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Have you ever shown up to the skatepark and felt really uncomfortable? Not sure where to stand? Maybe the lines are hard to find. Sometimes its even really busy and you cant get a run in. I fully understand how much this sucks. Fortunately, I have been to a ton of different skateparks and have experienced a lot of uncomfortable situations. Lets talk about some ways you can fit in at the skatepark and avoid a mess.
Here are the key points of Skatepark Etiquette that I'm going to help you learn:
Chilling in the middle of someones line is the fastest way to get beat up. I do not recommend it. Instead, lets find somewhere that is out of everyones way.
The best thing to do is to get somewhere that you can see the whole park and that is out of the way. You want to be able to observe everyones lines and know where to go and where not to go.
Look at the red X's. If you notice, they are right next to or in-between obstacles. It might seem like a good place to chill if you are trying to sesh a certain obstacle, but chances are you will be in the way. Try your best to avoid sitting anywhere that is next to or in-front of an obstacle like a quarter, a rail, or ledge.
Now notice where the green circles are. All green circles are out of the way, and near the edge of the park. Standing at the green circles will allow you to watch other people's lines and see where they are going.
Let's look at this picture, you are chilling at the green circle. You want to try a new line but you notice that there are two other people doing the red line. By sitting at the green circle and watching these people try their red line over and over, it is safe to assume that they will keep trying that line.
So before you drop in, just keep in mind and try to stay out of the way. It is find to go where they are going just take turns. Don't be rude or purposely get in the way. Finding the right opening is hard sometimes, but it will get easier.
As you can tell, a lot of the learning at a park has been visual learning. Finding lines is no different. The best way to find good lines with your eyes and with your imagination.
I recommend taking a few minutes and just watching some of the other riders to see what they hit and what looks fun. Look for obstacles or gaps that you have fun riding. After you figure out what you want to ride hop in there and feel it out!
Here are some things to be careful of
Normally I walk up to a new park and just walk around on foot. I like to see where the spines are (if any). I like to see where the bumps are and what the transition looks like. Noticing all of these tiny details will help you out a lot because you can't see them while on the bike.
One time I was riding a bowl and after getting tired I jumped out of the fly-out to quit my run. Sadly, the fly-out was a spine and I ate shit. Right after this was when I started walking the park and taking a look at everything.
After my walk I hangout and watch the locals. Locals have a unique way of murdering a park. I love to learn from a local and see the lines they have come up with.
Next, I grab my bike and cruise through the park to get a feel for everything. During this time, I throw out a few of the easy tricks for me. This will loosen up my body a little bit.
Finally, I can try and hit some new lines. It is such a good feeling to hit a crazy gap, or a new line. This just gradually pushes you out of your comfort zone. Ultimately making you a better rider.
Learning skatepark etiquette is really over looked. However it is something that everyone should learn. When a new person comes to the park they are generally noticed more. So anything you do is amplified. This is good and bad. It is good because your tricks are amplified, it is bad because it is really noticed when you get in someones way.
I hope you learned a few tips here that will help you be a better bmx rider. Just remember to "chill" out of the way and in a safe spot that you can observe from. Don't stand at the bottom or in front of an obstacle. Remember to take a mental note of other peoples lines and try your best not to cut them off. Having fun at a skatepark starts with skatepark etiquette.