PICK up a new sport while you’re in Australia! Maria Camacho, Shannon Kim and Kim Gao explore the world of skateboarding and offer some tips to students game enough to try.
Many students studying in Trinity College or the University of Melbourne would have passed Argyle Square and seen skateboarders having fun experimenting with tricks. International students too are getting into skateboarding as a sport and a way to meet new people.
What exactly is skateboarding? According to the City of Melbourne, it is an action sport, which involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard.
For beginners, the many skateboards available might be overwhelming at first.
Skateboards are usually made of maplewood and are available in a variety of designs. They are combined with a polyurethane coating, which helps make the sides smooth and enhance the durability of the skateboard.
Generally, skateboards are for picking up skills, trips, and tricks, and you can choose own decks and wheels. It normally costs between $149 and $250.
Conversely, penny boards are used for cruising or transportation. They cost around $130.
To purchase a skateboard or a pennyboard, we recommend Fast Times Skateboarding located at 121 Swanston Street, Melbourne.
It is also important to find out where you can ride your skateboard legally. There are plenty of places where you can skateboard. The most popular places for beginners are Riverslide Skate Park close to Flinders St, JJ Holland Park, Edinburgh Gardens and St. Kilda Skate Park.
YouTube is a great resource for students wanting to get into skateboarding. Channels such as Skateboards offer tips and tricks for everyone, from beginners to professionals.
For pennyboarders, check out this video on How to Pennyboard:
Former skateboarding instructor Patrick Buchaman says there are no specific rules for skateboarding, and skateboarders develop their skills in a variety of ways.
His love for skateboarding started when he was just 11 years old and saw some skateboarders in the park.
He offers some tips for beginners:
- Go to a nice and smooth area with grass such as a park
- Fall over a lot
- Have fun
If you need additional help, Mr Buchaman recommends taking lessons with YMCA Skate & Action Sports, which offers some skateboard lessons at Riverslide Skate Park.
Group lessons cost $17 per person, and groups are between 3 to 6 people. Private lessons it cost $47 for up to 2 people. Bookings are essential. For further information, visit their official website.
Last but definitely not least, staying safe while riding your skateboard or penny board is of utmost importance. Here are some suggested guidelines by the City of Melbourne:
- Use your head and skate/ ride according to your ability
- Stay in control so you’re ready to stop when you need to
- Slow down when overtaking pedestrians
- Keep skating to skate parks
For more safety tips, visit the City of Melbourne Skate Safe website.
Have you recently got into skateboarding? Do you have any interesting stories to share? Tell us in the comments box below!