Everything I Need To Know In Life I Learned At The Skatepark

Everything I Need To Know In Life I Learned At The Skatepark

Mike Peterson Back Tails over the hump. Photo: Brian Fick. Words By Kendall Klopfenstein

Everything I Need To Know In Life I Learned At The Skatepark

There are people in this world I’d rather not know. I used to think that if a person rode a skateboard, he or she couldn’t be entirely bad. Then I got wise. Idiots and Assholes are now pervasive enough that I encounter them in pretty much any and every social situation. Including the Skatepark. Here is a sample of the “Undesirables” you’ll likely meet at the skatepark and how to handle them. 

Product-scavengers: These are the kids who ask you for your wheels and trucks when you snap your wood. Perhaps they saw you land a kickflip, assume that you’re sponsored, and ask you for free stickers. Maybe you set your baseball cap on the side of the park, and they ask if it’s yours. Then the product scavenger asks if they can have it. This type of behavior has gotten out of hand at the skatepark.

Protocol: Make fun of the kid’s gear in front of all of his friends and/or peers. Or tell him they sell whatever he wants at the local shop. Bring money.

Alex Chalmers - OlliePhoto: Jody Morris.

Alex Chalmers – Ollie Photo: Jody Morris.

Tagalong (or Crazy Joe, as we call ‘em): Many times the lone wolf will appear at the skatepark. Many times, his friends just couldn’t go with him for whatever reason, and he just wanted to skate. Beware of the skateboarder without friends; there might be a reason he’s alone. You might just end up skating with a bonafide psycho. Be careful who you might invite over to your house after the session, because they might not leave. Then they know where you live. Then videos and your porn stash start to grow legs and walk off.

Protocol: As this one has happened to me a couple times, I recommend preventative measures. If you meet a loner at the skatepark that seems cool, get a phone number and meet them for a session next time. Meet them for drinks at a bar after a session, not at your house. Curtains and deadbolts.

Lincoln Ueda - One Footed Lean Air. Photo: Jody Morris.

Lincoln Ueda – One Footed Lean Air. Photo: Jody Morris.

I-Pod Jockey: I’m all for music. I’m all for skating with music. I’m also into not being oblivious to my surroundings. Not being able to hear is not an excuse to snake. One ear, maybe. Full phones; get the fuck out of out of the skatepark.

Protocol: First, determine if said offender could beat you in a fight. If not, puff up your chest on the deck and march up to the idiot. Make eye contact while making the-victory-sign-at-your-eyes-to-point-with-index-finger, repeat twice (also known as the “I’m watching you”) at the dweeb. Then, speaking forcefully, say “Hey, Asshole. Remember me. If you cut me off again I’m going to beat your fucking ass.” If the offender could whoop your ass, go sly. Remember, he can’t hear you. When he and his posse aren’t looking, “lose” your board in his general direction, or in the deep end when he’s cruising fast and unassuming. But please, be discrete. For your sake.

Tim Johnson Nose Pick to the Cow Bell. Photo: Brian Fick

Tim Johnson Nose Pick to the Cow Bell. Photo: Brian Fick

Playground Refugees: Remember when you were a kid and the teeter-totter and swing set got blown out? You just wanted to find a fresh spot to play jacks and hopscotch? Kids today don’t look any further than the public skatepark. I’ll tolerate BMX and fuck, I can’t believe I’m writing it, rollerblades to an extent. At least those kids are moving. Skatepark quarter-pipes are not to be slid down without a skateboard. Chasing boys around the flat-bottom (sans skateboards) not allowed. If you don’t know if you can’t get back out, don’t go in.

Protocol: No mercy. At the skatepark, RC cars die by my hand. Tell these kids to beat it, and then tell them to come back with a skateboard. Or bite this one:

You to kid with legs dangling in: HEY!! YEAH, YOU! Do you know the way?

Kid: What?

You: Do you know the way?

Kid: What?

You: The way. You’re right fucking in it. MOVE!!!!

