The Board Blazers Blog

Pro Tech Na$ty Releases Preview of Upcoming Thrasher Video

Tech Throws Down with Board Blazers in New Video

Board Blazers Team Rider Tech Na$ty and videographer Aaron Lopez have dropped their latest edit featuring Board Blazers, a preview of their upcoming full-length video for Thrasher Magazine. 

"We've been working on this for over a year" said Tech, fresh off recent skate trips to Vegas and Mexico. "Once we got that light, we went off." The full-length feature video showcasing the pro's career, titled "Wake Bake Go Skate," is in progress and slated to be released to Thrasher in a few months. Filmed in Orange County, CA, Tech rides B-Dubz Wheels and his pro model board from Fiesta Skateboards. 

Still, the duo's not done. With bigger things ahead, "this is just warm up footage" he said. We'll see.

Follow Tech on Instagram @wakebakegoskate. Special thanks to Alvaro Urzua, Fiesta Skateboards, and Desmond Martin from B-Dubz Wheels for supporting this project. 

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How To Find A Great Skateboard Teacher

how to find a great skateboarding teacher

So your child is now the proud owner of a skateboard. Congratulations! Except for one small thing--how exactly are they going to turn that wooden death plank into a fun afternoon activity? That's where finding a great skateboard teacher comes in. 

No matter where you are, here are some tried-and-true methods to make finding a great skateboard teacher easy, fulfilling and foolproof.

Search Yelp for a local skateboard teacher

Yelp's got its finger on the pulse, and you've probably already used it to find a nearby restaurant or a high-rated hair stylist. But truly, no place will give you a wider or more accurate spread of near-to-you skateboard teachers--complete with reviews from previous customers!--than Yelp. 

Searching for a skateboard teacher on Yelp

Find skateboard teacher recommendations on parenting blogs

Red Tricycle and Fatherly are the two examples listed here, but the sky's the limit. You should also check out The Skateboard Moms' Blog, and any of these 30 top skateboarding blogs--even if not for specific recommendations, to have some reading material on hand that you can recommend to your budding skater.

skateboarding teacher recommendations on red tricycle

skateboard teacher recommendations on fatherly

Ask your local skate store clerks

This is more on a case-by-case basis, but generally speaking, skate store owners and clerks are super passionate about skating, and will be more than happy to give you some recommendations for getting your kid into the sport. (Provided, of course, that you come in at a time that the store isn't super busy--preferably during a weekday.)

asking skate store clerks for skateboarding teacher recommendations

Try a national chain

There also exist national skateboarding school chains! The biggest one to date is Go Skate, which boasts 5,321 certified instructors in cities across the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Russia, and Australia. 

You can sign your child up for group skateboarding lessons, or hire a pro to come to your driveway and shred one-on-one with your Tony Hawkling. And, to be clear, Go Skate isn't sponsoring us--we're telling you about them for free.


With those four starting places, you're sure to find the local skateboard teacher you're looking for. 

Already found a killer skate school or a great instructor? Name-drop them below and help out your fellow skate parents!


Image sources: Shawn Collins//James Alby

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Set Your Skateboard On Fire

Once, not too long ago, the Board Blazers Crew dreamt of designing and shipping a themed skateboard to Braille Skateboarding's "You Make It, We Skate It" challenge. Our immediate idea--what about a skateboard on fire?

Well. Fake fire, anyway. Safety first, and all that.

For a bunch of different boring business-related reasons, we put the project on the back burner. But if anyone out there is looking for ways to add some cool effects to their boards, well--here are three ways to do just that.


Method 1: Material Flapping In The Wind + Lights

Take an orange-colored material--your best bet is sheer fabric, tissue paper, or plastic bags--and cut it into roughly flame-shaped strips.

Securely attach it to your skateboard with tape, glue, or any other adhesive that floats your boat. (Check out This to That for glue advice.)

For extra points, add some lights shining through. (Board Blazers, anyone?)

Check out the video below, but skip ahead to 2:17 to see what the thing you're making actually looks like.

Heads-up: most flapping-material-based videos require some kind of fan, but since it's literally on a skateboard, you'll get your flapping as you ride around. No fan necessary! Unless you want to go above and beyond.



Method 2: Spray Foam + Spray Paint + Lights

For this method, you'd take a TON of lights (or Board Blazers) and attach them to a skateboard--ideally in a way that still leaves the skateboard, you know, rideable.
Once that's done, you'll take different sized plastic bottles/containers and place them over the lights, gluing those down in kind. Cover the whole thing with spray foam, then immediately cover the spray foam in different colors of spray paint for a super cool ember-like effect. 
Paint suggestions: Black, red, orange. Light suggestion: in my opinion, this would be AWESOME with color-changing lights!
Skip to 6:18 to see what it looks like when all's said and done.



Method 3: Dry Ice + Lights + Custom Container

This one is the most complicated, and the least skating-friendly, but I'm leaving it open for those skate engineers out there who are looking for a summer project.
Basically, if you build a container with a slot in the top, fill the container with dry ice, and have lights shine through the fog, you'll get an incredibly realistic fire effect.
Watch the video for more instructions--and if you build this one, PLEASE email us at Send pics and video. We want to be your friend.


Which one sparks ideas for you? Let us know in the comments!

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What's The Deal With Thrasher Magazine's Skater Of The Year?

If you’re a skater, you’re almost certainly familiar with Thrasher Magazine’s Skater of the Year award. Called skateboarding’s “most authentic prize” by some, this prize inspires statements of adoration like “when a skater has a lil' Rusty, they're amidst a select few of pro skateboarders.”

All hype aside, what’s the deal with the Thrasher SOTY award? How did it get started, and how does it get decided today? And does it really still matter as much as ever? I did some digging to find out.


History of the SOTY Award

Jake Phelps, head of Thrasher Magazine and creator of the SOTY award, told ESPN about the first-ever award. “First of all, we used to have a High Speed Christmas party -- and we figured we'd give out an award, because no one was giving out awards at that time, in 1990.” For the tenth-anniversary edition of their magazine--their best-selling ever--Tony Hawk graced their silver cover.

“We did a reader's poll for a Skater of the Year, and it was Tony Hawk,” Phelps continued. “So, we gave the first one to Tony Hawk at our tenth anniversary party.”

For the trophy design, Phelps’s body and Noah Peacock’s face were used as the inspiration for a bronze cast. Kevin Ansell designed the cast to create the SOTY trophy, which was named Rusty. “That's his name,” added Phelps. “It's kind of like an Oscar [Laughs]."

Back in the early days of the award, the SOTY award was the result of a magazine poll. Readers would vote, and an issue profiling the winner would come out in the early months of the year.

Recently, according to Lucas Wisenthal of The Ride Channel, “The title is a subject of intense scrutiny leading up to its announcement.” Some argue that the prize has become too political. But what is the process of choosing a winner?



Selection of the SOTY

How do you catch the eye of the SOTY selection staff? “You've gotta be percolating on the scene for a long time before you can be ‘the guy,’” says Phelps.

The actual process of picking a winner is a little shaky and behind-the-scenes, but appears to be:

  1. Skaters (mostly professional skaters) submit their best skate parts online.
  2. The skaters that get the most attention get nominated for the SOTY award.
  3. Readers vote to narrow the selection down to semi-finalists, and then finalists.
  4. Phelps (and other judges) make the final selection.

