The Board Blazers Blog


Best Skateparks in the U.S.

Skateboarding is one of the most popular extreme sports in 21st century America. The roots of skateboarding began in California back in the 1950s when young adults used to surf the streets on wooden boards (and there were certainly no skate parks in those days!). Skateboarding really took off in the 1970s and became part of the mainstream in the late 1990s thanks to the success of Tony Hawk, video games and the X Games. Since then, impressive skate parks have been built all over the country (and the world), and here we’ll rank the top 10 skateparks in the U.S.

#1: Burnside Skate Park (Portland, OR)

Located under the east end of the Burnside Bridge in the city of Portland, Burnside Skate Park has been featured in numerous skate magazines, video games and is considered a classic skate park by skateboarding pros.  This quintessential skate park was created in 1990 and features some of the sweetest wall rides, bowls, quarter pipes, hips and bumps. Burnside Skate Park has continuously grown and developed over the last 26 years.

Burnside Skate Park

 

#2: Skate Lab (Atlantic Beach, FL)

First opened in 1997, Skate Lab is considered to be the best skateboarding venue in the state of Florida. Offering a huge collection of ramps, rails and jumps, Skate Lab is known to push skaters to their limits. The finest features of the Skate Lab are huge indoor and outdoor areas so that the weather is never an obstacle.

Skate Lab (Florida)

 

#3: Denver Skate Park (Denver, CO)

Situated along the Platte River, north of Downtown Denver, this skate park offers an incredible view of the famous Rocky Mountains as you grab some air. Sprawling in size and tremendous with its obstacles, Denver Skate Park has something for every kind of skater. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or an expert skater, the extensive street course and the bowls of the park are open late into the night (perfect for Board Blazers we say!).

Denver Skate Park

 

#4: David Armstrong Extreme Park (Louisville, KY)

Formerly known as Louisville Extreme Park, this public skatepark in downtown Louisville features a 24-foot full pipe — one of the biggest for any skateboarding park in the United States. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year — this free entry skate park gained national attention after being featured in Tony Hawk's Secret Skatepark Tour video in 2002. If you like some real challenges, this is one park you just have to ride.  

David Armstrong Extreme Park

 

#5: Lincoln City Skate Park (Lincoln City, OR)

Recognized as one of the largest skate parks in the state of Oregon, Lincoln City Skate Park keeps on getting better and better. This skate park is an collection of five mini parks and was expertly designed by Dreamland Skateparks.  Every year the skate park enters a new phase or gets an upgrade with a new concrete design. Thrasher magazine has even christened it as "The Gnarliest Skatepark in the World” due to its many unique features.

Lincoln City Skate Park

 

#6: FDR Skate Park (Philadelphia, PA)

Similar to Burnside Skate Park, FDR Skate Park was created by a few skateboarders who were hungry for some concrete to skate in the city of Philadelphia. Distinct for being located beneath an overpass of Interstate 95, FDR Skate Park has been recognized by both Thrasher and Skateboarder magazine as “a skateboarding paradise”. This park also features obstacles like the 4-foot “Dome” and the 60-foot long “Bunker”. FDR Skate Park was also featured in the Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground video game.

FDR Skate Park

 

#7: Vans Skate Park (Orange, CA)

Offering indoor and outdoor skateboarding, Vans Skate Park in Orange County is the best place to see veteran skateboarding pros like Steve Salba, Jeff Grosso and Christian Hosoi in action. After making skate shoes for nearly a decade, in 1999 Vans decided to make a premium skate park in California. With the reformation of the famous Upland combi-bowl and an enormous wooden street course, Vans Skate Park doesn’t disappoint in the center of the SoCal skate scene.

Vans Skate Park

 

#8: Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park (San Jose, CA)

With its plethora of bowls to choose from, Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park is one of the most unique skate parks in the country, and at 68,000 square feet, it’s the largest skate park in California. The skate park offers the world’s biggest cradle (70 feet long) plus several wide pipes, street courses, thimbles, pools, a mega wall and bowls. If you have the adrenaline, this skatepark has everything to satisfy it!

Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park

 

#9: S.P.O.T — Skate Park of Tampa (Tampa, FL)

Since hosting indoor and outdoor skate contests since its inauguration in 1993, S.P.O.T have been featured in several skateboarding videos since. The constantly changing world has skateboarding has made sure that S.P.O.T has both beginner and pro courses. The biggest event on S.P.O.T’s calendar is the annual Tampa Pro contest, held annually at the beginning of March.

