Skateboarding is an adrenaline-pumping sport that comes in various disciplines, with two of the most popular being street and vert skateboarding. While both disciplines involve riding a skateboard, there are distinct differences between the two. Vert skateboarding involves skating on ramps and vertical structures, often reaching great heights and performing aerial tricks, while street skateboarding focuses on utilizing urban obstacles such as stairs, benches, and rails to perform tricks and maneuvers. Understanding these key differences is crucial for anyone looking to delve into the world of skateboarding, as each discipline poses its own set of challenges and dangers.
- Skateboard Setup: The main difference between street and vert skateboarding lies in the type of skateboard setup used. Street skateboarders typically use smaller, narrower boards with softer wheels, while vert skateboarders use wider, sturdier boards with harder wheels for better stability and control on ramps.
- Terrain: Street skateboarding focuses on performing tricks and maneuvers on urban landscapes such as stairs, rails, curbs, and ledges, while vert skateboarding takes place in specialized skateparks with large halfpipes, quarterpipes, and other transition-based obstacles.
- Tricks and Techniques: Street skateboarders showcase their skills through flip tricks, slides, and grinds, whereas vert skateboarders focus on aerial maneuvers, spins, and grabs to maximize airtime and height on ramps and transitions.
- Risk and Safety: Vert skateboarding generally involves higher speeds and greater heights, leading to potentially more severe injuries if mishaps occur, while street skateboarding often involves more technical footwork and precise landing tricks, with less overall impact.
- Competitive Scene: While both disciplines have their own competitive circuits and events, street skateboarding has gained more mainstream recognition through competitions like the X Games and Street League Skateboarding, whereas vert skateboarding has a smaller, niche following but features in events like the Vans Park Series and Bowl-a-Rama.
The Origins and Evolution of Skateboarding
Obviously, before diving into the differences between street and vert skateboarding, it’s important to understand the origins and evolution of the sport. For a detailed look into this subject, you can check out this blog post on Street Skateboarding vs Vert Skateboarding: A Tale of Two Styles.
Development of Street Skateboarding
Street skateboarding began to gain prominence in the 1970s when skateboarders started utilizing urban environments for their practice. The development of street skateboarding is characterized by the use of urban obstacles such as stairs, handrails, and ledges. Skaters started using the city landscape as their playground, developing a style that was heavily influenced by the environment around them. One of the most positive aspects of street skateboarding is its accessibility – anyone with a skateboard and a street can start practicing. However, street skateboarding also comes with its fair share of dangers, as skaters have to navigate and perform tricks in urban areas with vehicular traffic and other potential hazards.
Rise of Vert Skateboarding
On the other hand, vert skateboarding emerged as a prominent style in the 1970s with the creation of purpose-built vert ramps and skate parks. This style of skateboarding involves performing tricks on large halfpipes and ramps, often at great heights. Vert skateboarding is known for its spectacular aerial maneuvers and high-flying stunts, which require a significant amount of skill and bravery. The intense nature of vert skateboarding also means that the risk of injury is considerably higher compared to street skateboarding. However, the adrenaline rush and thrill of conquering the vertical terrain have contributed to the enduring appeal of vert skateboarding among enthusiasts.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the technical differences between street and vert skateboarding. Both disciplines require skill and agility, but they each have their own unique techniques and features that set them apart.
Street Skateboarding Techniques and Features
Street skateboarding is all about using urban environments to perform tricks and stunts. Skaters often utilize stairs, handrails, ledges, and other obstacles found in the streets to showcase their skills. The focus is on creativity and making the most out of the environment. Tricks like ollies, kickflips, grinds, and slides are common in street skateboarding, requiring precise control and balance. The street skateboarding scene is known for its gritty and raw style, and skaters often have to adapt to unpredictable and uneven surfaces. It requires a high level of adaptability and quick thinking, making it a challenging but rewarding discipline.
Vert Skateboarding Techniques and Features
Vert skateboarding, on the other hand, takes place in a controlled environment, typically within a skatepark setting. Skaters use ramps, halfpipes, and bowls to perform tricks that involve catching air and executing aerial maneuvers. The emphasis is on speed, height, and amplitude. Vert skaters are known for their ability to defy gravity and pull off complex tricks, such as 540-degree spins and McTwists. This discipline requires extreme precision, strength, and fearlessness, as the risk of injury is higher due to the solid surfaces and the heights achieved. Vert skating is a high-flying and adrenaline-pumping style of skateboarding that demands total commitment and skill.
