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Skate parks are a great place to work on your skills at any age, but they can be dangerous if you don’t respect the flow of the action or know the official and unofficial rules. To make sure you get the most out of your experience, follow professional skateboarder Tony Hawk’s advice on skatepark etiquette.

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About Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk is the creator of more than 100 highly technical and influential tricks that redefined what was possible in vert skating, a dominant force in ’80s and ’90s competitive skating, the owner of multiple successful skate companies, the star of a billion-dollar skateboarding video game franchise (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater), and a tireless advocate for the sport who has built hundreds of skate parks around the world with his foundation, Tony isn’t just the face of skateboarding. Tony is skateboarding.

What Is Park Skateboarding?

Park skateboarding is a style that uses purpose-built skateparks, which typically feature a mix of vert and street skating elements, such as half-pipes, quarter pipes, handrails, stairs, pools, bowls, pyramids, and ramps. The world’s first skatepark, Tucson, Arizona’s Surf City, opened in 1965, but the mid-’70s saw an explosion of parks inspired by the popularity of pool skating in Southern California. In addition to their versatility, skateparks also offer a safe space for skaters, where they won’t get into trouble with the law for trespassing or damaging public or private property.

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Tony Hawk’s 6 Skate Park Tips

Pro skater Tony Hawk provides his six tips to having fun and staying safe in the skate park:

  1. Skate during off-peak hours. The emptier a park is when you’re first starting out, the better. You’ll get more practice runs in because you won’t have to wait for others before taking your turn, you’ll be less likely to collide with someone, and, if you’re self-conscious, there will be fewer eyes on you. (Generally speaking, skaters are supportive of each other trying to learn new tricks, so try not to stress yourself out. Everyone is learning, getting better.) For a less busy park, try going early in the morning, when people are still asleep, or during school and work hours.
  2. Observe before joining in. To avoid collisions, park skaters take turns. This is especially important when a park is busy. Watch when—and from where—people skate so you understand the order and flow, then claim your spot and take your turn.
  3. Make sure you are seen. With all of their twists and turns and elements, skateparks create blind spots. To reduce the chances of running into someone else, make your presence known.
  4. Watch out for “snakes.” A snake is someone who skates out of turn and takes more turns than they should, stealing time from others and potentially endangering them. Keep an eye out for these selfish skaters!
  5. Wear protective gear. Even if you avoid collisions, there’s always the possibility you’ll slam hard trying a trick. Tony recommends wearing a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads so you can enjoy decades of skating like he has.
  6. Read and follow official rules. Every park will have a list of rules to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. Do your part and check them out anytime you skate a new park.

Want to Learn More About Skateboarding?

Whether you’re just learning how to ollie or ready to hit the halfpipe and tackle a benihana, the MasterClass Annual Membership can help you find confidence on your board with exclusive instructional videos from skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, street skater Riley Hawk, and Olympic hopeful Lizzie Armanto.

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