Skate Park of Tampa

 

#10: Rob Dyrdek/DC Shoes Foundation Skate Plaza (Kettering, OH)

What sets this skatepark apart from most others is that, by incorporating landscaping and art, it resembles a public square and a multi-use park more than a standalone skate park. It is the first major public skate park designed by pro skater Rob Dyrdek in partnership with DC Shoes. Instead of featuring the usual half pipes and bowls, Rob Dyrdek-DC Shoes Foundation Skate Plaza is designed more for street skateboarding and features urban terrain elements such as benches, rails, ledges and vertical ramps.

Rob Dyrdek-DC Shoes Foundation Skate Plaza

 

Hit us up on Instagram @boardblazers and tell us your favorite skatepark!

 

About the Author: John Dev is a professional blogger who loves to write about his passion for skateboarding and longboarding. A big fan of the sport, he is also an in-house blogger for SkatesUSA. In his free time, he longboards on his Loaded Complete Tan Tien 2012 longboard. This is his second guest post for the Board Blazers blog.


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How to Become a Pro Skater

If you want to become a professional skater, it’s very important to define and understand what it means to be one! With so many associations trying to establish a hierarchy, crossing the line between amateur and professional is usually done when you are able to earn a living from skateboarding. This basically means you need to be good enough to attract enough attention for a company sponsor you, meaning they will get a return on their investment in you. This article will introduce you to the basic steps to becoming a pro skateboarder!

Tony Hawk sponsors

1. Skate, Skate Skate!!

This first step is no surprise, and there’s no shortcut: you have to become really, really good at skating before you can attract sponsors. The more you skate, the more comfortable you will feel, and the more tricks you will be able to execute. According to Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery of a skill, and that estimate holds true for skateboarding as well. Spending time practicing is the only way to improve your skills. Dedicate a couple of hours each day for intentionally practicing your skateboarding and make it part of your daily routine. Push your self to improve and practice the hard stuff! 

2. Take care of your health

Being professional means you need to achieve consistency in your performance. While injuries are common in skating, try to avoid long layoffs due to potential injuries or illnesses. Many skaters are reaching a dilemma, feeling that in order to be good you need to risk your health and add dangerous tricks. Every professional skater knows and understands that a serious injury can put his/her career in jeopardy. Taking small steps to keep the risk factors under control are smart alternatives not just for professional skaters, but also for everyone wanting to enjoy the sport. Don’t forget your essential safety gear and always wear a helmet. Always look out for vehicles and if you're skating at night, make sure you’re visible by using a set of Board Blazers!

3. Connect with the community and skate in competitions

Get connected with the local skate community, who can encourage you and spread news of your success. Joining local groups and attending lots of competitions will help you make friends and perform in front of skateboard company representatives. Events of all shapes and sizes are open for amateur skateboarding. Getting experience competing in events is often the determining factor for later skateboarding opportunities. Remember, there is a big gap between skateboarding while practicing and skateboarding inside an event. Being watched and cheered by the crowd is both an exhilarating and nerve-wracking situation, and sponsors want to make sure their skaters can perform under pressure. Check out your local skateboard shop to learn about competitions in your area!

(Credit: www.doitnow.co.za)

4. Construct your image and build a following

Once your competition results prove your ability, take some time to analyze your online presence. Are you repping brands you believe in? Are you able to take a fall and get on your feet with a smile on your face? Are you establishing any connection with the public watching your performance? Successful pro skateboarders are people bright personalities, capable of driving spectators insane with unbelievable skills.

Mike Berdis Instagram

Most importantly, first you need to build a fan base, and then sponsorships will follow. Brands want to sponsor skaters that already have a large following, and one of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is through social media. Share clips of your best tricks on Instagram, or tweet at skate companies. Engage with younger skaters on a Facebook page, and try to build a following of engaged supporters.

Most companies will look through a skater’s social media accounts before offering a sponsorship, so be sure to curate a consistent and engaging image, and post your best moves. Be careful too: don’t post pictures of illegal or unsavory activities. Emerging pro skater Mike Berdis is one of the best examples of using social media to attract sponsors, so check out his Instagram for inspiration.

5. Work It

It goes both ways – after you’ve won several competitions and have a few thousand social media followers, brands will begin to approach you with sponsorship offers. However, you can also actively search for sponsorships by introducing yourself to brand reps at competitions and directly emailing skate companies. While money is perhaps the most sought-after type of sponsorship, remember that sponsorships of free product or exposure can also be valuable to building your career. Oftentimes, emailing a company to ask for free product in exchange for promotion on your social media channels is a great way to get your foot in the door.

