UAE: Pandemic boredom inspires Abu Dhabi youth to take up skateboarding

Growing numbers of young skateboarders often gather at parks to practice with friends



by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Sun 24 Jul 2022, 2:51 PM

Last updated: Sun 24 Jul 2022, 3:25 PM

Skateboarding is beginning to gather pace in Abu Dhabi, with many youngsters seen on skateboards in various areas enjoying the sport.

The skateboarding trend in the UAE capital began as a result of Covid-19 lockdown boredom, but it has soon swept across many areas of the city as one of the fastest-growing.

Now an Olympic sport, riders stand on a flat board, commonly made of wood, with four rollers attached beneath to either showcase skills or commute.

The skateboard has three major parts – the deck, trucks and wheels. The deck is the actual board on which riders stand, and wheels are what help in moving around, and trucks connect the wheels to the deck.

In Abu Dhabi, there are a variety of places for skateboarding, especially in parks and other areas, which attract a growing number of skaters. They include Sheikha Fatima Park, Al Faya Park, Al Reem Park, Hudayriyat Island Circuit x (which requires a ticket to enter), West Yas Park, Yas South Park and Corniche Family Urban Park. The Corniche's dedicated cycling path is also smooth and even, perfect for cyclists, skaters, and those on scooters.

These free-of-charge skateboarding places provide an arena from sunrise to sunset, allowing youngsters to gather and practice skating safely while encouraging psychosocial welfare and community spirit.

One of the missions of Hudayriyat island's Circuit X is to help grow the skateboarding sport in Abu Dhabi by allowing skateboarders to have a place to go and for it to be somewhere like-minded people can meet up.

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16-year-old Filipino Luis Rogas says he's enthusiastic about the sport and is trying to learn everything about skateboarding.

"I like skateboarding, and I always go out every evening to practice and enjoy the sport. Sometimes we skate in a group with friends," said Rogas, who skateboards at Abu Dhabi's Formal Park and Abu Dhabi Corniche.

The 11th grader at a private school in Abu Dhabi says one of his friends at school encouraged him to get a skateboard and try it out because it was fun.

13-year-old seventh grader Luis Arkin says he's been skateboarding at Abu Dhabi Corniche with friends.

"We come here from 5pm to 8pm to practice skateboarding for fun. I have learnt new skateboarding techniques, which helps me avoid accidents while also boosting my confidence," says the Filipino, student adding that he can also perform tricks on the board.

"I am happy that skateboarding is now an Olympic sport, and I believe many youngsters will continue joining the sport."

Luis Rogas and Luis Arkin
Luis Rogas and Luis Arkin

Demand for skateboards increased during Covid-19 lockdown boredom

Yusuf Al Mullah, a salesman at Corner Stars Sports shop in Abu Dhabi says the demand for skateboards and roller skates started to increase during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 as many sports facilities had been closed as a precautionary measure to control the spread of Covid-19.

"When Covid-19 restrictions were at the peak, a big number of youths resorted to skateboarding for fun as many sports activities that gather many people were restricted and some facilities closed," he said,

"During that demand for the skateboards was so high during that period. Currently, we receive many parents asking for roller skates, especially for children who are less than 13 years old, compared to skateboards."

Another salesman, Arafat Islam from Sports Pool Shop says they receive five to ten customers asking for skateboards weekly.

"There is no doubt that skateboarding sport is growing in Abu Dhabi. The demand for the skateboards has, however, gone a little down this year compared to the past two years due to the emerging of e-scooters," he said.

Islam explained that the price for regular skateboards range from Dh50 to Dh500 depending on the size and brand. For roller stakes, the prices start from Dh120.

- ismail@khaleejtimes.com


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