Skate with Jack and 2 children skating in a skate park


Brighton and Hove is a city with a rich history of skateboarding and has a large community of skaters, BMXers and participants of other wheeled sports. The city also boasts a number of skateparks such as those at the Level, Hove Lagoon, Woodingdean and Hollingdean. Plans for new skateparks to be built at Hove Lagoon, Whitehawk and Moulsecoomb are also in full swing. 

As a parent, you’d be silly not to want to make the most of these fantastic facilities as they’re a great way for your child to get outdoors, get some exercise and learn how to do something new. 

However, skateparks can be dangerous places, especially if you’ve got no previous experience of using one yourself. The parks can be busy places with fully grown humans moving on wheels at top speeds. Younger ones may need a little guidance if they’re to get the most out of these places without getting bumped into or irritating other users. 

This guide will tell you everything you need to know to keep your child safe while they’re enjoying the ramps and rails in any of our city’s wheeled sport facilities.

How to Train your Skateboard
Pages taken from my book “How to Train Your Skateboard”

Skating the lines

Although skateparks might seem like chaos there is actually some method in the madness. 

People generally move from specific starting points along the lines before returning to their original starting point or moving to a different starting point. These are the places where people generally congregate and tend to be on the edges of the park. 

If someone doesn’t move along these lines OR moves across these lines then they’re at real risk of being hit. Keep an eye on the direction your kids are moving in and, if necessary, remind them of the directions to move in while rolling around. 

Kids on scooters and push bikes often have the ability to quickly change direction making their movements even more unpredictable for those skating around them

Taking turns

This may appear as a fairly obvious thing to point out when it comes to using a skatepark safely but I think it might be the most commonly overlooked thing by young children. 

As mentioned previously, people start from specific points in the park, so when people arrive at these points they effectively join the back of a queue. 

Going one at a time means the line you’re about to skate will be clear AND everyone gets to go an even amount of times. When someone jumps the queue (or “is a snake 🐍” as it’s commonly referred to) they may upset others who are waiting patiently and they run the risk of congesting the line. 

Generally, people skate until they fall off or come to a natural stop (at the end of the line). Sometimes kids have a tendency to go round and round and round without stopping, this will upset others and lead to them having to skate obstacles at the same time as those who don’t take their turn. 

With large obstacles like a halfpipe or a bowl, each turn tends to last about 30 seconds – 2 minutes as this is how long it normally takes before people fall off. If people are waiting to have a go, make sure your child isn’t endlessly rolling about at the bottom, they’re more than welcome to have a go but 

Sometimes this can go the other way and little learners (or “groms” as they’re also known) can be so keen to adhere to the rules and not jump the queue that they end up not taking their turn. Other users of the park will be patient – I hope – but if someone consistently doesn’t take their turn then they might give up on waiting.

Quieter times

One of the simplest ways to make sure you get as many goes as possible while having to wait for your go as little as possible is to go to a skatepark when fewer people are there. 

It’s pretty much a rule of thumb that the later in the day it is and the better the weather, the busier the skatepark will be. If you’d like a more relaxing time at a skatepark then I’d recommend you get there earlier. Some may also argue that morning users of skateparks are friendlier and more accommodating to newbies but there are also exceptions to such generalisations!

One thing is for sure, if it’s 4pm at the weekend and the sun’s out then you’re going to have to wait a lot longer for your turn and be extra vigilant that you don’t crash into others. This means it’s potentially not the best time to take someone with less awareness than the average person to a skatepark.

Skate with Jack teaching a child to skateboard
Quieter parks

If you like the idea of taking your child to a skatepark when it’s quiet then you may want to think carefully about which skatepark you go to. Generally, larger skateparks in the centre of town, which are most easily accessible, tend to be busier. However, there are plenty of satellite skateparks on the outskirts of cities that tend to be quieter. 

Skateparks found in small towns and villages may also be less busy even on a sunny day at peak times. They also often come with the added advantage of having free parking nearby, making a trip there slightly less stressful. 

In Brighton, for example, the Level is much larger but tends to get a lot busier. The smaller skateparks in Woodingdean, Hollingdean and as far as Peacehaven don’t tend to get as busy, even at peak times. But bear in mind that even when it’s quiet you should make sure your child is still aware of other users in the park, despite them being easier to miss!

Other important pieces of advice

Wear pads and a helmet. You’re much more likely to suffer an injury in the first few months of taking up a wheeled hobby. The easiest way to prevent injury is by wearing protective equipment. Sorry if that’s obvious but it had to be mentioned. 

Discourage your kids from rolling on their skateboards while lying down. This is for two reasons: firstly, their face will be low down and at risk of being hit wayward skateboards; and, secondly, people might not see them as they’ll be blocked out of view by other obstacles. If no one can see them coming then they can’t dodge them. 

Don’t sit on obstacles. Most skateparks come with a seated area for spectators and it’s important to differentiate between a seat and an obstacle that can be used as a seat. Ledges, rails and ramps might be convenient but if you’re blocking someone from using a ramp then it’s very inconvenient so be careful. 

These tips should allow you and your kids to get the most out of the fantastic facilities on offer in our city. Everyone has the right to use these public spaces but it’s tricky to do so when you don’t know the unwritten code of practice that the users abide by. This guide should mean your time at Brighton’s skateparks is both safe, enjoyable and as stress-free as possible! 

I’m a Brighton-based skateboard instructor and the author of “How to Train Your Skateboard”

I provide skateboarding courses, holiday clubs and adult lessons. Check out my Instagram profile to see what I’m up to.


  1. Andy B Avatar
    Andy B

    Great blog article Jack. Any chance you can laminate lots of copies and attached them to various place around the new Hove Lagoon skatepark when it opens in April/May?😆 That would be awesome.

    1. Jack Francis Avatar

      Thanks Andy. I’d be happy for it to be distributed around the new Lagoon skatepark. The current Lagoon park is particularly popular with parents and kids so I presume the new one would be a prime location for this information to be made publicly available!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *