In a world where kids are glued to their ipads and video game screens, parents are desperately searching for more healthier, outdoor activities their children can fall in love with. However, not every parent or child is attracted to the traditional sports activities and find themselves contemplating the realities of meeting time constraints, financial requirements, and the overall positive impact new activities have on their kids.
As the leading skateboarding lessons provider with several decades of skate heritage under our belts, we have true testimonials from parents who’ve witnessed the amazing benefits of their child or loved ones falling in love with skateboarding. More importantly, we’ve listened to their anxieties, held conversations and online forums to debunk the myths and promote the safest, most beneficial, and most fun way to get your child into skateboarding.
In this article we’ll be comparing skateboarding to other activities you might be exploring for your kids – including traditional sports, board sports, other skatepark friendly activities like bikes and scooters, while exploring the reasons why you should choose skateboarding for your kids. We’ll be listing all the benefits in comparison to these other sports, compiled from our students and skate instructors, the reasons why you should choose skateboarding and how skateboarding has profoundly impacted their lives in positive ways.
In this article, we’ll be going over:
- Skateboarding vs Traditional Sports
- Skateboarding vs Board Sports
- Skateboarding vs Scooters, Bikes & Rollerblades
- Why Choose Skateboarding for your Kid(s)
Skateboarding Vs Traditional Sports
Skateboarding used to have a natural rivalry with traditional sports, something about jocks versus skaters from the famous 80s and 90s movies sticks with a lot of parents today. However, this dichotomy doesn’t exist in today’s youth culture. Skateboarders are jocks in their own right pursuing a future as professional athletes and are known as leaders in their communities as artists, entrepreneurs, and athletes.
But still, the comparisons remain the same when it comes to the participation, financial needs, physical benefits and impact on your child. So let’s check these factors out compared with the traditional American sports of: football, baseball, basketball, soccer, etc.
Most profoundly, skateboarding does not create a hierarchy of value like other traditional sports
In football, the best running back gets the most playing time. In basketball, the tallest kid gets the starting position, in skateboarding, everyone is equal since everyone is in charge of their own value. Every skater no matter their height, age, or financial demographic has the same chance of learning how to ollie. Unlike sports where physical differences can catapult the trajectory of your kid’s success and participation. Not only does kids being equally valuable to an activity allow kids to draw inspiration from their own means, it allows them to develop without a set comparison to others that won’t make them feel undervalued.
Many kids are attracted to skateboarding because this sense of freedom is unparalleled in traditional sports and offers a personal self development tool not found anywhere else. While traditional sports can seem mentally taxing to these kid’s self esteem, skateboarding in its nature, nurtures the exact opposite by releasing them into their own standards.
Skateboarding is much more accessible and flexible with time than traditional sports
More practically, basketball, baseball, football, and soccer, all require financial commitments that can leave some kids and their families unable to participate. Uniforms, designated driving to practice, meetings with coaches, parent meetings, and an austere time commitment for practice and game days are just some of the obstacles you will face. Some people just can’t meet these requirements, and often need to have someone take their kids to practice or find the time to practice with them at home. In contrast, skateboarding allows you to participate at your own speed and at your own time and often with your kids having hours of fun right in your driveway.
Skateboarding allows you to learn how to skateboard at your own pace, in your own environment, and with your own instructors
There is no team of coaches delegating when and where you skateboard, there is no meeting times for practices, no game days, no uniforms, no cleats, pads, parent meetings or fundraising concerns, so if you’re a busy parent who works a full time job, skateboarding allows you to build a schedule on you and your child’s terms.
Additionally, as you will read later in this article, skateboarders form natural communities and families akin to traditional sports but completely off their own steam. Many mentors shepard the younger generations at skateparks into great skaters and great human beings.
This is one of the foundational principles of GOSKATE. We wanted to take those skateboarders who are mentors in their local community and find a way to connect them with the younger skaters looking to learn how to skateboard. Now we have a network that not only helps kids learn how to skateboard in the most fun, most safe, and most productive ways possible, but also through a network where these mentors are being compensated and supported. It’s truly a win-win for everyone involved.
Skateboarding Vs Board Sports
In this section we’re going to go over skateboarding versus the other board sports of surfing and snowboarding.
