What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions skateboarding, skateboards, or skateboarders? Do you imagine the rowdy crowd at the local skatepark? Or: maybe you picture a solo skateboarder riding his way through crowded city streets? Whatever’s the case – the scenography we’ve mentioned can’t be suddenly separated from skateboarding or the folks who enjoy the sport.
One might get the idea skateboarders either choose the park or the street as the backdrop for their adventures. Of course, that’s not the unquestionable truth. There’s no reason to pick one and avoid the other. In other words: there ain’t no need to be exclusive or something. However, if you’re a beginner – it might be nice to know which one’s better for starters: street vs. park skateboarding?
There’s no telling which one’s right for you until you’ve tried both styles. At a certain point in your adventure with skateboarding, you’ll notice a natural inclination towards a certain style. Also, there’s no telling which one’s more difficult or dangerous. They’re difficult as skateboarding itself and far from being as dangerous as this sport is generally represented.
Think that’s not enough to satisfy even the most ignorant soon-to-be skateboarding enthusiasts? If so, keep on scrolling!
Table of Contents
A quick disclaimer before we start
The thing is: we don’t want you to read this text as sports commentary on the street vs. park skateboarding battle. Our main idea is to present both the good and bad, pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages both styles undoubtedly possess. If you’re expecting us to name a winner, then… Needless to say, that’s not gonna happen. We’ll give you all the necessary info and you’ll be the judge!
Okay, now we’ve got that one cleared up. So, shall we begin?
Street-style skateboarding 101
Here we’ll answer the FAQ related to the skateboarding style in the subheading.
What is street-style skateboarding?
The first thing that comes to someone’s mind when street-style skateboarding comes up as a topic is sidewalk surfing. That’s just an off-the-wall assumption. Anyway, street-style skateboarding doesn’t exclude doing tricks. You’ll just have to be more creative with choosing the obstacles (that are, of course, all found on the street: park benches, banks, handrails, staircases, etc.). All in all: you’ll give those parts of regular street scenography a fresh purpose.
So, instead of flowing in a bowl (acquiring speed & momentum), the tricks that street-style skateboarders do often involve ollies and many ollie variations whilst sliding down stair sets or grinding on handrails and ledges.
Is street-style skateboarding dangerous?
Well, it depends. We want to say: no, not all, but that wouldn’t be the whole truth. The thing is: skateboarding (whether we’re talking street or park-style – it doesn’t matter) is viewed as a dangerous activity by many. When the activity gained enough popularity to be exploited by the media, its public image didn’t look very good. It was represented as a dangerous sport (and it definitely was one back in the day) which normal folks should avoid by all means.
The above-mentioned media image changed a bit in favor of skateboarding not being seen as a life-threatening activity. Still, the presumption that this sport is very dangerous still wanders the halls of our collective unconscious. What’s the truth then? It goes something like this: skateboarding, under a certain set of conditions, isn’t a dangerous sport. Yes, falling (and breaking some bones) is strongly associated with this sport, but skaters learn how to fall and find their way out of a situation that would be otherwise (if they haven’t practiced falling for years) cost them their careers or even lives.
It’s basically the same old prejudice, such as the one about skateboarding making you flat-footed.
All in all: the mentioned set of conditions most of the time isn’t present out on the street, especially if we’re talking busy city quarters. Nevertheless, we can’t say there are a lot of accidents involved with street-style skateboarding. That can also come from the fact skateboarding on the sidewalk is prohibited in some cities/states/countries. Check your local/state/country regulations concerned with skateboarding on the street.
How hard is street-style skateboarding?
Another question it’s tough to give a straight answer to. You could say it’s just as hard as park-style skateboarding, or skateboarding en général. However, it might seem more difficult if we take one thing into consideration. Street obstacles weren’t made with the intent that someday someone will skate over them, whereas the obstacles you’ll find in the skate park were carefully designed with that intention. Also, consider the guards preventing skateboarders to enjoy their favorite activity on a certain spot.
