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How NOT to be a poser at the Skatepark

It isn’t just riding a top of the range skateboard or being outfitted in premium brand streetwear fashion that earns you respect at your local skatepark. Sure, having the right image and hardware certainly boosts your confidence (and your performance), but when it comes down to it you’re there to have fun and make awesome moves, right?

Beginners who’ve thus far been working in the privacy of the garage or back yard might be intimidated by their first experience of taking to a public park full of skaters landing tricks, but the only way to join them – and possibly end up beating them – is to get in there and practice.

We’ve canvassed seasoned park skaters for their tips to help beginners. Here’s how to learn the tricks of the trade without denting your pride or self-assurance:

• Arrive early, or late – at any rate pick a time of day when there aren’t many bodies in the park. This will leave you clear not only to familiarise yourself with the park at your own pace, but also ensure you can perfect your tricks without any diversions or getting in anyone else’s way.

• Don’t be overambitious! You may be super-keen to show off a big repertoire of tricks, but its best to start by perfecting and mastering a few basics that you can apply to any obstacle, which will give you a solid base for moving on. Suggestions for starters are the Boardslide, Kickflip, Rock ‘n Rolls, Rock to Fakies, 50-50 grind and of course, the Ollie.

• If at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up on yourself or feel embarrassed. Taking skateboarding too seriously leads to stress, which turns off your creative enjoyment of the sport. So if you wipe out, pick yourself up, smile, straighten your five-panel cap, grab your deck and get back in there!

• Be friendly! It may be difficult to break the ice with the top guys skating the park, but if you take a respectful approach you’ll no doubt get respect back. There’s no better way to improve your skills than watching and skating with the local pros.

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