Paul Rodriguez is pro skateboarder sponsored by Target & Nike! (Credit: http://kingpinmag.com/)

Conclusion

Just like life, to get where you want in the skateboarding world, you need to put in the work & effort to achieve your goals. There are no 100% foolproof methods or recipes for success. But following these steps can set you in the right direction to becoming a pro skateboarder. Luck can be a real component in determining the path of a skater’s career, so always expect the unexpected!

Every skilled skater in the spotlight is a magnet for companies wanting to promote their products or services. It is one of the most organic and convincing forms of advertising. Of course, nobody will sign a sponsorship contract worth millions of dollars from the very beginning and patience should be a virtue for any skater aspiring to become pro. Years of effort can make you tempted to lose hope, but it is crucial to stay positive and hold out for better days! Getting a sponsorship is far from easy and establishing relationships inside your local skating community is essential. Beside skill, technique, and discipline, you will also need show off your pleasant personality and people skills.

Photo credits

Image: Tony Hawk, one of the world’s most famous pro skateboarders. (www.lendio.com)

 

About The Author:

Yogin Patel HeadshotYogin Patel is a serial entrepreneur who currently attends Arizona State University. At the age of 16, Yogin became an independent marketing consultant, along with an avid blogger and online marketer. He builds clean websites, ranks businesses on the first page of Google, and manages social media for brands. In his free time, Yogin likes to read thought-provoking books and play basketball with friends. To learn more about Yogin, or to get in touch with him, add him on his LinkedIn. Yogin blogs at Doolid.com.


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Skateparks: Indoor or Outdoor?

Back in the old days, it used to be that you had to sneak by security and risk arrest to find the best spots to skateboard. But with the growth of the sport into an international industry, skaters are overwhelmed with choices: longboard or skateboard, street or vert, commercial or hardcore? And just like everything else in the world of skateboarding, we’re now faced with a choice on WHERE to skate! If you want to cruise down any given street, that’s just fine. But if vert skating is more your jam, you must decide: indoor skatepark or outdoor skatepark? We can’t choose for you, but we can make sure you’ve got all the information you need to make the best decision for your skate style!

When you envision a skatepark it’s probably outside, right? With features like a large concrete pad with ramps, stairs, boxes, and rails, maybe it’s fenced, and it’s lit for night skating. And you wouldn’t be wrong! The very first skate parks were outside since skateboarding is primarily an outdoor sport. And you probably won’t be surprised to know that the first of these parks were in locations like Florida and California. While these places were (and in some ways still are) the epicenter of skateboarding culture, it’s not by random chance. Skateboarding grew naturally out of surfing, and surf culture (read more about the history of skateboarding here!), and climates that support surfing are usually temperate – meaning the weather is great year-round! Why did it take longer for Minnesota to jump on the skateboarding bandwagon? Weather! The invention of indoor skateparks evolved from the need to spread the love of the sport to places where skating outdoors just isn’t possible for much of the year.


Now not all indoor skateparks exist just because of bad weather. In fact, some of the most famous indoor skateparks in the world were built in southern California and Florida! As skate parks emerged and tried to distinguish themselves from one another, some chose to become more about group skating. Some became primarily bowl focused or filled entirely with ramps and rails. Like most industries, its expansion and popularity brought different desires from riders and parks aimed to meet those needs. So if you’re lucky enough to have the choice between indoor and outdoor parks in your area, here are some things to keep in mind.

COST: Most indoor parks will charge an admission fee. And as unfair as that seems, they need to because it quite literally costs money to keep the lights on and cool/heat the room. If you’re short on funds, look for an outdoor park which is most often a city park, kept up by taxpayer dollars or federal funds. City parks mean it’s free to you!


QUALITY: On the flip side of the cost coin, you will almost always get better quality ramps, rails, etc. at an indoor park. Since your admission goes to upkeep, owners and operators have an incentive to keep the park in peak condition. While outdoor parks aren’t necessarily poor quality, at an indoor park you’re almost always guaranteed to get the best of the best when it comes to equipment.

SAFETY/SECURITY: While many outdoor parks do have floodlights and sometimes safety patrol, if you choose to skate outside at night you choose to assume a certain level of risk. Indoor parks can sometimes be a better choice for skaters who are younger or just not as secure about being out alone after dark. If you are out there night shredding though, make sure to bring your Board Blazers along!


CROWDS: Nobody wants to wait in line for their favorite skatepark feature, yet it’s a sad reality of this sport. If you’re not into lines or waiting your turn, definitely don’t visit an indoor park on the weekend. Because these parks tend to be limited in size (although some super rad indoor parks are HUGE!), you’ll end up with more people, and that means more waiting in line. Outdoor parks still have their crowded moments, but you’re more likely to get to ride your route without a wait if you skate under the stars.

