Floored by the board

Floored by the board

Skate Tricks

Floored by the board

The City is not short of sporting enthusiasts. There are cricket fans and then there are cricket fans who have turned football freaks and skateboarding enthusiasts. Though skateboarding is in its infancy stage, it is catching up .

A handful of skateboarding enthusiasts, many rinks and arenas, the conducive weather and round-the-clock skateboarding tours and jams are keeping this culture afloat.

Skateboarding enthusiasts feel that the City has the chance to turn skateboarding from just a sport to a cult-phenomenon and a freakish lifestyle of sorts – what with skateboarding slang and funky graffiti on the board.

Suraj from Play Arena in Sarjapur, says that people above the age of 27 trickle in with their boards during weekdays (about 15 people) and weekends (about 35 people) in their skate park. “This sport attracts corporate sponsorships and the growing number of events helps build skateboarding as a phenomenon in this City,” he says.

Shashank, one of the founders of ‘HolyStoked Collective’ in HSR Layout, coaches at least 100 students a month at many places including Brigade Metropolis, Delhi Public School and near Bannerghatta Park. What started as a collective of skateboarders soon grew into a global market.

‘HolyStoked’ works to promote skateboarding among children and build skate parks to create awareness of the sport as a way of life. “There are different skate parks in places like Bannerghatta, JP Nagar, Indiranagar and CMH Road which provides opportunities to youngsters,” Shashank says.

Skateboarding tours and workshops are increasing, such as ‘The Third Eye Tour’, an international skateboarding event, which help this cause. “We had about seven women skaters from Finland skating in India, which is a big boost for the country.”

The sport is quite active in 11 other cities, apart from Bengaluru and unlike other sports skateboarding doesn’t require investment in terms of monetary value as much as it does in terms of time. Malls too are quite open to skate-boarding and events in their premises help promote the sub-culture.

For Ishan Sharma, a City-based professional, the pop culture sparked an interest in him. “I bought a skateboard after watching a scene in a movie, where the boy skates downhill on the road towards a mountain. I love skateboarding because it’s cool, fun and brings the right balance in me. I even sit on my skateboard and have dinner,” he laughs.

However, skateboarding still has a long way to go. Shashank cites one of the reasons as lack of accessibility to public spaces. He explains that there is a need to pay at public spaces, such as Freedom Park, which hinders people from taking to skating. “I guess freedom comes at a price,” he sadly says.

Hopeful, though, he feels the scene will grow once the City’s infrastructure improves. Shashank says that a portion of the public parks in HSR Layout could be turned into skating spots and mini-ramps which can help promote the sport among kids.

He adds, “This will take a lot of time. Right now, skateboarding attracts only a niche market, those who are rich by passion.” Sandesh of Decathlon also agrees that skateboarding enthusiasts need to work out a viable business model to make the sport accessible to the underprivileged.

Ironically, despite skateboarding being seen as a rule-breaking and risk-taking technique, which literally defies every law of physics, people are determined to learn skateboarding. “The dream to skate exists. While some people see motorbikes and supercars, where the equipment requires heavy money, skateboarding requires patience. We only have to bolster this dream.”