A quick tip: instead of wondering how hard learning how to skate is, check out this article for some good ol’ motivation.
Okay, that’s about it when it comes to street-style skateboarding. Let’s check out our other candidate!
Park-style skateboarding 101
Contender number two, would you please stand up and greet our audience! Okay, so we’ll start with the most obvious of questions.
What is park-style skateboarding?
The other contender in the street vs. park skateboarding battle represents a skateboarding style associated with riding inside a skate park. Who would’ve guessed that one, right? Here’s a more standard definition: any skateboarding that includes skating lines and flowing through the various sections at your typical skate park is considered park-style skateboarding.
Things are a bit different inside a skate park. Instead of benches, handrails, and other street scenography, you’ll get to try out obstacles such as vert walls, bowls, mini-ramps, quarter-pipes, snake runs, and others.
Is park-style harder than street-style skateboarding?
Our answer will resemble the one we already gave a couple of paragraphs above. We can’t say one is more difficult than the other. It all comes down to personal preferences. They do share one thing in common: both ain’t easy.
What about vert skateboarding?
Vert-style skating can sometimes be hazardous and somewhat more difficult than street-style. That’s because the latter enables you to try out tricks on small (1in-2in) ledges. In vert-style skateboarding, there are no small vertical walls you can practice on. Therefore, it might look (and actually be) harder than street-style skateboarding.
Can park-style skaters ride street-style and the other way ’round?
Some professional skaters tend to choose one or another. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not good in the other category. For instance, Tony Hawk’s a popular (that might be a diminutive) vert skater. At the same time, he’s amazing when riding street-style. Like we’ve already said, there’s no reason to get all exclusive about it. Although, you’ll probably favor one style more than the other when you get into the hang of things.
Our suggestion might be you try to learn skating in all disciplines and styles until you figure out which one you’re made for. Every skater figures that one out, so there’s a fair chance you’ll be no exception.
Street vs park skateboarding – which one is more popular?
We’ll give you a list of facts and you figure it out for yourself. Here’s the info:
- Nowadays, skaters that have the biggest following are usually the ones riding street-style.
- It seems as street skateboarding content is also more popular on social media.
- However, park-style skateboarding isn’t so far behind its sibling.
- Both are viewed as equal by the wider sports community, as there are two separated skateboarding disciplines (street and park) in the Olympics.
All in all: even though street-style skateboarding seems more popular, it shouldn’t mean people aren’t excited by park-style skateboarding. Also, folks of today love watching videos set inside the urban environment. For instance, just remember how parkour found its way into our everyday language. For more interesting info on this amazing activity, visit this page.
Street vs park skateboarding – differences in setups
As always, it’s important that you sport a good setup based on which activity you’re planning to master. That’s why we’ve chosen to give you an overview of what kind of setups are good for both street-style and park-style skateboarding.
Street-style setups usually include:
- A narrower deck. About 8 to 8.25 inches.
- Trucks that match the width of the board.
- Smaller (52 mm) wheels that have a softer durometer. Depending on the type of terrain, they go from around 90 to 99A.
On the other side, park-style setups mostly look something like this:
- A wider deck. About 8.3 to 9 inches.
- Trucks that match the width of the board.
- Larger wheels (52-56 mm) with a harder durometer (99-101A).
Street vs park skateboarding – Which one is right for me? (a summary)
To answer the question proposed by the title: only time will tell which one’s the right style for you. At a certain point in your skateboarding career (in the widest possible sense), you’ll notice a mild inclination toward one or another. For all we know, that’s how many skaters found their own style.
Also, we’ve seen there’s no real difference in difficulty. Both aren’t so easy to learn and master (after all, just like any sport or similar activity). We’ve also seen street-style is probably the more popular sibling. Still, that shouldn’t discourage anyone from giving it a try. As we’re sure you know, the local skating crowd at a park is like a second (or even – first) family to many skaters.
That’s about it for today. For more skateboarding info, we recommend you follow this link.