Skateboarding competitions have always been the best way to provide skatepark skaters an opportunity to get sponsored by their local skate shop and one day make it to the X Games and The Olympics.
In fact, skateboarders like Tony Hawk were first discovered on the vert ramps of Encinitas, California by skating amateur skateboarding contests. Rodney Mullen, Tony Alva and other pioneering contest skaters were discovered the same way.
Today, while some skaters will go to skate camps like Woodward and contests have spread beyond Los Angeles and Florida, it’s really been skateboarding competitions that have always propelled the amateur skateboarder to become a professional skateboarder.
Now it’s your chance to show your stuff! With our amateur skateboarding competitions guide.
What will we be going over in this article?
- What are skateboard competitions?
- What are the most legendary contests in skateboarding history?
- How can competitive skateboarding help prepare your child to be the next skateboarding phenom?
- A list of competitions locally in the USA and Canada.
What are skateboard competitions?
Skateboarding competitions are great for any skateboarding community, as they bring together local talent and expose skaters to potential sponsors. While there exists several different formats of skateboard competitions, here are the main formats:
- Street Skater Course: courses made to mimic street skateboarding obstacles like stair sets, handrails, ledges and obstacles found in urban environments.
- Vert Ramp: Remember Tony Hawk and his 900? A large bowl shaped ramp with vertical walls where riders wear helmets, elbow pads and knee pads.
- Park Series: Park series is sometimes referred to transition skateboarding, with a mix of vert walls, launch ramps and fun box obstacles with more variety. Not completely vert with a touch of street.
- Flat Ground S.K.A.T.E.: If you’ve ever played H.O.R.S.E. then you understand the concept of S.K.A.T.E. Skater A does a kickflip and Skater B has to land said kickflip or they get a letter, S. New tricks are done until SKATE is reached. The Berrics have their infamous Battle At The Berrics annually.
Freestyle competitions are no longer in skateboard contests
Within these content formats, they exist on several different levels to which the aspiring pro skater can take to achieve his or her dream:
- Local: Local skateboard contests are generally free to enter and are hosted by your local skate shop. A great way for young skaters to get discovered and become sponsored. Zumiez Best Foot Forward combined the best of both worlds, putting on a local contest series across the US. This is how Red Bull rider Jamie Foy was discovered in Florida.
- Amateur: Amateur skateboard contests generally are still local, at the state level or run by actual brands with cash prizes. Sponsored skaters are invited but those who are not pro. Tampa Am is an example of this where there are qualifier runs and the best trick contest at the skatepark of Tampa.
- Pro: Pro skateboard contests are the premier contests in skateboarding. With a cash prize for the podium spots of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, these pro contests can sometimes come in circuits like Dew Tour or Street League. Then there are annual contests like the X-Games on ESPN and Tampa Pro.
- Olympics: The most prestigious contest in all of the action sports, qualifying for The Olympics as a skateboarder is a heck of a journey. Each pro skater has a chance to essentially win the world championship of skateboarding, as the entire skateboarding community and skateboarding world will be watching and commenting via social media. Click here to learn more about the Skate Olympic Games.
What are the most legendary contests in skateboarding history?
Competitions have always maintained a certain allure since the early freestyle competitions of the 1960s. However, decades later, skate contests have evolved from what began in empty warehouses to now Olympic Stadiums.
On the road to the largest competitive stage in sports, the stops along the way were not only historic, but legendary. Here are some of the most historical and legendary contests in skateboarding.
X Games: Simply put, without the X-Games there would be no Tony Hawk and countless other household names. The X-Games, now a cornerstone of ESPN, shortened from extreme games, made its debut in June of 1995.
While Tony Hawk’s 900 made skateboarding mainstream, it was really the X-Games that taught everyone what a vert halfpipe was or exposed them to competition skateboarding for the first time.
The X Games have since become synonymous with skateboarding, BMX, inline skates and snow sports.
Tampa Am/Tampa Pro: While the X-Games might be the most popular skate contest outside of skating, Tampa Am and Tampa Pro are the most notorious inside of skating.
Taking place at the skatepark of Tampa, every major pro made their debut in Tampa Am while the best of the best have gone on to win Tampa Pro. Qualifying skate free-for-all jams take place to get skaters on the scoreboard, then individual runs compete for first, second and third place.
Some of the most legendary skaters have participated in these skateboarding contests, including Chad Muska, Nyjah Huston, and Eric Koston.
Dew Tour: While Dew Tour is one of the newer skateboarding events, it quickly made a name for itself. With hosting its contests with a mobile format, pulling up semi trucks fitted with skate obstacles onto a downtown’s main street, the spectacle of Dew Tour has produced some of the best competition skating to date.
Runs, free for alls, best tricks, and even courses skateable by local attendees, Dew Tour has always been one of GOSKATE’s favorite contest series.
