The best way to see a city with children is to pack skateboards for a more portable commute, as Carla Grossetti explains.
The one thing my sons never leave home without are their skateboards. Our mantra is: ‘Have skateboard, will travel’. It’s how we roll.
The beauty of travelling with skateboards is that we have been better able to convince our two sons to take long walks with us when they know their efforts will be rewarded with a few runs at a new skate park.
The fact that many of our favourite getaways include long smooth paths along coastal foreshores means that as well as letting the kids carve it up to their happy place, we all get to enjoy a bit of exercise while exploring a new town or city.
When my boys, Fin and Marley, were really little, it was quite often hard work; we would pretzel our spines to push them along. But as well as giving them a feel for rolling on a skateboard, it got us all from A to B.
Now they are of an age where they like to ‘pop shove it’ in peace; we are equally happy to leave them momentarily at a skate park while we continue on our merry way.
When it comes to planning our day-to-day itineraries, our first move when visiting a new region is to find out where the local skate park is and plan our morning walks accordingly.
It often feels like a covert operation, to wake up while the city lights are still winking. But the fact that we all get up around dawn means we also time our runs when the skate parks aren’t too crewed out.
My husband grew up skateboarding in drainage ditches in Canberra and what he and I have noticed over the past decade is that many councils have realised that skateboard parks are an attraction: community assets that should be built in picturesque public places.
The Cairns City Council has been particularly progressive, with Cairns Skate Park the biggest of its kind in the country, integrating beautifully with a playground and beach volleyball park on the Esplanade.
The beauty of many of the newish skate parks is that the transitions and bowls have been built for everyone from rank beginners to world-class skaters.
Rather than encourage stealth boarding at the scuzzy end of town, more and more towns and cities are including skate parks to enhance the urban landscape as well as encourage social cohesion.
I also love that skateboarding encourages my children to do something that is active, healthy
Where to go for skateboard-friendly walks
• Lake Ginninderra foreshore (next to Belconnen Skate Park) in Canberra, ACT
• The Royal Park river-edge boardwalk (near the Royal Sk8 Park) in Launceston, Tas
• The green space around Princes Gardens (near Prahran Skate Park) in Prahran, Vic
• The walk to Yamba Point (near Yamba Skate Park), Yamba, NSW
Visit skateboard.com.au to find a skate park near you and fun while we stick together as a family. While we still occasionally cop a board bite in the Achilles, or have to compromise on our holiday wardrobes in favour of packing their hardware, cruising through the cityscape with our kids away from roads confused with cars and cyclists is a great way to navigate your way around. Stoked.