Changing Culture, Evolving Skateboarding in India
India is home to 1.34 billion people where the absolute majority hoots for Cricket. Yet, under all the noise there are some who prefer the sound of grinding on a skateboard. Till a few years back, Skateboarding in India was non-existent among the Cricket crazy masses but that scenario is now changing.
“Skateboarding is all about _____”
The blank has a different meaning for just about everybody who indulges in the sport. Every skateboarder has their unique drive.
Zhen Paintal, an avid Skateboarder shares about her relationship with the sport, “It’s like a friend I never had! I personally like it because it brought me face to face with my being, something I forgot to relate to a while back,”
“Same with any other core adventure sport. Skateboarding reminded me what balance actually means and how much fear I’ve gathered over time,” she adds.
The first stepping stone for Indian Skateboarding was in 2003 with India’s first skatepark i.e. Sk8Goa. It was built by UK’s proskater Nick Smith.
Nick Smith is one of the early evangelists of the Indian Skateboarding scene. Back then people moving around on wooden boards with four wheels was not a common sight in the country and would draw attention.
There have been many factors that have lead to the growth of the sport since then.
Navin Devnani, an aspiring skateboarder who also looks after Customer Experience & Business Development at Active8Sports, talks about three major factors that led to the present state of skateboarding in India.
The 3 biggest factors have been new parks – the spots to skate. It’s very possible to skate without a skate spot or a park, but with Skateboarding being so small it just brings like-minded people together in one place,”
Talking about the second factor, “The second would be skate collectives. It’s a group of people that ultimately inspires an individual (like myself) to pick up something out of the ordinary,”
And third, the internet,” he concludes.
Looking into the third factor, it is perhaps the internet that has always been responsible for promoting and revolutionizing the adventure sports scene in India.
Fast forward 14 years, skateboarding is everywhere now and it’s not an uncommon site to see individuals stepping on the board and shredding various tricks with a cool vibe while developing their own unique style.
Bangalore is the skateboarding capital of India, but it all picked up wave back in 2011 when Nick Smith with a bunch of like minded skaters from Bangalore decided to revolutionize skating in India and built India’s first public skate park, the Play Arena. These individuals further went on to start Holystoked with the purpose of providing aspiring skateboarders with good products, building skate parks, provide classes and supporting a bunch of Skateboarding events for the years to follow.
However, the credit cannot be given to a few.
Zhen concludes by giving credits to all the skateboarding enthusiasts around the country, “Starting from the collective that started this whole wave in India – The founders of Holystoked in Bangalore, Meteoric Crew in Mumbai, individuals across the country like Gautham Kamath (Bangalore), Tyler (Tripura), Omair Quadri (Hyderabad), Gautham Nalasingu (Bangalore), and lots more; the more you start looking – the more people you’ll find.”
And it’s never too late to join these people – just pick up your skateboard and start cruising. Choosing your first skateboard can be nerve wracking. Of course all the technical know-hows are very important, but more important is how the board connects to you. It is a must for you to love your first board and the high it gives to you while riding it.
Some of the most trusted avenues in India for buying a skateboard are Active8Sports and Holystoked.
Skateboarding in India is still in its nascent stage, but more and more people are getting hooked to the sport by the day. Also post the news of skateboarding being one of the three new sports additions to the Tokyo Olympics 2020, the opportunities for the individuals in the sport seems endless.
So… Go out and start grinding!
For some inspiration, watch the story of Jules Von Chacha, the French skateboarder whose love for skateboarding brought him to India.
Author: Shantanu Negi
Engineer, marketer, skipping rope geek, lover boy. When not strategising about our next online onslaught, Shantanu divides his time between anime and desserts.