In 2021, Tokyo hosted the first-ever Olympic skateboarding events. There were four medal events in total, spanning male and female events for both street skating and park skating.
As soon as the events were announced, search terms like, “What’s the difference between street skating and park skating?” became some of the most common terms related to skateboarding.
In the end, everyone watched the events, marveled at the skill of the athletes, and gained a better understanding of what the differences are, but it seems that there is still a lot of confusion.
In this guide, we’ll look at the differences between park skateboarding and street skateboarding to try and clear up some of the confusion.
Park Skateboarding vs Street Skateboarding
The difference between these two disciplines is actually quite simple.
Park skateboarding takes place in a skatepark that’s heavy on the vert jumps. It’s all about gaining high speeds, making big jumps, and performing an array of tricks to impress the crowd and judges.
As for street skateboarding, it takes place on a course that combines slopes, walls, benches, rails, and other such obstacles.
In the Olympics, park skateboarding is judged on 45-second runs, with 5 judges grading riders on a 0-100 scale. Street skateboarding is also based on 45-second runs but skaters only perform a handful of tricks and are scored on a 0-10 scale.
Street Skating vs Skate Parks
Outside of the Olympics, the difference between street skateboarding and park skateboarding is basically the difference between skating on the street and making use of the obstacles available or skating in a skatepark and going over the jumps and slopes.
Many argue that street skating is the purest form of the sport. It is where you will find the heart and soul of skateboarding. The street is where skateboarding was born. It’s where skateboarding faced its biggest challenges and pioneers of the sport fought against the authorities that tried to ban it.
Many of the tricks that are commonplace today were invented in parking lots and schools, and when you consider the slopes, hills, stairs, rails, and walls, there is always an abundance of opportunities to skate on the street.
There is more pressure and less time on the street. There are also many more variables to consider and this potentially makes the skater smarter, stronger, and more aware. It’s why many skaters prefer street skating when practicing for an event.
In many ways, skateparks are a reflection of the street, as well as the backyard swimming pools that many of the sport’s biggest icons would skate in the 70s and 80s. They are tailormade for certain tricks and that gives the skater more control and security.
Summary: Skate Street vs Skate Park
Both street skaters and park skaters can perform tricks and show off their skills, and the two areas and disciplines are very similar, but there is an obvious difference between the two that extends far beyond the Olympic Games.