Based in Long Beach, California, but Dew Tour has hit every corner of the US. Check our listing below for a Dew Tour near you.
Zumiez Best Foot Forward: Zumiez Best Foot Forward is a traveling contest series that aims to highlight the best of any local talent in remote local skate parks and connect them to big brands and companies.
This skate shop contest series has helped some of the biggest skaters today get their first major sponsors. Skaters like Jamie Foy, Paul Hart, and Zion Wright were all discovered by Zumiez Best Foot Forward; two of which are now in skateboarding at The Olympics.
The contests are usually a best trick contest format, where skaters compete to land the gnarliest trick on the same obstacle.
The Boardr Am Series: What makes the Boardr Am Series truly unique, is the rating system Boardr has since become known for.
Considered the most accurate skateboarder ranking system in the world, the contest aims to do the same.
There may be no better judge of a skater’s current standing with skateboarding as a whole than The Boardr Am Series.
Street League Skateboarding (SLS): Although the X Games and Tampa Pro and Am series have captured the hearts of skateboarders, Street League Skateboarding or SLS, has captured the purest competition in skating.
With the largest prize packages ever seen in skateboard contests (some reaching 6-figures), SLS has always drawn the best of the very best.
With 3 different sections, Technical, Best Trick, and BIG sections – SLS has brought out the most complete competition skating ever seen. It is also largely agreed, SLS helped make The Olympics possible by almost acting as a preliminary qualifier of skating’s most competitive skaters.
Battle At The Berrics: We had to include Battle At The Berrics on this list, as it is the only prevailing skateboard competition that specifically showcases flat ground games of S.K.A.T.E.
If you’ve played H.O.R.S.E. It’s essentially the same thing but with SKATE. Skater A does a kick flip and if skater B fails to do the same trick, they get a letter. The first one to acquire S.K.A.T.E. is out.
BATB has been one of skateboarding’s most invigorating contests since it first began in 2012. Flat Ground is something all skateboarders do, so it’s a super accessible and enjoyable contest every skater understands and feels a part of.
The Olympics: The Olympic Games puts the world’s greatest athletes on the biggest stage – skateboarding is no different.
How can competitive skateboarding help prepare your child to be the next skate phenom?
Skateboarding competitions have come a long way. Young skaters can now propel their Olympic careers by doing well in the local contest circuits and can go on to land their first sponsors.
Getting sponsored at a young age is paramount to developing as a skater – especially if you want to go pro. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on skateboarding lessons for all ages and skill levels for you to check out after this article if you would like to see how to break it all down.
Skateboards are expensive with the average complete costing well over $100, and the more you skate, the more boards and gear your loved one will go through. If you’re sponsored, the burden of financing a new board every two weeks is lifted and you get to skate fresh decks and equipment each time you skate.
This will not only improve your skill level much faster but ensure you’re always skating the best possible equipment at all times. Imagine driving a new car every time you were behind the wheel?
Most of the world’s best skaters today, including Sky Brown, a 13-year old Olympic superstar, landed their first sponsor by the age of 9. Sponsors can range anywhere from local skate shops to energy drinks. Just make sure the company ethics and branding are inline with your skate beliefs.
We invite you to check out our comprehensive guide on skateboarding lessons for all ages and skill levels to help prepare your child to be the next skate phenom!
Competitions locally in the USA, Canada, UK and more!
Ft Worth, TX
Fort Worth Weekly Skate Jam
King of Guapo
Frisco Comp Series
Santa Barbara, CA
BoardR Am Series
Copper Mountain, CO
Los Angeles, CA
SLS Championship Tour Qualifier
Huntington, Calgary, Toronto, CAN
Canada Skateboard National Series
Video Contest, Global
CASL Video Contest
Saint Petersburg, FL
Grind For Life
New Smyrna, FL
Grind For Life
Grind For Life
Grind For Life
West Melbourne, FL
Grind For Life
Nitro Circus Tour
La Harve, France
FISE Xperience Series
FISE Xperience Series
Alton, United Kingdom
Alton Skatepark Jam
Midhurst, United Kingdom
Midhurst Skate Jam
Ripponden, United Kingdom
Summer Skate Jam
Sidmouth, United Kingdom
Sidmouth Skatepark Jam
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Ramp City, Blockpool, United Kingdom
Prague, Cech Republic
Mystic Sk8 Cup
New Zealand & Australia
Sumol Summer Fest
Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom
Skate Park Leagues Competition
Kangaroo Bay, TAS
Apollo Bay, VIC
Murray Bridge, SA
GOSKATE is looking for contests!
At GOSKATE, we pride ourselves on supporting local skateboarding communities. Do you or a loved one know of a local contest not here on our list?
Do us a favor and email your local contest information to firstname.lastname@example.org and help put you and your community on the map!
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