Coleman Bentley, of Network A, points out that “Jake Phelps...has gone on record, saying SOTY isn’t solely a "skate part" award.” This means (apparently) that it’s not just about video footage--there’s a little bit more to the selection process.

“It's gotta be a guy that can bust out a good interview after he's chosen,” Phelps explains. “It helps to have some eloquence or some personality.”

That being said, Anthony Pappalardo of Huck Magazine is slightly wary of the place this award holds in the modern world. “I think Phelps is a decent judge of course – he’s a walking encyclopedia of skate knowledge – but why is someone who champions the free spirit of skating picking a ‘winner’?” Pappalardo asks. “Also, why do I get sucked into caring, year after year since 1990?"

Good questions--and he’s not the only one with them.


Opinions on the SOTY Award

Of course, a prestigious award can only stay prestigious for so long. Bentley argues, “While a positive change on the whole, skateboarding’s digital explosion has only served to dilute the importance of SOTY...the campaign season and coronation has become more political than ever.”

Because it’s easier now than ever before to upload skate videos and catch the public’s eye, there’s more material to sift through, and it becomes more difficult to make an objective decision.

Bentley adds, "With fewer marquee videos to bank on and more skaters to consider than ever, the criteria by which SOTY is decided has become increasingly intangible...There's room for subjectivity, of course, but at some point, the numbers have to matter, and if they don't, SOTY becomes merely an opinion and not an award. And you know what they say about opinions..."

Pappalardo also has a somewhat negative view of the award, but not just for the subjectivity--for the act of judging itself. “That’s the whole duality of skateboarding right there,” he says. “It’s free, it’s about fun and creativity, and in theory should never be judged, but with so many unwritten rules and the overarching emphasis on style, we are all judging skating constantly."

He continues, "As skaters, no matter how much we say winning or awards aren’t a big deal or a real part of skating, judging certainly is and it’s something that might be more prevalent in our “sport” than others.”

Of course, it’s hard to argue when Phelps says, “Like I said, it's history. You're part of history."

This award is a major part of skating history. Just because it may be losing some of its original relevance doesn’t doom it completely. It just needs to feel free to adapt to the times ahead.


Photo credit: InCase//Lewis Sharman

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The Best Skateboard Forums On The Web

Whether you've been skating for years or you've just barely picked up a board, you know that most of the appeal of skateboarding is in the super tight, welcoming community. And what better place to find an online skateboarding community than on one of the many skateboard forums?

We rounded up the top five skateboard forums for your benefit. Click through, look around, and see if you find a niche.

5. Boardworld

This forum isn't crazy active, but has a dedicated skateboard section and a consistently updated "News, Videos, and Events" page that has a ton of cool stuff--like a trailer for this movie about skateboarding on frozen sand. 

4. Skatebook

Skatebook is a little more active. The community seems pretty small, but it's supportive. It's a great place to ask for suggestions on the size of the board you should be riding, or to share a vid of you finally nailing that kickflip. There's also an "Introduce Yourself" page, so you can meet the other skaters in your neck of cyberspace. 


3. Skull and Bones Skateboards

Another fairly active forum, this one has over 20 skateboard-specific threads--even some that dive into parts of the industry, like manufacturing and screenprinting. There's also a skateboard art thread specifically, which is more than worth a scroll. 

2. Sidewalk Skateboard Magazine

Super-active, rated, and armed with a backlog of thousands of threads? Yeah, this seems like a pretty great place to spend your time. Plus, they've got a thread full of skate gifs, and another one literally called "Continually Updated Personal Footage." Settle in, look around, and start posting!

1. Slap

Yeah, I'm sure you've heard of this one. And if you haven't, plenty of skaters have. Super, super active and absolutely filled with skaters from all walks of life. Whether you're looking for news, tips, friends, or just trying to keep your finger on the pulse of the skate world, Slap is definitely the place to go.



Skaters--which ones are your favorites? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credit: Joshua Ness

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10 Easy Beginner Skateboard Tricks (featuring VLSkate!)


If you've ever Googled "beginner skateboard tricks," you know how much garbage is out there. Articles that try and pass off a turn or a stop as a "beginner trick" are a dime a dozen, as are articles that claim kickflips or rail grinds as beginner-level. 

Enter Vilias Left, of VLSkate. Self-described as a skateboarder from Southern California, he makes an ongoing series of "how to" videos that all skaters could benefit from.

One of these awesome videos is his "10 Easy Beginner Skateboard Tricks" video, which hits the nail on the head--10 tricks that are easy to do, but look impressive, and make beginner skaters feel like they're progressing. (Which gives you the confidence to keep skating and get bolder!)

Without further ado, here, gif'd and essentially transcribed for your benefit, are these 10 tricks. Enjoy and skate!

1. Chinese Nollie

 To pull off the Chinese nollie, "all you have to do is give the board a little push forward to bounce the front wheel off a crack," says VLSkate. "This will cause the board to pop up off the ground." The best thing about this trick is that you just need to know how to do a little hop on the nose of your board to pull it off. "Just keep in mind," VLSkate adds, "that you're not hitting the nose on the ground--you're just barely lifting the back wheels up, and the rest is just staying on top of the board."

2. Biebelheimer

Next up--the biebelheimer. Not so much a trick as a cool way to get on your board, but it certainly is that! VLSkate explains it: "All you have to do is grab the board with the nose and your fingers on the opposite side. Then, turn the board around 180 degrees so that the grip tape would hit the ground--and the most important part is to make sure it's slightly angled when you throw it down. That causes the flip over."

How to practice? Stand still and practice getting the board to flip over. Also, to make this trick work, you don't need to scrape the tail on the ground.

3. Nollie Shove It

For the Nollie Shove It, "You barely have to put your foot on the nose, and you don't even have to pop it. All it takes is the smallest shot motion with your feet and the tiniest little hop. That's all you need." The gif makes it clear, and VLSkate also has a more in-depth explanation in his pop shove it video.

4. Boneless

The boneless is also less about popping your board, and more about jumping off your foot. "All it really takes is setting your feet up in a position where your front foot can easily come off the side and onto the ground," says VLSkate. "You just leave your back foot on and grab with the hand, jump off your foot and jump back on the board."

5. Fakie Frontside 180

Can you ride fakie? Can you pop your board? Then with the fakie frontside 180, "your momentum does the rest of the work." VL Skate describes the secrets; "Just pop, twist your body, and land back on the board. If you are having any trouble with the regular front-side 180 I would recommend this one instead."

6. Hippie Jump

"[The hippie jump] is so easy, because all you need to know how to do is jump," VLSkate says. "The main important factors are that when you jump you don't accidentally press on the tail or the nose--and when you come down, don't land on the tail or the nose. Just stand above the bolts the entire time."

How to practice this one? "Just practice jumping a whole bunch. It can be scary, but the great thing is that you can start small and work your way up."

7. Rail Stand

For the rail stand, "All you have to do is set your feet up so your front foot will be pushing down the side in order to flip it over." It's kind of a four-step process:

  1. Give it enough pressure until it flips.
  2. When that happens, your back foot hangs on the back wheel, and as the board turns, you step over and on top of it.
  3. After that, you bring your front foot back and you're standing on your rail.
  4. Then, all it takes is a slight push forward, and you're right back on top of the board.

