Starting out in the skatepark ain’t always easy. The floor isn’t even flat! STEAKS Shredder Sharpe has spoken to the rest of the STEAKS Crew and drawn from her own experience to share 5 tips to get you started on ramps.
I’m going to start with the assumption that you can already skate fairly competently on the flat. If you can’t, you get 6 tips and your first one will be to work on that! It gets harder when the floor gets wonky. Trust. ✌️
So you can get about on 8 wheels and you want to turn your skating up to 11 (yes Spinal Tap)! Heading to the skatepark can be daunting. It’s a new space dominated by people doing cool things that you can’t even fathom yet. That’s fine and leads nicely into tip number 1…
#1 Remind yourself, everyone was a beginner once. 🏁
Just going to the skatepark can be intimidating, but you have worked up to it and you are there. There’s one thing you can keep telling yourself to make it feel better…no one woke up being awesome on ramps. They turned up and kept falling off stuff again and again and again. I still do ALL THE TIME, it’s why I love my STEAKS® Basic Crash Shorts. No one is feeling impatient because you are trying something new if anything they’re impressed you’re here and remember exactly how that feels!
Check out this video I made in 2016 of me and my Chicks in Bowls Bristol pals getting to grips with ramps in 2016! 😍
#2 Start simple and lay good foundations.🏡
Start with the basics. It looks cool if you head straight for a drop-in, but if you don’t know what to do afterwards…you get a bit stuck. Start with pumping. Skating up the transition (the curved bit) and coming back down again using your legs to generate speed. Or carving! This is when you come up the transition and turn on it so you are always facing forwards.
Once you have these down, start dropping in and then stalls and then the world of ramps is your oyster…
#3 Learn from the best! 🎥
If you want help breaking something down then there are SO MANY videos out there. Instagram is my favourite by place to look for inspiration, especially now you can save videos to collections. If I see a trick I want to learn I save it right away so I don’t have to look for it again. If it is in slo-mo, even better! Then I can see how their body is moving and where their weight is. Some of my personal faves are on Instagram.
Other people, I love keeping an eye on Instagram are:
- @pnoqim for a sick grind, slide and toe stop combos.
- @octanejane94 for a good mix of badassery and hilarity.
- @dogdays_magazine and @anticliquezine are great for sharing awesome people to keep an eye on.
#4 Fall the right way 💥
OK, this one isn’t an exact science with a definitive answer, but there are some things you should be avoiding.
👉 Keep your weight forwards, this will stop you from falling backwards. You have no padding there and could get a nasty knock on your coccyx or head, you want to be heading the other way.
👉Get comfortable with a little roll. You’re going to slide down the transition. Unleash your inner parkour runner and spread the impact with a roll to the side or something.
This little video shows you why falling straight down onto your knees is not a good idea. It didn’t hurt thanks to my kneepads and Steaks shorts, but that’s still a fair amount of impact! Imagine if I didn’t have them on… 😷
#5 Don’t waste money on gear you don’t need 💸
This one is super important and your bank balance will thank you. I skated in my derby skates for ages at the skatepark. Just tighten your trucks before you hit the ramps and remember to loosen them again for derby training. Wait until you are sure you’re in love with ramp skating, then get some skates for it.
A high boot is generally what people go for to offer some ankle support, they don’t need to be free for extra manoeuvrability like in roller derby. You want a solid plate with a 10-degree kingpin or thereabouts for stability. Wheels wise – streets skating is better with soft wheels because the tarmac is hella bumpy. For ramps I have pretty hard wheels, I like a bit of slide and it helps with speed as well.
Sliders seem a popular early purchase for people early on but honestly, there is so much more you can learn – like carving, pumping, stalling, dropping in, airs etc before you need to fork out for them. You won’t even be able to try to slide until you have nailed dropping in and stalling. Same with wider trucks, unless you are ready to start grinding on your trucks, don’t worry about them!
Bonus tip: Have fun 🤪
This is why you are doing it right? Remember to have fun, keep smiling and if you can’t get something and it’s REALLY harshing your buzz…move on, do something you love and come back to it once your head is clear. It will make the world of difference to your ability to learn and get out of your comfort zone!
Sometimes I don’t even realise how much fun I’m having because I’m too busy having fun…that’s the best kind of skate.
These tips will hopefully help you get started out in a skatepark. You are about to embark on something so cool and immensely fun and I can’t wait to hear about it. Feel free to drop me a line over on the ‘gram @clairesharpe