Skateboarding Is an Olympic Sport, Here’s Where To Learn To Skate

Few could have predicted that skateboarding would one day go mainstream. The sport of outsiders, the kids out back in the high school parking lot, the ones who didn’t fit the mold, the Skate and Destroy crowd: their day is here with the impending debut in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, marking skateboarding’s official rise beyond the fringe of traditional sports. This summer, the best skateboarders in the world will don Nike team uniforms, willingly submit to random drug testing, and follow the rules—it’s all happening. Once you get over the rollercoaster of emotions—shock, disbelief, pride, nostalgia—you might just be inspired to get back on your board. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities to dust off the cobwebs and get rolling again. Whether you’re inspired to carve transitions, throw down a little slappy session on a curb, or dial in some technical trickery, look no further than these clinics and camps for adults and families alike.

Woodward Skate Camps

Woodward is the go-to training grounds for almost every professional skateboarder including Olympic hopefuls like Nyjah Huston, Jagger Eaton and Brighton Zeunner. Eaton and Zeunner both first came to Woodward as young campers, and come back year after year to train ahead of big competitions. Woodward’s new Skate Program Designer is none other than Ryan Sheckler. The three-time X Games gold medalist and four-time Dew Tour Champion started going to Woodward as a camper when he was 7. “As a kid I was able to fine-tune my skating because of the facilities,” he says. “I remember spending four hours skating just one thing at a time and learning new tricks. The biggest thing was knowing I wasn’t going to have to leave the park, so I was super present. The more time you spend on your board, the more comfortable you get and the easier the tricks come.”

Beyond the big names, Woodward is firmly established as a premiere skate camp thanks to the over 400,000 square feet of parks between Woodward West in California and Woodward PA in Pennsylvania. The facilities are designed to foster skateboarding progress, from all varieties of ramps, rails, and ledges, to soft training tools like foam pits and a resin ramp (a cushioned, rubber-surfaced ramp). These progression-minded features allow for more margin of error, so that users build up confidence to land that trick. Anything to limit injuries is good in our book.

The summer months are for the kid’s camps (ages 7-17), but thanks to increased demand, Woodward has built out the shoulder seasons in the spring and fall for families and adult skaters. The popular Family Camp in late May features a weekend full of instruction in skateboarding, scooter and BMX—it’s worth noting that BMX icons Ryan Nyquist and Jamie Bestwick are the BMX Program Designers at Woodward if you’re more of a two-wheel type.

In the off-season, from late-October to mid-April, Woodward PA offers Weekend Getaways. These getaways are available for adults and families with kids and offer access to the parks, skate lessons, on-site lodging and plenty of other memory-making activities.

For those looking for an experience more connected to their own youth, the Deepend Weekend (Oct. 1-3, 2021) for ages 18 and up is your chance to relive your glory days and drop into the legendary parks at Woodward with live music, new friends, and all-day sessions with the pros. Sheckler, who’s now 31, jokes that he feels much older than that after a lifetime of skating. “I want those guys who used to skate, and still love it, but don’t have time to get after it anymore to come out for this,” says Sheckler. “Life is short, if you want to pick up the board and dust off the cobwebs, then let’s go!” You heard the man.

Seek Skate Camp

Seek Skate Camp

Seek Skate Camp is located just outside Portland, OR. This sprawling 28-acre campus under the shadow of Mount Hood features indoor and outdoor skate facilities including the 50,000-square-foot “Concrete Jungle” and the 12,500-square-foot B.O.B park—the biggest indoor skatepark in the Northwest. B.O.B. is packed with training tools including an Olympic-sized super trampoline and a 20-by-20-foot airbag for dialing in new tricks.

The bread and butter of the camp is the weeklong kids’ summer sessions, which are tied in with visiting skate teams for extra pro stoke. But Seek also has an awesome offering for adults—the Adult Skate Campout. This 21-and-over campout runs from Aug. 27-29, 2021. This return to your youth weekend includes three days of skating the private concrete parks, trampolines, daily shuttles to epic Oregon swimming holes and adult bevies. The price is right, for $199 with camping or #vanlife lodging, or $299 for a cabin. Get the crew back together for a righteous shred weekend.

Seek Skate Camp
courtesy Seek Skate Camp

And for those unruly teens, Seek is also home to the Wy’East Mountain Academy, which offers the only skateboard program of its kind merging high school academics with skateboard coaching and mentoring set right among the skate facilities. Seriously though, where was this when we were young?

Sequoia Skate Park

YMCA Camp Sequoia

A classic lakeside summer camp, the YMCA Camp Sequoia gets our vote as the perfect family summer vacation with a skateboarding twist. While the camp offers youth-only camps, it also offers a great family board-bonding experience during two family skate camp sessions held on the last two weeks of June. Choose from a full week, a weekend, or a midweek camp. You and the fam will have access to six skateparks, a lake for swimming, boating, canoeing, and, of course, fishing—there’s also plenty of hiking and sightseeing at the nearby Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park.

Another unexpected addition is the Skate Wild program option that merges skateboarding with a wilderness survival curriculum and a Lake Launch event, where you’re invited to send it off a launch ramp into the lake. Who’s ready for some serious family bonding…and skating?

Skate The Foundry

For those never-ever aspiring skateboarders, Skate The Foundry in Philadelphia is the call. The Foundry started off as an indoor skatepark and has expanded to offer a full slate of adult skateboarding classes and programs for every level. The facilities include the original indoor West Philly location and the new indoor Elkin’s Park, which is designed specifically for teaching adults (and kids) how to skateboard safely. The adjacent skate shop is conveniently equipped to outfit you with all the safety equipment you need to get skating. The program also hosts clinics and lessons at public skateparks across Pennsylvania and New Jersey including the 30,000 square feet of rails, ledges, and transitions at Paine’s Park in downtown Philly. Choose from private lessons, adult beginner courses, adult trick courses, ramp camp and more, with the program offerings switching up season to season. You likely won’t come across the big-name pros at these camps, but you will get expert instruction and the structure to get your skateboarding game on point.

Tony Hawk Masterclass

Tony Hawk Master Class

If time is tight or you’re not ready to travel just yet, consider learning from the best in the comfort of your own driveway. Skateboard legend Tony Hawk teaches a 16-part Master Class series covering basic, intermediate, and advanced skills in street, park, and vert skateboarding with additional instruction by his son Riley Hawk and Lizzie Armanto. The online series starts with the very basics of pushing, stopping, and turning, progressing into ollie-ing, pumping vert, and on into technical park tricks. Hawk even shares his insider tricks to stand out in competitive skateboarding and his thoughts on the future of skateboarding.

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