The unlikely boom of skateboarding during a pandemic

Kyle Fletcher. Pic: Paul Scott

Skateboarding across the UK is seeing a massive resurgence with new and re-engaged skaters jumping on boards and hitting the streets. This is the biggest increase since the Tony Hawk Pro Skater game caused the last boom in 2000.

The growth in skateboarding has emerged as an unlikely outcome from the covid lockdown, with its perfect match with quarantine restrictions. Requiring simply a skateboard and a patch of flat ground, means that skateboarding can be practiced anywhere.

It’s not your typical stereotype young-male skateboarder which is causing the spike. The big increases have been in females taking up the sport, couples skateboarding as an activity they can do together and older generations who used to skate in their youth and are now re-engaging with skateboarding, either alone or with their children.

Much like cycling , which has also seen huge growths over the last 6 months, equipment has been selling out across the country with complete skateboards being the biggest seller, some skate stores have had to wait up to 2 months for stock of certain skateboards. Paul Haynes, owner of Rollersnakes Skateboard Shop in Derby said “When we had to shut the shop back in March we expected the worse, but were blown away by the number of online orders for new skateboards and by the beginning of summer we were out of stock of the most popular brands of boards”. Tom Brown from Leeds’ Welcome Skate Shop commented “Skateboarding is booming at the moment. We’re seeing it on the streets and in the parks; we’ve hit a tipping point where participation isn’t limited by age or gender”.

MySkate, an app which provides skateboarders with the locations of all the skateparks in the UK has seen an increase of 180,000 uses of the app each month, with new and experienced skaters logging on to find their local place to skate.

Earlier this year Skateboard GB & Skateboard England led the way in helping outdoor skateparks to re-open with guidance on skateboarding safely and more recently working with the government to safely reopen indoor skateparks too.

James Hope-Gill CEO at Skateboard GB & Skateboard England said “It is brilliant to see so many people of all ages participating in skateboarding. We have worked hard over the past few months to ensure that people have the guidance and information they need to be able to skateboard safely under the current government guidelines”.

With Skateboarding becoming an Olympic Sport for the first time in Tokyo next year and it’s unlikely that the growth will slow down anytime soon.

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