The Longboard Guy’s Guide to Skatepark Etiquette
These BMX kids are blowing it by hanging out in the middle of the goddamn skatepark. Don’t be like them: lurk on the deck instead.
With the Skate Everything Movement™ taking the world by storm, longboard dudes are going to skateparks in unprecedented numbers. This is a welcome development.
Skateparks are awesome. Unlike downhill, there’s very little danger of getting hit by a car, falling off a cliff, hitting a guardrail, wobbling out, or getting hassled by the cops when you’re at the skatepark. You can learn something new every time you go. Also, grinding pool coping is one of the best feelings in skateboarding, up there with mashing a fast slide into a corner, tucking past a world champion, and getting g-forced in a banked turn.
the skatepark is a different environment than the hill, with different rules.
That said, the skatepark is a different environment than the hill, with different rules. When you go to the hills with your friends, the slow guys go in the back and you take turns driving, but everyone drops in at the same time and skates together. As long as you don’t crash anyone out, you’re solid.
This is not the case at the skatepark: there’s a well-developed system of etiquette that governs your actions at the park, and it’s good to know the unofficial rules before you show up. Here’s how not to blow it.[sam id=”8″ codes=”true”]
1. Don’t be that kook on his downhill board at the skatepark. You don’t bomb hills on a short-wheelbase board with TKP trucks and super hard wheels; trying to skate a park on a long-wheelbase board with RKP trucks, soft wheels, and no kicktails is going to be pretty frustrating.
2. Be aware of your surroundings. Watch where you’re going and look out for other skaters. This is pretty straightforward.
3. Stay out of the way when you’re not skating. Don’t stand around in the middle of the course. Most parks have easily-identifiable drop in points where it’s cool to stand around when you’re not skating.
4. The bowl and the half pipe can only accommodate one rider at a time. If someone is skating the bowl/mini ramp/flow course/whatever, do not drop in until they’re done. Even if they’re way on the other side of a big bowl, dropping in on someone’s run is very disrespectful.
5. Everyone, no matter how big or small, or how good at skating they are, gets a turn. You just have to step up and take it.
6. Your run lasts until you bail, fall, or decide you’re done. That said, don’t be that guy going back and forth doing rock-fakies and tailtaps over and over again for five minutes. If you’re not going to challenge yourself to try anything new or difficult, it’s good style to stop after a couple minutes.
7. When you are the first person to get your board on the coping after someone bails or finishes their run, it’s your turn. Drop in promptly. Standing there forever with your board set up to drop in is a waste of everyone else’s time.
8. Don’t hang your board over the coping and set up to drop in while someone else is skating the bowl or halfpipe. That says “I cannot wait for your lame-ass run to be over” and is extremely disrespectful.
9. Don’t snake people. Remember: everyone gets a turn. If there are five people standing around the bowl, wait for the other four people to skate before you take another run.
10. If you see someone struggling with a trick, don’t be that asshole who goes and does it first try, right in front of them. That’s just a dick move. If you see someone land a trick they were struggling with, no matter how basic, be stoked. I’m way more hyped to see a new rider get a tiny scratch grind on a 3’ than I am to see Louis Pilloni feeble-grind the deep end of the Bread Bowl.
11. If you’re new to skatepark riding, go to the park when there are less people. I like the bowl at the Venice Beach park, but it’s usually super crowded with ripping skaters in the afternoon and on weekends, so I go early in the morning to get a low key session with my friends. If you’re just learning the basics, the early session is your jam.
12. Sometimes you should just sit and watch. I sometimes see legendary pro dudes at my local parks. I could skate—everyone gets a turn!—but I don’t really have anything to add, so I just enjoy the show.
13. Fuck ‘em. If you skate politely and people are still hating on your style, fuck ‘em. There are no rules in skateboarding: you can ride whatever you want, however you want. Do your thing.[sam id=”9″ codes=”true”]