Photo Credit: KDKA


With the advent of the the X-Games and Extreme Sports phenomena and watching skateboard and snowboard action with Tony Hawk and Shuan White, there has been a huge interest at skate parks to mirror their amazing antics. Skateboard enthusiasts look for any ramps, railings, walls or elevated objects to engage in varied twists , turns and aerial maneuvers. Long before the kids take on a professional status, it is necessary to start with the proper equipment and all safety procedures. This includes helmets, guards, protective pads and a well made skateboard for the tricks and jumps to be done in a successful manner, and hopefully landing in the correct technique and in control at all times. There are myriad of skateparks in the Pittsburgh region that meets the needs of beginner and advanced levels and there is a “bowl” or ramp just waiting for the next superstar. Be sure to check with the rules and regulations at each park.
McKinley Skate Park
Pittsburgh, PA 15210
(412) 255-2539
pittsburgh.gov/citiparks/skate-parks

The skate park is part of the Citi-Parks recreation program and it’s suitable for all levels of skills and a trip to Bellzhoover will fit the needs of all aspiring skateboarders. Before heading for the action, it is deemed necessary to be aligned with all the proper equipment. Make sure that the helmet fits properly and there is protection on the knees and arms. This will be needed for traversing the rails and ramps and the constant ebb and flow of the constant rattle along the gravity and speed of the half-pipe. There are enough challenges and skill development to learn at the skate park for  a great start to execute all the twists , turns and high-flying action on the rails, ramps and stairs.

Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark
Forsythe Road & Cook Lane
Carnegie, PA 15106
www.pitcherpark.com

If you are anywhere near Carnegie, you will enjoy the Pitcher Park Skate Park and the the world class concrete skate area, which was built as a memorial for a son, and a grant funded by the Tony Hawk Foundation. The skate park has the feel of dedicated community and volunteers, who were responsible for the awesome display of ramps, rails, half-pipes and a professional look that seems like the participants are being part of the X-Games. The skate park has lights that illuminate the area for a safe journey and the overall appearance is being somewhere special and each loop, turn and aerial contortion are indicative of the planning and commitment to excellence.  The area of the skate park has enough space to accommodate all skill levels and a variety of obstacles to challenge the advanced skateboarder.

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Bellevue PA Skate Plaza
34 N. Balph Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15202
(412) 499-3555
www.facebook.com/bellevueskateplazapgh

After years of waiting for a skate park, the Bellevue PA Skate Plaza reached fruition with a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community Development, and the the skateboard plaza has continued to improve each year in phases. Brian Buck was instrumental in helping with the project with a combined effort of the community, business partner, Carlo Leo, and the skateboarders. The elements of the park are street-orientated and there are ample obstacles to traverse with benches, quarter pipe, wedge boxes, rails, ledges, a “taco” quarter pipe and a 6 stair-set with a round hand rail. If the terminology is confusing, Mr. Buck will help with the jargon. He is a co-owner of a skateboarding supply shop in Bellevue  and  available for lessons, purchasing skateboards, accessories, specials and all types of longboards and cruisers at the shop. The best way to experience the skate park is to visit the plaza and learn about the creativity and attributes of being active, and skateboarding is the vehicle of choice.

Pipes Skate Park
5529 Old William Penn Highway
Export, PA 15632
(724) 327-4247
www.pipesskatepark.com

Anybody wanting a unique skateboarding experience need to skate on over to Export, which is just off Old U.S.  Rt. 22. That experience is that rain or shine, the skate park will accommodate all skateboard enthusiasts to an indoor facility. The skate park is a family owned business, which is now under ownership by one of the sons. Alex has talents that is demonstrated by his ingenuity of making the floor design of the park with recycled bowling lanes. There are enough ramps, rails, ledges, stairs, benches, grind rail/ boxes, bowls and half pipes for all ability levels.  Alex advocates ways to showcase skateboard culture, and recently sponsored an event and  magazine entries for inspiring interest in skateboarding. There is a well-equipped store on location for all your skateboard accessories, and make sure to schedule an appointment with Alex for lessons.

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South Park Action Park
Buffalo Drive
South Park, PA 15129
(412) 835-4810
www.county.allegheny.pa.us/parks/spfac.aspx

The skatepark is part of the Allegheny County Parks Department and the infamous 3 B’s, which are bikes, boards and blades. The facility is shared by riders on all forms of wheels and the skateboarders are welcomed by a well-designed area with a multitude of elevation changes. There are rails, loops, bowls, stairs, ramps, boxes and a half pipe that will  provide challenges and fun. The skatepark is safely circumvented by a fence and bleachers,  and there are ample parking spaces to enjoy all the facilities at South Park. It is prudent to check the park rules, and the hard surface makes it necessary to wear the required equipment. Part of that process is for the riders be under control and that the park is to be shared. Check for the hours of operation of the facility, the surface conditions and there should be adult supervision for ages 9-13.

Gerry Cernicky is a retired health and physical education teacher with 36 years of experience. He is a former teacher of the year and a sports writer for the Vandergrift News. He delivers podcasts, and maintains a website and blog. He currently resides in Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.
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