Skateboard Friendly – Vancouver’s Best Skateboard Parks

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View from Kensington Skateboard Park Photo: Rob Weiss

True Confessions. I have never been on a skateboard. I will likely never attempt to skateboard, yet the sheer athletic ability and talent of Vancouver’s young skateboarders drew me to the local skate parks to learn about the sport and this unique community of athletes. With my heart in my mouth, I watched countless young men and women twist, turn, plummet, jump, fall and manoeuvre their way through man made concrete jungles. Effortlessly, skilled riders landed tricks with ease and confidence while younger, inexperienced boarders tenaciously worked at perfecting their craft.

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Braving the Bowl Photo: Rob Weiss

Silently, I observed a young, solitary rider exploring the Kensington Skateboard Park. Tirelessly, he practiced his tricks. With each push he generated speed, and at times, it appeared that he was almost glued to his board. As I gazed down into the deep bowl, fear literally struck my heart, yet he rode in and out of the bowl without hesitation. He demonstrated discipline, patience and tenacity during his quest to perfect his tricks. Personality traits to be admired.

Kaelen and Daddy, White Rock Pier

Hippie Mike and Kaelen Photo: Hippie Mike

Interested in learning about Vancouver’s skateboard scene, I decided to reach out and connect with Hippie Mike, one of Canada’s top advocates for the sport and founder of the Hippie Mike Contest series. Since the age of 7, Hippie Mike has been braving and mastering the skate parks. Asked about his passion for the sport, Mike replied, “I love skateboarding because it is all about learning, creating, goal setting and accomplishments. A true skateboarder is usually a very tough person on the inside, someone that isn’t afraid to battle, and someone that will never give up.” As I contemplated Mike’s words and observed boarders at Vancouver’s Downtown Skateboard Plaza, I couldn’t help but admire the resiliency of these athletes.

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Filming at Coopers’ Skateboard Park Photo: Rob Weiss

Having limited knowledge about the sport I also questioned Mike as to what I should look for during my next visit to a skate park. Mike replied, “a skate park to the naked eye is a strange sight, you might observe a bunch of people having fun, or someone acting out in frustration. Recognize that the skaters in the park use this time to practise and to train themselves. You’ll see many different emotions every hour in a skate park. Look for the kids that are trying to learn, watch the battles they go through, and pick out the true skaters.”

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Downtown Skateboard Plaza Photo: Rob Weiss

Although skateboarding may not be for everyone, the people and venues certainly add artistic and cultural value to our city, and that is something to celebrate and embrace.  Who knows?  Maybe, you will be the next rider to perfect the Backside 180 Kickflip?

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Taking a break Photo: Rob Weiss

Want to Skate Like Mike? Check out Hippie Mikes’ Favourite Skateboard Parks:

Ambleside – Peter Sullivan Park, West Vancouver
Located in West Vancouver, the newly renovated skate park was officially re-opened April 24, 2016. Terrific beach-front, street-style park.

Chuck Bailey Skate Park, Surrey
Escape the rain in Surrey, at Canada’s first outdoor skate park with a roof!

Port Coquitlam Railside Park
At 40,000 square feet, Railside Park features a monster serpentine skate bowl.

Vancouver Skate Plaza
With rails, embankments, curbs, walls and ramps Vancouver’s Skate Plaza is a popular destination for advanced riders.

Metro Skate Park in Bonsor Park, Burnaby
Metro Square, Bonsor Pipeline and Dogleg Bowl attract riders of all levels.

Leeside Tunnel
The 7m high, 49m long, abandoned tunnel in East Vancouver has evolved into an informal place for free-form skateboarding

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