After our hard, fast and dramatic skateboarding session we caught up with our teacher Jonas to find out more about the culture behind skateboarding and why you should always get up and never give up…
USC: How did you get into skateboarding?
I started surfing in Portugal on the Atlantic coast when I was young, and skating is part of the surfing culture. At first I was scared – everything was new and difficult. I got really bad injuries on my elbows, knees, feet, everywhere. I never broke anything, but I’ve definitely hurt myself. That’s part of doing these activities – especially surfing.
USC: What did you like about surfing when you first started?
It’s very quiet and I like the ocean, I like diving, so it was a good mixture between doing something with my body and focussing my mind. Surfing is still one of my favourite sports, and now skateboarding is too. Skateboarding is one of the most difficult sports to master. Professionals make it look easy but it takes years to get the hang of it.
USC: When did you start skateboarding?
2.5 years ago. I still find it hard – it’s a sport you can always improve on. I try to practice every day; to make progress with skateboarding you have to practice at least 3 times a week.
USC: Have you had any injuries from skateboarding?
Yes, lots of times. This morning I was skating in the bowl and I hit the wall. That happens all the time. But that’s all part of BMX, skating, blades. You will fall but you have to get up and try again otherwise you get afraid and it’s much harder. You have to get back on the horse.
USC: Can you tell us about Halle 59?
This was originally an industrial area. The skate park was built about 12 years ago and renovated 6 years ago. Officially we’re a youth centre. Every day from 3 – 7pm everyone can come – BMX, skateboarding, scooters and blades. In the evenings we separate BMX, skateboarding and blades as each sport uses the space differently – it’s important that they have their own time.
USC: Does it make a difference to how people train?
Yes. Scooters don’t do so many tricks as skateboarders and BMXers jump a lot and they use the steel railing. So everyone uses the park differently.
USC: What’s your role here?
I coordinate the workshops. We have over 30 workshops a year for BMX, skateboard and scooter. Every weekend we have a workshop on Saturday and Sunday for 5 hours a day. We have space for about 18 people and 3 coaches to help with all aspects of the sport. It really helps people focus on technique and improve quickly.
USC: Do people spend a lot of their spare time here?
Yeah, the scene is very supportive and social. You can be with friends, you can do whatever you want and it doesn’t matter how good you are, you can just have fun.
And if you do a trick, no matter how difficult it is, everyone’s excited for you because they remember how hard it was when they first did it.
USC: Do people here compete in championships?
Yes, some people who attend are doing crazy tricks, doing backflips and frontflips and spinning the deck – it’s crazy.
USC: Are there many injuries?
Last week one kid broke his leg in a spiral. It was caught on film and the video didn’t look so bad but the paramedics came and told us it was a really bad break.
USC: What tips do you have for people who want to take up skateboarding?
Never give up. A friend of mine who’s a really good skateboarder tried to do a trick for over ten years until he was able to do it. So you just have to keep going and never give up.
If you’d like to try out skateboarding for yourself pay Halle59 a visit.