Obscenities are encouraged at the skatepark, as they intimidate small children.

Chris Senn Tailsliding A Great Big Wall in China. The Shanghai Skatepark.Photo: Brian Fick

Chris Senn Tailsliding A Great Big Wall in China. The Shanghai Skatepark. Photo: Brian Fick

Not every session at the skatepark is the perfect mix of people. Be patient and share, but if something gets in the way of your skating, change it. Don’t sacrifice your enjoyment to watch recess. How else are the mouth-breathers of the world going to learn skatepark etiquette? Oh, from Superdad, that’s right.

Superdads: There are four kinds of Superdads: Rad, Fad, Pad, and Mad or Bad. They aren’t entirely “undesirable,” but they’re hardly enjoyable across the board.

First off, Rad Dad: These skateboarders have always skated and almost coincidentally, have children that they skate with. These guys pass skate knowledge to their kids, and are generally tolerable to skate with.

Fad Dad or “used-to-skate dad.”:  These guys skated back in the day, and quit caring about the rollerboard when they were old enough to drive, found girls, joined a fraternity, or any combination of the above. Now that Junior is old enough to watch the X-Gaymes, he bought a shredstick, and thinks he can pick up wherever he left off. Fad Dads are smart enough to stay out of the way, and might even be the first to cheer when you do something sweet. Also tolerable at the skatepark.

Pad Dad: Just started, knows little about skating, but can’t lose face in front of his child. This is the skatedad who reads about skating on the internet and shows up the the skatepark like he’s John-Fucking-Cardiel. This guy is the one who rocks full pads and a longboard at a street park. Pad Dad will ask you “So, are those wheels 98 durometer? 99? I really like these 78A’s.” You can’t really fault the guy for wanting to learn, but he’s not willing to accept that his eight-year-old kid knows more about skating than he does. That, and the beatings that this guy takes are entertaining.

Protocol: You can be nice to this guy. Give him advice that he can pass along. Casually mention how the uneducated keep getting in your way. Tell him he’d have more control with a shorter board. Point out instances where gapers are obviously oblivious. To avoid this guy is easy; just don’t skate on Saturday at a known suburban skatepark.

Mad or Bad Dad: He’s the worst (Bad Dad) and angry (Mad Dad). He’s the non-skating protector of his child’s universe. The male counterpart to the soccer mom. The only difference is that he gets out of the minivan at the skatepark. He’s the guy that yells at you when you tell his idiot child to move. He’s the guy that barks at you when you light up a cigarette within ten yards of his kid. He’s the guy in Teva sandals with his polo collar up. Oh yeah, he’s that guy. He’s angry because his kid skates and he doesn’t. For whatever reason, he won’t skate, but he’s not scared to be an “involved” parent.

Protocol: This guy has no board to stand on. At the first sign of trouble, put him in his place. Question his parenting. Challenge his manhood. You can bring this guy to a boil all you want. He’s not going to swing at you in front of his kid. Not when he sees your friends (and he doesn’t know which skaters there are your friends, if any). He might bark, but unless you swing first, he won’t bite. So, ignore him if you want, humiliate him some, teach his kids swear words, whatever you want to do, go for it. He can read in the car.

Matt Kriegel - Frontside Grind to Revert. Sequence: Brian Fick

Matt Kriegel – Frontside Grind to Revert. Sequence: Brian Fick

>>>DISHONORABLE MENTIONS: 

  • Incorrect nomenclature kid, inquisitive of your abilities example: (“Can you drop that?” “Can you allie?”)
  • Ten year old kids who want a cigarette 
  • Look at me kids. example: one eye skating, one eye watching people watching him skate
  • Snakeboard, Razors, Snakeboard with two wheels, Longboarders, etc.
  • Kids who call “Dropping,” “Going,” or “My turn!”
  • Mooches (and the author is guilty)

    -Special thanks to “Billy the Kid Killer” Coulon, Nick “The Dick” Ferber, and “Bustin’” Justin McDowell.
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