Skateparks are not playgrounds. They are potentially very dangerous places. With the advent of skateboarding in the Olympics it has raised awareness of skateboarding and that riders at the top of their game are literally flying around the skatepark. All ages and levels of ability should be able to use a public skatepark. How do we do it safely?
Top 3 rules of using the skatepark
1. Follow the flow of the skatepark
The skatepark has been designed to be used in certain way, with ‘lines’ that run through the park, that permit the rider to hit the obstacles (a well designed skatepark anyway). Watch experienced riders of the skatepark and make a note of the ‘lines’ in the skatepark. This is how you should use the skatepark. Don’t go outside of these ‘lines’.
Sometimes you will see advanced riders using the skatepark in unusual or unexpected ways, making their own lines. This is part of the fun of skating, however only make your own lines if you are proficient enough to do so. Know your limits!
2. Don’t wait in places that are being skated
There are areas of the skatepark which have been designed for skating, and other areas for waiting. Watch and learn about where you should stand while waiting for your run. Don’t sit on the ledges & ramps of the skatepark. This is a cardinal sin!
3. Don’t snake. (What is snaking?)
‘Snaking’ is not waiting for your turn. Yes, there is an order in which riders take a turn. Yes riders are taking note of who’s go it is. Don’t be that person.
Why can scooters be dangerous in the skatepark?
The reason why scooters have a bad rep in skateparks is because scooters are easy to ride. Scooter kids are able to ride around a skatepark without having spent time in a skatepark, and watching and learning how to use it. Often they haven’t even seen the lines, let alone stick to the lines. As such they are dangerous. If you see riders causing a problem, have a friendly word and ask them to watch and learn how to use the skatepark.
When should I go to the skatepark as a beginner skater?
Often the skatepark is most empty in the morning. We’d suggest you go then. This is when we run our group skateboard lessons. Often at 10am, before the more proficient riders get to the park.
If you are taking your child to the skatepark and they are too young to comprehend or learn these concepts, it is your responsibility to understand these concepts and ensure they are not causing a problem.
Yes, we’ve said the skatepark is not a playground, but actually it is. It’s a sandbox, if you like, and that is what makes skateboarding so appealing. We don’t want to discourage small kids or learners from coming, however, be aware that at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon is not an appropriate time to take small children to the skatepark. Take them early, when the skatepark is empty, or often small kids can learn to ride just as well around the paths of the park. Greenwich Park, in London is a good example of a place to start learning to skate. Read more about where to learn to skateboard.