It’s no surprise that extreme skateboarding is a fan favorite to watch. After all, it has superb entertainment value with daring daredevils doing gravity-defying tricks and trying to push the limits of what is humanly possible. There are elements of both skill and danger, making it thrilling to watch.
The best part is that there are plenty of skateboarding competitions to watch. There are many different kinds, whether you’re interested in park skating, street skating, amateur or pro competitions. Here are a few you should definitely catch, especially if you’re in the United States.
Amateur Skateboarding Competitions
Amateur competitions are open to skateboarders at all levels — just that you can’t be paid to compete. With no sponsor required, most contenders start off here in building their wins and portfolios to eventually turn pro. Anyone, including beginners, can join for a small fee and stand to win some attractive prizes, not to mention bragging rights.
1. Tampa Am
This is the amateur competition to watch to see new, up-and-coming skateboarders. Held in Tampa, Florida, the level of competition here is so high that it is almost deemed as a National Championship. Winning the Tampa Am is akin to having a skateboarding career set for life. Many pros start off with this competition, so keep your eyes peeled for new talents.
The judges here will do the same, judging the competitors in terms of technique, style, originality, flow, consistency, and trick variety. As such, although this is an amateur league, you can still expect to see a number of complex tricks and stunts.
2. Zumiez Best Foot Forward
Unlike the Tampa Am which is set only in one location in Florida, the Zumiez Best Foot Forward moves cross-country. This provides a platform for amateur skateboarders all over the nation to showcase their skills on an international scale. Getting a high position in this competition is often a gateway to directly qualify for other national competitions, so there’s often fierce competition.
Another factor that sets this amateur competition apart from the rest is the prizes that are to be won. Ever since its inception in 2007, winners have walked away with lots of prizes, including new shoes, boards, and skateboarding gear.
3. The Boardr Am Series
Another amateur competition that tours the country, the Boardr Am Series makes stops all over the country. The winner from each stop wins not only attractive prizes but also a shot at the Empire Open Series Semi-Finals, complete with free lodging and paid travel. The format of each spot is the same, with qualifiers in a jam format, then semi-finals, and lastly, a final with two runs and five best trick attempts.
Contenders in this competition also stand a chance to win the Zumiez Destroyer Award for outstanding skating style, tricks, and even side antics. Clinching this award is a great indicator of a skater’s personality and star quality.
Professional Skateboarding Competitions
Professional competitions are some of the most intense sporting competitions to watch in the world. The pros have put in blood, sweat, and tears to practice and get to where they are today — remarkable superhumans who can perform jaw-dropping tricks and stunts. These contenders are all sponsored by various companies to compete, raising the stakes and also proving that these skaters are indeed the best of the best.
1. X Games
While the X Games is not solely for skateboarding, its pro skateboarding segment is one of the most-watched around the world. After all, the stakes are high, with a huge prize purse to be won. The top skateboarders vie for the top prize of $100,000, dishing out insane tricks and stunts that only get better year after year.
Apart from skateboarding, you can also watch pro events like BMX and Esports. The winter edition of the X Games is also a hot favorite, with extreme sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobile that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.
2. Red Bull Solus
This pro competition is one of the most well-known, taking place annually at the SC Sandlot. This skatepark belongs to legendary skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, the star of MTV reality show “Life of Ryan’ and the youngest competitor ever to win gold in the X Games in 2013.
Here, just 13 pro skateboarders fight it out and showcase their incredible skills to three judges. Each competitor has an hour to do so, making it a true test of skill, strength, and stamina. The champion wins prize money, all to donate to any local skate shop they prefer.
3. Exposure Skate
A women-only skate competition, Exposure has both amateur and professional categories. Over 150 female skateboarders gather from around the world to compete and help to highlight the presence of women in this male-dominated sport.
Not only does it give female skateboarders a coveted chance to show their craft, but the pro-competition also hands out hefty prizes amounting to over $60,000 in cash to the winners. On top of that, it also helps to raise money for causes like domestic violence survivors. All these factors make it a huge draw for both talented skateboarders and interested viewers from all around the world.
4. Vans Park Series Pro Tour
Similar to Exposure, the Vans Park Series Pro Tour has gone international and is one of the biggest skateboarding competitions in the entire world. The tour goes all around the globe in search of the world’s most elite male and female skaters, all in a bid to help preserve skateboarding culture and legitimize it as a career pathway for pro skateboarders.
The competition is done in a jam format, making it quite an upbeat and exciting event to watch. Raising the stakes are the incredible prizes — where the champions take home a total of $800,000 worth of prize money.
With such a wide array of skateboarding competitions to watch all year, it’s almost impossible to keep up with all of them. The ones we’ve listed are some of the most exciting and prestigious, so keep a lookout for them! Whether you’re a viewer or a skateboarder yourself, there’s something for you.