Surfing versus Skateboarding:
At first glance, skateboarding and surfing seem like similar activities and your child might express interest in both. However, when it comes to cost at point of entry, safety, parent participation, and even benefits, you’ll find they differ immensely.
Surfing cost of point of entry
Unless you’re buying a used, second hand surfboard, beginner surfboards range from $300-$600, and your child can outgrow the size of their pricey purchase in just a few months. That also does not include the wetsuit (which retail at an average of $150-$300). Our beginner skateboard package comes in at $184, and is suitable for your child even if they grow a foot or several inches in the next year.
Safety of ocean versus a skatepark
Safety wise, concrete is considered less amicable to falling than the water of the ocean. That being said, there are no thundering waves, sharks, reefs, hidden rocks, or surfers with pointy fiberglass boards at a skatepark. Your child must also be a hefty swimmer and understand the conditions of a life threatening ocean. This also requires an immense parent participation (which can actually be a wonderful thing). But it’s not like having a skate instructor present with your kid every step of the way. You literally have to be out in the ocean with them making sure they are safe every second of their surfing session.
Skate versus surf community
The surfing community is known for being a hostile one and often looks down upon kids unlike the skateboarding industry which welcomes them so long as they follow certain rules. The surfing industry also is much more disconnected to its consumers than the skate industry, which thrives off the hermetic connection it has with skaters worldwide. There is no “instant-bond” among surfers like there is with skaters. You can be out walking about and someone will say, “hey do you skate?” just by looking at your shoes. Boom, a friendship is born.
Snowboarding versus Skateboarding:
Snowboarding is another board sport that might seem very similar to skateboarding but many skaters in fact complain about their differences.
Snowboarding cost of entry point
Snowboarding, believe it or not, has an annual cost more than skateboarding and surfing, maybe even combined when you factor into having to buy a lift ticket every session. Snowboards range anywhere from $400-$2000, with rentals coming in hot at $120 with generally $80 for boots and goggles. A lift ticket is also generally $75-$175 depending on the mountain. A mountain you’re probably spending several hours worth of gas to get to as well. Just like a surfboard, your child’s snowboard will be determined by height, and if they grow a couple inches, so will they grow out of their current snowboard size.
Snowboarding is much harder to learn for first timers
If you head to a mountain, you’ll see tons of kids and adults sitting down with their hands on their heads asking, “what did I get myself into?” Unlike skateboarding where you can learn and go completely at your own pace, snowboarding literally drops you on top of a mountain where you have to figure out how to get down. While the lucky ones might have friends to teach them, the perpetual stopping of momentum is very counterintuitive for most people. In skateboarding, you’re generating your own momentum, whereas in snowboarding, the mountain sends you down at full speed and you’re constantly stopping that momentum on your heels and toes. This can be very taxing on the body of young kids especially if the conditions are not perfect.
Varying daily conditions just like surfing
Just like surfers who have to check the wave report every morning, snowboarding leaves you at the mercy of the mountain. Some days you will get crisps powder great for learning and falling. Other days you will be in slushy ice that can even be harder than cement. Skateparks are a perfect wave that breaks perfect every time. The ramps are the same steepness, the conditions are basically always the same. This is great for a beginner looking to consistently advance their skills especially in weather friendly areas like California.
Skateboarding Vs Bikes, Scooters & Rollerblades
In this section we’re going to cover skateboarding versus other skatepark friendly activities like bikes, scooters and rollerblades. What makes this section unique is how these activities are closer to the price point of skateboarding and are competing for space at the skatepark.
Skateboarding versus Bikes (BMX)
If you ask anyone at the skatepark, bikers are generally unafraid of collisions with skaters because the results are one sided. This is why some cities have even outlawed bikes at skateparks or private parks designate special biking hours to avoid injuries to others. Even so, there are several other comparisons that are just as worth mentioning.
Bike safety versus skateboarding safety
Have you ever heard the saying, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall?” Well the same can be said for BMX, a much heavier, larger and faster apparatus than a skateboard capable of sending your kid hurling down a ramp and into chaos. The sure size of the bikes, metal alloy frame, and amount of ground they cover in a matter of microseconds, makes it much more dangerous to everyone involved. Additionally, a BMX rider is known to put everyone else at the skatepark in peril when they cover ground much faster than a skateboard because they have less maneuverability to get out of people’s way (especially kids).
