In the glory of an empty, level-four-lockdown Dunedin, I finally faced my fears and learned how to ride a skateboard. Learning to skate at nineteen years of age may not impress some, but after years of desire, envy, fear, and trepidation, I was thrilled to cruise around the old Coupland’s car park in a very punk manner. Now that I’m a skating legend, I’m going to share the ups and downs of the different skating spots around Dunedin. Radical, man.
This is the skating arena of the brave and the foolish. At 3am, George Street is the skater’s domain, but at midday on a Sunday, shuffling boomers and harassed parents with tiny gremlin children will stand between you and the need for speed. You’d best be confident in your dodging and weaving, or you’ll take a fall you’ll never recover from.
Texture: Tiles go brrr, 4/10
Space: Plenty for carving around the crowds, 8/10
Population: Hive of bees, 2/10
With wide, open spaces and pedestrians often sparsely spread, the main Uni campus is a wonderful place to soar free on your board. During lectures and outside of class time, there is plenty of room to carve and weave. With as little control as I tend to have, the chances of an embarrassing crash are limited. But when the clock strikes 50 minutes past the hour, beware, because the it gets flooded with students. Unless you’re a George Street level master at dodging, you’d best heed the Walk Your Wheels signs until classes resume.
Texture: Different tile patterns, new rhythms, 6/10
Rebelliousness: Your punk power increases tenfold with every ‘walk your wheels’ sign you shoot past, 8/10
Embarrassment potential: Falls may be embarrassing, but honestly anyone I see skating on campus immediately gains my respect and envy. Don’t even get me STARTED if they’re a cute sk8r grl, 7/10
Old Coupland’s Carpark
For the inexperienced, the shy, and the edgy, it doesn’t get much better than the old Coupland’s car park on Great King Street. With potholes, rocks, and a mixture of inclines, this is the perfect training ground for the amateur skater. The cover of the building provides the seclusion you might be looking for. Sadly, the key drawback is the space. This is no place to cruise, only to go back and forth, and perhaps to perform a cheeky trick or two.
Space: Your need for speed will not be met, 3/10
Embarrassment potential: The ideal all-time low, only the neighbouring residents can laugh at you, and your tiny-ass penny board, as you learn to skate for the first time in your life, 9/10
Population: Just you and your board against the world, 10/10
This is the suburb of the wealthy, where the residents had enough stickers leftover to wallpaper their lounges after they collected all the Smeg knives at New World. The skating terrain is pristine here. While the council deems potholes to be a necessary feature of Studentsville, the concrete here is smooth and lush. This is a sweet spot for practising your chaotic ‘carving’ (really, how do you get control of the fucking board?)
Space: The final frontier, 8/10
Texture: Smoother than a baby’s bottom, 10/10
Rebelliousness: There is literally no one around to see you, the place is a ghost town, 2/10
Outside the Proctor’s Office
The crown jewel of skating spots, the optimal place of punk. If you want to give a big “fuck you” to the proctor and his Walk Your Wheels signs, this is the place to skate. Sure, the space is somewhat limited. The tiles make life difficult, and I’m not even sure if the proctor really has anything to do with enforcing those signs, but the pure punk vibes fuel my lifeforce when I cruise like a bad bitch past his office. I’m telling you, you’ve got to try it. Skate and destroy my dudes.
Rebelliousness: Fucking off the charts, fuck the proctor and his signs, steal one on your way past, 11/10
Population: Scary, proctor might see you, 5/10
Embarrassment potential: The proctor might come out and take your board away, 3/10