The direction of park skateboarding….

I don’t often write long, drawn out articles on here, unless it’s related to telling people off for vandalising Memorial Park. However, I’ve had a thought recently, and there may be some truth in it.

I’ve always preferred skating at skateparks. If you know me, you will know I’m more at home in a bowl than I am on a ledge. I don’t see anything wrong with that, the same as I admire those who are taking street skating to the next level. However, my area of choice for skateboarding has recently gone through a huge change. In Coventry (and most of this article will relate to the Cov scene), we’ve seen a massive influx of scooter riders. Joe Skin told me that they have shifted 600 of the things since they started selling them late last year/early this year. That’s 600 scooters sold within the space of a year. 

If you’ve been to a skatepark in the last year, you’ll have seen the effects of this fad. Skateparks are now littered with dozens of kids on scooters, and their numbers greatly outweigh anyone on a skateboard, BMX or pair of rollerblades COMBINED. Skateparks that were once pleasantly occupied with a core group of riders from all disciplines, are now playgrounds for young kids on scooters, doing tailwhips and wearing Monster Energy hoodies. In turn, because these kids are young, and because the older guys using the park can’t relate to what they’re riding, the scooter riders don’t really learn much park etiquette – this has lead to confrontations, accidents and all manner of annoyance.

The point of all of this information I’ve just relayed, is that I’ve noticed the impact scooters have had on the skateboarders and BMXers of this city. At Covpark and the Holbrooks bowls, the BMXers have tried to keep some order, and tried to claim the skatepark for themselves, which is difficult with the large number of scooter kids. Last time I was at Covpark, the whole place was littered with kids on scooters, whilst the older BMXers who were trying to ride almost ran into a fair few of them. They try to ride the park, but for the most part they just end up feeling as though they can’t get a good session in.

The skateboarders on the other hand, have largely abandonned skateparks. A few of the older lot (myself included) still go down to the skateparks, because it’s where we learned to skate and we feel like we’re more entitled to be there than a bunch of kids on plastic toys. However, I’ve also seen a lot of the younger guys (many of whom I’ve only gotten to know) tend to just go into town to skate. They’re pro-actively avoiding the massive headfuck of scooter kids by going into town, whether they know it or not. Some of the other older gents have also took to skating street more often (again, myself included). Scooters aren’t really designed for street, so it makes sense that a lot of skateboarders (and even some BMX riders) would choose to go where they won’t be snaked by kids on scooters.

Of course, there’s the other obvious reason for skating street. The skateparks in Coventry aren’t exactly what many of us enjoy skating – they’re cookie cutter basic parks that don’t challenge us on a deeper level. For scooter kids (who don’t really know any better), it’s great. They get to ride ramps and do jumps over funboxes. There are some younger guys in our skate scene who have gone through the first 2 years of skating watching The Berrics religiously, and want real street obstacles – Covpark does not provide this. 

So finally, the point of this editorial – Where is Coventry skateboarding headed? For years the scene has been heavily drawn straight down the middle. Half of the guys are purely ramp skaters, and don’t really skate anything else. The other half are technical street wizards, choosing to do flips down stairs and hunt out real street spots in the city centre. As for the future, and the impact that scooters have had on skateparks, I see street skateboarding becoming slightly more prominent in our scene. There are many guys I’ve always thought of as amazing transition skaters who are really starting to carve their path on street spots (Tez, Tony, Harry), as well as younger guys who can hold their own on transition, but obviously excel more on street (McGhie, Lucas, Ollie Deeley). A lot of the “park rats” are starting to become more street focussed, and whether that’s down to the impact scooters have had on parks, the direction UK skateboarding has taken for years, or any other factor that’s affected, it’s definitely where Cov skateboarding is headed.

Go down a skatepark in Coventry, and you’d be lucky to see a skateboarder. Go into town on a weekday evening though, and you’ll find loads of them. As for guys like me, who prefer ramps and have never really been great at street skating; we’re having to adapt, or re-learn stuff we forgot years ago, because otherwise we’d never get to skate with anyone else in the scene. Whenever we feel to the need to skate a ramp, people are now opting for DIY solutions – whether it’s Swampy’s bowl, the hidden swimming pool bowl, or any other DIY spot that is yet to be made, Cov’s skateboarders are craving spots that are solely there’s and free from scooters. Whether you admit it or not, this scooter craze is having a terrible effect on our skateparks, but an awesome effect on our skate scene…

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