BMX riders and skateboarders compete for space
Following our above safety points, this is why BMX riders and skaters have had a natural rivalry since the very beginning. Both compete for space at the skatepark and while they are generally less bikers than skaters, BMX riders cause far more injuries to other skatepark goers than skaters, albeit unintentional. Additionally, some cities after experiencing the damage and accidents from BMX riders, have a “no bikes” at the skatepark policy. This is also in part because BMX riders can also ride on dirt, building jump ramps and courses. Generally, in large cities like Los Angeles and New York City, the skateparks are designed without BMX in mind and skaters naturally police the park not allowing bikers to damage the obstacles with their destructive pegs, which are known to irreversibly damage ledges and hubbas.
Skateboarding versus Scooters
In this section we’re going over skateboarding versus scooters as an activity for your child, an activity that is surely fun for your child but inherents profound consequences in the long run.
Adult skateboarders hate scooter kids
There may be no greater nemesis to skateboarders than “scooter kids” and while they are really fun for your child, scooters get a bad rep in the skatepark community. This is because they are extremely easy to operate for your child, and thus, get in everyone’s way very easily. So if you’re someone who prioritizes your child’s social participation in a skatepark, a scooter might be something you want to avoid. Scooters are also more dangerous than they appear, with their handlebars being close to a child’s face, when colliding with an adult skater, have a chance to send your child to the dentist. That being said, many young kids start out riding scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, all at once, then the lucky ones continue on with skateboarding after seeing a real future in skateboarding.
There is no future in scooters like skateboarding
Unlike skateboarding, scooters don’t really provide your child with any future opportunities. There’s a multi-billion dollar skate industry, the scooter industry is miniscule in comparison and has only a handful of viable brands. There are no scooter people in the Olympics, X Games or outdoor games for when they become adults. They are not leaders in fashion, art, design, photography, or education. They are indeed attached to popular culture as a parody more than anything remotely as positive as skateboarding. Scooters are fun and shouldn’t be discouraged if your child is having fun but at some point skateboarding becomes a much more viable option for how your child should spend their time.
Skateboarding versus Rollerblading (Inline skates)
Skateboarding has had a unique relationship with rollerblading and inline skates. To the outsiders eye, skateboarding and rollerblading might seem very similar at first glance, but in reality the two are very, very different. We’ll explain.
Decline in the popularity of Rollerblading
While skateboarding has gone through peaks and valleys, it has generally grown larger as a cultural force and industry around the world. This allows for new brands to pop up on a consistent basis and the media landscape to grow with it. Rollerblading does not have this privilege, as it has seen its number steadily decline since the late 90s, even among children.
Roller Skating (different than rollerblading) is becoming more popular especially among women
You remember those waiters and waitresses who would come up to your car in roller skates to take your order? Maybe you don’t but you should know exactly what we’re talking about from pop culture. There has been a resurgence of roller skating in the skatepark community especially among women who’ve really taken it and made it their own. In conjunction with the point above, if you go to a skatepark and see someone strapped in with wheels beneath their feet, they’re nearly 100-percent of the time on roller skates, not rollerblades.
Why Choose Skateboarding for Your Kid(s)?
In this section we’re going to go over the reasons why you should choose skateboarding for your kids, covering the most positive aspects of skateboarding in comparison to other activities you might choose.
One of the reasons why skateboarding is so popular and has expanded to every corner of the world is because of how accessible the activity really is. You might be thinking about the cost of a skateboard being expensive and how not every town has a skatepark. But even with that being said, skateboarders are notorious for passing on their hand-me-down skateboards to beginners, and as a new skater, you’ll want to master your driveway before hitting a skatepark. Additionally, we’ve even crafted articles on how to skateboard without a skatepark.
Skateboarding can be done wherever there is cement, asphalt, and wood. Many skaters will meet in public places like parks, community centers, school grounds, and even empty parking lots where they often also have great spaces for your child to skate. It’s all really about being mindful and as safe as possible and understanding the space skateboarding takes up. Skating in large, open remote areas with no foot or vehicle traffic is ideal and can be a great way for your child to exert hours of energy in a fun and productive way. This is why the popularity of skateboarding skyrocketed during the pandemic, where parents desperately needed a fun, safe, and healthy activity for young people outside.
