I was skating this weekend and just finished an absolutely mediocre run in the bowl. All of a sudden I heard the distinct bam-bam-bam skateboard tap on the coping. Skaters tap their boards on the ground or slap the nose or tail on ramp coping as a form of respect for a cool trick or great run. My performance was lacking in both regards and certainly didn't deserve any tapping!
My new fan looked to be maybe about 7 years old. He was trying so hard to swing his board against the coping I was afraid he was going to loose his balance and fall in. I came over and he gave me a high five. He then went ahead and took his turn in the bowl. He didn't get too far, looked like he was only few weeks into skating. I was happy to share some taps and waited to give him a high five in return.
I was impressed - skatepark etiquette is different than the playground. Here was a kid who was clearly paying attention to his environment, watching other skater's behavior, and finding ways to get involved.
- Don't just drop a new skater off by themselves at a skatepark. You can hang out as well. As an adult it can be easier to observe the flow of the park and provide suggestions to your skater.
- In general if your skater is learning, have them stay closer to the sides of the park. Center areas can look wide open, but are often right in the middle of popular lines (paths) that the more advanced skaters may be flying through at any moment. If you have the park to yourself, go wherever you want!
- Take turns! If it is a bowl, mini ramp or other type of obstacle, you may find a group of skaters waiting for their turn. Beginners can always take a turn. If others are waiting, a turn ends when you fall or step off the board. This does mean the more advanced skaters can get longer turns, this is just more motivation to get better!
- If your skater is waiting for a turn they shouldn't put their board into the feature or obstacle until the current skater's turn is over. Essentially allow the current skater full access to the feature during their time.
- If your skater is really young they may still be prone to tamper tantrums or meltdowns. Its not the end of world, but they should be taken out of the park until they calm down.
- The skatepark is for skating, and hanging out with friends. Definitely not a good spot for playing catch or tag or bringing toys along.
- If your skater does loose control of their board and it is heading towards other skaters they should yell "Board!" as a heads up.
- Younger kids will gain a lot of respect by being respectful of the older skaters. It is very cool to see a younger skater go out of their way to retrieve a wayward board for an older skater.
- As your skater gets better, ask them to keep an eye on the new kids and offer advice and encouragement.
Each park and environment can be a bit different. Once again, as a parent your early involvement can go a long way in ensuring you child is a welcome addition to your local park.
Finally don't forget to teach them to offer board taps and high fives to middle age skaters they may find struggling to get around the bowl, I'd appreciate it!
Please share your tips or questions below!