« Learning curve : don’t blow the spot » originally published on skatehousemedia.com.
Unlike street skateboarding, which is generally practiced in pedestrian areas, shopping malls, schoolyards or industrial zones, downhill is by definition practiced on the road. You don’t skate on steps, pools or ramps, but on roads. And if possible steep and winding ones. These roads are often in the middle of dwellings and local residents who are not necessarily used to seeing a guy riding a skateboard at 50km/hour. Obviously, these people do not want to kill a skateboarder when they leave their house. So they will often do something to avoid an accident and often, unfortunately for us, will want to ban skateboarding on their road.
In recent years, a pattern has developed: longboarding is becoming fashionable, spots are ridden through and through, a guy hits a car or scares the wrong person and the locals try to ban downhill. We’ve seen this in Malibu, Laguna Beach, Vancouver and more recently in Portland. It is there that Billy Bones, the Rip City Skate shop and the guys from PDX Downhill are fighting a petition to ban skateboarding on the Zoobomb spot.
If we don’t want to have to deal with cops every session, let’s follow these tips.
Let’s drive clean and within our limits.
Let’s remember that the road is primarily for cars. Let’s respect the rules of the road as much as we can, blend in with the traffic when we get out and don’t hang out in the middle when we stop.
Let’s not create traffic jams: nothing annoys the motorist who is in a hurry at work more than the guy who drives at 30 on a road limited to 70. Especially if that guy is on a skateboard.
Let’s move around. Let’s not stand on the same pins for hours.
Let’s be respectful. We leave the spot clean, we don’t just hang out in front of people’s houses. We’re polite: a little smile and a wave of the hand always goes over well.
As the guys from Zoobomb say: let’s be ninjas, not pirates! Let’s not leave a trace.
Obviously, the goal is to have fun on our spots so let’s do it in a way that we can have fun for a long time to come.
Even if it’s not always on this scale here, it can be a good idea to prevent it and see what’s happening in America.