The best way to practice? "It's best to learn this trick while holding onto something, but it only takes a few times and you start getting the feeling of it," VLSkate says. 

8. Fakie Casper Flop

This trick uses the same pressure mechanic in the rail stand, to flip the board over onto its back--and then you place your back foot on the tail and flip the board over. "It's a lot easier than it sounds," says VLSkate, "and all it really takes is practicing while standing still a few times. Just practice flipping the board over by pressing down and off to the side, and then practice flipping it back over with both your feet--then put both together and you have it." He adds, "It's kinda stupid, but I like it."

9. 180 No Comply

For the 180 no comply, "Just like with the boneless, you want the front foot to be in a location where it can easily step off the board, and your back foot should be slightly on the tail so that you can get some spin out of it. You just press down and scoop the tail around."

How to best practice? "You can practice standing still, and the same with the back foot scooping motion, and eventually just put them together and make sure that you jump back on the board."

10. Nose Pickup

"If you master picking up your board the normal way and you even got the little fancy way where you kick it up with your foot, this is the opposite version of that," says VLSkate, adding that it can be done a lot quicker if you're cruising fast. "And it looks cool. While you're rolling, you situate your front foot onto the nose, and you pop straight down with your toes and reach down and grab the board."

How to practice? "There's not too much other than practicing popping the nose down. You just want to make sure you are not stopping down on the nose, because that's going to make the board fly up."


In VLSkate's opinion, these tricks "are the perfect combination of easy but stylish, and I think that it's important to stay motivated: you feel like you are improving. Progress is progress, and even the easy tricks can be added to make you a better overall skater." 

Loved these tricks? Go be friends with VLSkate on YouTube or Instagram.

And let us know which trick is your favorite. (I'm a fan of the Hippie Jump--Greg prefers Boneless.)


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The Long And Short Of Longboard Design

If you've ever REALLY looked at the longboards you see on the street, you've probably noticed a ton of variance. Why are some longboards super flexible? Why are some of them shaped differently? 

We're here to break down the longboard design code, so you can understand what you're seeing--and find the right design for you.




Any kind of board where the front looks different from the back is a directional board. They're just supposed to go forward. You tend to use directional boards as cruisers, carvers, and downhill boards.

The most famous directional board shape is a pintail--it looks a little bit like a surfboard. Its base center is wider, and is sharply pointed on both ends, which gives the board a fluid balance.

The fishtail is another type of directional board, and it's similar to the pintail. Instead, imagine a pintail with 1/3 cut off the bottom, and a split tail in its place. A bunch of people use fishtails as cruisers, and fishtails tend to come with a kicktail that helps with turns.

The final directional shape we'll talk about is the blunt shape. It's longer and thinner than the pintail, and has a wider and rounder nose. 


So if directional boards are meant to just go forward, symmetrical boards can go just about anywhere, right? Yes. If you're a freestyle longboarder, and you see some 180° slides in your future, you'll want to step away from the directional boards and into symmetry-land.

The most common symmetrical board is the twin--a board introduced in the '90s specifically for multi-directional street skating. These longboards tend to be wide and stable, and incredibly versatile.



Top Mount

Top mount is traditional, simple, and inexpensive. Basically, the deck is mounted on top of the trucks, giving the board a little less stability but a lot more versatility than other mount styles.

Drop Through

Drop through boards are lower than top mount boards, because the trucks are mounted through the board. In other words, spaces for the trucks are carved out of the bottom of the board, lowering the deck by its thickness and increasing stability in spades.

Because you don't have to reach so far to brake or push, you get to ride with less fatigue, which makes this a great style for commuters.

Double Drop

A double drop deck takes drop through trucks and pairs them with board cutouts, so it's incredibly, ridiculously low to the ground. This style is very stable, but can also be pretty expensive, because it's tricky to build. You usually only find this on boards meant for downhill riding alone.



Kick tail

Kick tails are usually found on skateboards (as shown in the picture below). They let you lift one end of the board off the ground for tricks, turns, and more--and a kick tail on a longboard lets you do the exact same thing.


Wheel Well

If you're a longboarder, you've probably experienced wheel bite--when you turn so hard your wheels smash into your deck and you smash into the ground. Some longboards prevent this with board cutouts (so your wheels can't possibly make contact) or wheel wells (so your wheels are discouraged from making contact).



This is different from board flex, which we'll go over in a second. Concave--or the bend of your board across its width--comes in four main varieties, all with their own benefits and drawbacks.

  1. Flat no-concave

    This style is, well, flat as a board. There's not a lot of big, fancy toe-heel energy transfer. It's good if you want to dance on your board, but if you're looking for speed and grip, you'll want to look elsewhere.

  2. Radial concave (taco)

    This has a smooth balance of toe-heel energy transfer, and it's also the most common concave style you'll find. The slight dip in the middle also gives your feet a good place to lock in when you're sliding. 

  3. Elliptical concave

    Boards with elliptical concave are not too far from radial, but turn a little more sharply.

  4. W-concave

    Imagine putting two radial concaves on the same deck, and you get a W-shape--like the W-deck. This wild shape gives you even more toe-heel energy transfer, and lets you turn very quickly and very precisely. 



Boards can flex in a variety of ways. You'll want to look out for:

Longitudinal Flex

This is the bend from your board's nose to its tail. More flex means deeper carves.

Lateral Flex

This is the bend across your board's width--concave styles can have an effect on this.

Torsional Flex

This is the combination you get from your board's special mix of longitudinal and lateral flex. What happens when both are working at the same time? 



Now that you know WHERE your board can flex, let's look at how it can flex:

Soft flex

These soft-flexing boards absorb shock really well, especially if you're riding over rough stuff. If you're looking for chill out and cruise, soft flex boards are fine. If you're planning on speed, watch out--soft boards get unstable at high speeds.

Medium flex

A classic medium anything--not too hot, not too cold. Medium-flex boards also have good shock absorption, and a little more stability than soft-flex boards. They're also springy and highly versatile.

Stiff flex 

You really only want a stiff board if you're going FAST and you're going there NOW. Stiff boards give you little to no shock absorption, and they're most useful for dedicated downhill boards or super-fast freeriding.


Readers--what do you think? Let us know in the comments!


Further reading:


Photo credit: Christoffer Engstrom//Steven Erdmanczyk Jr//Peter Pearson//Longboards USA//Steve Watkins//erik forsberg//Bruno Alberto//Skateboard Stock Photo//Landyachtz Bomber

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Insta-Pic Your Trick

Show us your moves.

Board Blazers are a killer way to light up your tricks -- and we want to see how YOU do it. The rules are simple: 

  1. Attach Board Blazers to your skateboard, longboard, scooter, hoverboard, or rollerskates.
  2. Take a video or snap a pic of you doing your best trick with the lights.
  3. Upload it to Instagram with hashtag #boardblazers.
  4. The best trick, judged by pro skaters, wins $100 cash!

To enter:

1. Buy Your Blazers

2. Post Your Moves - #boardblazers


Pro skaters Tech Na$ty and Andrew Pott will decide which trick deserves $100.

Meet the Judges:

Tech Na$ty: Pro skater, goofy rider, international boarding icon, and the newest member of the Board Blazers skate squad. He grew up in Orange County, and now rides for Programme Skate and Delta Nine. You can find him on IG at @wakebakegoskate.

