Author: McKenna Marsden

Show Your Stuff! Amateur Skateboarding Competitions

Half pipe

It’s been a long and controversial journey, but a proposal to make skateboarding an Olympic sport in 2020 is finally here. With the recent Olympic developments and lots of professional events going on-from the recently finished X Games to the upcoming Vans Pro Skate Park Tour-competition fever is in the air. What’s a better motivation to up your game than watching pros compete? Competing yourself.

The problem is that finding good amateur skate contests can be tough. Here’s a quick guide to some ways you can get that competitive experience.

Local contests

There are lots of local level skateboarding competitions out there. Ask about it at your local skate shop, talk to people at the park, and see if there are any skateboarding Facebook groups in your area that post about local contests. They might not be as glamorous as the X Games, but they’re a great way to practice competing.


    Touring Amateur Contests

    Skate contest

    If you want to get beyond the local, your next step is touring competitions. Most of them are hosted by skating companies, they’re usually free or have a small registration fee, and they have events all over the country. You may even have a shot to win some prize money or skate at a national competition. Some of the bigger ones are Zumiez Best Foot Forward, Volcom’s Wild in the Park series, and The Boardr Am Series. Check out the internet and your skating contacts to find out if any touring series are stopping near you.

  • Zumiez Best Foot Forward

  • Volcom’s Wild in the Park series

  • The Boardr Am Series
  • Professional Contests with an Amateur Division

    If you’re tearing it up at local and touring contests, this is your next step. Lots of professional skateboarding competitions have an amateur division. The X Games, for instance, have an amateur event that you can qualify for through The Boardr Am Series. The World Cup of Skateboarding and The Boardr both list competitions that are mostly geared toward professional skaters, but often have amateur events. Look through them and read up on entrance requirements to find out more about your path onward and upward.

  • X Games

  • Tampa Pro/Am

  • Dew Tour
  • Pro Tours

  • Vans Pro Skate Park Tour
  • Maloof Money Cup
  • Street League Skateboarding
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    Check Out This Homemade Plexiglass Skateboard

    Two words: plexiglass skateboard.

    The folks at Braille Skateboarding have an open challenge to their fans-that they’ll try to skate anything you want to send them (if they think it’s possible.) Their definition of possible is pretty broad, though. In this video, a fan sends them an awesome-looking, but pretty perilous, clear plastic skateboard.

    It looks like something out of a science fiction movie in action, but that action seems pretty difficult. The thing is that the material is so flexible it’s like skating on Jello-skater John Hill (you can check out his own Youtube channel, too) does a pretty impressive job with it, even as we watch it twisting and wobbling under his feet.

    But try as he might, this board is never going to be up to much serious skating. Which sucks, because it does look incredibly cool. Should equipment manufacturers be looking into ways to make a skateboard that looks this awesome and performs like a regular board?

    Top 5 Tips to Find a Skate Spot (When You Don’t Have a Park)

    No skate park in your town? Or maybe there is one, but you’re just getting started and don’t necessarily want everyone to see you learning the ropes? Not to worry–you can still do all the tricks you dream of, you may just have to think outside the box.

    1. Be Creative

    The world is your skate park! For most skate tricks, what you need is a run-up and a landing. A loading dock has both those things. So does a staircase. So does a raised planter, a concrete park bench, and lots of common architectural features. Schools, banks, stores, parking lots, parks, downtown areas, docks, underneath bridges, and more, all usually have these things. Looking for a half-pipe? If you’re lucky enough to have a (dry) drainage ditch or swimming pool in your area, you’re in luck. Just getting started? A simple curb and crosswalk ramp can get you started on basic jumps. Get used to looking at the world through skateboarding goggles: assess every architectural feature you see in terms of how it will work for tricks. It may take less than you think.

    2. Be Sneaky

    The problem with all those options we just talked about? A lot of them”¦ don’t want you skating there. If all the schools, businesses, and parks in your area tend to be busy or have no-skating signs up, your next move might be to get a little sneaky. It may not be ideal, but if you go at night or very early in the morning, it’s unlikely anyone will give you a hard time. Be aware of how much noise you’re making to avoid getting cops or security called (and, you know, not bother people who are sleeping), but you’ll usually be OK if you use the cover of darkness.

     3. Think Small

    Having a lot of space to skateboard is great, but you don’t actually need a ton of it to do most tricks. If you live somewhere rural or with particularly active police, start thinking in terms of the minimal possible skateboarding equipment. Does your driveway have a bump in it? Stairs in front of your house? A roomy garage? A short railing around a planter? Doing the same jump over and over again may get a little repetitive and not be as much fun as having a lot of varied landscape, but when it comes to actually learning new tricks, it will usually work fine.

     4. Do-It-Yourself



    Whether you have lots of space or none at all, it won’t help you if there are really no skateable features to it. If you’ve graduated beyond what a curb can offer, the next step may to make your own skating features. You can find lots of great blue prints for different kinds of features online, and if you have some basic power tools, they aren’t too expensive to make.

