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Skater of the Week: Ryan Decenzo

Skateboarder Ryan Decenzo of the Greater Vancouver area in Canada’s British Columbia province is one of the stars of “Shoot to Thrill,” a unique production organized through the Red Bull energy drink.
Ryan Decenzo is among Shoot to Thrill skateboarders who formed 10 teams, with three skaters each, in 10 Canadian cities. Each Shoot to Thrill team was given a limited 10 rolls of film and 72 hours to record their best productions. Ryan Decenzo’s team captured top prize money, and the compiled Shoot to Thrill footage made its debut shortly before Christmas in Vancouver.

Film for Shoot to Thrill was precious for Ryan Decenzo and other participants, because it would go to waste with a botched routine. “Sometimes it was hard to try and land a trick with the pressure of the 16mm film,” recalls Decenzo, 23, who is among a rising tide of Canadian skateboarders who are cracking the world scene. “Or it was hard because sometimes tricks take an hour and you have to think like, ‘OK, how long is this trick gonna take and when should I ask for these guys to use the 16mm?’ There was pressure for sure. I think it only sprinkled for a minute during the mini-ramp session, so we got lucky weather wise.”

For Shoot to Thrill, Ryan Decenzo came up with a skateboarding storyline based on a race. “The acting was minimal and funny, plus the story is sort of comical so it doesn’t matter if we sucked at acting,” Decenzo says in his usual modest and lighthearted way.

Greater Vancouver’s winters are mild, compared to most of the rest of Canada, and so Ryan Decenzo says that as a youngster, he was a skateboarder for all seasons. “If I’m somewhere where I have some free space and my board, I’m definitely gonna be rolling around jumping on and off stuff or kick flippin’ all over the place,” Decenzo says.

See him in Shoot to Thrill, and in an array of other videos on YouTube.


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Coolest Skate Park: Ramp-N-Speed

In Alabama there is an indoor-outdoor skate park that is calling your name. It is the Ramp-N-Speed Indoor/Outdoor Skate Park. Here you will find a great collection of indoor and outdoor skating structures that allow you the chance to learn new tricks and prefect old ones. This park can be found at 1200 Alton Drive in Birmingham, Alabama.

Ramp-N-Speed Indoor/Outdoor Skate Park – The Basics
Ramp-N-Speed Skate Park offers the best of both indoor and outdoor skate parks. The interior park offers boxes, a 15-foot vertical wall, a 6-foot mini ramp, a hip to a 6-foot mini ramp and a 4-foot spine. Outside you will find a twelve foot vert ramp, several launching ramps, rails, boxes, a triple hip and quarter pipes of various sizes. While this park is packed with great skating features, it is not a bowl park.

Ramp-N-Speed Indoor/Outdoor Skate Park – Rules and Hours
During the school year, Ramp-N-Speed Skate Park is closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. During the rest of the year, the park is open Tuesday through Thursday from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 1 p.m. until 11 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m.

This park only has a few simple rules. To start with, you will need to sign a liability waiver before you can skate here. Next you are required to wear a helmet while skating. Pads are option, but recommended. If you don’t have your own helmet and pads, you can rent them here. To prevent rashes from the pads, wear a long-sleeved shirt under your elbow pads and long pants under your knees pads. Also, don’t forget to put on a pair of shoes that have skid-resistant soles.

In addition to skateboarders, bikers and rollerbladers are also allowed in the park. Since there is a mix of sports going on here, you will want to keep your eyes open and be aware of who and what is around you. Also make sure you don’t try to cut anyone off while skating. This can be dangerous and bring the fun mood of the skate park down.

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Featured Snowboarder of the Week: Norway's Fredrik Austbo

Snowboarder Fredrik “Shredrik” Austbo has a challenge that might surprise you. The 20-year-old boarder comes from Norway, but there’s not as much snow as he would like. Not enough snow in Norway? Well, this is Stavanger in southwest Norway.

Fredrik Austbo says the season is short, and the nearest good mountain is more than two hours away. Therefore, he started out in soccer shoes, hockey skates and with a skateboard. He’s also into gymnastics and surfing. So, when he first tried a snowboard at the age of 10, with all of his athletic ability, it felt perfectly natural. Therefore, Fredrik is reminiscent of American Shaun White, with the potential to combine the snowboard with the skateboard in a “free and happy” way. How’s this for a good solid day: “I eat a good breakfast and then go up to the mountain and ride the whole day with my friends. Then afterwords, I go skateboarding.”

As an adolescent, Fredrik “Shredrik” Austbo says he didn’t think of turning pro or making money, even though he was winning loads of medals and trophies in Europe. Only during recent years did he turn truly serious about a pro career. His main influence is his coach and ThirtyTwo team manager, Jan Prokes.

