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Skateparks: Do's & Don'ts (feat. Tech Na$ty!)

Headed to the skatepark? Like any social setting, the skatepark comes with its own set of spoken and unspoken rules and social codes. If you aren’t in the know, you could land yourself in some hot water. But never fear! Board Blazers has enlisted the help of our favorite pro skater, Tech Na$ty, to unlock the mystery of the skatepark social scene. Read on to find out what to do and what NOT to do at the skatepark!

DO go to the skatepark. This tip might seem like a no-brainer, but cities and municipalities don’t want to waste care and upkeep on a park that no one is using. The more demand there is for the parks, the more likely the city is to keep your park in good repair. Show up, skatefam!

DON’T over-wax the ledges. Over-waxing leads to super slick surfaces, and that leads to dangerous falls. You can apply some to the coping to smooth out the run (after all, rain and weather can cause rust & cracks), but only if you need to. If you’re worried about a smooth grind, just up your confidence and make your approach faster – it’ll result in a slicker ride. Or consider applying the wax to your board instead of the spots at the park.

DO respect people’s stuff. Another no-brainer, but lots of people at skateparks and guilty of this one. Don’t take things that aren’t yours; respect other people’s property. If someone’s gear is in your way, politely ask them to move it. Being courteous is a sure fire way to make sure your day stays rad.

 


DON’T snake/tailgate people! Snaking and tailgating is crazy annoying and can also be dangerous. In case you need a little refresher, snaking means cutting another skater (yes, just like cutting in line) and taking your run in the bowl or on the ramp before them. Be courteous and take turns; try to be aware of the order and your place in line for each obstacle. Wait and be patient. Tailgating is the same at a skatepark as it is in your car. Riding too closely behind another skater isn’t just a major eye roll. When you don’t leave appropriate distance between skaters, you’re just asking for an accident. All it takes is one stumble, and both skaters are down. Snaking and tailgating waste people’s turns and cause accidents. You might do it unintentionally, but it’s still rude. Ultimately, always be aware of who and what’s around you.

DO pick up your own trash. If everyone left their trash on the ground, we’d all be drowning in litter. Do your part and pick up after yourself. If your skatepark has no trash can, or you’re not skating at a skatepark, pack out what you pack in. At the very least, make one pile of trash so that litter services doesn’t have to run around chasing your garbage. Being kind to the places where you skate ensures that they last!

DON’T graffiti. It might sound fun to tag your park, but it creates a major headache for you and anyone else who uses the park. Cities typically have a zero-tolerance graffiti policy. This means that as soon as it’s reported, the city has to come to sandblast the graffiti off the surfaces. Then the park has to close for a day (lame!), and the residual sand makes the ledges lose their wax, plus the grit gets in everyone’s bearings. Don’t tag, guys – it hurts us all.

 


DO vibe it out. Every park is a different community. Just because you know your park’s unspoken rules doesn’t mean it’s the same at the park 5 miles down the road. When you arrive at the skatepark (especially if it’s a new haunt for you), vibe it out - get a feel for the place and don’t rush people. Once you’ve got a read on the situation, find an opening in a run or wait in line at an obstacle to join in the fun.

DON’T Bondo or change a non-skatepark skate spot. While this isn’t specifically skatepark related, it bears mentioning. When you permanently change a surface (like when you use Bondo) people are more likely to notice the presence of skaters. Lots of rad skate spots don’t really want us around, you feel? The more attention you attract, the more you ruin it for the rest of us. Don’t give them a reason to hate. Skate it, love it, and then move on. Don’t mark it permanently and ruin it for everybody.

DO use a spotter – be safe, bros. When attempting crazy stunts, you put yourself, pedestrians, and vehicles around you at risk. Not only can you take a good stumble, but your board can shoot out and cause an accident with other people or a vehicle. Skating is risky and fun - definitely try the crazy rad tricks! But don’t do it without another skater spotting you and your board – just in case.

 


DON’T sit on ledges. DUDES, this is the worst. The right place to relax at the skatepark is on a bench. People come to skate the obstacles, so don’t park yourself on them. Sitting on rails & ledges is the ultimate in very lame. If you’re waiting for your turn, don’t sit on a ledge, bro.

DO play it safe. Come to the skatepark fully prepared (see our article on what to bring to the skatepark!). At the very least, bring your helmet & safety gear, snacks, and your Board Blazers!

DON’T play S.K.A.T.E. at a small skatepark. While it’s a rad game (see our article full of tips and tricks for S.K.A.T.E.!), it takes up a ton of space, and you’ll want to leave yourself some room. Either choose a park with enough flat skate space that you aren’t taking over all of it or find a parking lot - someplace with enough space for you and your homies. If your park is super crowded, consider heading to a different spot.

While there are lots of unspoken social codes in the skater world, Tech Na$ty’s above rules should help you win friends and respect at any skatepark. Now that you’ve got all this new knowledge, grab your board, your Board Blazers, and a few friends – get out there and shred!


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14 Skater Girls You Should Know

From Avril Lavigne's timeless "Sk8r Boi" to Tony Hawk being everyone's immediate go-to image of a professional skateboarder, it can feel like ladies get left out of the game entirely...until now! (And I'll be real with you--it was pretty difficult to write this entire blog article without completely overusing exclamation marks.)

Here are 14 skater girls you should know--some that paved the way, and some that keep on paving.

1. Patti McGee

 

Any list of killer female skateboarders starts with (or should start with) Patti McGee. Hailed as the first female professional skateboarder, she first started skateboarding on a board her brother built in wood shop. Then, in 1964, she set the world record for the fastest girl on a skateboard during Dick Clark's World Teen Fair. In 1965, she was the first female national skateboard champion, and was featured (doing a handstand!) on Life Magazine.

And if that weren't enough, she was also the first female to ever be inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame. But, you know--all in a day's work.

2. Cara Beth Burnside

Cara Beth Burnside is one of the classics, and she's got plenty of firsts under her name, too--first woman to have a signature skate shoe, and first president of the Action Sports Alliance. In 2004, World Cup Skating named her Female Vert Skater of the Year, and she has won more than 16 titles to date.

Also, fun fact--nobody seems to know if her name is Cara Beth, Carabeth, or Cara-Beth, and yet she's on so many lists when people talk about their childhood inspirations.

3. Jen O’Brien

Self-described as a teen into skateboarding and punk music, O'Brien moved to Daytona immediately after high school and got her first job at the local skatepark there...and then moved on to California with fellow female skater Jodi McDonald.

What'd she do once she got there? Oh, you know, not much...just negotiated with the X Games about getting girls involved, became the first girl to skate at the X Games (and won a silver her first time out!), formed The Alliance so that the women of the X Games could communicate as a singular voice and negotiated first-place prize money for women from $2,500 up to $15,000.

She's also been a long-time environmental activist, and has an organic garden and a daughter named Lotus.

4. Leticia Bufoni

Born in Sao Paolo, this Brazilian-American skateboarder came to SoCal for the X Games when she was just fourteen. During that trip, her dad watched her while she practiced an inward heel flip, and said if she landed the trick, she could stay in California--and the rest is history.

She landed it on the next try and went on to be sponsored, get ranked the #1 Women's Street Skateboarder by World Cup Skate four years in a row, and become the only female athlete to win 3 X Games gold medals in the same year.

5. Elissa Steamer

Elissa also started skateboarding at 14, and became a professional at age 20 when she was sponsored by Ed Templeton's brand Toy Machine. In 2004, the first year the Women's Street event was introduced at the X Games, Elissa took home the gold--and then she took home the gold again 2005, 2006, and 2008.

She also became the first-ever playable female character in the Tony Hawk video game series, no doubt inspiring swathes of other young skater girls.

6. Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins

Lyn-Z has plenty of cred apart from her cool name--she was the first female skater to skate the DC Mega Ramp, AND the first female to land a 540 McTwist during the Quiksilver Tony Hawk Show in Paris, France (which sounds both highly specific and incredibly cool.)

She's also an X Games gold-medal winner--twice for Women's Vert. She was the second playable female skater in the Tony Hawk video game series.

7. Peggy Oki

 

Peggy Oki is right up there with the original way-pavers as the only female skater on the original Zephyr Competition Team (the Z-Boys) in the 1970s. For years, she's been an environmental activist, and in 2012, she was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame.