Andrew Pott: Originally from Belize, but born and raised in Inglewood, CA, Andrew Pott went pro in 2004; Shortys Skateboards picked him up after he placed 10th at the Tampa Am SPoT. Today, he skates for Lowland Kings, who also released his new pro board. Right now, he's working on releasing his pro model watch, so keep an eye out! He's on IG: @andrew_pott

If you want to wow them, pull out all the stops. Get creative with your camera. Think of a new way to film your best trick. This is your chance to go big!

Let's see your moves and win some cash!


Full contest rules available here.

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The Best Hoverboards On The Market

Here's what you already know:
  1. Hoverboards exist.

  2. There are a TON of articles that give you advice on which one to choose.
Here's what you might not know:
  1. Exploding hoverboards? That's a thing of the past. New, stricter safety regulations (known as a UL2272 certification) have kept hoverboard customers from being unwittingly engulfed in flames. Hooray!

  2. Just as there are a ton of articles about which hoverboards are the best, there's also a lot of overlap.

And that's why we've taken the liberty of looking through these articles, so we can cut through the noise and give you the brands that are mentioned over, and over, and over, and over again.

Note: All the boards listed here are UL2272 certified, meaning you can ride them without fear of explosions. All hoverboard images are screenshots from their associated Amazon pages.

The 7 Hoverboards The Internet Can't Stop Recommending (In No Particular Order)

1. Hoverzon S Self Balancing Hoverboard

Hoverzon S Self Balancing Hoverboard

The Hoverboard S Self Balancing Board will run you $399. That gets you a battery that takes 3 hours to fully charge, lasts 4 hours, and reaches a top speed of 8mph. You've also got two speed settings, so beginners can start out easy and slow. Plus, they'll throw in a 1-year warranty. Sweet!


2. PowerOnBoard Powerboard 15005

PowerOnBoard Powerboard 15005

At a top speed of 6.2mph, the PowerOnBoard Powerboard is comparatively slower, but similarly priced around $349.99. With its large battery pack, you'll get about 3 hours of usage time between charges.


3. Swagtron T1

The Swagtron T1 ALSO costs $349.99, but reaches a top speed of 8mph (like the Hoverboard S Self-Balancing Board), has a 3 hour battery life, AND has LED headlights.


4. Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Hoverboard

Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Hoverboard

Like the last two items on the list, the Razor Hovertrax 2.0 costs $348. Like the Swagtron T1, its top speed is just over 8mph. It's quick-charging, and recommended for beginners, but its battery life only lasts 1-2 hours.


5. Segway miniPRO

Segway miniPRO

Who doesn't want a mini Segway? The Segway miniPRO blows the other hoverboards out of the water in top speed (10mph!) AND price ($599!). You'll have to decide for yourself if the padded knee bar, anti-theft alarm, customizable lights, and Bluetooth capability are enough added features to make the steep price increase worth it. Also, the battery life lasts about 1.4 hours.


6. EPIKGO, Self Balancing Scooter

EPIKGO, Self Balancing Scooter

Also clocking in at $599 and 10mph is the EPIKGO, whose 1 hour battery life is not nearly as appealing as its all-terrain wheels.


7. Swagtron T3

Swagtron T3

Finally, we have the Swagtron T3. Like the T1, it reaches top speeds of 8mph and has a 3 hour battery life. However, this model comes with Bluetooth capability, which likely accounts for the price increase to $459.17.


Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!


Featured photo credit: Ben Larcey

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Where to Skateboard

Have skateboard, will travel, right? Well, not necessarily. Sometimes it can be tricky to find where to skateboard--which is why we've rounded up a list of potential places to look out for. 

General Places To Skateboard

No matter where you live, there tend to be some structural mainstays that are pretty skating-friendly. Just in case you forgot, here's the rundown.

1. A skatepark

Let's just get the most obvious one out of the way. Chances are, if you live in a city, you're somewhere near a skatepark. Spend a nice afternoon there practicing tricks, making friends, and brushing up on your skills.

2. An actual park

Paved bike paths (particularly if they're not crowded) are your friend. Get your fill of nature by skating through trees and grassy hills.

3. An empty parking lot

Looking for a place to practice your turns and kickflips away from the hustle and bustle of the skatepark? An empty parking lot can be your savior. Check for any "No Skateboarding" signs first, though--but you knew that already. If it's the parking lot of your high school or a store, it's best to ask in advance.

4. An indoor skatepark

Yes, this is more expensive than any of the first three (completely free) options--but especially if the weather outside is frightful, an indoor skatepark is definitely delightful.

5. Your garage

Obviously, this only works if you A) have a garage B) that is reasonably empty C) with a concrete floor. But if your stars have aligned enough that this is a thing in your life, go forth and skate!

6. Carpet or grass

This isn't so much "skating" as "a soft place to practice tricks." But if it's all you've got for the time being, it's better than nothing.


How to Find Your Own Skateboarding Spots

Like a cook without their own signature recipe, what's a true skateboarder without their signature spot? Here are some ways to find your own.

7. Join a skate group. 

Make friends with some skaters (ideally at a skate park) and start tagging along on rides. Ask where they usually skate. If they share, awesome!

8. Use skateboard spot apps

Websites like ISkateHere and Skatebook.Me let skaters bookmark (and share) their favorite spots. Type in your location to find places that are close to you!

9. Go on your own mission

Drive around, hitch a ride, take the bus, take a walk--whatever way it makes sense for you to explore your city, keep an eye out for interesting concrete spots with skateable architecture. Rails, stairs, benches, etc. When you find something promising (and not privately owned), take a picture and mark down the address.


Cities That Are Exceptionally Friendly To Skateboarders

This advice all works for (ideally) any skateboarder living anywhere. But if you're looking for cities (either to visit or one day live) where skateboarding is truly embraced, you'll want one of these:

10. Portland, OR, USA

In Portland, skateboards have the same legal rights as bicycles--there are "preferred skate routes" and everything! 

11. San Diego, CA, USA

You probably already guessed that this one would be on the list. It's friendly, it's got a ton of beaches and boardwalks, and it's home to a ton of famous skaters already! 


Skaters--how did you find your favorite skating spots? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credit: Shannon Kelley

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How To Start A Skateboarding Community

Humans are social creatures. And while it can be nice to do things alone now and then--play an instrument, read a book, watch a movie--nothing's better than doing something you love with a whole bunch of people who love the same thing. 

If you're a skater, looking to start a community of skateboarders in your local area, here's how you can do it.

1. Meet other skaters

There are a bunch of ways you can do this.

Look for existing MeetUp groups, or start your own. On MeetUp, you can be as broad or as specific as you want--so if you're looking to start an all-ages night skating group, or a skating group for girls in college, you're bound to click on MeetUp.

Go to your local skatepark and see if there's anyone you vibe with. That guy who just pulled a sweet trick--think he'd be interested in hanging out more?

Check out local Facebook groups and see if you're a good fit.

Head to a skateshop at a slow time (2 or 3pm on a weekday, usually) and chat with the people that work there. Where do they skate? Who's their crew?

2. Communicate what you're looking for

Do you want a crew that goes night-skating on Saturdays? Say (in person or online), "Hey, I'm starting a weekly night ride--who's in? Saturdays work for me, but I'm flexible."

