Why Is Skateboarding so Popular Worldwide?

The Sport Inspires Self-Expression and Pride

Teenage boys skateboarding at skateboard park
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In a recent survey in the U.S., skateboarding was found to be the third most popular sport with teenagers, coming in just behind football and basketball. Skateboarding is popular all over the planet, with pro-level competitions raging year-round, all across the globe. So what makes the sport so popular? Read on to find out why so many people like skateboarding.

Simple Self Expression

One reason for the sport's popularity is the simple anatomy of skateboarding. All you really need is yourself and a skateboard. Technically, you don't even need shoes — though you should wear those for safety. The skateboard itself is fairly low cost, especially if you don't need a top-of-the-line board. Plus, anyone can try skateboarding. It doesn't matter if you are overweight or thin, short or tall, young or old —there's a board and a style that will work for you.

Skateboarding is all about self-expression. If you are a slow, soulful person, it will show in your skateboarding style. If you want everything fast, that will show. If you're a daredevil, if you're graceful, or if you're comical, it will all come out in your skateboarding style. Being yourself, learning the tricks and developing the style that is all you — these are easily the biggest reasons that skateboarding is popular.

Sense of Belonging

Some skaters are punk, some are jocks, some are nerds, some are Goth, and many don't fit into a box. But they are all "skaters." They have all picked up a skateboard, given it a shot, and loved it. There's something a little different about real skaters. And that is another reason skateboarding is so popular: Skateboarding will take anyone, as long as you have the heart. You might not be good at skateboarding, but if you really try, and as long as you love skating, you're in.

And most skaters get along pretty well, considering who knows what else they're into. At the skatepark, sure, you'll see some jerks, but you'll also encounter a shocking number of cool people: older skaters encouraging younger skaters, experienced skaters giving tips to beginners, and total strangers getting along, hanging out and having fun. There's plenty of attitude at skate parks, but most of it is positive. The skateboard culture is willing to accept everyone, as long as they try and put effort into learning how to skate.

Adrenaline, Awe, and Pride

But you really do have to try, and skateboarding can hurt. In fact, you are almost guaranteed that you will get hurt at some point. It comes with the board. This sense of danger, and the fact that if you do pull off a good trick, that means that you are good at something difficult and you've paid for it in blood and sweat.

This pride and sense of danger have a lot to do with skateboarding's popularity. Nonskaters love to watch skateboarding for these same reasons. As noted: Skateboarding is just the skateboarder and his skateboard: no ropes, unattached, flipping and spinning through the air and along the ground.

You gotta respect that.