    Cool Do-It-Yourself Ideas
    Flat bar/ramp

    Make a jersey barrier into a ramp

    Make a spot under a bridge

    Skate your truck

     5. Adapt Your Style
    There’s more than one way to skin a cat. If none of the options above work for you, you can always try a different kind of skateboarding. There are tons of cool longboarding styles that don’t take anything to jump off of, all you need to bomb a hill is a hill, and you can always work on your cruising speed and fluidity. Those skills will still help you if you do eventually get to a situation where you can work on tricks, and they’re definitely better than nothing if you’re wanting for skateboarding spots.

    Want to Find a Skate Park?

    More on Locations

    Korean Longboard Dancing Girl Breaks the Internet

    By McKenna Marsden

    There’s more than one kind of skateboarding. Longboard dancing, which involves doing actual dance steps on a moving longboard, is taking off with some girls in Korea-and while it may be lower impact than trick-heavy skateboarding, there’s no denying there’s some serious skill and finesse going on here.

    Hyo Joo Ko (you can check her Instagram here) is a master of it and has gone viral doing her longboard moves along the Han River in Seoul. Hyo Joo has been building up an Instagram following for a while now, but made the internet big-time with over 25,000,000 views on Facebook after Korean hip-hop star Kero set one of her dances to his music.

    Style and presentation are a part of any kind of skateboarding, and Hyo Joo and other Korean longboard dancing girls are all about it, with a focus on cool choreography, timing, and performance rather than tricks or speed.

    What do you think about longboard dancing and other creative ways to skateboard? And what about other skateboarding trends from around the world?

    6 Tips For Buying a Beginner Skateboard

    by McKenna Marsden

    Choosing a skateboard as a beginner-or a not-so-beginner looking to upgrade from a cheap starter skateboard-can seem intimidating. Having a good skateboard is crucial even for beginners, and there are a lot of options out there. Here are a few tips to help you as you start the search for your perfect skateboard.

    1.       Talk to the staff at your local skate shop

    skate shop

    If you’re lucky enough to have a locally run skate shop in your town, they’ll be your #1 best resource on the best brands, best value, and what to choose for how you want to skate.

    2.       Complete or custom?

    Do you want a pre-assembled, ready-to-ride skateboard (complete), or to pick your own parts (custom)? Building a custom skateboard gets you exactly what you want, and isn’t as hard as it sounds-but you do have to be sure you know all your parts will fit together and are good quality. If you don’t know exactly what you want yet, or are feeling intimidated, there’s nothing wrong with a good quality complete! For beginning to intermediate skaters, you’re unlikely to have any issues with one.

    3.       Know your needs skateboarder

    Are you planning to use your board just for tricks? Transportation? Some combination? Will you be skating mostly on streets or in parks? For most beginner skaters who want to start learning tricks on the street, a standard-shaped shortboard will be the best bet. A wider deck can help you out if you’re already doing some vert, and if you’re mostly about transportation, you’ll get maximum speed with a longboard and maximum versatility with a cruiser.

    4.       Know your parts

    partsWhether you go custom or complete, understanding the parts of your skateboard and what they do will help you get the one that fits your needs.

      A. Most will purchase a 7.5- 7.75″ width deck
      For the deck, your main considerations are going to be width and concavity-beginners looking for an all-round skateboard will probably be looking at 7.5-7.75 in. width, and any concavity that isn’t flat. The trucks, which attach the wheels to the deck, should be about the same width as the deck, and the mid-level height is the most versatile. Find your size.

      B. Most beginners get 53mm-56mm wheels
      If you have a mid-level truck, you’ll want 53mm-56mm wheels, and if you want to do some tricks and street skating, a hardness of 96a-99a will do you (softer wheels are better for cruising.)

      C. Don’t settle for less than ABEC 5 bearings
      Bearings, which connect the wheels to the truck, may be small but make a huge impact on your ride. Most brands use a quality rating system called ABEC; for beginners, ABEC 5 should meet your needs. Once you start to learn what works for you, though, there’s a whole world of modifications for all these parts, which you can learn about online or (even better) at your local skate shop.

    5.       Invest a minimum of $60

    No one likes spending money, but you also get what you pay for. You don’t have to get the most expensive skateboard on the market, but investing in a decent quality board can make the difference between fun and frustration. Probably the best value skateboards out there are the plain-but-quality Mini-Logo (a complete from them is about $90,) but World Industries and Golden Dragon both sell decent starter boards for about $60 if you’re really trying to save.

    6.       Don’t be afraid!

    Skateboards wear out. This isn’t a lifetime decision! If this is your first board, you can always start with a standard beginner board and swap out parts as you learn your own preferences. The main thing is to get a board that will work with you and not against you as you get the basics down, and get skating.

    Did you like our tips for buying a skateboard? –Comment below–


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