Are you looking to improve your tricks and get feedback? "Could really use some help nailing new tricks. Anyone down for a couple after-school practice sessions? I'll be there Tuesday/Thursday."

Do you want to start a dedicated team? "I'm looking for 6-7 skaters who want to be part of a dedicated team. Weekly practices 4-6pm on Fridays. Name/logo suggestions welcome! Message me for details."

Or maybe you want to skate literally all the time, and you're cool with people joining you whenever? "I've got a ton of new skate spots I want to check out! I'll post here whenever I'm heading out--if you want to join, comment and show up, no questions asked."

The main points here are to be honest and specific. Don't say you're cool with people showing up whenever if you really want to start your night ride by 9. Don't say you're "down for whatever" if you're hoping to practice your grinds. 

Flexibility is important--but the more you get real with yourself about what you're looking for, the better chances you'll have of attracting skaters who want the same things.

And when you're specific, you make it easy for those right people to join by doing the hard mental work of picking a day/time/location in advance. 

3. Do the heavy lifting

It's your community. You're starting it. That means you're taking on the route-planning, the Facebook- or MeetUp- or forum-posting, and any other logistics that come your way.

Nobody's going to do it for you; at least not at the beginning. 

As your community grows and gets closer, someone might step up to plan next week's route--but at first, it's all you. Embrace it!

4. Keep going

Don't post once and get discouraged because nobody came (or one person came). Get someone to take photos of your ride that look fun and awesome. Post them up when you're planning future events.

It's entirely possible that a bunch of people were thinking about going, but their schedules didn't quite line up that week. But if you give up early on, you'll never find out.


Skaters--what are the best communities you've found?

Photo credit: Lucie Delavay

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How To Be A Pro Skater And A Scholar

This blog article was actually inspired by a reader question. Most of the time, we draw on whiteboards and say to ourselves, "What do our readers probably want to know?" And then we write about skateboard maintenance. #Foolproof.

But this time, someone came forward and said, more or less, that a friend of theirs wanted to get a college degree, but also wanted to be a pro skater, and wanted to know if there were any colleges that help you out in those regards. Or, basically, any way to be a scholarly skater.

Because skateboarding has all these connotations of being an underground culture, on some spectrum of subversiveness, colleges aren't exactly advertising professional-skater training courses.

That's not to say that we found nothing, anonymous reader. Rather, here's a list of ways to link your academic side with your side that totally loves night rides and sweet tricks.

1. Join one of Collegiate Skate Tour's many clubs.

With clubs all over the country and an organization that respects your duties as a student AND your passion for skateboarding, you can't go wrong with Collegiate Skate Tour. On their site, they say it best; "Education, in any form, is a catalyst, and attending college is the best complement to the education you receive on your board."

2. Or, start your own skate club in college.

Not attending one of the Collegiate Skate Tour schools? No big deal--start your own skate club. You'll learn a ton about organizing and marketing, and you'll get to know a bunch of other student skaters in a hurry. 

3. Apply for the Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship.

Yes, we know--this is on literally every article about skating in college. But it is a scholarship given out to skateboarders, and it's still around. You can snag a $1,000 prize, or a $5,000 one. 

4. Get involved with the National Scholastic Skateboarding League.

This skateboarding league is based in Southern California, and if you're in high school (or about to be), this is something you want to be looking at. They prioritize high grades along with skate performance, and give out awards. 

5. Read an academic paper about skateboarding.

To get you started, you've got Brandon Gomez's "A Study of Authenticity," Thomas Slee's "Skate For Life: An Analysis of the Skateboarding Subculture," or Ocean Howell's "The Poetics of Security: Skateboarding, Urban Design, and the New Public Space." You could even team up with an accredited professor and perform your own study!

6. Apply for a Tony Hawk Grant to build a skatepark.

This might not seem strictly academic, but you'll learn a ton even through the process of applying for a grant. Plus, if you're passionate about skating, but your city doesn't have much of a skate scene, why not throw yourself into building one? 

7. Check out this list of 10 skating pros with college degrees.

Who knows? Get to know one of them, and they might be willing to write you a letter of recommendation for that Tony Hawk grant. Plus, you'll see who can do an ollie and an -ology--that is, psychology, sociology, etc. 


Skaters--do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments!


Photo credit: Baim Hanif


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What To Do When My Skateboard Expires

How many times has this happened to you? You're cruising down the street, carefree on your skateboard wheels, and then some kindly passerby stops you to tell you your skateboard is expired. Bummer!

1) Do a sniff test.

Skateboard expiration dates are different in every state. Even if you're on the "Enjoy by" date, your skateboard might be safe to ride anyway. Give it a sniff, and if nothing seems sour, you might be good to go.

2) Use it as a replacement for buttermilk.

Expired skateboards are a great ingredient in baking; for recipes that require buttermilk, sour cream, or "sour skateboard"--in which you add a tablespoon of vinegar and then stir with a skateboard--you can substitute your expired skateboard and you're good to go.

3) Have a spa day.

If you put an expired skateboard in your bath, or rub it on your face, you'll end up with extra-smooth skin. Some chemical cocktail in expired skateboards reacts nicely with your outer dermis, leaving you with a silky-smooth, super-enviable complexion.

4) Make it a new garden tool.

Tomato plants struggling? Plant your expired skateboard nearby, water it thoroughly, and watch your sweet little plants thrive.

5) See if you can get a new copy from your bank.

Banks usually have options to replace a bunch of expired stuff--credit cards, debit cards, skateboards. Go to your online banking profile and make sure your skateboard address is updated, then request a new one! It should be to you soon, easy-peasy.

6) Freeze it preemptively

If you catch your skateboard just as it's about to expire, you can freeze it, and defrost it whenever you plan to go for a ride. This way, it could keep for months.


Skaters--what are your favorite expired skateboard tips? Let us know in the comments!


Photo credit: Nick Karvounis

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Swedish Model Paulina Ericksson Shows Off Her Board Blazers

Swedish model and longboarder Paulina Ericksson took to the streets of Venice Beach, CA this summer to show off her new Board Blazers. Meet Paulina on Instagram by following @paulinaericksson.


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Applying Your Board Blazers

Welcome to the Board Blazers crew! You're almost ready to ride. Watch how to apply your new underglow lights:

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7 Signs You're Ready to Skate


So all your friends are getting skateboards, and you're feeling left out. You've asked everyone you know how they figured out they were ready for a skateboard, and you keep getting vague answers along the lines of "Oh, you'll just know."

Well, here at Board Blazers, we're committed to getting you the answers you need. Here are seven signs you're ready to take the leap and get a skateboard.

1. You find yourself standing in a skateboard stance in unexpected places.

Waiting in line for coffee? Getting in an elevator? Pausing during a walk in the park? There you are, sideways, with your knees slightly bent and your weight evenly balanced. 

2. You keep accidentally saying you have a skateboard.

How familiar is this situation? Your friend asks how you're getting to that party on Saturday, and you immediately respond, "Oh, I'll just ride my skateboard." Then, in a flash, you remember you don't have one yet. If you're already acting like you have a skateboard, maybe it's time to take the plunge.

