A definitive guide to where you can skateboard in India...
Skateboarders are usually a very tight knit community, more so than other brewing sub-cultures. It hasn’t been that long since India’s boarding scene officially made its mark either. Catalysed by Nick Smith’s opening of Sk8 Goa all the way back in 2003, the small yet significant step shook things up for the skate community and things have been moving along steadily, even quickly, since. And it would appear the international skateboarding fraternity is equally excited to expand their cozy family right into our subcontinent, if their kindness over the years is anything to go by. They’ve been helping to build parks, bowls, and ramps spread sporadically across the country.
Cities like Bangalore lead the pack, but it seems like other parts of India are playing catch-up, including more surprising places like Hampi, Ranchi and Kovalam. Suffice to say then that skateboarding in India is not just generating buzz, but is here to stay, with a group of dedicated individuals at the very crux of the scene. Skate crews are doing more than their bit to nurture the sport that is still in its nascent stage. There seems to be a larger cause that everyone is working towards, and that is to turn India into a kick-flip and ollie crazy country. Catering to the dream that every child who wants to, should have his/her own set of wheels. With India now boasting of 17 parks across 11 cities, we’re off to a pretty good start. Scroll down to take a look at them.
I. Play Arena, Bengaluru
Play Arena claims to have something for everyone, offering 30 different sports in the process. The skate park is just one of many other features, loaded with a 10 ft bowl, a 30 ft run, spines, ramps and funboxes.
II. The Cave, Bengaluru
The Cave opened in September 2015 and is a collaborative effort between Holystoked and Adidas Originals. The skatepark has been done up by local graffiti artists and is tucked away in North Bangalore close to Jakkur Airfield. They’ve even put in some obstacles as well, to keep it interesting.
III. Holystoked Skatepark, Bengaluru
Several English skaters, 2er(Zwyer) from Germany and Holystoked got together in 2013 to build India’s first FREE skate park. Sadly, the park is temporarily closed.
IV. Freemotion Sk8, Delhi
This is built in a compact basement in Freedom Fighter’s Colony, which serves as a great case study for more space-starved cities like Mumbai to explore. It is expertly crafted with multiple ramps and pillars and Freemotion is also laden with new-age graffiti and sells boards and stickers.
V. Khar Social, Mumbai
The guys at Impresario tied up with Red Bull and Nick Smith to build a community skate park like no other. This is Mumbai’s first skate park and is in the middle of an uber watering hole offering a vibe like no other. It’s become an interesting social experiment in itself, with kids from very varying backgrounds showing up in the day to skate, while Mumbai’s young professionals turn up later in the evening to sit on cushions and drink cocktails as they unwind in the same place that the kids were doing ollies just an hour before. We did a pretty in-depth feature and photo narrative on it here.
VI. Cirrus, Goa
Cirrus likes to keep their location a secret to keep it exclusive, but we can tell you it is somewhere on the highway towards Chapora. It is quite a challenge looking for this underground art, music and skate haven, but the treasure at the end of this hunt is well worth it.
VII. Shiva Palace, Goa
Around 3 years ago, the hipster village of Morjim got its first skate park at Shiva Palace. This skate park is free to use and recently hosted a girls-only skate camp to encourage the sport. Shiva Palace was also one of three locations for the Third Eye Tour - India’s first skateboarding competition, back in early 2014, which saw an incredible turnout of young skateboarding enthusiasts from every corner of the country.
VIII. Youth Hostel, Goa
Located across Miramar beach, this setup was spearheaded by Goa’s close-knit skating community, and was sponsored by Vans. With art that is rivaled by the brilliant view, this park is well on its way to becoming India’s favourite new spot.
IX. Sk8 Goa, Goa
Nick Smith built Sk8 Goa back in 2003, it was an elaborate setting in his backyard in Assagao. The bowl and the wooden mini ramp were crowd favourites, Sk8 was the beginning of everything skateboarding in India and the people who spent time at the park swear by it. Sadly it no more exists as an open-to-all park, but you can sneak in when the owners are out of town.
X. Coconut Castle, Kovalam
Coconut Castle is in the front yard of SISP (a not for profit school), they also have a unique skating facility on the terrace. The park was only made possible by the people from the skate community in Sweden, Germany and England, now both areas together are spread over 4500 sq. ft, and it was entirely crown funded. The people at SISP offer free skateboarding lessons for the school drop-outs in the area and it is also free to use the facility during school hours.
XI. The Green Lethe, Ranchi
The Green Lethe is a mini ramp and was built in 2012 by Utkarsh Gupta. Being away from the brewing skateboarding scenes in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, Utkarsh went ahead and built East India’s only mini ramp to help the growing culture in Ranchi.
XII. The DIY Skate-rink, Ranchi
The rink was originally built in 2000 for rollerblading and skating, sadly it was only active for a couple of years and subsequently haunted by alcoholics and peddlers. The local skateboarders got together and cleaned up the place in 2012, and then they went on to build three DIY elements including a grind rail, a manny pad along the ledge, and a bank with down-rails on both sides.
XIII. Hi-fy Mini Ramp, Visakhapatnam
The Hi-fy Mini Ramp was built by, you guessed it, Holystoked Collective.
XIV. Janwar Skatepark, Janwaar Castle
The Janwar skatepark is truly one of a kind. Located in the eastern buffer zone of the Panna National Tiger Reserve, it is India’s first rural skatepark and also the largest, sprawling over 450 sqm. They follow a ‘No Government School. No Skateboarding.’ rule to encourage the village kids to study, and it works. The park was completed in February, 2015 with the support of skate-aid e.V (Munster, Germany), Freemotion (Delhi) and 12 volunteers from 7 countries.
XV. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Skate Park, Pune
This park holds a special place in the history of Indian skateboarding because it is the first park to be built by the city’s official government body. The entire project is a brainchild of deputy mayor Aba Bagul and is estimated at Rs 62 lakhs. The small skateboard community of about 15-20 people use this space regularly to grow and better their game, the aim to is to grow the city’s alternative sports culture.
XVI. Kallialay Surf School Skate Park, Pondicherry
The guys at Kallialay Surf School is essentially a surf school, with a small skateboarding facility. They call it their ‘Static Wave.’
XVII. NRI Bowl, Navi Mumbai
Set up by Nick Smith, this bowl was set up in NRI colony in 2016 — just one of the five he intends on building around Mumbai, to encourage more skaters.
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