Even as Go Skateboarding Day approaches, the sport isA�finding fans across the countrya��from Mumbai to a
quiet town in Kerala.
ITa��S 5 pm on a Saturday at theA�Swami Vivekananda MetroA�Station in Bengaluru and therea��sA�a crowd outside. But the onlyA�wheels they will be riding areA�that of their skateboards. TheA�event a�� organised byA�HolyStoked, one of Indiaa��s notable skateboardingA�collectivesa��is where the citya��s
skateboarding enthusiasts convergeA�weekly to talk shop and show off theirA�skills. Cut to Mumbai and the scene is noA�different. Led by Russell Lopez, KharA�Social, which houses a skateboardingA�ramp, is abuzz with activity from noon toA�dusk. a�?We have over 2,000 serious skateboarders
in the country now,a�? saysA�Shashank Somanna, one of theA�Holystoked founders.A�The sport was first introduced in India inA�2003 by Nick Smith, of Mumbai-basedA�Advaita Collective, but it took off after heA�built the Play Arena in Bengaluru inA�2011. Though nascent, Smith feels skateboardingA�is growing quickly. a�?I think ita��sA�because there are no rules. You competeA�against yourself,a�? he explains. Cities likeA�Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad have aA�good skateboarding culture, but ita��s pickingA�up in smaller towns, tooa��thanks toA�visitors from countries like Germany
and Sweden joining hands with localA�skateboarders to set up parks and rampsA�in towns like Hampi and Pondicherry.A�a�?Other sports like surfing have beenA�around for much longer. But at the rateA�skateboarding is growing, it will soonA�overtake a few, if not all,a�? says AtitaA�Verghese, of Girl Skate India, adding thatA�they have doctors and lawyers in theirA�fold. In fact, their weekly meets attractA�people between four and 30, with the oldestA�visitor being a 70-year-old man.A�Skateboarding has also brought with itA�an alternative culture, with a laid backA�yet rebellious vibe. a�?In Mumbai, Ia��m tryingA�to promote a lifestyle thata��s fitnessA�oriented,a�? says Smith, who is also buildingA�Indiaa��s largest skatepark in Nerul.A�With Go Skateboarding Day just aroundA�the corner (June 21), read on to find outA�how you can sign up.
In Hyderabad, which is yet to get aA�skatepark, a huge parking lot inA�Lakdikapula��s railway station doublesA�as one. a�?We have wooden rampsA�that we store at a nearby mosque andA�bring out on weekends, a�? saysA�Tribhuvan Kokulla, who was instrumentalA�in popularising the sport in
the city. a�?I actually picked it up when IA�was studying to be a doctor in China,a�?A�he says. With about 30 serious skateboardersA�meeting weekly, Kokulla isA�working towards starting his own collective.A�Right now, he teams up withA�other skateboarders to conduct workshopsA�at colleges and corporate officers.A�Quiksilver has also been quiteA�active in conducting meets and workshops,A�he reveals. Next on Kokullaa��sA�agenda is to find a plot of land to buildA�a skate park.A�Get involved: The group meets up onA�Sundays, at 4 pm, at the LakdikapulA�railway station parking lot. Follow theA�Skateboarding in Hyderabad FacebookA�page for updates.
Gear up: Decathlon, Uppal, stocksA�skateboards from Holystoked. Rs 8,000A�upwards. Details: 8886017235
Go international: a�?My pick would beA�the SMP Skatepark in the FudanA�Wangxi Botanical Garden in Shanghai.
It is arguably the largest skatepark inA�the world,a�? says Kokulla
It was back in 2008 that Bengaluru-basedA�Somanna and Abhishek a�?Shakenbakea��A�(it says so on his passport, he states), ofA�Holystoked, first had the idea to set up aA�platform to popularise the sport. But itA�would take six years to materialise. a�?SinceA�then, ita��s been growing leaps and boundsA�across the country,a�? says Abhishek, adding,A�a�?I even know a skateboarder in Ladakh.A�While the rest of us complain about ourA�gear, he complains about not having enoughA�air to skateboard. At the top of Holystokeda��sA�agendaa��apart from building freeA�skateparks and ramps, and spreading theA�love for the sport by conducting workshopsa��A�is getting schools to include it inA�their curriculum. a�?I think that will reallyA�help popularise skateboarding,a�? he says.A�Meanwhile, in collaboration with visitingA�skateboarders from Germany, Australia,A�England, Thailand and France, HolystokedA�has been instrumental in buildings kateparks and ramps in places likeA�Kovalam and Vishakapatnam.
Get involved: There are two skate parksA�in Bengalurua��The Cave (Hegde Nagar)A�and Play Arena (Sarjapur Road). You can
also head to Swami Vivekananda MetroA�station on Saturdays, at 4 pm. HolystokedA�conducts weekday and weekend classes.