8. Vanessa Torres

Vanessa Torres is a skater girl of Mexican descent, and another female skater to make it into the hallowed halls of the Tony Hawk video game series, popping up on screen right after Lyn-Z. But in 2003, she also, like, became the first-ever female skateboarder to win a gold medal at the X Games, or something--eh, not really a big deal, amiright? (She won the street course, specifically.)

9. Lucy Adams

Lucy Adams took first in UK Skateboard Champs FIVE YEARS IN A ROW, and now coaches skateboarding, so she can fill the world with other young, plucky skaters. She's also involved with She-shredders, an organization that helps build a community of female skaters in Brighton, and is being considered for the 2020 Olympics!

10. Hillary Thompson

Hillary Thompson is famous as the first openly transgender skater--or, at least, the first openly transgender skater who's getting media attention. She's not a professional skater, but her story continues to help diversify the world of skateboarding.

11. Lizzie Armanto

Lizzie Armanto has won over 30 skateboarding awards in her young life. She started skating at age 14 (why is that the age for everyone?) in 2007, and placed first overall in the World Cup of Skateboarding points race from 2010-2012. She also took home the gold at the first-ever Women’s Skateboard Park event at the X Games in Barcelona, Spain.

12. Nora Vasconcellos

A young lover of the TV show Rocket Power and an admirer of Lyn-Z, Massachusetts-native Vasconcellos was destined to skate. She actually became a competitive surfer in middle school, and started skating bowls to cross train...until her focus shifted. She competed it the X Games in 2010.

13. Alexis Sablone

Start the applause for Alexis Sablone RIGHT NOW and don't stop until you're finished reading this paragraph. She's an Ivy League graduate from Columbia University, and just got her Master's in Architecture from MIT in January 2016. She's also the defending XG gold medalist, and won 2 gold and silver medals consecutively from 2009 and 2012. and has 2 gold and silver consecutively from 2009 and 2012.

She also took 2nd at the Kimberly Cup in October 2014, and 2nd on the 2015 World Cup Skateboarding Tour.

14. Candy Jacobs

A skater girl from the Netherlands, Candy Jacobs has a very particular origin story. When she was 13, she got a skateboard for Christmas. Her mom dropped her off at the skate park, said, "I'll be back in 2 hours," and Candy's been hooked ever since.

In 2009, she competed in the European skateboarding championships and took home 1st place. In 2011, she placed 6th in the LA X Games, and in 2014, she placed 1st in the Barcelona Extreme.

Who are your favorite skater girls? Let us know in the comments!


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10 Best Skateboarding Apps

If you’re a skater, you’ve probably got a smartphone, and the typical apps installed: Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat… all the usual apps for skating are great. But to get the very most out of each skate session, we’re bringing you the best ten skateboarding apps you’ve never heard of! From games to tracking apps, to education to skate spot locators, it’s all here! All of these apps are available for both apple and android devices; some are free, and others charge a minimal fee. Let’s get going!

Skatespots

First things first – you’ve got to know where you’re headed to shred. Everyone has their favorite spots, but this app uses crowdsourcing to share the skate knowledge with everyone! As a user, you can view and add geo-tagged skating locations – everything from skate parks to a rad curb you love can be shared with all of the apps users. Skatespots is super helpful especially when you’re traveling, or have moved to a new place. Instant skater knowledge at your fingertips! For best results, use the map feature to zoom in to your desired area, hit “reload” and watch the locations populate in front of your eyes. Don’t forget to add your favorite spots to the app so that other users can find and enjoy them too!

 

Shreddit: Skateboarding

Another way to find a sick skate locale is to use Shreddit, the skaters' version of Facebook. While it’s not as intuitive when it comes to locating potential skate spots (if that’s your only use for an app, go with Skatespots), but it gets the job done. Plus it’s a killer online gathering community for all things skateboarding. You can follow skater friends and celebrities, plus watch skateboarding tutorials and lessons if you’re trying to master that next trick. This app covers a board spectrum of needs for every skateboarder, plus it’s just fun to hang with your online crew.

