One after another clatter sounds on the concrete, sometimes the loud ripping echoes. Geared boys and girls are not afraid of falling in the park, youth have no enemy.
Like many South Asian countries, skateboarding started as early as the 1990s or even earlier. In the tourist-favorite spots and major cities, foreign skaters and expatriates contributed to the initial scene. In the past decade, the number of skateboarders has increased. And the pandemic lockdown caused the skate population to grow exponentially. According to Mahesh, a mentor at the Delhi Skateboarding Academy, there are at least thousands skaters are in New Delhi, ranging from three to 50 years old. But surprisedly there isn’t any skate shop in the town. Most of the market is dominated by the chains Decathlon or Goa’s well-received brand Piso Skateboard. In contrast, Dhaka city in Bangladesh alone has three skate shops. However, there are very limited spaces for skating in urban, the entire country only has one skatepark (opened in 2020), let alone in the countryside.
New Delhi is simply skateboarding heaven, filled with tons of spots where you can have a great time skateboarding. Glossily ground around the metro stations, vast plazas, classic stairs, sloping walls, solid rails … even without an angry guard. Just like the art space in place gathers the local community, skaters assemble around the skate spots. Parks, shopping malls, and other public facilities are meeting points to nurture culture. Such as Deer Park, Connaught Place, Central Park, Palika Bazar, Nehru Place, Pragati Maidan, Ansal Plaza, and Sector 9 Skating Rink…. Therefore, this concrete urbane jungle is the birthplace for the skateboarding revolution. Skateboarding culture exists naturally in the city.
From 2013 to 2015, Delhi had the first indoor skatepark, “Free Motion Sk8” formed by a California skateboarder Steve who then lived in Delhi. It nourished India’s first generation of skateboarders, while skateboarding was still a new thing to most people. And now New Delhi is benefiting from two Neb Sarai-based private skateparks. Delhi Skateboarding Academy and the Backyard Skatepark. Those skateparks are the abodes of many skaters who make a living by skateboarding.
Delhi Skateboarding Academy (DSA) is a basement indoor skatepark of around 3000 sq. ft. since 2016, led by Surjeet Kumar, a skateboarder. DSA is the shelter from the malicious weather and toxic air pollution. There are quarter pipes, bank ramp, kicker, flat bar, mini ramp, box.. et cetera. Up to now thousands of skaters have practiced here, including many medal-winning boys and girls, and the well-known Asha Gond (the movie “Skater Girl” is believed based on her story) skated at DSA when she was studying in Delhi.
Another skatepark “Backyard Skatepark”, is a street-style outdoor spot. Opened in December 2021, 10 mins walk from Delhi Skateboarding Academy. Between puzzled muddy narrow alleys, it locates in a block mix of garden dwellings and factory workshops, able to see the wide sky.
The owner of the skate park, Anil Dhankar, made this park because of his two sons. Both of them love skateboarding, took part in national competitions and won medals. Then he thought about how to bring them to the next level. To help sons and their skater friends polishing further skills, he built a skatepark on a small piece of land. Although it’s a small skatepark (roughly 3200 sq. ft.), it contains varieties of setups designed by the in-house skater Akash with suggestions from local skaters. It tried to achieve the variety of training. You could see quarter pipes, banks, manny pad, ledge, stairs, flat bar, down rails, Hubba, and a small pyramid. The venue is open for paid use, Akash said the membership has now reached 250, including about 20-30 girl skaters.
Delhi skaters often won the medals over national competitions. The skateboarding-friendly streets, skateparks, and supportive mentorship created the dynamic skate scene in New Delhi.
What if in Chattogram a skatepark….