3. Every time you walk by a skate shop, you stop and stare at the door for literally 17 minutes.

Everyone stops and stares at skate shop doors sometimes. But it's usually for 3 minutes, and sometimes 10. If you're finding you consistently stare at skate shop doors for 17 entire minutes, sometimes without blinking, stop kidding yourself and get a skateboard already.

4. You're sick of spending your weekends running around empty pools.

We know it's not nearly as fun to just run around the bottom of empty pools on your own two feet--but someone's gotta do it, and for months, that someone's been you. Maybe it's time to admit to yourself that this isn't what you want out of your Saturdays, and revisit these concrete pits with a skateboard.

5. You accidentally stole someone's skateboard yesterday. And the day before. And the day before. 

It's time to stop pretending that it's normal to get home, open the door, suddenly realize you totally wrestled a skateboard out of some pedestrian's arms without even thinking about it, panic, and spend the next hour tracking them down and returning the board. Who needs that hassle? Cut it out and get yourself a skateboard to call your own.

6. You go entire days communicating only with the word "skateboard."

If you're turning in entire English essays that just say "skateboard" 2000 times in a row; if you're trying to make lunch plans with your friend and tell them to meet you at "Skateboard skateboard skateboard"; if your girlfriend says "I love you" and you say "Skateboard," you have your answer. 

7. You're about to buy a skateboard right now.

If you're reading this article on your phone while you're standing in line at a skate shop with a skateboard tucked under your arm, that's a very good sign that you're ready to buy a skateboard.


Skaters--are these accurate? How did you know it was time to buy your first skateboard? Let us know in the comments.


Photo credit: grassrootsgroundswell//D Coetzee


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The Best Halloween Costumes For Skateboarders

Who says skaters can't enjoy Halloween? (Probably nobody. I've never heard anyone say skaters can't enjoy Halloween.)

Regardless, here are some skaters who clearly took their spooky festivities to the next level with this killer costume commitment. Look upon these 10 fantastic skating costumes, weep, and--if you're still looking for ideas--take some notes.

1. Skating Joker

Some guys just want to watch the world land some sick tricks, right? Even though the Joker isn't technically a character who skates, let's be real--you could totally imagine him suddenly hopping on a skateboard in the middle of The Dark Knight. Plus, that billowy purple jacket catches the air in a pretty rad way.

2. Bart Simpson


When is Bart Simpson ever seen without his skateboard? If you're stuck for Halloween ideas, you could try this deeply unnerving costume--or make your own, maybe-slightly-less-unnerving one.

3. These rad disco skaters 

We'd be amiss to leave out that whole other branch of skaters--those that get around on rollerskates. Disco lives (if you want it to)! Throw on your best flashy '80s garb and get skatin'.

4. Finger-skate IRL!

I gotta give this one a hand...and it also raises so many questions. How did they make this? How are they skating inside this giant body glove? How are they so cool? Can we be friends? Be a real-life finger-skater and create the same aura of mystery wherever you go.

5. A Whole New World

Want a flying carpet in real life? Glue some carpet to your skateboard, and you're golden! Now all you need is a princess and a genie, and three wishes.

6. Marty McFly 

Holy hoverboard! YouTuber RyanLeerReeL is responsible for this incredibly cool Marty McFly costume. With some black leggings and fake legs, you too can pull off this hovering illusion.

7. R2-D2 and BB-8 

Another great costume idea for rollerskaters--show R2-D2 and BB-8 some love with these clever getups! You don't HAVE to speak in beeps all night, but your costume could be an opportunity to avoid chatting with that guy who always wants to play devil's advocate.

8. This awesome nun

Skating nun. Simple, elegant, and incredibly badass. (Photo credit: Ed Pilolla)

9. Skating Chewbacca! 

This looks incredibly warm. But also, super cool. When you're pressed for time, commit quick; put on a full-body Chewbacca suit and head to your nearest skatepark for a Halloween treat nobody will expect.

10. This guy

I haven't found any existing costumes of Steve Buscemi's 30 Rock character. But I humbly suggest to you, skaters of the internet, that you give it a shot this Halloween. Whether you actually are or very-much-are-not a fellow kid, this skating costume is a winner.


Which one is your favorite? Comment below!



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Skateboarding Is Coming To The Olympics, Here’s What to Expect

It's official! Skateboarding is not only a sport--it's an Olympics-worthy one. To prepare for the 2020 Tokyo introduction of skateboarding as an official Olympic event, let's break down some of the biggest questions surrounding the decision so you, as a viewer, know what to expect.

Why now?

There are plenty of opinions as to why this was the year that changed it all. International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach cited a desire for younger viewership as a reason, stating "

With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them.” 

The Ride Channel notes that this inclusion is "more symbolic of the state of the big-industry side of things than the culture of skating itself," but still underlines that, regardless of how you feel about the Olympics as an institution, "the inclusion of a sport that was born in the United States is a big deal."

The International Skate Federation (ISF) also released a statement assuring viewers that "[t]he ISF and the skateboarding community are ready, equipped and well positioned to help make the first Olympic appearance of skateboarding an amazing one for skaters and fans alike."

What would the competition look like?

Right now, park terrain skateboarding is the only event in the official lineup, which means skatepark terrain; halfpipes, quarterpipes, and other street obstacles like rails and stairs. Some skaters have expressed hopes that vert events are also added.

Others are skeptical, asserting that skateboarding doesn't have the dramatic visual appeal of other winter sports, and that viewers may be disappointed by the gulf between their expectations and the reality of the competition. "Sadly, to the casual fan," says The Ride Channel, "organized skateboarding is more akin to curling." 

Who would the top competitors be?

It's still a little early to know for sure, but if we take a look at recent winners of this year's X Games, here's a potential lineup:

Top 3 Skateboard Street Amateurs:


  1. Tyson Bowerbank
  2. Christian Dufrene
  3. Jagger Eaton


Top 3 Women's Skateboard Street Finals:


  1. Pamela Rosa
  2. Mariah Duran
  3. Lacey Baker


Top 3 Men's Skateboard Park:


  1. Pedro Barros
  2. Curren Caples
  3. Chris Russell


Top 3 Women's Skateboard Park:


  1. Kisa Nakamura
  2. Lizzie Armanto
  3. Jordyn Barratt


And, of course, other professional names come to the top; "Ryan Sheckler? Nyjah Huston? Louie Lopez?" The Inertia reminds us, "There are still four years to find out."



"I’ve always believed that if skateboarding was properly protected and supported, its appearance on the Olympic stage could change the world," says Gary Ream--who's not only chairman of the Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission, but also president of the ISF. Will Olympic skateboarding change the world? We'll all have to stay tuned to find out.

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How to Fix a Broken Skateboard

Even if your skating spirit is unbreakable, your skateboard sure isn't. But whether your trucks are giving you trouble, or your latest nose grind left a crack in your deck, here's your skateboard maintenance survival guide. 

Skateboard Deck Tips

Decks get most of the attention in the skateboard world--deck shape, deck art, and so on. If you're having board trouble, this'll help you get back on the right track in no time.

If your deck is cracked or chipped:

  1. First, remove your grip tape with a putty scraper. You want a clean surface to work on.
  2. Use epoxy to close the crack, or fill your chip.
  3. Let the epoxied board dry for 24 hours.
  4. Smooth the crack or chip with sandpaper.
  5. Reapply your grip tape.

