The Active Interns: Skateboarding
Calgary is the fastest growing market for skateboarding in Canada and the Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts (CASE) and Youth Brigade are doing everything to make the sport accessible to all.
This article was a lot of fun to write as I had the pleasure of picking up a skateboard and checking out the new Park by Youth Brigade in partnership with CASE.
If you aren’t familiar with the sport of skateboarding or are unfamiliar with CASE check out this video!
The History of Skateboarding
Skateboarding is an action sport which involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard, as well as a recreational activity, an art form, an entertainment industry job, and a method of transportation. In 2016, it was announced that skateboarding will be represented at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The first skateboards started with wooden boxes, or boards, with roller skate wheels attached to the bottom. Crate scooters preceded skateboards, having a wooden crate attached to the nose (front of the board), which formed rudimentary handlebars. The boxes turned into planks, similar to the skateboard decks of today. Now skateboarding is one of the most popular action sports as events such as the XGames attract many viewers.
The sport may be traced back to the 1960’s and has evolved with over it’s forty year history.
My Experience Skateboarding with Youth Brigade and CASE
I remember getting my first skateboard for my 11th birthday, it was a Darth Vader skateboard I had begged my dad to get me for months. I rolled around on our driveway for hours, infatuated with the tricks and grinds I had seen Tony Hawk do. Before I realized it, I found myself crying on the driveway after going head-over-heels after attempting my first “ollie”. After what felt like hours of emotional and physical recovery, generously supplemented with ice cream, I decided skateboarding wasn’t for me.
Needless to say when I stumbled across CASE on Sport Calgary’s member directory page I knew I had a chance at redemption, and to reignite the potential of becoming the next Tony Hawk (or at least landing one trick). Upon arrival at the new park created by Youth Brigade, I was met by Youth Brigade founder, Jordan Fleming, and CASE Chair, Tom Nelson. Both men were incredibly honoured to have me try out the sport and were ready to give me pointers as I stepped back onto the board.
First tip: before thinking about trying any tricks you have to be comfortable on the board. Jordan followed me as I rolled back-and-forth from one end of the park to the other. The main thing with skateboarding is you have to find the centre of balance on the board as well as keep your knees bent. This was initially tough for me because I got off balance a couple times before finding the sweet spot. This made turning and carving way easier.
The next trick Jordan helped me get the hang of was turning on a ramp. Turning on a skateboard felt similar to turning on skis or a snowboard where you really have to lead with your hips and the board will follow. This skill took me a couple times to master, but after finally landing the trick I was met by people clapping and hitting their boards against the floor. This was cool as it felt like the other boarders were supportive and noticed the little things that led to me landing the turn. I couldn’t get the smile off my face as it happened a couple more times during the session.
Tom put it best when he said, “Although skateboarding is very much an individual sport, when you’re at the park or wherever skaters will always key on those who put in work and will be right there to celebrate your triumphs with you.”
Overall the session was amazing as everyone at the open house was supportive of me being new to the sport and helped me get one step closer to making the Canadian Olympic Skateboarding team in 2028.
Tom and Jordan were great resources during the session and I had the great opportunity to chat with them after the session about what skateboarding has done for the Calgary.
About Youth Brigade and CASE and how you can try skateboarding
Established in 2014, Youth Brigade has been Calgary's go-to retail shop for everything kids need to pursue snowboarding and skateboarding! From beginners to young phenoms, Youth Brigade offers the best selection, knowledge, and exceptional service to ensure your little rippers have everything they need to progress and excel on their boards. Youth Brigade recently opened The Park near Chinook Centre Mall, the park is great for birthdays, open house sessions as well as lessons for both beginner and experienced skateboarders.
Make sure you check out Youth Brigade on social media as well as their websites!
Through strong partnerships and leadership, CASE fosters and supports the growth of skateboarding in Calgary. Calgary skateboarders have access to free world-class facilities where they can skate safely, develop their skills and enjoy skate-related events. CASE’s goal is to act as a hub for the Calgary Skateboarding community. Some of CASE’s objectives include acting as a consultant for skateboard projects, fund raise to provide grants and gifts and to provide resources to help grow and educate new boarders on the sport. CASE also offers lessons and competitions to challenge new and experienced skateboarders across Calgary communities.
Make sure you also check out the CASE website and social media accounts to stay updated on skateboarding in Calgary.
Thanks for reading this installment of the Active Interns! Keep your eyes open for the next article!