Because of his wide ranging background, Fredrik Austbo is amused at a feature that invites viewers “to watch some footage of ThirtyTwo team rider Fredrik Austbo shredding up the concrete over at etnies . What? You didn’t know he could skate? Hell, yeah! Turns out Fred’s a full-on tranny dog who loves to grrr-ind coping for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Fredrik Austbo has broken out of the European confines to compete at destinations as distant as the United States and Canada.


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Coolest Skate Park: Rye Airfield Skate Park - Rye, New Hampshire

If you are in New England and looking for a great place to go skateboarding, the Rye Airfield is the place to go. This skate park is a New Hampshire Mecca for skaters, which offers about 50,000 square feet of skating terrain. It is generally open Tuesday through Sundays, however, if you want, you can rent out the entire complex on Mondays.

Rye Airfield – The Basics
The Rye Airfield can be found at 170 Lafayette Road in Rye, New Hampshire. During the school year this skate park is open Tuesday through Friday from 3 p.m. until 8:45 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. until 8:45 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. During winter and spring break, Rye Airfield expands its hours so that it is open Monday through Friday from noon until 8:45 p.m., in addition to its normal weekend hours. During the summer months the park is open Monday through Saturday from noon until 8:45 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 5:45 p.m.

This is not a free park, so you will have to find a few bucks to get in. Session passes cost between $10 and $14, day passes cost between $25 and $33, and 30-day passes cost between $49 and $75. The price that you are charged will depend on whether you are a member or a non-member of the Rye Airfield.

Rye Airfield – The Features
The Rye Airfield is one of the largest skate parks in New England, so pull on a pair of jeans and grab your board for one of the best skate experiences of your life. There are four different sections to this park. The first section is the Proving Ground. This area includes ledges, gaps, a pyramid, deck-to-deck jumps, a hubbarail and a variety of trannies.

The second section of the park is called the Flow Unit. Here you will find a great ten-foot quarter pipe, an eight-foot bowl and more modest seven-foot bowl. Make sure you have the skills to navigate these features before you set your board in motion.

The third section of the park is the Micro. Here you will find micro ramps, mini box jumps, rails, pyramids and a double many.

The final area in this park is the Gap Ledges. Here you will find three great ledges with deck-to-deck jumps. This is a great area to learn new tricks.

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Craziest Stunts: Rooftop Skateboarding

According to a recent news report, a group of teenagers were eager to enjoy some fun in the sun on the Sunshine Coast of Australia by jumping off the Coolum Beach’s Esplanade rooftop – on skateboards.

The teenagers were practicing awe-inspiring leaps, twists and jumps on top of the roof and managed to catch the attention of shoppers and retail store owners over the weekend. The daredevils managed to pull off an impressive lineup of skateboarding tricks including vertical jumps, 360 degree leaps and 180s on top of an uneven rooftop.

Residents and shop owners confirmed that they were dong no harm and were just having some fun. The skateboarders simply enjoyed their practice session and adrenaline rush before heading home for the evening.

Ramping Up Your Skateboarding Skills

Skateboarding tricks and stunts can take months, even years to master, but the gurus of the skateboard have learned how to ride, maneuver and balance properly to avoid serious injuries.

Beginners may need to wear protective gear such as knee and elbow pads, the right shoes and even a helmet to reduce injury from a skateboarding mishap. Getting just the right angles and balancing the body just right before performing a jump or leap can be difficult for the beginning boarder; still, there are some ways to improve your skills.

First, you’ll be better off practicing at an actual skate park before venturing onto the rooftops of buildings in the near future. Skate parks are designed with special edges and tracks that cater to the wheels of a skateboard. This will make it easier to practice those ollies, grinds and 180s without running into walls or other skaters. Well, at least for the most part.

You’ll also need to practice good form. Keeping your weight balanced by bending your knees slightly and relaxing the body will help you maneuver the board easily and help you execute each move with ease. Keeping your eyes focused on the ground ahead (and not on your feet) will also help you navigate better and plan your next move.

Finally, don’t forget to use skateboard wax. You’ll need to rub this on the ledge you are working against so that you can ride up to the edge and make your turns with ease. A block of hard wax is fairly cheap and will likely last you through an entire skating season.

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Coolest Skate Park: Ed Austin Skate Park - Jacksonville, Florida

While it took a little longer to build this skate park than anticipated, the Ed Austin Skate Park of Jacksonville, Florida, finally opened its skating complex in May of 2008. At a cost of $425,000, this 7,500-square-foot skate park is a welcomed addition to the 141-acre Ed Austin Regional Park.

Ed Austin Skate Park – Unique and Organic
What makes the Ed Austin Skate Park a unique place to skate is that, unlike many skate parks, it was designed to provide skate features that had a natural architectural feel. This means that the features like benches, rails, ledges and planters that are positioned within the skating complex look like real benches, rails, ledges and planters that you would normally find in urban settings.