In terms of not having a skatepark to skate in or finding public spaces to skateboard: street skating was born from the average person not having a skatepark or being able to afford to build a backyard ramp. These skaters wanted to enjoy skating no matter what and just like your child, found creative ways to still enjoy skateboarding even with just a slab of concrete.
You can have just as much fun on a skateboard in an empty parking lot or skating down a sidewalk as a skatepark. And since all you need is your skateboard and some flat ground, that leaves you nearly infinite possible places to enjoy skateboarding. This is especially true when in comparison to other activities that need a gym, a field, an ocean, or a mountain or anything with set hours of operation. Skateparks are also generally public property and free to use compared to other sports and activities which cost money to use the facility. Open 365 days a year and some of them will even have lights for night hours.
Skateboarding is a Art form and Outlet to the Arts
Perhaps what makes skateboarding most unique when compared to other activities is its connection with other forms of art. When a child becomes a skateboarder they are nearly automatically exposed to other activities like photography, videography, design, graphic art, ramp building, writing and even architecture.
This is because of the media landscape that makes up skateboarding and the way skateboarding is documented. Additionally, skateboarding itself is largely considered a performance art and with this performance art combined with the documentation of skating, skateboarders create films, documentaries, fashion shows, magazines, and a host of bite size snackable art.
This is truly one of the most unique aspects of skateboarding when compared to anything else on the planet. It’s just as artistic as it is physical, dueling the debate if skateboarding is really a sport after all. However, perhaps most profoundly, skateboarding being an artform in itself, is why kids who would generally not be attracted to physical-based team sports, thrive as skateboarders. Skateboarding allows them to express their physical nature through a creative funnel, thus allowing them to draw inspiration from many modes of art within their own self expression.
Welcoming Diverse Community
Another incredible aspect about skateboarding is the welcoming and diverse community that makes up the skaters of the world. While there are definitely real differences and much more room for improvement, skateboarding has always been a safe space for people who feel like they don’t fit in other places to find a real sense of community and belonging.
While skateboarding’s roots were much more rooted in the outcasts in the 80s and early 90s, the punks, the anti-jocks, the weird art kids, etc., (who still exist in the skate industry today) were always drawn to skateboarding as a place to find others like themselves. Now the outcasted LGTBQ+, non binary, indigenous folks, women, and all types of people who might not fit in with dominant sports or other activities, make lifelong friends and connections from skateboarding. More importantly, the skateboarding community welcomes individuality and self expression, your child won’t just be free to express themselves but encouraged. If your child is unique in any of these respects or maybe has trouble fitting in with other communities at school, skateboarding is sure to welcome them with open arms.
Skateboarding offers a plethora of mental health benefits for your child. Not only does the natural release of endorphins come from the physical exercise offered by skateboarding, performing maneuvers on a skateboard forces your child to be fully present. Skateboarders often celebrate the fact skating “frees their mind” from worry and stress. This is why many skaters claim skateboarding is a spiritual experience and often equate it to meditation. It is also why skateboarders love skating so much and encourage others to skate from knowing the profound effect skating has on their mental health.
Combining the unique physical, mental, spiritual and artistic nature of skateboarding, the act of skating is truly one of the best overall positive mental health activities for young people. Many skaters have found solace in skateboarding and thus, love skateboarding and skate for their entire lives.
If your child is interested in skateboarding, this is a great sign. While there are plenty of activities kids can do for an array of health benefits, not all of them have a viable future. What makes skateboarding truly unique, is in connection with the physical, spiritual, mental, community, and over benefits of being a skater, skating has a real professional and financial future.
In 2021, skateboarding made its Olympic debut, finally being recognized among the biggest sports and athletes in the world. Companies like Nike, Adidas, and energy drink companies pay their rides upwards of six-figures, and contest prizes, video game deals, and social media provide several sources of income for pro skaters. There are several real outlets for your child as a future skateboarder in the professional and financial realm. These outlets are often creative as well, and do not require your child to go to college or be exposed to people who would exploit them.
While there’s a good chance when you were growing up, skaters were seen as losers [sic] or people who did not make a career out of skating, in today’s world, skateboarders are leaders in many realms and are being compensated immensely in ways that you will be proud as a parent.