Skate Park Etiquette

Skateboarding is well identified as being the catalyst to the introduction of skate parks. With deep historical roots and culture stemming from surfing, skateboarding is well respected as the original mode of trick skating and is now an official sport of the International Olympic Committee.
A skate park environment also well suits BMX, inline, quad and scooter, most of which require considerable flat ground skill before ramp skating.

With beginner scooters and balance bikes being easier to begin with than a skateboard or skates. This opens up skate park use to a much younger dynamic and we now see more toddlers to early school age children looking to find ramps to play on, albeit, tail whips and bar spins must start somewhere.
So, who has the right of way and how do we manage such a broad range of ages in a skate park when it comes to safety issues? Well, it’s more about the ability to understand, follow instructions and stay safe as a skate park cannot work like a playground. The nature of trick skating and riding means that Skateboards and BMX’s can fly loose, skaters and riders can loose control and these risks must be accepted when using a skate park as it is not a default rule that adult users are responsible for the safety of child users.

When the park is crazy busy, go with common sense and protect those who need it most by either finding them a safer space or coming when it is quieter. Experienced users generally negotiate rotating areas and including others, but in all fairness, skate parks are not playgrounds or general skate rinks and accidents happen when they are treated as such.

1. Learn the basics first

Starting out on ramps as a beginner requires flat ground intermediate skills. Make sure you learn to skate and ride really well including how to fall, and work on all your other flat ground skills and tricks. You need good balance and stability before you think about getting height and sticking ramp tricks.
2. Skate within your limits and be supportive of newbies
Work your way up, literally! Don’t drop in on a ramp before you have mastered getting height, 180 transitions, backwards skating and confidence. See if there are any local lessons available.
If you are spectating a beginner, encouragement such as JUST DO IT, and HURRY UP is a no-no…..let them prepare their own way as there is no turning back if you fall off an edge unprepared.
3. Safety gear is NOT lame, but don’t buy lame safety gear
Don’t sacrifice your safety. You will not look any cooler without protection, especially if you can't get up after a fail. Unless you’re and adult who knows exactly what you are doing, get some gear on. Bailing out in style on a sick set of pads is killer and good safety gear is built to be as hardcore as the tricks we aspire to nail so pad up like a warrior and prepare for battle!
*Must do: Get quality safety gear including a well-fitting helmet. Many cheap brands of helmets and pads are a waste of money so get expert advice at your local skate shop.
4. Respect the space
Our Parks are paid for by council and government because we fought for them and they are a privilege to have. Basic considerations are: No-one enjoys glass/rubbish, vandalism or stinky cigarette smoke. It is simple, go away with that stuff. Other space related topics that are a little more unclear are
  • Street Art
  • Wax
  • Where to sit, spectate, and leave your stuff
  • Dogs
Street Art
Street Art is wicked, scrappy obscenities are not art. Let’s keep our park art awesome and if you’re keen to learn, hit up your local Street Art community.
We all love great murals, but not so much on our ramp surfaces. The wrong paint can be slippery and after a while, the build up of paint poorly effects our expensive surfaces and it costs big dollars to repair. Go nuts and paint other surfaces if that's what is allowed in your location, but we love our smooth ramp surfaces too…a win/win for all.
The problem with WAX
For the most part, waxing at skateparks can be common, however not always in the best interests of all users. Overuse of wax can be dangerous to unsuspecting skaters both on rails, and when it is left or thrown around. You should be able to get enough slip on your sliders and momentum in your grinds to gain movement along the coping or ledge. If not, it’s something to work on.
Where to sit and put your stuff
Not sure where to supervise from, rest and leave your stuff? In some instances, it may be okay to sit on a ledge or ramp, but remember, someone may want to use it.
Skaters, politely let someone know you’re keen to use the space rather than trying to drop a narky hint. Always watch your gear.
What’s just as dangerous than unpredictable children in a skate park? Dogs off leash in a skate park.
Dogs do not understand park safety and can be most unpredictable. Even if YOUR dog is the goodest of puppers, don't expect everyone to feel safe. Please have dogs on a lead and well away from the skate surfaces at all times. There is no reason for a dog to be on or near a skate park surface EVER*. One rule for all.