Riders Skateboarding

If you’re looking to learn or perfect you trick skateboarding game, this is a must-have app. Covering a broad swath of extreme sports (skateboarding, BMX, snowboarding, etc.), make sure you download the app specifically for skateboarding when you’re getting started. You’ll be able to view instructional narrated video lessons, watch user clips of others performing the trick, and eventually upload your video once you have something to share. And if you’re new to skate speak, hit up the dictionary function – it’ll keep you up to date on all the must-know lingo, bro.

Skatematic Skateboard Videos

While we’re on the subject of videos, check out this app that has anything and everything related to skateboarding in video format. It lets you watch any of the videos from skatematic.com. You’ll never again be without your inspiration from Thrasher, Transworld, Huf, and many more! It’s like Hellaclips in app form; unlimited access to any skateboarding video at any time. Sick.

 

Ride

With Electric skateboarding quickly growing in popularity, the Ride app has burst onto the scene at the perfect time. Allowing you to connect your Eskateboard to your mobile device wirelessly, you can now track you ride! Taking down every detail from route to speed, Ride will give you all the data you could ever need and more. You can share your rides with other users and track your progress over time. It’s an incredible tool for growth in the sport, but also fun when you just want to kick it and fly down the pavement.

Skate Dice

If trick skating is more your jam, enter SkateDice. The four spinners (think slot machine style) will randomly select tricks for you to perform. If you think you’ve mastered it all – think again! SkateDice will keep you on your toes with new trick combos as often as you tap your finger. The four spinners represent stance, frontside/backside, spin, and kickflip/heelflip. Each combo of four is challenging and fun to attempt. If you’re looking for a rad Saturday at the skatepark, look no further! And if you’re into the game of S.K.A.T.E., adding this to your game would be…a game changer (see what we did there?)! Try rolling different combos and see who gets to S.K.A.T.E. first!

Quik

Often people assume that you need expensive and complicated software to edit photos and videos – not true! Quick is an example of an easy to learn, easy to use, and low-cost video editor that no skater should be without. It can take raw GoPro footage and turn it into professional looking content in minutes. If you want to level up your Instagram or YouTube game, you NEED this. While it might not have every single option that the expensive software would, it does have all the tools you need to make your vids look rad, and you can do it all from your mobile device!

Colorstory

Similar to Quik, Colorstory is like photoshop light for your mobile phone. The worst picture can come out looking magazine-quality in seconds. All of the standard photo editing features are here and more. The one-touch curve editor alone is outstanding. Plus it comes preloaded with piles of amazing filters, and the ability to choose their intensity. Ever sat on Instagram trying to make your shot look sick and thought of a tool you’d love to have? It’s in this app, we promise. No pro photography skills needed – snap a pick, and a few clicks later it’s looking like skateboarding gold.

Skate Nerd

So you're into gaming? While this app won’t have you digitally skateboarding in dream locations (but keep reading, we’ve got you covered there!), you will grow your nerd quotient for skate knowledge! Like the Jeopardy of skateboarding, this app has trivia from the entirety of skateboard history. If you’re new to the sport and looking to learn, or an old pro who thinks he knows it all, try it out and test your skills. How many levels can you master?

 

Touchgrind Skate 2

We have to have a mobile skateboarding game, and this is far and away the very best. The game is fingerboard based, and you control the board by tapping and sliding your fingers across the screen. You can skate in a variety of dream locations and compete against yourself, the computer, and other users. And don’t worry about the hokey computer game music – you can play your own iTunes, Pandora station or Spotify playlist while you digitally shred.

While there are tons of apps for skateboarders out there, these are our top pics for quality and usefulness. We hope they take you to places you’ve never been and help you master the trick you’ve been after for ages. So what are you waiting for? Download an app and get out there!


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10 Easy Beginner Skateboard Tricks (featuring VLSkate!)

10 easy beginner skateboard tricks

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 are 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 easy skateboard tricks. Enjoy and skate!

1. Chinese Nollie

easy beginner skateboard trick 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

easy beginner skateboard trick 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

easy beginner skateboard trick 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

easy beginner skateboard trick 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

easy beginner skateboard trick fake 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

easy beginner skateboard trick 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

easy beginner skateboard trick 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

easy beginner skateboard trick 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

easy beginner skateboard trick 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

easy beginner skateboard trick 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. Ready to jump into something more extreme? Check out this giant list of 200+ skateboard tricks!

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


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