If your deck is unbalanced:

If your board is suddenly turning without you telling it to, it might be unbalanced. To fix, tighten and loosen your kingpin (and test the ride after each adjustment!) until your board feels like it’s back on the right track.

Your deck is probably warped if it just ISN’T BALANCING, and you feel like you’ve tried everything, but it’s still out of whack.

If your deck is warped:

  1. Remove your trucks and wheels from the deck.
  2. Immerse your deck in water overnight. This will make the wood more pliable and easy to bend back into shape.
  3. In the morning, place a flat, heavy object on top for 24 hours--think books, cement block, etc.

Skateboard Bearing Tips

Are your bearings stuck? Did a bearing pop out? Are you still trying to get your bearings? (Sorry, bad joke.) Anyway. These simple tips will fix most of your bearing woes:

  1. Remove the nuts that hold the wheels onto the board.
  2. Carefully push a screwdriver through the middle of the bearings.
  3. Apply bearing lubricant and pop them back in.
  4. Reattach your wheels.

Skateboard Truck Tips

Trucks not turning? Trucks too loose? Here are the truck removal steps you’re looking for:

  1. Take off the kingpin nut with your crescent wrench
  2. Pull off the washer.
  3. Pull off the white rubber bushing.
  4. Pull the hanger out of the pivot cup.
  5. Add a little bit of bar soap to the pivot cup and reassemble.


Whether your board needs a tiny tune-up or a larger fix, it's definitely within your capabilities. Apply these tips and you'll be rolling again in no time!

Skaters--any tips? How do you fix your board?

Additional resources:

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The Great GoPro Giveaway


Welcome to The Great GoPro Giveaway! Enter your email below to be entered to win a FREE GoPro HERO 4 Silver action camera, then follow us on Instagram to be the first to know who wins. The contest ends Dec. 15th, 2016, and if you're really excited, read the full rules here. Good luck and blaze on!


Presented by

Board Blazers LED Underglow Board Lights

Instantly customize your skateboard, longboard, or scooter with style and safety! Available in 8 blazing colors -- makes the perfect holiday gift! Learn more here


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How To Learn To Skateboard By Yourself

So you want to learn to skateboard, but you’re not so keen on the idea of paying for lessons. And it’s helpful to know exactly where to start, especially if you’re trying to make the transition from “Total Beginner” to “Won’t Make A Complete Fool Of Myself At The Skate Park.”

Assuming you already have your skateboard and safety gear, here are the steps to learn to skateboard by yourself.

1. Practice your stance first

Find a soft place, like a patch of grass or a floor of carpet. This is the time to get comfortable with your stance and the feel of the board. 

Figure out if you’re regular- or goofy-footed; that is, if you’re more comfortable with your left foot forward or your right foot forward. 

Once you’re in position, bounce a little bit, feeling how the board moves and flexes. Practice getting on and off the board and finding your balance.

2. Fall

Or rather, practice falling properly. Think of it this way--you’re going to fall, so get the anxiety about when out of the way. You also want to practice your form to help minimize injuries.

Stay loose, and try and roll out of every fall to minimize the damage.

3. Start skateboarding on a level surface

First, practice pushing off with your rear foot, and bringing it back onto the board in the stance you practiced in step 1. Then, try a wide turn, leaning your weight in the direction you want to turn and feeling the board slowly carry you around. 

Once you’re comfortable with the wide turn, and you’ve done it successfully a few times, try a sharp turn. To do this, gently put some pressure on the back of the board and lift the nose off the ground just a smidge, then swing the board in the direction you want to turn.

You’ll also want to practice stopping, which consists of you gently putting your back foot on the ground and dragging it along until you come to a stop.

4. Watch skaters to learn tricks

Once you’re at a place where you can pretty comfortably stay on your board and turn without falling off, it’s time to take things up a notch.

This means hanging out at skate parks and watching more experienced skaters land some sweet moves. Pay close attention to what they’re doing, and think about how you can practice it at home. 

You’ll also want to find some good skate videos, for the same reason. Chances are, you’re bound to find experienced skaters doing something awesome that you hadn’t even considered!

5. Use SkaterTrainers to practice your tricks

Isn’t it a bummer when you know the parts of a trick, but you can’t practice them individually?

Well, with SkaterTrainers, you actually can. These are nifty little wheel-stoppers that hold your board in place and allow you to try tricks in slow motion, practicing your moves without fear of the board sliding out of control.



Another possibility is to return to that starter patch of grass and practice there.

6. Go skate!

You can stand on a board, push off, turn, and land a couple basic tricks. Now, you’re ready to start really learning--but to get to the next level, you’ll need to find some friends at the skate park.

Scope out intermediate-to-advanced skaters, ask if they’ll show you how to do that thing they just did, and BAM--skater friends!


Learning to skateboard by yourself can be a process of trial and error--but by taking it slow and practicing these basic steps, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the board.

Experienced skaters--what are your tips for beginners? Comment below!


Photo credit: Erich Ferdinand//flu,

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Philadelphia’s Skateable Sculpture Park (And Other Ways Skaters Have Changed Cities)

Did you know that until the last decade, it was completely illegal to skate in Philadelphia's city parks? But today, Philadelphia is home to a bygone skateboarding mecca (LOVE Park) and a park filled with intentionally skateable sculptures (Paine's Park).

What changed?

When you see a group of kids carving concrete at a skatepark, the phrase "city-transforming potential" might not cross your mind. But those who skate hold enormous power in their hands.

Need proof? Here are 3 specific examples of the transformative effect skaters can have.

1. LOVE Park: From Plaza To Skateboarding Mecca (And Back)

Just as skate videos started to pick up in the early '90s, local skaters took one look at the granite-slab benches in Philadelphia's JFK Plaza and decided they were the perfect place to do some sweet tricks and catch 'em on film, despite the fact that it was totally against the law.

Nicknamed LOVE Park after the iconic Robert Indiana sculpture in the heart of the plaza, this little square quickly became a skateboarding hotbed--particularly once the California skate scene caught wind of the Philly films.

Suddenly, professional skaters were relocating to Philadelphia just to skate in LOVE Park every day. The location even made it into Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2. It was a veritable skateboarding destination.

Then, the city decided to crack down on the sport. In 2002, they spent $1 million to remove the skateable granite benches.

That's not to say that the park went down without a fight. In fact, the founder of the park, Edmund Bacon, got on a skateboard at LOVE Park (at the age of 92!) to protest the loss of the skateboarding legacy. At the time, he reportedly proclaimed, “Thank you! My whole damn life has been worth it, just for this moment!”

Even though they didn’t win this one, skaters turned an unassuming park into a hotbed of debate. 


2. Burnside: From Sketchy Bridge To World-Renowned Skatepark

If skaters essentially "built" LOVE Park into a skating mecca, they upped the ante with Burnside in Portland, OR. Named for its location under Burnside Bridge, a group of dedicated skaters in the '90s literally built the park. With a crew including Mark Hubbard, Mark ‘Red’ Scott and Bret Taylor, these tenacious skaters took on the challenge of rehabbing a "wasteland beneath a road bridge."

Over time, they upgraded from sneaky (and illegal) concrete banks to hardier skating platforms, and eventually got city approval to turn it into a full-blown skate park. Today, Burnside is internationally recognized as one of the most challenging skateparks in the world.