Cultural and Lifestyle Impacts
Your choice of skateboarding discipline can have a significant impact on your cultural and lifestyle preferences. Whether you choose to focus on street or vert skateboarding, each comes with its own unique cultural and lifestyle influences that extend beyond the sport itself.
Influence on Fashion and Music within Street Skateboarding
Street skateboarding has had a profound influence on fashion and music, particularly within urban and street culture. Skaters who participate in street skateboarding often embrace a style that reflects the gritty, urban environments in which they skate. Baggy clothing, graphic t-shirts, and skateboarding footwear are common fashion choices among street skateboarders. Additionally, street skateboarding has played a significant role in shaping the music scene, with punk, hip-hop, and alternative rock being closely associated with the sport.
Vert Skateboarding’s Contribution to Sports Culture
Vert skateboarding has made substantial contributions to sports culture, particularly in terms of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in extreme sports. The high-flying, acrobatic nature of vert skateboarding has captured the attention of spectators and athletes alike, influencing the design and development of skate parks and extreme sports competitions. It has also contributed to the evolution of skateboarding as a legitimate sport that requires skill, precision, and bravery. The daring nature of vert skateboarding has inspired a new generation of athletes to push themselves to greater heights and has garnered a level of respect within the sports community.
Equipment and Gear
To excel in street and vert skateboarding, a skater must be equipped with the right gear. Depending on the type of skateboarding, the equipment and gear requirements may vary.
Street Skateboarding: Boards, Shoes, and Apparel
For street skateboarding, a sturdy and durable skateboard is essential. Street skateboarders typically use a smaller and more maneuverable board, ranging from 7.5 to 8.25 inches in width, with a steep concave for better control. In terms of shoes, skaters prefer flat-soled, grippy shoes that provide excellent traction on the board for flip tricks and precise foot placement. Additionally, street skateboarders opt for apparel that allows freedom of movement, such as loose-fitting t-shirts and durable pants for protection against falls and scrapes.
Vert Skateboarding: Protective Gear and Ramps
Vert skateboarding requires a different set of equipment, with a primary focus on protective gear due to the high-flying and fast-paced nature of the discipline. Skaters are required to wear a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards to minimize the risk of serious injury when attempting aerial maneuvers and performing tricks on halfpipes and ramps. The ramps used in vert skateboarding are specially designed structures that allow skaters to gain speed and perform aerial stunts, such as the halfpipe, quarter pipe, and vert ramp. These ramps provide the necessary height and transition for skaters to execute their tricks with height, speed, and precision.
Ultimately, the differences between street and vert skateboarding lie in the type of terrain and obstacles they each require. Street skating is characterized by tricks performed on urban landscapes, stair sets, handrails, and ledges, while vert skating focuses on aerial stunts performed on ramp structures. Both disciplines demand varying levels of skill and agility, with street skaters needing precise board control to navigate through obstacles, and vert skaters relying on speed and height to execute breathtaking aerial maneuvers. While both disciplines share the same fundamental principles of balance and coordination, the nuances in technique and terrain make each style uniquely challenging and rewarding for any skateboarder.
Q: What are the differences between street and vert skateboarding?
A: Street skateboarding involves tricks and maneuvers performed on urban obstacles such as stairs, rails, and ledges, while vert skateboarding takes place on ramps and halfpipes with a greater emphasis on aerial maneuvers and transitions.
Q: Are the skills and techniques required for street and vert skateboarding different?
A: Yes, street skateboarding requires proficiency in flips, grinds, and slides, while vert skateboarding focuses on mastering aerial tricks like grabs, spins, and inverts. Both disciplines require different approaches and levels of balance, control, and agility.
Q: What type of equipment is typically used for street and vert skateboarding?
A: Street skateboarders generally use smaller, more maneuverable boards with harder wheels for tricks and stability on rough urban terrain. Vert skateboarders use wider, longer boards with softer wheels for more speed and stability on ramps and in transition.
Q: How do street and vert skateboarding differ in terms of competition and events?
A: Street skateboarding competitions are often held in urban settings, with contests focusing on individual tricks, lines, and creativity while using actual street obstacles. Vert skateboarding events take place in skateparks or arenas, where skaters perform runs and showcase technical aerial moves and combinations on ramps and halfpipes.
Q: Can skaters transition between street and vert skateboarding, or do they generally specialize in one discipline?
A: While some skaters may specialize in either street or vert skateboarding, many are versatile and can transition between both disciplines. Skaters with diverse skill sets and experiences can apply their abilities across different environments and skateboarding styles.