Gear up: Holystoked has a funky collectionA�of skateboards, apparel and otherA�essentials. Rs 500 upwards.
Go international: a�?I think BurnsideA�(skatepark), in Portland, USA, is one of theA�best in the world,a�? says Abhishek. Details:A�skateoregon.com
When the Facebook page, Skateboarding inA�Mumbai (SiM), was born in 2005, hardlyA�anyone was interested, says founderA�Russell Lopez. a�?Now I get enquiries every day aboutA�gear and tips on how to get started. In MumbaiA�alone, there are about 200 serious skateboarders,A�most of whom come to our weekly meets,a�? he shares.A�After skateboarding on roads and parks meant forA�rollerblading, Lopez and his crew finally got a place
last year, at the skatepark in Khar Social. a�?NickA�Smith built it and now he is planning another. AtA�over 6,000 sq ft, ita��s going to be the biggest in India,a�?A�he tells us. Lopez and friends recently started anA�NGO, Skateboarders United Association, to helpA�promote the sport. While they are currently busyA�gearing up for the Go Skateboarding Day, their biggestA�goal is to see an Indian at the 2020 SummerA�Olympics in Japan, where skateboarding has beenA�recommended for inclusion.
Get involved: Skateboarding in Mumbai has meetsA�on Saturdays-Sundays at Khar Social. Details: facebook.
Gear up: Smitha��s BRGTN shop has skateboardingA�essentialsa��from boards to protective
gear. Rs 600 upwards.Details: facebook.com/BRGTNapparelA�Go international: XDubai Skatepark at Kite Beach gets the most votes.
While the skateboarding scene here may not be asA�big as it is elsewhere, it is quite promising, saysA�Deepak Shukla, founder of the SkateboardingA�in Chennai Facebook page. a�?Ia��ve always beenA�interested in the sport, so when I moved to the city twoA�years ago, to study, I made the page to find otherA�enthusiasts,a�? he says. After the first meet, withA�three others, an increasing number of people haveA�been joining them every week. However, withA�many of the core members moving out now, theA�numbers are starting to dwindle. With a little
over 800 likes at the moment, Shukla is hopingA�new members join the ranks soon.
Get involved: Shukla hosts bi-weekly meet ups at MarinaA�Beach. With its long stretch of marble sidewalk, ita��s perfectA�for skateboarding, he explains. Details: facebook.com/A�skateboadinginchennaiA�Quiksilver also hosts regular meets. Follow theirA�Facebook page for updates. Details: facebook.com/A�quiksilver.chennai
Go international: Museum da��Art Contemporani deA�Barcelona. Ita��s not a skate park, but an internationallyrenowned
spot for skating, says Shukla. Details:A�barcelonaskatepark.com.
In competitions, skaters are not judged justA�on how well they execute their tricks; judgesA�also look at their style and attitude. a�?So fashion
and skateboarding definitely go hand inA�hand. The vibe is chic yet casuala��think baseballA�caps, funky tees paired with roomy shorts
or trousers,a�? Verghese says. While brands likeA�DC, Vans and Quiksilver address the sartorialA�aspect, for the heavy duty gear, Smith recommends
Flip, Plan B, Element and Anti Hero.
Holiday on wheels
Pondicherry: Auroville boasts a metal ramp and
a skatepark. Hampi, Karnataka: Built by 2er (aA�German skating outfit) with local help, the 2erA�Bowl is located at Sima Guest House. Kovalam,
Kerala: The Coconut Castle skatepark at SISPA�(Sebastian Indian Social Projects), an NGO-run
school, was built by Holystoked and friendsA�from Germany and England. It is used as bait to
get children of the local fishermen to go toA�school. Others include Janwar, Madhya
Pradesh and Shiva Palace, Goa.
Know the jargon
Ollie: The oldest trick, said to have originatedA�in 1977, happens when the skateboarder jumpsA�and the board sticks to his or her feet.A�Indy Grab: Holding on to the board withA�your hand or feet while in the air.
Rock and Roll: This move sees the skater ridingA�up a ramp and, at the top, rocking the front ofA�the board over the edge. The skater thenA�pivots and rolls back down the ramp.
Boneless: This involves grabbing the middle ofA�the board, and placing one foot on the groundA�to pop the board up. Land back on the groundA�with both your feet on the board.
Watch and learn
The 2016 Skateboarding Edit:
This video seesA�street skateboarders sliding down railings,A�over staircases and the sides of benches andA�sidewalks. Nyjah Huston Skateboarding 2016:A�For Huston, everything that comes his way is aA�potential surface to use a�� from walls to benchesA�to stairs.A�Richie Jacksona��s Death
Skateboards: While most people avoid stairs,A�barricades, largish boulders and the like, byA�jumping over them, Jackson makes them part
of the action. Watch to know more
By Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo