OBJECTIVE OF SKATEBOARDING: Score more than all other competitors by performing various technical and difficult stunts.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 1+ player(s)
MATERIALS: Helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, wrist support, skateboard
TYPE OF GAME: Sport
OVERVIEW OF SKATEBOARDING
Skateboarding is a recreational activity that is extremely popular in urban communities. As a means of entertainment, exercise, and transportation, skateboards provide a lot of value to those who use them. So much so, in fact, that skateboarding isn’t often seen as just a hobby but rather a lifestyle in a way that is similar to how surfers have their own “culture”.
As with most activities, if there is enough interest, there will be competitions. Skateboarding is no different and has been a featured event alongside other outdoor stunt sports, such as BMX and motocross. Skate boarding’s popularity as a competitive sport is largely due to its presence at the X Games, where it has been a featured sport since the inaugural 1995 tournament.
What originated as a pastime activity enjoyed by rebellious teenagers has recently garnered immense respect among the masses after being featured at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
- Protective Safety Gear: Whether skating competitively or recreationally, all skaters should wear a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads. This protective gear will minimize the severity of injuries sustained from hard falls on concrete, a somewhat inevitable situation in skateboarding.
- Wrist Support: Similar to elbow and knee pads, special support is to be worn around the wrists to help avoid wrist injury when one is trying to break their fall with their hands.
- Skateboard: A skateboard is a flat board with four wheels. The size of these depends on the age, size, and preference of the rider, although most are roughly 32 inches in length and 8 to 9 inches in width.
Skateboarding traditionally consists of two separate styles/events:
- Park: As the name suggests, park skateboarding takes place in designated skateparks. These skateparks are concrete basins with sloped sides and feature various hill-like structures. This environment allows skaters to gather the speed and momentum necessary to perform stunt jumps.
- Street: This style of skateboarding utilizes obstacles present in an urban environment. This means skaters perform stunts using hand railings, stairs, concrete barriers, and anything else they can find. Due to the lack of verticality that can be achieved (since there generally aren’t ramps), street skateboarding also places great emphasis on “flat-ground” tricks, such as the 360, gazelle flip, ollie, etc.
Surprisingly, in general, park skateboarding is considered the safer of the two skateboarding disciplines. This is because, despite including more airborne stunts, the sloped surfaces of skateparks can help significantly reduce the impact of falls in most instances.
Street skateboarding competitors must complete two “runs” and five “tricks” during each round of competition. Both runs and tricks are scored by a panel of five judges, with the highest and lowest scores being discarded while the rest are averaged together.
A “run” is essentially a 45-second freestyle period. During this time, skaters perform as many tricks as they can. Judges score each run depending on the following criterion:
- Difficulty and variety
- Flow and consistency
- Use of full course
Each run will be given a score out of a maximum of 100 points. Only a skater’s best run will be counted toward their final score.
After completing two runs, skaters then perform five different “tricks,” one at a time. These trick runs consist of a competitor performing a single complex stunt that is then scored by the panel of judges. Similar to the two runs prior, tricks are judged out of 100 points and on the same criterion, although excluding the “use of course” category.
Street skateboarding competitors are then given a final score that determines their ranking and podium placement. This final score takes a skater’s best run and adds it to their two best tricks. In theory, this means a perfect score in street skateboarding would be 300 points.
In Olympic skateboarding, a 10-point scale is used instead of a 100-point scale.
Park skateboarding competitors are given three 45-second runs in which they freestyle and perform as many stunts as possible, similar to a street skateboarding run. However, unlike street skateboarding runs, park runs can end early if the skater falls off his/her skateboard.
Skaters are judged on the same criterion as street skateboarding and on the same 100-point scale. Only a skater’s best run of the remaining three scores becoming their final round score, meaning a competitor only needs a single great run to win a competition.
AN ICONIC SKATEBOARDING FIGURE
Skate boarding’s popularity is thanks largely to the public figures who sensationalized the sport. However, no one did more for the sport than Tony “Birdman” Hawk, a Californian skateboarder who took the sport by storm in the 80s and 90s.
Tony Hawk accomplished something that few others have ever done in their respective sports: he managed to become a household name and appeal to people who didn’t even have an interest in skateboarding. Tony Hawk is to skateboarding what Arnold Schwarzenegger was to bodybuilding—a presence that transcended the sport.
How did Tony Hawk contribute so highly to the sport of skateboarding? For starters, he turned pro at the young age of 14 and then went on to win the world championship twelve years in a row from 1984 to 1996. During this time, he managed to rack up 73 contest victories and developed over 100 signature tricks that are now practiced by skateboarders all over the world!
Tony Hawk is extremely successful, now owning his own skateboard brand, Birdhouse, and appearing in numerous films, tv shows, and video games.
Watch this skateboarding legend in action here:
SKATEBOARDING STUNTS AND TRICKS
There are estimated to be over 1,000 skateboard tricks, although no one truly knows the exact number. As you may expect, these tricks range in difficulty from extremely simple to near impossible. Since there is no possible way to cover every single trick, the following is a list of skate boarding’s most popular tricks:
- Bar Slide: Possibly the most iconic street skateboarding trick, the bar slide sees a skater jump onto a railing and slide down sideways using their board instead of their wheels.
- Grind: This trick involves jumping onto the edge of a raised surface and “grinding” down it with two wheels (on the same side) on top of the surface while the other two wheels/side of the board is on the vertical side of the raised surface. This is one of the most basic skateboarding tricks.
- Flips: Flips refer to all tricks that involve the rotation of the skateboard. These tricks often involve jumping into the air and flipping the board along one or multiple axes. Possibly the most popular flip is the kickflip.
- Body Rotations: Body rotations refer to every trick that involves, well, the rotation of the body. The easiest of these is the 180, although the most famous of these is the near-impossible 900, which involves 2 ½ full body rotations (essentially spins).
- Ollie: The ollie is considered a trick that is fundamental to nearly every other skateboarding trick and is, therefore, one of the most important to learn. This trick involves jumping in the air with the board and landing on it—no flips or spins, and the board mostly stays in contact with the feet at all times.
END OF GAME
Both Park and Street competitions determine the winners differently.
In skate park competition skateboarding, the skater with the single best run score is the winner.
In street competition skateboarding, the skater with the highest combined score of their highest and lowest scores is determined the winner.