DON'T BE "THAT GUY/GAL"

 

(This really did happen, and we both frequent this skatepark quite a bit, so I won't be using the name of this particular skateboarder, instead I think we’ll refer to him as “Rude Boi” to ensure anonymity.)

 

Oh great I’m so glad you’re here. After the skate session I just had, I sure could use a friendly face like (insert face here) yours. So I just got back from my local skatepark where I usually have a great time pushing around and falling down after work. The weather was beautiful, the park was mostly empty, and the session was looking promising...That is until Rude Boi showed up and managed to ruin both the session dampen my mood.

 

Rude Boi is another local skater, and I see him at the park several times a week. Every time he shows up it’s the same old story; he disregards all other patrons of the park, cuts in front of people in the middle of their run, and has complete meltdowns if he feels like your presence in the park has affected his trick landing abilities. He single handedly ruins the skatepark whenever he shows up, which may be more impressive than irritating on some level. He is the skateboarding equivalent to drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth.

 

I could go on and on about how much I do not appreciate the way Rude Boi conducts himself at the park (in much more detail and colorful language), but rather than hate on one skater’s poor manners, why not use his terrible behaviour for good? What I’m alluding to is one of the most important topics within skateboarding, something called “Skatepark Etiquette.”

 

Now I bet that your skatepark has a list of rules posted somewhere near the entrance already. It’ll list off things like hours of operation and prohibited items, but nothing about how we should treat the park and each other while skating. Well skatepark etiquette covers that and all the other unwritten rules of skateparks and skateboarding in general. Thankfully, we don’t have referees and umpires in skateboarding, but that also means it’s up to us to keep ourselves in check while skating. Rude Boi didn’t get sent to the penalty box for cutting me off, and he didn’t get a yellow card for throwing his board. But skatepark etiquette works in mysterious ways, because no matter how good you are, if you’re a jerk on your board, nobody will want to skate with you. And that’s exactly what happened to him.

 

So if you want to actually have fun at the skatepark and make friends while doing so, then you’re in luck, because skatepark etiquette is actually very simple. Here, I’ll break it down for you:

  • Find a safe place to start. The perimeter of the park is usually a safe bet to stand while waiting for a turn, that way you can get a good view of everyone in the park without the risk of someone coming up from behind you.

  • Skatepark eyes- A term we use that means to be mindful of the other people in the skatepark. There is no single starting point, so before you take your run, take a look in all directions to make sure nobody is coming your way.

  • Be respectful- There are many different ways to take this one.

-You look foolish when you scream and throw your board out of anger and I will make fun of you when you do it. There’s no excuse to throw your board, it may very well hit someone, or chip and leave pieces of wood that will give someone wheel bite.

-The ramps are not slides. It is incredibly dangerous to play in a skatepark without a skateboard. Sliding down ramps is a quick way to collide with someone.

  • Share the facility. Nobody is asking you to “take a number” and wait your turn in line, but if you’re using your skatepark eyes then you’ll have a good sense of who has been waiting for a turn and who has been hogging the park. If you make eye contact with someone, and they look ready to go, maybe just give time a silent nod or point of a finger to signal that they can go first. Or who knows, maybe they’ll do the same to you.

 

These are just a few things to keep in mind when you’re at the skatepark. Even though you won’t get the penalty box for being a jerk at the park, Losing friends because you have no skatepark etiquette is decidedly a much worse fate.

 

-Kyle Garlock

 

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