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The Game of S.K.A.T.E

An epic battle – skill after skill tested – the pressure is on. There’s nothing like a little healthy competition to get the blood flowing. The reality is that most people think of skateboarding as a solitary sport, and they couldn’t be more wrong. I mean, we love a little single shred session, but like most things in life, skateboarding is best when you're rolling with your crew. And when you’re hanging out in groups, there’s bound to be a little competition. Enter the game of S.K.A.T.E.

Yes, we did mean to write that in all-caps. The game of S.K.A.T.E. is much like the more commonly known game of H.O.R.S.E. that’s played on a basketball court. The difference here is that instead of ballin', we’re shredding the gnar! The rules are pretty simple:

Two skaters face off head to head and throw rock, paper, scissors to decide who goes first. The first skater sets a trick, and if he/she lands it, then the opposing skater has one try to match it. If you miss the trick, you get a letter. If you land the trick, it’s your turn to set a trick now. Play goes back and forth like this until one or both players have all but the last letter, “E.” If you’re about to be eliminated, you have two tries to land the final trick – you know, because who doesn’t want to be nice like that? Once you’ve spelled out the full word, “S.K.A.T.E,” you lose.

There are a few select honors in the game as well. If you defeat your opponent without gaining a single letter, you can say that you “skunked” them, and we give you a virtual high five and lots of props for that. If you manage this, PLUS you didn’t allow them to set a single trick through the game, then you have even MORE crazy skills, and you can say you did a “perfect whitewash.” Nicely done, bro.

While this is a great game to play with any of your crew whenever you want, some skaters have taken S.K.A.T.E. to an even more extreme level, and we totally dig it. Everyone who is anyone in skateboarding knows of “The Berrics” indoor skate park in LA, owned by skateboarding pros Eric Koston and Steve Berra. In the game, “Battle At The Berrics,” they’ve taken S.K.A.T.E. to the extreme. Here, all tricks have to be performed on flat ground, but don’t get too comfortable. You are limited to skills that don’t allow your feet or hands to touch the ground at all! This rules out any bonelesses, no complys, and hand plants. They even get detailed about offensive versus defensive toe drags – talk about intense (see the official rules here!). Check out the latest championship video, Chris Joslin versus Sewa Kroetkov!

In case your crew rolls deep, there’s a version of S.K.A.T.E. that allows your team to play as one. It operates just like the individual game does, with members of each team forced to take turns setting and matching tricks. There can’t be heroes here – everyone must take a turn before the first skater can go again. If you haven’t tried team S.K.A.T.E, gather your crew and throw down!

If watching somebody else throw the gauntlet is more your style, we’ve got you covered. Some of our favorite YouTube skateboarders and longboarders got together to play a legit fantastic (and also hilarious) game of S.K.A.T.E. a while ago:


The game of S.K.A.T.E is crazy fun because you don’t have to be a pro to win big. Set a matchup with anyone of a similar skill level and you’ve got an excellent game. If you’re feeling a little shaky, play with your crew as a team for more solidarity. You can make a match in your driveway just as fun as one at a skate park because the location is secondary to your skills. To make it even more fun, try setting up a bracket within your crew; a single-elimination style winner-takes-all battle for glory! And if you don’t come out on top, that’s a great reason to try again tomorrow.

We want to hear from all of you! When you play S.K.A.T.E, are you solo, or on a team? Do you throw down at a skate park or in a parking lot? What is the clincher trick that you save for the perfect moment? Any killer strategies you’d like to share? Hit us up at @BoardBlazers on Instagram and tell us all about how you dominate the S.K.A.T.E! See you there, skate fam!


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