South Delhi has become a pilgrim spot of the skateboarders of South East Asia. For, this concrete urbane jungle is the birthplace for the skateboarding revolution in India. Even professional skaterboarders drop in to the area to pay homage to streets and taste the wild energy flowing in the ramps and rails of south Delhi.
South Delhi has over 500 skateboarders alone and the numbers are rising each day. From a realist point, skateboarding may be the next big extreme city sport in the next 10 years.
The reasons are simple. One can buy a skateboard for as little as a thousand rupees and no pre-requirements. All you need is a board and passion for speed. One can reach an intermediate level of skill simply by taking online skateboarding videos seriously.
Delhi's skateboarders take you into their exciting world
The growing influence of Hollywood and ‘Americana’ is another major reason why the educated Indian classes are growing towards skateboarding. It is slowly becoming very hip and cool to put on the Skater Boy look.
Well why wouldn’t they? Skateboard is a great way to be fit and nifty at the same time. Steve Weightman, 47, gave Delhi its first indoor skatepark named Freemotion Sk8 in Neb Sarai. In the two and half years since its inception, he has helped over 800 people skate board in Delhi.
He recounts, “One time, I was at a school event and I helped ladies wearing sarees to skate board. The children and teachers had a great time. I live for these moments that cut through cultures.” Steve has been living in Delhi for the past 14 years and has devoted the past three years of his life to promoting skateboarding in India.
“Delhi is filled with a jillion spots where you can have a great time skateboarding. The metro stations of Saket, Hauz Khas, CP, the pavilions of Pragati Maidan and Ansal Plaza are my favourite,” he added.
About 40 people visit his skatepark daily. People as old as 40 years turn up here. But the diversity doesn’t shock him. “India is still developing its first generation of skateboarders. Right now all are welcome and there is enough space for everybody. One cannot say the same about America. If you are 15 and you can’t skateboard, most likely you will never skate after that.”
Skateboarding is more just riding a wooden board it is an attitude. At one level you are challenging yourself, training yourself to jump higher, go faster and at another you learn internalize the codes of skateboarding into your own life.
“Learning how to fall is one big lesson I have got from skateboarding. Whenever I fall in life too, I know how to accept it and get back on my track with a bang” says 18-year-old Aditya Gutpa, a resident of Saket. He has been learning to skateboard for the past three years and very soon wants to start his own skateboarding magazine. More adolescent boys are growing fond of the trend and joining in.
“Each time we perform a demo, we attract a big crowd. People ask us all sorts of questions about the moves, tricks and the boards. Many of them have joined us too,” says Madhav Marla, 15, also from Saket.
India has a very big potential as it has vast urban spaces that are ideal for skateboarders. One obstacle that still exists is that skateboarding equipment is only limited to the big cities." Steve said, “India is experiencing a skateboarding revolution, pick a board and join in.”