Learn to skateboard

Master ollies, grinds and fakies—or at least, avoid hurting yourself—with the help of these skateboarding classes.

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

BB Social Club

If you’re looking for an informal setting where you can improve your skills, consider a lesson with ultra laid-back instructor Omar Rivera, whose hands-off teaching method tends to put students at ease. When he isn’t busy chauffeuring kids around to city skate parks during his popular after-school program, Rivera is available for private lessons ($80 an hour) and group lessons ($40 per person per hour). Instructors from BB Social Club also operate a drop-in skate clinic every Monday and Tuesday afternoon at two locations (William F.Passannante Ballfield, W Houston St at Sixth Ave; Corporal John A. Seravalli Playground, Horatio St at Hudson St; 3:30–5pm; full session $35, 30 minutes $20, equipment rental $10). At the open-level supervised practice, intimidatingly good nine-year-olds whiz by older, less confident skaters, but instructors offer tips and pointers to suit all abilities. 917-767-0469, bbsocialclub.com

SURE Skateboards

Beginners who want to try their hand at longboarding can head to Central Park or Prospect Park with an instructor from SURE (Skateboarders Urban Riding Environment), which promotes the sport as a viable form of urban transportation. Although not ideal for tricks, longboards are great for cruising down city streets. “For people who have never done skateboarding before, longboards are easier to get comfortable with as they are wider and lower to the ground,” says head instructor Rob Rodrigues, though he points out that since they move so fast, it’s important to know exactly how to step off of them. After 10 to 15 hours of practice at the open group lessons, Rodrigues says students often feel comfortable moving out into the flow of bike lanes, allowing them to zip downtown after work, or even participate in public skating events like Broadway Bomb, an unsanctioned race which saw over a thousand amateur skaters cruise down from 116th Street to the Financial District last October. Central Park Driveway (meet next to the volleyball courts east of Sheep Meadow), enter at Central Park West and 66th St; Sat 11am–noon. William F. Passannante Ballfield, W Houston St at Sixth Ave; Sun 11am–noon. Open group lesson $20, private lesson $60 per hour, equipment rental $15. 917-538-4084, sureskateboards.com

Louie’s Skateboarding School

Those who are ready to try skating inside a ramp—but don’t want to embarrass themselves in front of dozens of teenagers at a skate park—can start off under the tutelage of Luiz Louie. The ex-pro skating instructor, who started his own school in 2001, carries around portable plastic ramps to teach students basic flip tricks and drop-ins during private lessons ($40–$80 per class, equipment rental $10). Eventually, students are ready to tackle places like Astoria Skate Park (19th
St between Astoria Park South and Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, Queens; nycgovparks.org), which Louie says is “really the best park to go to if you’re an intermediate or beginner. All the ramps are under three feet, and they’re really wide and mellow.” An alternative to private tutelage is a series of adult group classes, which take place in four-week segments at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 (West St at North Moore St; Sat 1–2:30pm, $160. Next start date Sat 26). 646-221-4652, skateboardingschool.com

Homage Brooklyn

Five-year-old skate shop Homage Brooklyn (64 Bergen St between Court and Smith Sts, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn), whose large storefront accommodates a selection of over 250 different kinds of boards, offers group and private lessons to skaters of all ages in a dedicated training facility. Homage Indoor (615 Degraw St between Third and Fourth Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn) is a converted warehouse equipped with a mini ramp, a bank, ledges, wedges, pads, rails and a quarter. Though many people opt to join group lessons ($30 per hour) with younger skaters, adult-only classes will begin in June ($30 per hour) and private lessons are also available ($75 per hour). You can rent boards by the hour ($10; helmets and pads additional $10) to get a feel for different types and figure out which one is right for you; for beginners, manager Vicky Paez recommends the neon plastic Penny Nickel boards, as they offer greater surface area and more stability. 718-596-8151, homagebrooklyn.com