In addition to a great, realistic street course, the Ed Austin Skate Park also offers vert features. One of the highlights of the vert complex is the wide brick quarter pipe. This park also has concrete bowls of various depths and shapes and a modest selection of ramps and flow elements.

Staying Safe at Ed Austin Skate Park
Just like skateboarding at any skate park in the world, you are responsible for your own safety at the Ed Austin Skate Park. This means that you need to wear the appropriate clothing for the weather and for skating, that you wear a well fitted helmet with a chin strap and elbow and knee pads. You will also want to be aware of your surroundings while in the skating complex. Just because you know how to navigate your skateboard through a maze of people and obstacles without a scratch or how to stop on a dime, doesn’t mean that others using the park have the same skills.

Finally, be respectful of the skate park and its features. At a cost of nearly a half million dollars, this community-operated skate park was an expensive investment made for skaters. Don’t tag the concrete or wood structures, pick up after yourself and try to keep this park in as good of condition as possible so that it will serve skaters for decades to come and encourage local communities like Jacksonville to continue to invest in skate parks.

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Coolest Skate Park: Castle Rock, Colorado

Castle Rock is a city between Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado. This quaint little urban center has an amazing backdrop to skate against, as well as one of the better skate parks in the state. This skate park is called the Castle Rock Skate Park, and if you enjoy bowls or street courses, you are going to love it.

Castle Rock Skate Park – the Basics
The Castle Rock Skate Park can be found at 4420 Front Street in Castle Rock, Colorado. This park is less than an hour from both Denver and Colorado Springs, so it is the perfect place to go if you are visiting either of these cities. This is a skate-at-your-own-risk park, which means that you are responsible for your own safety. You will want to wear a helmet, padding and the appropriate clothing for the weather. Also, this park has easy transitions and roll-ins into the bowls, which means a lot of people who don’t really have the skills to handle bowls will be trying their luck. Keep this is mind as you roll in and be aware of who is skating around you.

Castle Rock Skate Park – The Bowls
The Castle Rock Skate Park has a great collection of bowls. The largest bowl has an estimated depth of 9.5 feet. There is also a tri-bowl with depths of three, four and five feet, a fish bowls, a mogul bowl and a handicap bowl. Most of the bowls in this skate park have roll-ins, and some bowls are connected to one another with spines.

Castle Rock Skate Park – Street Terrain
While the bowls at this park are great they are not the main attraction. The street course at this park is super cool and super big. In fact, the square footage dedicated to the street course is larger than most skate parks in Colorado. The street course is made up of banks, rails, stairs, trannies, curbs, planters, ledges and a great new snake run. Again keep in mind that there are skaters of all skill level using the park and some may not have the skills to maintain control of their boards and bodies. To protect yourself and them from injuries keep your eyes open for other skaters as you navigate your way around the street course.

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Best Vacation Spots for Skaters: Pala, California

Pala is quaint little town in California found in San Diego County. It is about 404 feet above sea level and is primarily a Native American community. This city is known for its treasures, primarily gold, tourmaline, morganite beryl and kunzite. However, it is also a great spot to test your luck at the local casinos. Finally, if you are a skateboarder, you will enjoy the Pala Skate Park, which is located next door to a great spa and resort.

Pala Skate Park – Pala, California
The Pala Skate Park is one of the city’s main attractions. This park can be found at 11154 Highway 76, Pala, California. This is a concrete bowl park that costs less than the price of a movie ticket to skate for the day. If you will be in town for more than the day you can save money by purchasing a weekend or weekly pass. This is a great activity for the kids to do while parents are gambling at the local casinos or taking advantage of the nearby spa treatments.

Pala, California Attractions
There are three other main attractions found in Pala, California. The first attraction, located right next door to the Pala Skate Park, is the Pala Casino Resort Spa. Here you can gamble, go for a swim or sign up for a few spa treatments before heading on your way.

The second attraction is the Pala Casino. The Pala Casino offers a huge selection of games to choose between. There are over 2,000 gaming machines and over 59 table games. The table games offered by this casino include Caribbean Stud Poker, Pai-Gow Poker, Blackjack and Baccarat.

The third attraction is Gems of Pala. Here you can buy specimens of tourmaline jewelry or take a tour of the mine. This is a great stop if you enjoy pink tourmaline or if you are interested in gemology.

Vacationing in Pala, California
When vacationing in Pala, California, it is important that you dress for the weather. With cool winters and hot summers it is a good idea to pack clothing that you can layer. During the warmer months, you will want to wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses . In the cooler months, you will want to pack a windbreaker , a thin long sleeved shirt and long pants.