10 Countries With Fast Growing Skate Scenes
These skate scenes may be very small, but they are the ones so watch.
The reason skateboarding has flourished in so many places has been has been due to numerous factors; favourable weather and environment, stable social and economical situations, and also good access to skate equipment. All of these are necessary for a skate scene to grow.
We've compiled a list of countries who are taking their early steps as a skateboarding nation. It's exciting for them, every week more and more people pick up a board for the first time, land their first ollie or drops in for the first time.
Skateboarding is a nascent sport in Egypt, being introduced less than 10 years ago by the Skate Impact crew out of Alexandria. While the numbers of skaters in Egypt is still small, it's taken root and the scene is growing despite the turbulent state of the country.
Visiting skater Baxter Jackson says, “Grinding round Cairo is a bit like skating the streets of '70s California - curious and vocal audience guaranteed." There's no parks yet, but a burgeoning street scene in Tiba in Cairo, and Alexandria. With a bulging youth population, dry weather and enthusiasm we can't wait to see someone drop in on the Pyramids.
Skateboarding in Egypt:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kw5JpyW0zXY [part title="Ireland"]
Ireland’s weather and skateboarding aren’t exactly natural best buddies, but the hardcore scene in Ireland is thriving and has recently been given a massive new boost. A new government playground bill means fifteen new skateparks will be built for the country, a measure which will give Irish skating the kick up the posterior it’s been waiting for.
With a small, but committed group of talented skaters (head to the Monkstown Leisure Centre in Dublin to see the best of the crop), new infrastructure and access to all the best gear, the Irish skate scene is set for blast off. Now if it would only stop raining..
Skateboarding in Ireland:
http://mpora.com/videos/hcjlbvZEq [part title="China"]
The counter-culture roots of skateboarding seems very much at odds with China's enduring authoritarianism but since arriving in the late ‘80s there are now an estimated 50,000 skaters in the country. That'd be a healthy scene for most nations, not so much when you've got a population of more than one billion. Rock up to the Woodward Beijing, Ezone Sk8 Park in Fangzhuang, or the Sk8 Warehouse, and you’ll see a thriving skate scene and riders with incredible natural talent.
In 2011, Transworld Skateboarding also put Shenzhen as one of the ten best cities to skate in the world saying, “It has as proven enough of an untouched marble goldmine to serve as the epicentre of the budding Republic’s skateability."
Skateboarding in China:
http://mpora.com/videos/XQTj5NmfR [part title="Japan"]
While Japan’s fairly strict demeanour and love of rules has kept a lid on exponential growth, things are now changing, and changing fast. As you'd expect there's long been a governing body, the ASJA (All Japan Skateboard Association), which has been making sure everyone has well organised fun since 1996. This, as well as the numerous successful Japanese skate brands has not created a huge scene however due to the fact that concrete skate parks are in limited supply outside of the main cities and the streets are severely off limits. Still, the interest and potential is huge.
As skate journo and frequent visitor Steve Cave says, “Who knows, but with so much concrete in and around Japan's mega-cities and young people looking for a reason to be, there's no doubt skateboarding's there to stay."
Skateboarding in Japan:
http://mpora.com/videos/AAdeu6krmxr2 [part title="Sweden"]
Sweden has a healthy skate scene, centred in the capital and with good indoor facilities such as Bryggeriet in the south, and Stapelbäddsparken (www.stapelbaddsparken.se) which has hosted two finals of the Quiksilver Bowlriders.
However, last year Swedish skaters’ main goal to have skateboarding formally recognised by the Swedish Sports Confederation moved closer. This should give skateboarding a clearer identity among the decision makers, and grant skateboarding part of the 1.7 billion Swedish Kronor from the governmental sports funds in Sweden. More money means more parks, which means a healthier and faster growing skate scene.
Skateboarding in Sweden:
http://mpora.com/videos/WbSpvA0HK [part title="The Philippines"]
The Philippines is a hotbed of ridiculous new talent, with an interest and growth that is sure to explode over the next decade. Led by high-profile and active skaters such as Mike Torio, Raymond Wong, Jason Santiago, Bernard Viernes, Mon Chua, Jun Castor and Pedro Santos, the scene is strongest in the capital of Manilla. Focussing on the hubs of the DC Skatepark and the Chris T Sports Plaza.
However, as an indication of the future potential, take a look at the just-opened Mountain Dew Skate Park, the first urban concrete skate park in the country, which features approximately 10,700-square feet of skate area, all open to the public.
Skateboarding in the Philippines:
http://mpora.com/videos/W2YEdESsS [part title="Brazil"]
Brazil has had a long and passionate relationship with skateboarding since it was introduced there, way back in the ‘70s. These days, the skate scene is showing no signs of slowing down, and is in fact picking up speed.
The host of top-level local pros, led by the un-Brazilian sounding mega-ramp pervert, Bob Burnquist, and followed by the likes of Danny Cerezini, Luan Oliveira, Lincoln Ueda, Sandro Dias and Cristiano Mateus, are showing the local kids that they can make it onto the international stage. The scenes are strongest in Sao Paulo and Rio, and with more government funds being allocated to public parks, Brazil is set to be the next skating superpower.
Skateboarding in Brazil:
http://mpora.com/videos/C4npy0Nss [part title="Finland"]
If this list has shown anything it's that there's plenty of hunger in Scandanavia for skateboarding. We eagerly await the arrival of an austere, knitwear wearing, skateboarding detective on our screens. Perhaps nowhere in the world has embraced skateboarding like those crazy Finns. As an example, when Helsinki officials observed that city skaters appreciated public monuments that had ledges and curbs, they contracted people to build marble structures replicating the public works. Furthermore, the government employ skateboarders to build and operate urban skate parks, and generally allow them to oversee the parks' rules and regulations.
The result is a thriving, still-growing scene, with numerous skate-only local brands and shops, and a vast army of next-gen kids armed with skateboards and parental approval, and loads of sweet parks to use them.
Skateboarding in Finland:
http://mpora.com/videos/AAdjy3a6efb7 [part title="Puerto Rico"]
Puerto Rico’s strong surfing heritage has meant skating has always been a big part of the Caribbean Island’s counter-culture. Island Surfboard and Skate Shop, for example, has been a Puerto Rican skating institution since the 1970s.
The Guadajakata Ditch, a giant concrete spillway created for the overflow from Guadajakata Lake, further cemented (pardon the pun) its skate credentials. Since the lake has never overflowed, it ultimately leaves skaters with a massive concrete playground. Building on this history, Puerto Rico boasts an ever-expanding network of half-pipes, pitches and town squares filled with street skaters, as a new, second generation of skaters takes over the reins.
Skateboarding in Puerto Rico:
The sport’s spiritual and commercial home — a place where skateboarding has existed in some form for more than 50 years — it’s slightly surprising that the States has room for growth.
And yet back in 2009, Mark J. Penn, author of the book Microtrends, found that skateboarding was growing at an amazing rate of 166% per year, way more than any other sport or leisure activity. His statistics suggested that in the USA alone, there were over 12 million skaters and over 2,000 public skateparks, while traditional team sports, like football or baseball, are significantly decreasing in participation levels. Skating, it seems, ain’t going anywhere.