The streets (and playgrounds) of New York are filled with skateboarders big and small. If your little Dude or Dudette is interested in learning more about the sport, these awesome spots are the perfect place to turn from poser to pro. With the right equipment, good instructions and sick places to practice, your little newbies will be doing tricks in no time. Skate on!
photo: Everyday Athlete/Tomas Anthony
While there are lots of totally rad places to shop for that perfect board, there are two places that really cater to the groms or young skaters, especially those that are just starting out.
The first is Homage Skateboard Shop in Brooklyn, which also has a training facility nearby, and Uncle Funky Boards in Manhattan. Both shops pride themselves in not only helping the pros, but also those that are new to the sport. For basic “suiting up,” suggestions from the staff include helmets, knee, elbow and wrist guards to protect from any spill. You’ll also need a complete skateboard, which consists of a deck, two trucks, four wheels and eight bearings.
Other NYC shops with devoted clientele include Belief Skateshop and Boutique in Astoria and CD Skateshop on Staten Island.
Homage Skateboard Shop
64 Bergen St.
Uncle Funky Boards
128 Charles St.
photo: Everyday Athlete/Tomas Anthony
For Awesome Lessons for Rookies: Everyday Athlete
Everyday Athlete has two campuses in Brooklyn where your little cub can learn. They run Skateboarding Saturdays (which start this fall) as well as a very well-attended summer camp for kids.
Instructors use a methodology that specifically caters to your little skaters, and a small teacher to student ratio means instructors have the time to work with each skater individually. Classes are divided into age groups of 4 to 6-year-olds or 7 to 9-year-olds. With the use of sturdy and equipment that’s easy to maneuver, kids are standing on their boards and doing kicks in no time. EA offers Fall and Winter sessions with pricing starting at $900; discounts are available for full-year enrollment and drop-ins are welcome.
130 Clinton St.
136 Union St.
photo: via Louie Skateboarding School via Yelp
Here’s a school your little one won’t ever want to skip. The Skateboarding School was founded by veteran-pro skateboarder Luiz Louie, or Louie Louie as most people know him. Louie’s been teaching children and adults his passion for more than 15 years. He holds classes in different boroughs and neighborhoods from Central Park, Tribeca, and Battery Park City in Manhattan to Astoria and Flushing Meadows -Corona Park in Queens. Courses vary depending on the season, so email the school to find out where they are being held.
Louie says what makes his school unique is the fact you are learning from those people that do it professionally, which means a fast learning curve.
Group lessons are offered for ages 5 through 11 and focus on safety and full protection when on the board. Individual lessons are $80 per hour. Group lessons run $36 per student per class; private and group lesson packages are also available.
The Go Between: Sick Skate Lessons for Intermediate Skaters: Homage Skateboard Academy
When your kids has mastered the rookie stage but aren’t quite yet vets, Homage Skateboard Academy is a great place to continue working on honing those board skills. In an adjacent neighborhood to its skate shop in Brooklyn, Homage also runs a skateboard academy that offers programs for kids on an indoor training facility that is challenging, but not too intimidating.
During lessons, teachers show kids how to control the boards and introduce special methods to help kids gain confidence on the board quickly. Private, group, weekend and after-school lessons are available.
Homage Skateboard Academy
615 Degraw St.
photo: SURE Skateboard/Buddy Squires
To Go for a Test Ride: Drop in Lessons with SURE Skateboard
If you have a little one who wants to give skateboarding a try, SURE Skateboard offers open group skateboard lessons in the West Village on weekends— just bring a skateboard and a helmet and drop by. These open group lessons are for all levels, from the newbie who is getting on a board for the first time to the skater that wants to brush up on some skills.
SURE stands for “Skateboarder’s Urban Riding Environment,” and promotes skateboarding as a way to get around the city.
Open group lessons are on Saturdays at Horatio and Hudson Streets and Sundays at Seward Park on the Lower East Side. Lessons run from noon until 1 p.m. and cost $20 per session. Private lessons are also offered with free skateboard and equipment provided.
photo: via Dee D on Yelp
Best Skatepark for a First Official Run: Astoria Skate Plaza
When your skater is ready to hit a skate park, the Astoria Skate Plaza in Astoria Park is a great place to go. Located right under the RFK Bridge, this 21,500-square-foot concrete park features enough open space for skaters of all skills to stay out of each other’s way. However, skaters say the best time for kids to get in some practice without crowds is a weekday morning. Other friendly skateparks are the Pier 62 Skatepark in Chelsea and Owl’s Head Millennium Skatepark in Bay Ridge.
Astoria Skate Plaza
Astoria Park South
21st St., Hoyt Ave., Ditmas Blvd., East River
photo: 5050 Skatepark
For Vibin Indoors: 5050 Skatepark
5050 Skatepark is Staten Island’s first — and New York City’s only — indoor skatepark. This custom-built facility is a place to expand skate skills in a creative and safe environment, and the owners ask kids’ input on designing the ever-changing landscape of ramps and courses. It is also a haven for hard -core celeb skaters; you can often find Little Wayne flipping and popping during one of the park’s regular sessions. 5050 is open six days a week and costs $12 per three-hour session, or $20 for an all-day pass.
354 Front St.
For Girls’ Night Out: GRO
As Beyonce says, “girls Run the World and soon maybe skater girls will run the sport. This is thanks to non-profit organizations like GRO, which stands for Girls Riders Organization. The mission of GRO is to inspire, educate and support girls through action sports like skateboarding, teaching lessons that help girls not only in action sports but empower them to be leaders of positive change. The organization has crews throughout the country, including a New York City Chapter which sponsors monthly girls’ sessions in various locations from Riverside Park to Homage Skate Academy in Gowanus. The NYC crew stays connected to all the independent women out there through various social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account and a monthly newsletter.