For those of us who’ve been park skating for a little while, it was the iconic Bones video of Michelle Steilen (aka Estrojen) that gave us the courage and idea to take our roller skates to the skate park and to the streets. These days you don’t need to look far on socials to find some park, street and aggressive skating inspo. If you’ve ever wondered whether you could do those wild tricks or use your roller skates at your local skate park, the answer to both those questions is a big YES.
Park and street skating can look and be daunting and don’t get me wrong, it’s challenging in more ways than one, but it’s lots of fun and the skate park community is awesome no matter what wheels you use. So if you’ve been thinking about starting park skating, take this as your sign. I’m here to give you some helpful hints about when you know it’s the right time to start, what you’ll need to get started and things you need to know before you head to your local.
How do I know if I’m ready to start roller skating in the skate park?
Before you start tackling transition (ramps) and other skate park obstacles it’s a good idea to have some foundational flat ground skate skills under your belt. You should be able to comfortably skate forwards and be able to stop a few different ways. You’ll also want to be able to turn around easily and ideally, you’ve been working on backwards skating for a little bit. These foundational skills are vital to being able to skate safely in the skate park, for your sake and others. If you’ve confidently got these skills in your roller skating repertoire, then you’re ready to make skate parks your new challenge.
What do I need to start park skating?
So you’ve got those foundational skills, but what about the gear? Besides your skates, the other thing on the must-have at the skate park list is some decent protective gear. When you’re starting to park skate, you’re going to fall a lot. This reality check is not meant to scare you but to prepare you for the inevitable. But let’s be honest, no matter what level you reach in park or street skating, you’re going to be falling a lot. This is where good quality protective gear comes in.
You will want to invest in:
- A certified helmet – I recommend S-One Lifer Helmets 🪖
- Knee pads on the bulky side – 187 Fly Knees are great for starting out but if you’ve had injuries in the past or want extra protection then try a bulkier knee pad model like the 187 Pro Knee or the S1 Pro Knee 👌
- Wrist guards or Palm Sliders – I prefer the RollerFit Palm Sliders because they take the impact of the fall, my hands and wrists still have full mobility and when I fall my hands slide just like my knees 👋
- Elbow pads – An often neglected piece of padding but let me tell you a swellbow isn’t fun
For better protection and more durable padding, it’s best to get all these protective gear pieces separately. However, if you’re weighing up budget and protection then go for the 187 Six Packs or Combo Packs to get you going. A lot of the other cheaper pad sets are made for recreational skating so they won’t do much to protect you. Good quality protective gear means that you’ll be able to continue skating well into the future.
A few other things you might see roller skaters using in the skate park are hard wheels, slide blocks and wide trucks. When you’re starting out you don’t have to have these pieces of skate park hardware on your set up, in fact maybe you never want to, and that’s cool too. Each of these things comes with pros and cons and you can explore your options when you decide that park skating is something you really want to continue with. We’ve got a range of skate park hardware available at the RollerFit Shop so head over here to check them out.
What should I know before I got to a skate park?
Skate parks are a place of unspoken rules where it is assumed that people adhere to general skate park etiquette (except for those rogue kids). Some of the basics of skate park etiquette include:
- Not sitting or putting your gear on obstacles – Stairs and ledges are made to be skated not sat on. When you rock up to the park check for seating and where other skaters are putting their things.
- Don’t be an obstacle hog – If other people are waiting to use an obstacle have a go for a minute and hop out/off. If no one’s around, skate till your legs turn to jelly!
- Don’t be a snake – A snake is a person who cuts off someone’s run before it starts or during it. To make sure you don’t snake someone watch how people use the park and figure out the general flow in the street section. For ramps or bowls let each person waiting have a turn, normally a natural line will start and people keep this rotation going. Want to join in just ask!
Skate parks can be intimidating at first and it’s totally normal to feel some park anxiety. When you’re starting out take a friend or get a bit of a crew together when heading to the park, this way you have morale and physical support. You can try going when your local park is quiet, fewer people helps when starting to learn how to navigate the new terrain. With that being said, you are allowed to take up space in the skate park no matter what level of experience you have so get out there and just give it a go!
Most people in the skate park community are super friendly and happy to have a chat so don’t be afraid to strike up a convo and find yourself some new friends or ask for some help. Everyone is there to have a good time 🤙
For some more skate park etiquette dos and don’ts check out this CIB Crew blog, it’s chock full of great advice.
How do I start park skating?
Now that you’ve got the foundational skills and all the gear, it’s time to hit the skate park. Beyond getting out there and just having a crack, there are plenty of ways you can get your park journey going:
- Check out some beginner skate park tutorials on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, there’s no shortage of them these days.
- Ask your RollerFit coach or local park skaters for some tips.
- Look for lessons at indoor skate parks. Not only is learning on wood nice for falling but you’re also supporting a local business owner. A lot of indoor skate parks have been closing in Australia recently and this is sad for the skating community so get out there and support your local indoor parks.
There are so many park skating skills out there but the best one’s to get started with to lay a good foundation for your neverending park repertoire are pumping, carving and jumping. Here are some great tutorials to help you build these skills.
I need some inspo the light my skatepark and street fire!
Well, you’re in luck. These days long form content such as edits and skate parts have been dropping from roller skaters around the world. This means endless inspo! Here’s a few channels you can check out, subscribe to and keep up with all the latest drops.
Good luck on your park skating journey! Enjoy and embrace wherever it takes you. We hope to see you shredding at the skate park real soon. As always, if you have any skate-related questions shoot us a message, we’re always up for a chat!