Skateboarding in Costa Rica
Sk8 Costa Rica: This is Skateboarding in Costa Rica. Skateboarding in Costa Rica? How can you skateboard on dirt roads? With howler monkeys and sandy beaches … but without ramps, skate parks, ledges, handrails or stairs to ollie off?
Pura vida — it’s 2019 in Costa Rica! Skateboarding here is strong and on the rise. With surfing influences since the early ‘70s and the birth of street skating in the late ‘80s, Costa Rica has had a small-scale skateboard scene for longer than you might think. With growing international impact from traveling surfers and skateboarders, the addictive radicalness and pure fun were irresistible, ultimately spreading across this wonderful tropical country.
It started in San José, where an urban subculture scene emerged from the exploding popularity of skateboarding in the United States during the late ‘80s. The capital cityscape’s roughly paved streets, sidewalks and concrete jungle provided enough terrain to get skateboarders craving more challenging obstacles. They sought to progress in the sport as it was depicted in U.S. magazines and videos (remember VHS tapes?) by iconic skaters like Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain and Tommy Guerrero.
Meanwhile, more surfers who also skateboarded were traveling to Costa Rica for that perfect wave. They heard local rumors about backyard concrete bowls, some skateparks and street spots. In my own case, as someone who came to Tamarindo years ago to learn to surf, the Oneida Bowl was an attraction that made me fall deeper in love with this town. Surfing in the morning and skateboard sessions at sunset … tuanis mae, I’m staying!
Fast forward to 2019, and skateboarding and surfing now go hand in hand. From the influence of tricks we are seeing a growing number of concrete parks. Kids are skateboarding as early as their parents let them (or try to dissuade them). The 40-something-year-olds reminisce about ‘80s music like The Cure and The Now (old school scene). Skateboarding is even rumored to be an up and coming Olympic sport.
So yes, there is no stopping the rise in skateparks and skateboarding culture being seen today throughout Costa Rica. From San José, Moravia, Tilarán and Jacó to Nosara, Playa Negra, Villarreal and Tamarindo (the talk of the new park got all of us so excited!), the list keeps growing. All towns want a skatepark to keep their skaters safe and give them a place to progress, get stoked and have fun. Each skatepark has its own vibe, just like surf spots have their own wave or break styles. Some offer huge gnarly barrels or big deep concrete bowls; others have cruisy, chest-high peeling waves or smaller transitions like mini-ramps with snake runs to pump and flow. Skateparks do have in common one awesome thing you can almost always count on — smooth and glassy conditions, except when it rains.
So now we advise everyone planning a trip to Costa Rica to pack all the usual items: sunscreen, bugspray and shorts … plus, don’t forget your skateboard! If the waves are too small to surf, the skatepark might be just where you want to be. Trust me, there’s a session going down somewhere not far away.
The Howler plans to feature different skate spots and skateboard scenes on a regular basis. So stay tuned, stay stoked, and go skateboarding!
What Makes a Wave Spit?
The Climate is Changing, Will There Be Waves?
Hurricanes in Costa Rica?
The Importance of Swell Angle
What Makes a Good Surf Spot
What Makes a Good Surf Spot 2
Why Do Waves Break?
Cold Water in Costa Rica?
The Science of Stoke
Tamarindo Spot Check
The Papagayo Winds
How Waves Are Created