mate
Skate parks are awesome fun and a great community, but they can be intimidating at first. You can make those first couple of visits easier on yourself by dragging along someone who’s keen to check it out or tagging along with a skater mate whether they’re on roller skates, a skateboard or a scooter.
Having a mate with you helps fight those nerves and makes it easier to laugh at yourself when you fall and pick you up through the stacks. You’ll make friends there in no time and you’ll be surprised how wide those connections will spread.
3. Park Etiquette
There are unspoken rules of the skate park that exist and are passed around within the scene. Now that the ominous tone has been set – the rules are mostly common sense. But it never hurts to go over the basics.
- Everyone takes their turn to share the skate park.
- When you rock up join the back of the cue.
- Check all lines before you take your run.
- If you bail, your run is over. Reset and wait your turn.
That’s basically it. The general rule is, be polite and share and you’ll have a great time.
4. Space for the Basics
If you’re new to park skating and aren’t confident or want to practice before taking a run, find a part of the park that isn’t as busy (or visit when it’s quieter) to work on the basics. While it can be intimidating, make sure you ask any surrounding crew. Also be sure to keep an eye out for anyone wanting to hit your spot. Manners go a long way!
5. Stay Alert
Skate parks are often a hectic environment with bodies, boards and wheels flying in all directions. Once you are accustomed to the chaos, there is no more comforting feeling than arriving to see a flurry of activity, but when you are learning you need to pay twice as much attention.
Be prepared to bail out of your run and if you do collide, always apologise, even when it’s not your fault.
This doesn’t apply to newbies, but it’s always good to know about the great wax debate. It’s been dividing skaters for ages. Background: waxing is used by some skateboarders, rollerbladers, and quad skaters to extend your slide or grind. The smooth finish allows you to go further for less. But not everyone agrees and uses it.
Before you wax up a coping or rail always check with the surrounding crew. If you’re not sure, play it on the safe side and don’t wax it.
7. You don’t need to spend big
You don’t need to spend big to start park skating. You can start with a beginner set up or learn the basics on a set you already have. That way you’ve not spent a huge amount to figure out whether this is a something you are into and should invest in. Just be careful about what you attempt while on a set up that is not made for ramps or parks, as a snapping a plate can be dangerous.
It never hurts to drop by your online skate shops
to browse cost effective beginner sets or to ask how your current set up will fair. They can also give you tips on upgrades that are available before deciding on a new set up.
8. Customise your set up
Once you’ve decided you’re into park skating and you want to take your skating to the next level, then it is time to invest in a custom set up. Getting something to suit your style, height and weight will undoubtedly improve your skating as it’s the difference between nailing the landing or stacking it. Getting the enough grip to slide or too much and going flying. Being able to make a quick cut in or running into something or someone.
Skaters who have been running old derby skates or borrowed skates, often remark how their skating just shot up after they got their own set up.
You won’t become Barbie Patten or Tommy Fynn superstar overnight. Most of us build new skills slowly. Some might pick up a certain aspect quicker than others, but don’t get caught in the comparison trap. Your progress is your own. Even the best skaters in the world get familiar with their moves before they tear it up. Every important skill takes hours and hours of practice, broken down into small steps.
The most important thing in becoming an awesome park skater is consistency. If you are committed to practicing, you’ll be tearing it up in no time.
10. Center of Gravity
The second best tip after being committed to your skating, is to get low. A lower center of gravity allows you to be more stable and keep your balance, which means less stacks!
Derby skaters have heard it a thousand times ‘get lower’ is the key to just about anything from nailing crossovers to absorbing impact and the same goes at the park.
11. Safety is Sexy
Park skating can be risky business. While the look of rocking up in nothing but skates can be alluring, the reality is no one has ever regretted wearing safety gear. Some skaters wear helmets and knee pads, while others go with a full set up. The amount of protective gear is up to you, but if you want to keep skating when you’re a veteran, your body will thank you for padding up now!
We’re keen to see you get out there and shred, so tag us on Instagram and Facebook.