To skateboard or not to skateboard? That choice is easy. But when you’re deciding where to skate it can be a bit trickier. As you make your decision, consider the weather, your distance to each park, your finances, your safety, and your patience for waiting in lines. It’s hard to make a wrong choice because either way, you’re going to spend your time shredding. Give each type of park a try at least once. Find out what you and your crew like about each place and then decide on your home turf. And if a new park opens up, absolutely be the first in line to check it out. Whether outside or indoors, get out and skate every day!


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What's The Best Age To Start Skating?

what's the best age to start skateboarding?

Because it feels irresponsible to do otherwise, let's start off with the Skateboarding Safety warning:

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

* Children under age 5 years old should never ride a skateboard.
* Children aged 6 to 10 years old need close supervision from an adult or trustworthy adolescent whenever they ride a skateboard.

When young children are involved in skateboarding accidents, they are often injured severely. Skateboarding is a special risk for young children because they have:

* A higher center of gravity, less development and poor balance. These factors make children more likely to fall and hurt their heads.
* Slower reactions and less coordination than adults. Children are less able to break their falls.
* Less skill and ability than they think. Children overestimate their skills and abilities and are inexperienced in judging speed, traffic and other risks.

 

All right. We good? Are all the lawyers gone?

Here's the thing--YES, skateboarding can be dangerous. But also, it's dangerous at any age. There's never a time in your life that you can get on a skateboard and be guaranteed to get off unscathed.

So instead of continuing to scare you, let's celebrate some young skaters that already exist.

 

A Short List Of Young, Bad-A** Skaters

Or at least skaters who got their start young. And when I say young, in most cases, I mean really really young.

1. Sky Brown

Sky Brown is from Miyazaki, Japan, and is already a pro skater at age 8. She's been tearing it up from (clearly) a super-young age, and is the youngest female skater ever to compete in the Vans US Open Pro Series

2. Brighton Zeuner

I've talked about Brighton Zeuner elsewhere on this blog because she is SO COOL! At age 11, she was the youngest female athlete to be invited to the X games, AND she took home the 2016 Vans Park Series World Championship!

3. Jagger Eaton

As reported by GrindTV (editor's note mine):

"I can't believe I've been competing at the X Games for 4 years now," [Editor's note: When he was 11!] Jagger told GrindTV. "I've done Big Air for two years, Street for two years and it never gets old. I enjoy this event every time I come and I'm so thankful that they keep inviting me because I never want to stop coming!"

4. Tyshawn Jones

This interview from young pro Tyshawn Jones has him reminiscing about when he was 12 or 13, skating in the Bronx and happened to run into someone that changed his life forever. Teaser quote:

"If you want something, you’ve got to really be on it, you’ve got to practice every day, you’ve got to make sure you’re good at it and don’t just do it to make it—you’ve got to actually love it.

5. Alex Midler

Now 16 years old, Alex first started skating when he was 3, and quickly fell in love with it. Today, he's sponsored by a ridiculous number of companies, including Redbull, GoPro, and Nike SB.

6. Asher Bradshaw

Asher Bradshaw was 10 years old when he landed a 900--for reference, this is a trick that Tony Hawk first landed when he was 31. ONLY twelve other skaters have landed this trick. Go Asher!!

 

A Shorter List Of Old, Bad-A** Skaters

So yes--there are all the incredible youthful skaters. Amazing! But also, have you noticed that people tend to think of skateboarding as just for young people? 

Here are 4 examples of skaters arguably well-past the societally-prescribed "skating prime," but not letting that stop them in any way.

(Editor's note: Yes, I know that 50 is not "old." But it kind of is in professional-athlete years. Just roll with me here.)

1. Lance Mountain

If you're 42 and think you can't get asked to skate as part of a team, think again! Lance Mountain, a lifelong skater, was asked at age 42 to represent Flip. Today he's 53 and still shredding it! Click the link to browse through his illustrious career.

2. Steve Caballero

A self-described "professional skateboarder, artist, musician, hot rodder, motocross enthusiast and vintage motorcycle collector," Steve Caballero skates right past the you're-too-old-for-this noise at age 61. He was also part of the infamous Bones Brigade, and is credited with inventing a ton of tricks, including the "Caballerial."

3. The 'Sisters of Shred' - 50+ year old moms who skate

Okay, wow. Are you looking for something to seriously brighten your day? Then please watch and enjoy this short documentary on women over the age of 50 who are both continuing to skate and learning to skate. 

