Park Skating On Roller Skates
This article is all about the risks associated with park skating on roller skates.
Let’s break it down.
The moment you put your roller skates on there is a risk. You may feel very confident on a flat ground but how did you go, getting over the curb of the street? When you skated down a hill, did you think how you were going to stop? Now you want to go to the skate park and move up and down all over the place. “Vert” describes the sensation of skating vertically.
A hard wheel (89a - 100a) gives you speed and will release the grip when you lose control. Hybrid or outdoor wheels (78a - 85a) are for roads and paths that are rough
Check your equipment.
Most indoor and outdoor skate parks have good quality surfaces. They are designed to be smooth and free rolling. You want a hard wheel (89a-100a) that gives you speed and will release the grip when you lose control. Hybrid or outdoor wheels (78a-85s) are for roads and paths that are rough. They are too slow for park skating and will be a danger as they will stick when you make a wrong move.
You want to be on a roll as you approach the ramp, not still pushing for speed. There are some modifications for ramp skates like wider trucks and grind blocks but you can begin on regular skate set up.
Take all the time you want.
Park skating, aggressive skating, vert skating, quad vert skating, whatever you want to call it. It is a freedom, an individual pursuit. Approach it with your own style and take all the time you want. Do not feel pressured by the skaters around you. Enjoy the process and celebrate every achievement.
The risk at the skate park starts when you begin to experience rolling over different surfaces and shapes. Such as rolling down an incline and keeping your balance as you gain speed. The curve at the bottom of a vert ramp or bowl is called the transition. How does it feel to roll into and out of this? It changes pretty fast and demands a quick muscle reflex to keep your balance.
The act of roller skating itself requires you to change your balance from one foot to the other to move around. Ramp skating will need you to prepare and hold your balance for tricks and stalls. The early days of park skating are when you are at the most risk. You will experience all the new muscles you need for balance and to move yourself around.
It is important to pay attention to your surroundings. Are there other skaters or riders (including skateboards, aggressive inline, and BMX)? What approach or exit are they taking around the obstacles?
Don’t be afraid to video yourself and work out what looks right and wrong. Do this as soon as you can. Start to recognize in yourself what the right shape to be in looks like as you skate. There will be a video you hate to see but watch it and critique your style. The video you can watch over and over, watch it over and over!
Now you have grown in confidence. You have been skating regularly and have built up your experience in the park. You have a line you can confidently skate with a few turns, some stylish moves, and a stall and a trick. The only thing left is to drop into that monster of a vert ramp.
This is going to be the scariest thing you ever do. It’s worth it. And actually, it is less dangerous than you think. The falls you have been taking from 3ft straight onto the flat ground are more painful than anything that can happen on the vert ramp. The vert ramp is like a big slippery dip. When you fall, it catches you and glides you to a safe slide down.
How do you drop in? Believe in yourself, don’t think about fear. Take a deep breath…lean forward…just go.
Now you feel invincible.
It’s kind of true. You have the strength; you have been trying all the tricks and now have a repertoire and style to show old. You can conquer any skate park and can visualize the lines and tricks in sequence.
The risk now.
The risk now is on the skaters you invite to share your passion. Remember to let everyone grow as an individual. Show respect for different learning styles. Some will learn by watching, some by talking, some by trying. Consider how much information they need. Sharing your observations is caring for their safety, but don’t make them feel like they can’t do it.
You don’t have to be an expert. Wait to be asked for help and older building blocks of feedback. Be a good influence at the skate park. Show how to overcome the frustration of learning new moves. Remember how you overcame something difficult and older your empathy. If someone is still learning, don’t intimidate them with all of your most hardcore moves.
Show respect to all park users.
Keep your eyes open for other people. Wait your turn and take your turn when it comes or someone offers it to you. Call out “Dropping” or “I’m in” or even putting your hand up so people recognize you are about to move. Share the space, help to keep it clean and tidy. Make friends. Everyone has something to offer, an insight to the park you are at or a secret spot they want to share.
Warm up, warm down.
Take the time to adjust your body to the activity. Use stretching and warm ups to become familiar with your balance. Learn what shapes your body can make and use them to develop a trick or stall. Be creative.
Disco (Hugh Rowland) lives in Adelaide South Australia. Disco has over 10 years experience of ramp, park, and street skating. He has developed numerous skate accessories to compliment the park skating experience. Disco is passionate to contribute to the skate community and often travels around Australia to attend park skating events, to meet old friends and the new breed of skaters.