*Exceptionally talented skateboarding dogs permitted at appropriate times 
5. What is Snaking and why is it the worst?
Snaking is a reference given to park users who cut on others turn or run. Snakes push in and carve around all areas of a park without regard for someone else’s position or space. This is dangerous because nasty collisions happen and falls from fright happen when a snake suddenly appears out of nowhere. Snakes often do not think about, or heavily misjudge other skaters’ movements and often assume they have space, or the right of way to zoom through when they do not.
Snakes can flare tempers in a park, and sometimes snaking is done on purpose as a way of pushing buttons or bullying other users. In this respect, snaking is an attitude that is not welcome at skate parks.
Sometimes snaking is due to a lack of understanding, or an accident and we want to keep this in mind before we fight about it, so let’s explore this issue:
Kids are going everywhere!
Zooming around the Skate Park and sudden deviations in direction is common with younger or less experienced kids. It might seem ok if you have the park to yourself, but when other users are around, it’s not cool no matter what the age and it’s dangerous to everyone. Parents, please keep a close eye on your kids. If you bring them to a skate park then it is important you all learn skate park etiquette and be vigilant. Often, it’s the older person that gets victimised when smaller children get hit, but it is unreasonable to expect a fast-paced skater to stop or avoid sudden obstacles.
Consistent snaking gets you a bad reputation and that’s not what we want in our small skate community. Work together to encourage appropriate use of the park and listen to good, friendly advice from experienced users.
Taking turns
If you are sharing an area, wait your turn in the line. Skaters, be a little patient with newbies that may be trying to nail their first drop in, but also, if you are new and taking a long time to pluck up courage, others will continue to go while you scope out your drop. 
Don’t play dead
If you fall, your run has ended even if it was short, so quickly clear the space. If you are hurt, call for help immediately otherwise jump up so everyone knows you are ok.
But it was an accident
Accidents happen so if you do accidentally snake, or crash due to mis-reading someone’s line, just apologise and move on. If a user appears to be a serial snake, politely educate them first as they may not be familiar with park etiquette yet.
Look left, right and make eye contact
Check your path is clear before taking your turn. Sometimes people do not see that you’re about to go, or you will not see that your space is also a part of someone's run. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Keep the edge clear so you don't get hit, or cause obstruction to a skaters landing. Crowding around the coping is not a way of securing your turn.
Planning a run
Keeping your run around 45 seconds is pretty fair. A run that takes up the entire park and every single element may not be possible during a busy time so be realistic and watch your kids are not mindlessly zooming all over the place.
Two in one space
A double run is where 2 skaters share a space. This should always be agreed upon first before you assume there is enough space for you. Remember, you don’t have to collide to cause an accident as a fright could cause a fall in a bad way.
You will occasionally get snaked, or some kid will be in your way….Chill…. find a way to politely ask what it is you need them to do. If the park is too hectic or it’s not your vibe, that’s not everybody else’s fault either so if you’re steamed, or too young to be safe, take a break or choose quieter times to skate the park. 
6. Parents & supervisors, you’re an integral part of our culture
Parents, a massive thank you for getting amongst it with your kids and ensuring you are across skate park etiquette too. All skaters thank you for teaching our up-and-coming legends an understanding of the environment they are in.
Skate parks are not playgrounds and the risk of being hit by others or their equipment is a serious part of the environment. If activity and pace pick up around your child, it is more appropriate to move them rather than expect skaters to avoid hitting them. A great rule of thumb is, if they are too young to play near a road, they are probably too young to understand an activated skate park.
You will also notice that a park usually has all the little stuff smack in the middle of the park. These are the things that attract little people, but they also make up the bigger runs that other skaters are using. By all means share them, or rotate areas, however kids need to take turns too and you need to assist them in and out of their turns quickly to keep the flow going for other users.