What It's Like To Skate Venice Beach
Just a half hour from the offices at Stoked HQ are the grounds of the quintessential Southern California skateboarding experience, Venice Beach. Widely revered as the birthplace of skateboarding, the sunset mecca has evolved exponentially for the skateboarding community and the general public alike since the days when the Z-Boys ruled the land. On one hand, tourists flock to the area in an hopes to get a taste of the action, wandering into the lines of dozens of skaters lines along the way. On the other hand, a pristine, transition-oriented skatepark and a collection of skatable obstacles just outside of the park makes for the daily migration of more skaters than anywhere in the world. To break down this chaos, we made a guide for first-timers to highlight the best skate spots that Venice Beach has to offer.
What to Skate: Miles of a beachfront promenade with the most eclectic arrangement of out-of-towners, wannabe rappers, weed doctors, starving artists, rollerbladers and general weirdos that you could think of. Practice those fancy carving skills if you’re trying to mash through pedestrians and dazzle them with your brazen and unapologetic intensity. Or, take the mellow route and give ‘em a show with some sidesteps and spins on your jazzy Loaded Tarab setup. Be loud and be proud.
Location: The intersection of Market Street and Ocean Front Walk will put you right in the middle of the action.
Pro Tip: Be a willing participant support the local art scene. There are many ways you can do so. For example, you can be a part of the thrilling street performer routine where a group of “professionals” pick you out from the crowd before hurdling you and some dudes you’ve never met before. Maybe if you let them borrow your shred sled, they can try ollie-ing you too!
The Snake Pit
What to Skate: The smoothest snake run/flow section/bowl you could ever hope to lay those new Blood Orange Jammerz on. Mellow roll ins and a bounty of hips to pump allow for massive flyouts and optimal air time to 'wow' the crowd.
Location: Inside the skatepark, which is directly in the middle of the boardwalk and out towards the beach.
Pro Tip: Have one flashy trick on lock that you know tourists will think is way crazier than it probably is. Footplants and grab tricks are a solid and flamboyant choice here. Though your audience will be mesmerized long enough to take a sweet Boomerang of you for Instagram, they won’t stick around too long afterwards. Repeat the trick every couple of times for the new faces in the crowd and soak up the applause and the California sunset all at once.
The 3 Block / Ledge
What to Skate: A collection of concrete slabs that can either be approached as a three block, a ledge or a mattress as long as you trust the homies launching over you.
Location: Inside the skatepark, to the left when you walk in
Pro Tip: This area of the park is frequented by those who are looking to stay out of the spotlight and get some peace and quiet. It also happens to be where the cannibis-indulging beach goers tend to congregate before making their way back to the streets. As long as you don’t mind the lingering scent, you’ll do just fine here.
The Cheese Wedge
What to Skate: Some sort of a cement block that looks oddly similar a piece of Swiss cheese. Scuff up the bottom of that new Powell Peralta Flight deck you just got with some boardslides on the down slope or test out its pop by throwing an ollie up and over as high as you can. The most daring will attempt to pull some sort of hippy jump manuver by sending their board through one of the holes as they hop the top.
Location: The circular area of skate obstacles, in between the board walk and the skate park. Complete with the perfect mix of cyclists cutting through to get to the bike path and passerbys waiting to join the zoo of spectators at the skate park.
Pro Tip: Since the metal flatbar (located a few feet away) that you might have seen in photos before is falling apart, this thing is your only chance to practice your ledge game before entering the real park. If you slam and no one notices, did you really even slam?
The Mini Vert
What to Skate: A lengthy quarter pipe that stands an intimidating foot and a half off the ground. The skinny coping at the top will make you contemplate where builders could have even found a pipe so thin while the unavoidable crack at the foot of the transition gives this spot that extra bit of zest.
Location: Directly across from The Cheese Wedge in that same circular area between the boardwalk and the skatepark.
Pro Tip: With the massive concrete pool in the background reserved for the big dogs (and the old dogs) this area is one where parents tend to take the little rippers. This means it’s your chance to become that icon that will stick in their minds and inspire them to skate (and destroy) for future generations. Pull out all the stops and show em what you’ve got.
By now, hopefully you’re feeling prepared to hop on your Arbor Hybrid and sidewalk surf down to skateboarding’s promised land. If not, maybe it was our fault. Let us know what Venice Beach spots we may have missed or if our humor was completely off the mark by leaving any questions, comments or concerns below or hitting us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.