4. Neal Unger

I'll let you behind the curtain for a moment. If you Google "oldest skateboarder," Neal Unger dominates the search results--probably because of this well-filmed mini-documentary that shows his spiritual approach to skateboarding. Teaser quote: "As I gain more balance in life, I also gain more balance on my skateboard."

 

Conclusion

What's the best age to start skating? Whatever age works for you. Start slow, wear safety gear, and tune out the haters.

Do you know other inspiring skaters? Comment below with your favorites.


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How to Buy a Custom Skateboard Online

You’re all set to buy a skateboard, but not just ANY skateboard. You could run down to a skate shop (heck you could run to Target) and pick up an out-of-the-box board, but this one needs to be unique. Whether you’re investing in a custom board for yourself (go you!) or for someone else, the process can be a little daunting. Are you going to build a board from scratch and assemble it yourself? How do you know you’re getting quality materials? Are you paying too much? Today we’re here to take the guesswork out of buying a custom board online because who doesn’t like shopping from the comfort of your couch?! You have a few options when it comes to buying a custom board, and we’ll outline them for you here. Let’s get started!


Let’s say all you’re looking for is a truly unique board – something nobody else has, and you’re not precious about the design. In this case, the best option might be to head to the home of all things unique and handmade, Etsy. This collection of artisans selling their wares can give you anything from a one of a kind live edge skateboard inlaid with turquoise to your name airbrushed onto a pinewood deck by a true artist. If what you want is unique and off the wall, head to Etsy, search “custom skateboard” and go crazy! Be aware that each seller is different, so know what you’re buying (and lead times) before you purchase. If you choose to go this route, you’ll be sure to have a one of a kind board!

For all other options, you should first be aware of all the customizable parts of a skateboard. You’ll need to choose a deck (the flat wood portion), trucks (effectively the axels that hold the wheels in place), wheels, bearings, additional hardware (risers, etc.), and grip tape (the sandpaper-like top of the board that gives your foot traction). The choices you make will determine the style, price, and usability of the board, so bear that in mind when you’re picking your materials.


By far the most accessible site we’ve found to create your own board is the uber-giant skate shop Zumiez. Here you can choose from 3 tiers of boards (best price, top brands, and premium decks) and customize the whole outfit from there. While the site is easy to use and backed by a large company, it should be noted that this is really just a semi-custom skateboard. You can choose from a myriad of choices, but there is no ability to upload a personal design or provide any sort of feedback outside of their predetermined parameters. Don’t get us wrong, you’ll come away with a great board, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever run into another skater that has your exact setup. But if what you’re looking for is total control over your board and the ability to oversee the design, you won’t find it here. What you do get is thousands of options, a killer selection of brands, the comfort of knowing your purchase is backed by a store that you can visit in person, and a board that is highly superior to anything an average skater can pull out of a box in a store. The pricing is straightforward, and the choices are easy and clear. If you want something different at a reasonable price point, Zumiez has you covered.


Let’s say you’re in the market for a genuinely bespoke board. You have a vision for this skateboard, and you want to make it a reality. Look no further than Warehouse Skateboards. Here you can choose every piece of your board from a selection of literally ANY skateboard parts available for sale online. Once you’ve assembled your parts, they have an excellent step by step video showing you how to put the whole board together yourself. You should note that while assembling a board is totally doable, that you will need to block out a chunk of time to put everything together, and if you’re nervous about that task, perhaps consider the Zumiez or Etsy options outlined above. But if you’re skilled at skateboard assembly or just game for a challenge, then give this option a go!


If you want to up the ante even more, consider checking out CCS (California Cheap Skates). Here you can order a 100% customizable skateboard deck. Got a graphic you created that you want on your skate deck? No problem just upload it. Looking for some rad grip tape? Can do. By creating the art for your skateboard deck, you ensure that no one ever shows up to shred with your gear. Plus, you get to express yourself and show off your design skills; it’s a win-win! Combine your custom CCS board with all the equipment available on Warehouse Skateboard’s website, and you’ll have a completely unique board designed entirely by you!

Whether you’re looking for an off the wall original crafted by an artisan, a unique piece designed and assembled entirely by you, or something in between, now you have all the info you need! So, don’t buy a random, off-the-shelf board, go out and create a custom work of art for yourself or a skater you love! Once you have your sick new board make sure to outfit it with the coolest accessories, Board Blazers LED lights, of course! Instagram that rad new board and tag us @BoardBlazers so we can see what you create!


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