Interested in diving into the world of park skateboarding?
Learn how it differs from street skateboarding, how hard it is to start, and the best skateboard to purchase for this discipline.
What is park skateboarding?
Park skateboarding is a style of skating that takes place at a purpose-built skatepark.
It involves a variety of sub-styles that involve moving through the different sections of the park and skating lines.
The elements you will most commonly encounter are vert walls, pools, bowls, spines, ramps, quarter pipes, and snake runs.
But even flatland tricks using transitions and vert, like kickflips, are considered park skateboarding.
How does it differ from street skateboarding?
Street involves skating obstacles typically found on the street like benches, handrails, and staircases.
While you can do street skating on actual street obstacles, you can find a lot of street-inspired elements at the skatepark.
Rather than flowing in a bowl, you’re focused on tricks like ollies while grinding on rails or ledges.
While it involves many skating transitions, similar to park skateboarding, the purpose is mainly to maintain speed while you are doing a run.
Common obstacles you will encounter during street skateboarding are ledges, rails, handrails, fun boxes, banks, and staircases.
Is Park Skateboarding Easier or Harder?
Neither style of skateboarding is easy and you aren’t limited to just learning one.
If you want to get better at both as a beginner skater, practice all types of skating.
Typically, skaters who are used to parks may find it easier to learn street because they already know the fundamentals of different maneuvers.
The opposite is true, too. Experienced street skaters will obviously find it easier to learn park skating than total beginners.
One factor of street skateboarding that will make it harder than the park is if you’re skating in a difficult spot.
Parks are designed with skateboarding in mind, but street spots offer a large variety of obstacles and conditions you’ll need to adjust to.
Best Types of Boards for Park
While the longboard category offers a large variety of shapes and sizes, park skateboards are pretty standardized.
There are a few main specs that beginners venturing into park or street skating should look for when they are buying a skateboard that best fits their needs.
Every deck created for the park will have the same basic features. The width will range from 7.75 to 8.5 inches and the length will range from 28-34 inches. The length of the nose, wheelbase, and kicktails are also pretty standardized.
Most skateboards are rounded and symmetrical with kicktails at both ends.
However, there are iterations of the standard skatepark shape that are designed for different purposes.
The popsicle shape is widely known as the standard shape for most park decks.
It’s designed to be symmetrical with a double kick nose and tail.
It gives you consistency while you flip and transition from one end of the skatepark to another.
Its symmetrical shape enables riders to be prepared for every maneuver whether they ride regular or switch.
The old school deck shape (also known as a fishtail) matches many boards from the 80s.
Their noses are oblong and bow outward. The back is a fishtail.
Today, they are most commonly used for transition skateboarding and skating pools.
Modern-shaped decks refer to any skateboard that has been manufactured to deviate from the classic popsicle shape.
They may include different plys or materials and unique sizes and widths. Each manufacturer offers unique designs. This shape has become increasingly popular in recent years among advanced skaters who want to challenge themself with something new.
The width of the board is the most significant measurement.
Though it only differs in fractions of inches, each fraction has a massive impact.
Width is a huge factor in skaters’ comfort and ability to do tricks.
Generally, smaller decks flip easier and give the rider more technical orientation.
Wider boards give the skater more room to work and are typically used for transition-oriented terrain (like pipes, pools, and walls).
If you are experienced enough to experiment with different deck widths, do it to find what is best for you.
New skaters usually benefit from a wider deck.
The wheelbase is the measurement of the length between the skateboard’s base plate mounting points.
Typically, it ranges between 13 to 15 inches.
It determines the stability of the board and how it can be handled.
The length of the deck is a big determinant of a board’s performance. Different lengths will have different abilities to behave under the skater’s feet.
The length will affect the responsiveness and tricks that can be performed.
Most park decks are around 31″ to 33″ long. Outside of that range, you’ll be looking at mini skateboards, cruisers, and longboards.
The concave of a skateboard refers to two aspects of its shape: the curvature of the nose and tail and the longitudinal shape.
Generally, boards with less concave have high stability, but don’t flip easily.
Boards with high concave flips easily but don’t provide as much stability.
Deck Camber and Rocker
The deck camber and rocker refer to the shape of the skateboard.
A camber possesses a raised middle section.
A rocker dips in the middle.
The majority of boards on the market have a neutral camber.
Nose and Tail
Noses on most park skateboards are wider and steeper than the tail. However, these specs vary between models. There are three types of tails: double kick, single kick, or no kick tail at all.
Double kick tails are by far the most popular. They have concave noses and tails that slope upward.
They are created for skaters who want to pop and flick their boards in any direction.
Single kick tails are less common and are typically found on old-school skateboards.
This deck shape has a concave tail and flat nose.
Another less popular shape is skateboards with no kick tails, which are typically categorized as cruisers. These are best for people who simply use their board to travel from place to place and don’t care to do tricks.
Another way that decks differ is by the nose or tail’s angle from the ground.
Typically, the angle will be either classified as mellow or steep.
A deck with a mellow kick is ideal for those looking to skate with technical maneuvers, like street skaters.
The kicktail’s surface enables the skater to set up for a variety of tricks, as they are able to move their feet around and set up for them easily.