Skateboarding: how the Olympics grew in popularity
Neil Ellis is the Head of Engagement at Skateboard GB, the governing body of skateboarding in Britain, and has been skateboarding for over 20 years.
He said: “The Olympics have been amazing and created such excitement within the team now that they are finally here.
“A lot of my kid friends want a skateboard this summer and even more exciting, most of them are girls picking up a board for the first time.”
There are 1,600 skate parks across the UK and 65 in East and West Sussex, including Brighton, Hastings, Eastbourne, Burgess Hill and Bognor Regis.
And it looks like the Olympics inspired a lot of you to take a board.
Sue Long, commented on the Chichester Observer Facebook page: “Skateboarding and BMX were wonderful to watch, loved it! A little old to take it myself, but I hope it inspires a new generation to get stuck, persevere and practice. Awesome, these new city events give young people the chance to shine without costing a fortune in equipment (eg events like cycling, rowing, horseback riding, etc.). Well done Team GB!
Danielle Burton, on Hastings Observer, said: “I already skate and my son skates and BMX – so we visit the skatepark anyway. But if the Olympics and especially the women’s events get more girls to participate, it’s amazing. ”
Helen Bradshaw, in the Littlehampton Gazette, said: “I loved watching skateboarding. My son is a regular at the skate park.
Dale Lay is the founder of South Coast Skate Club, a non-profit organization created to promote the positive impact skateboarding can have on young people to help them in their own development and growth.
He said, “We use skateboards as a tool to improve people’s confidence and self-esteem by helping people learn that chess is a part of life and see those falls and failures as a part of life. positive step towards achieving your goals in life and on the skateboard. . “
He adds that the skate community has always been a tight-knit group and very protective of one another.
He said: “It can also be a home away from home for people who may struggle to find their way in life as they go through adolescence and into adulthood, we are working. working closely with many young people in need who are breaking away from their immediate family, but also need that safe space to go to. “
Based in Worthing, he covers much of West Sussex, including Shoreham, Lancing and Bognor Regis, and offers free skateboarding meets with tips and advice on how to skate.
Neil of Skateboard GB said that since attending the Olympics he has seen a 30% increase in traffic to his website with people looking for skate lessons and a 200% growth in skatepark searches on the app. MySkate.
He added, “Skating at the Olympics also gave him a level of legitimacy.
“It allows us to engage with local authorities and landowners and advocate for the creation of shareable and skateable spaces in urban areas, which is great for the future.
“The best thing about skateboarding is the culture, you go to the skatepark or skate the streets with others and learn new tricks with your friends. It’s such an amazing community to be involved, not just a good exercise or the buzz that landing tricks give you, but the social aspect and everything that goes with it.
Skateboarding is also a very easy sport to play as all you need is a skateboard, which Neil recommends buying from a skateboard store and can cost around £ 50, then learn the basics beforehand. to hit the ramps.
Katie Herr is Clerk at Angmering Parish Council, she said: “We have a skatepark in Angmering, it’s just known mainly as Angmering Skate Park or Angmering Bowl.
“Skating at the Olympics was so exciting to watch. He bought it from the masses and showed how involved skill is.
“We not only have a skate bowl but also a BMX track which has also proven to be a popular sport to watch at the Olympics.”
She added: “I know Littlehampton Skate Park is generally very busy with all ages and abilities. There is a new skateboard store called Board AF near the mini golf course right next to the skate park.
“We would obviously like to see more riders in our skatepark enjoying the facility.”
There are a number of skatepark installation companies across the UK, and Maverick Skateparks have built a few in Sussex including Midhurst, Haywards Heath and Littlehampton.
Russ Holbert, Director of Maverick Skateparks, said: “At Maverick, we design and build shotcrete skateparks. We’ve built a few in Sussex and can’t wait to do more.
On what makes a good skate park he says high quality design and build.
“We are working with local bikers to design and build a facility that meets their needs,” he explained. “It’s so cool to see all the freaks getting into skateboarding, it’s a super exciting time for the sport.
“It’s time to invest in skateboarding. It makes such a positive change in the lives of so many people.
Post-Olympics Skateboard GB received funding through UK Sport’s Progression Investment stream to test, test and build a course, called the ‘Pipeline Pilot Project’, which identifies and helps good skateboarders become even better and succeed on the scene. global.
It is hoped that the project will build on the success of Tokyo and initiate the search for the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic champions.
Skateboarding has been confirmed as part of the Paris 2024 Olympic program.
Dale’s tip for anyone who wants to give it a try is, “Just when you get to a skatepark, take your time, don’t jump in, watch where you’re going to try not to hinder people or cut in front of people (snake). , communicate with each other either verbally or by gestures, take turns, do not sit on the ramps, once you have tried, wait for another turn and if you are not sure of the skatepark label, ask someone. All of this information is gold if you make sure to do this, other skatepark users will give you a lot more respect and it will be easier to be welcomed into the community.