By Hitoishi Chakma
Hold on there! Now this may sound like a foreign concept because frankly you don't see someone with a skateboard jumping around on the streets of Dhaka. That and the fact that there are not that many places to skate in. But allis not lost for those interested in this sport. Skateboarding is simply too cool, awesome and sporty to be kept out of our streets.
Take for instance Tony Hawk who is a living legend in the world of skateboarding. He even has a game dedicated to his name, style and art. Yes, what he does is an art form as he leaps, pirouettes and flies through the air defying all pretence of gravity. And the game itself is a big hit.
A skateboard. The ones you get here in BD are not all that good moist of the times. But it does not really matter if you're just a newbie at skateboarding. First you need to get a feel of the board. After that you will know what type of skateboard you'll actually be comfortable on and will be able to choose the right one. For the advanced skateboarders obviously I don't need to tell them anything about this. But for those who don't know, they go for assembling various parts from different brands that suits them the best. And they also adjust the height of the skateboard. But you can also buy a complete skateboard from one brand. It is not bad either.
Bottomline: if you can get it from abroad there are a bewildering choices to be had. But a basic board on wheels will do for starters.
After that you'll need elbow, knee pads and a helmet (not the ones you wear while riding a bike). Wrist guards can be a good safety equipment to buy too.
Where can I get them:
In Dhaka you can buy a complete skateboard from the sports shops situated in Panthopoth. I myself bought mine from there and it's still going strong. But remember these is no match models that come form makers like Black Label and Darkstar which, sadly, are not available here.
Also take note usually two kinds of skateboards are available here. A fancy curvy one and another simple one, the type you see on the TV. Go for the latter one. You can always use spray paint to customise it later.
The safety gear will also be available there. Note: Do not under any circumstances skimp on padding and a helmet. You can hit the ground hard.
Now the skate shoes? Then what you'll need is a pair of shoes that has large flat bottoms so that it can have more grip on the griptape (the sandpapery layer on the deck). For this purpose no shoe can beat a skate shoe. You can get skate shoes from Nike, Addidas and there are other brands like DC, Osiris, etc. Of course, if on a budget, you could opt for basic sneakers. It's important for the shoe to have a rubbery soft sole than one with those plastic feeling soles. Some Power models can be inexpensive and also do the job.
You might just be able to get the Nike or Addidas ones from their shop if you are lucky. The DC or Osiris brands are not available here. Too bad!
Now you won't be able to do tricks just after you buy the skateboard. First get used to riding it. Get comfortable on it. I'll get to tricks later in the article. And make sure that the road you are using is real smooth and traffic flow should be minimum. You can go to Sangsad Bhaban if you want. Also learn to 'bail'! If you realize that it's going wrong just get off the skateboard. It is better to buy a new skateboard than getting a broken limb! Besides, boards don't break that easily.
Skate Parks/ Skate Plazas:
Here is an intro to these parks. Skate parks are mostly concrete parks that have large bowl like depressions and large flat areas to skate. Skate plazas are rather new arrivals. These are parks that involve true city like terrain. And entry to both these parks are usually free.
Now it's a sad thing that we haven't got skateparks/plazas in Bangladesh but that shouldn't deter anyone from trying.
In other cities skateparks are usually built by the government and also many private companies (mainly sports companies). But the private ones promote their product around the park by organizing events, competitions etc. Like the 'Volcom Brothers Skatepark' in California. It's owned by 'Volcom'. Wish some company in our country would do something. Of course, no one will have the incentive unless the sport becomes more popular. It does have a following in this country but it's similar to that of roller skating.
Now here's a plea to the responsible authorities of Dhaka to build a skatepark here. We the teen people are already missing out on a lot of things. Furthermore it does not require a lot of space. Most skateparks are on average just 10,000 sq. ft. A lot less than the conventional parks! And it will definitely help us socialize more. And who knows if you give us the opportunity we might bring the X-games home!
Once you familiarise yourself with the board and manage to stay up for more than a minute check out some links for tricks and tips. Check the site 'skateboarding.about .com' and link 'skateboarding step by step'. There you'll get nicely illustrated articles on how to do 'kickflip', 'heelflip', 'grind' or even 'starting out'. Read those and go out there and try to nail a trick.
And if you want to know about all skateboarding happenings, 'skateboardrmag.com' would help you out. It is the official site of a magazine called 'Skateborder'.
These are just two out of many. And I suppose I don't need to mention some search engines that can help you find some more sites. And also if you want to check all the world class free skateparks around the world, just go to 'concretedi sciples.com'
This is all from me. Remember it is never late to try out something new. If you have always felt like having a skateboard and trying it out, go ahead! After all, nailing a 'heelflip' in front of your friends would get you more wows than doing 'shaader lau' on your guitar. And who knows one day you could be on ESPN!
P.S. Watch out for 'Tony Hawk Project 8' on PS2.