Furthermore, Burnside is also credited with improving the city, in that they displaced the bridge's original seedy crowd, and replaced them with a skatey crowd.


3. Paine's Park: A Space Designed For Skaters

Finally recognizing the tendency of skaters to scope out and take over spaces, architect and skateboarders' rights activist Tony Bracali worked with local skateboarders to design Paine's Park.

Bracali argues that skateboarding improves the life of public places, and this Philadelphia space has plenty of space for skaters and non-skaters to mingle and enjoy themselves. 2.5 miles of landscaping, walkways, and skateable architecture abound.

Aside from the skateable benches, Paine’s Park was also home to a public outdoor-arts exhibition called Open Source: Engaging Audiences in Public Space that featured skateable sculptures by artist Jonathan Monk. And they really are meant for skaters; he insisted that his exhibit wouldn’t be complete until skaters began to actually use his sculptures.


When skaters are practicing their moves, they're not only changing their brains and the local skate scene; they just might be changing the city on a deeper level.

Skaters—what other examples can you share of skateboarders changing a city? Comment below!


Other Sources For Continued Reading 


Photo credit: AI R//Lindsey B//Beth Olson//Johnny Gee Photography//Robert Francis

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The Coolest Grip Tape Designs

Sure, there are awesome skateboard decks--but have you ever looked at your grip tape and thought, "Man, I wish there were a rad design here"? 

Lucky for you, so have a ton of other people. Here are 8 of our favorite grip tape designs, with titles we added. And while you're looking and admiring, here's an online tutorial that explains how to make your own killer grip tape design. 

1. Alien Boards 

These gorgeous boards are simple, unique, and beautifully designed. Whether you're into blocky sea-turtles, a lovely line design, or a bird illustration, Mike "Coroflot" Serafin shows off his illustrating prowess with ease.

2. Dark and Dangerous 

For a darker spin on the world of grip tape design, these shadowy boards immediately caught my eye. With Travis Ingram's precise lines and interesting compositions, there's no way to go wrong. 

3. Give Me A Wave

This awesome longboard design gives new meaning to "sidewalk surfing." With sweet waves and still plenty of grip tape to give riders something to hang on to, this design is a winner for sure. 

4. Eye of the Tiger 

Talk about eye of the tiger! This incredibly realistic tiger design shows huge dedication--and maybe a particular dedication to life-on-the-edge, given that there isn't a whole lot of grip tape left. 

5. Music To My Feet 

Cue the inevitable record scratch noise--let's go back and look at this one again, please! What really makes this one are the highlights on the vinyl disks. It adds a touch of realism and turns every ride into sweet, sweet music. 

6. Swimming In Circles 

With a design this circular and lilting, it's almost easy to think that this is a painting, instead of grip tape on a longboard. But if you're riding this around a college campus, there's no need to fish for compliments--they'll come rolling your way effortlessly.

7. Line Me Up 

Yes, it looks a little bit like the iconic Joy Division shirt. But really, it's an energetic linear design that really highlights how something can be simple and striking at the same time.

8. Coloring Outside The Lines 

To close this article out, here are Ben Mercer's homemade colored grip tape designs. Love the patchwork look on these, and with colored grip tape, the possibilities are endless!

Readers--what are your favorite grip tape designs? Let us know in the comments!

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3 Pieces of Essential Safety Gear to Avoid Road Rash

Longboarding Header

As with every sport, the proper equipment is essential for success. Skateboarding is a little different than most sports because you often ride over hard and unforgiving surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. As a longboarder myself, I’ve fallen plenty of times and have had quite a few cases of bad “road rash” (the scrapes you get when falling at fast speeds). As anybody can tell you, it’s not fun.

For people who are looking to learn, falling can discourage them from getting on their board again. Here are the necessary pieces of safety equipment that will help prevent injuries and keep you skating all day and night.

Always Necessary: Helmet

The helmet is the most essential piece of equipment that any skater, regardless of level, should always wear. I firmly believe that anytime you get on a skateboard you should wear a helmet. That might seem strict, but no matter how good of a skater you are, you just don’t know what will happen while skating. Somebody could suddenly step out in your path forcing you to bail out or hit them. Either way, you will be glad to be wearing a helmet.

Head injuries can also be some of the worst injuries and keep you from skateboarding for weeks or months. Just look at the professionals for guidance. Every single one in longboarding and skateboarding wears helmets when they ride because they care about their safety and want to continue skateboarding as long as possible.

Boring helmets

(Helmets don’t have to be boring either. A lot of skaters (like the kid featured above) like to personalize their helmets with skate stickers. Photo credit to Don Gunn.)

When looking for the right helmet for you, I think it’s a personal choice between two of the best: The Triple 8 Longboard Helmet and the Protec Original Classic Helmet.

The one thing about the Triple 8 Helmet that I like is the terry cloth padding designed to absorb sweat. Besides keeping your face free from sweat, the padding is also replaceable allowing you to simply buy new padding and keep the shell.

In comparison, for ventilation, the Protec Original has 11 large vents that help circulate air within the helmet. This helmet is also certified against impacts by the Consumer Safety Product Commission.

Skate Shoes: Necessary if you want to stop

Foot braking is one of the best methods for beginners just learning how to stop on their board, and a lot of riders forget that a big part relies on your shoe choice for the day! Don’t be like me and ruin your new running shoes within a month because you were using them for skateboarding.  Foot braking is rough on tread patterns and will destroy shoes that aren’t built for it.

The good thing about skateboarding shoes is that they are very easy to find. Ever heard of Vans? They are a classic and perfect skateboarding shoe. Every good skateboarding shoe has three things in common which primarily deal with the sole of the shoe: The sole is flat with a minimal tread pattern, is thick, and is made out of vulcanized rubber. Pick up a shoe with these characteristics and you’ll ensure a long life for your skateboarding shoes and a smooth stop.

Elbow/Knee Pads – Recommended for Tricks, Optional for Daily Riding

Elbow and knee pads are the last major protective equipment are common for skaters and longboarders. Some of the most common injuries in skateboarding are to the elbows and knees when you fall. However, while recommended, these pads are not strictly necessary for daily light riding.

Sliding on a skateboard

(Above, a demonstration of all of the required safety gear (helmet, knee pads, and skate shoes) during a sliding session)  

I mainly recommend pads when trying out new tricks or when starting to learn a new skill, such as sliding. When you attempt to learn new skills, you have to expect to fall a lot. Pads, like these, will prevent you from injuring yourself and allow you to push your limits when learning.

Lights: A Must at Night

If skating at night, the most important thing is to be seen. To that end, you have a variety of options from wearing a reflective vest, bright clothing, or even attaching lights to your body.

For night riding, you want at least two methods of illumination to ensure you are seen by cars and other people. Often, one simply isn’t enough for cars to notice you at night. A good combination for me is bright clothing and LED lights.

If you want something that will stick easily to your skateboard, you can use Board Blazers. In addition, always make sure to wear bright clothes or a reflective materia,l because although riding at night can be a lot of fun, it is also more dangerous than riding during the day. 

Remember: Wear a helmet, elbow/knee pads, and use lights, and you’ll be ready to ride at night!


Author Bio: David runs the longboarding blog Review Longboards, which aims to provide high-quality information about the best longboards, safety gear, longboarding how-to’s available today. See his full guides on how to longboard and grabbing the best value longboard here.

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