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Skateboarding: Riding the Waves on Wheels

Apollo Beach Skate Park a great place to learn

The Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation department has three skate parks to choose from when looking for the perfect place to ride the concrete waves, either by skate or skateboard. Each offers unique features and are suited to varying abilities, and two locations host skate camps. This is the first of three newsroom stories that will highlight each park.

Dubbed sidewalk surfing in the early days, skateboarding evolved from riding the waves, giving surfers a different thrill when the waves were flat. The sport has come a long way from the early days of roller skate wheels attached to a wooden board. Today's skateboarders have sophisticated equipment and parks designated for the sport.

Apollo Beach Skate Park is a great place for beginners to get their skate legs. The park has 11,000 square feet of skating surface, and provides real-street and skate plaza experiences. Intermediate and advanced skaters can tackle the park's many features, too.

Features unique to Apollo Beach Skate Park include:

  • Five stair and three flat two stair set
  • Two Euro gaps
  • Handrails and smaller rails
  • Hubba ledges
  • Bank to bank

When 8-year-old Bradley Roberts told his mother that he wanted to learn to skateboard more than a year ago, she enrolled him in lessons at Apollo Beach. He's been skateboarding ever since. "I like that you can go on a ramp and do lots of tricks," Bradley said.

"You could hear the excitement in his voice," said Patsy Roberts, when he wanted to show his older sister his new skills. He also shared his new-found knowledge by teaching younger cousins to stand on a board.

If you've never stepped on a skateboard before, have no fear - specialty skate camps are offered at Apollo Beach this summer to help kids stay active during the long summer days. The camps are kept to groups of about 12. Skate camp is the perfect forum to help new skaters learn the basics and let more experienced skaters perfect their style and master tricks.

There are still openings for this summer's specialty skate camps at Apollo Beach, as well as at Hillsborough County's Providence Skate Park.

And, there's nothing like learning from more skilled peers. "We encourage all new kids coming to the skate park to ask other skaters for advice," said Raleigh Barnes, an avid skater who manages the Apollo Beach Skate Park. "We have all been new on a board and have faced similar trials and tribulations."

Lessons and camps will pay-off if you want to compete in the annual Best Shredder three-part contest series. Each park hosts a contest with the series concluding in the fall. The next contest is Aug. 11 at Jackson Springs Skate Park. Contests are held in four age categories ranging from less than eight years of age to 16 and older.

See our skate parks page for the latest information on skate events.

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