The Skateboarder's Guide To Unearthing Australia's Best Skating Spots (Part One: Sydney)
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The surrounding offices and general daily grind related chaos make Martin Place a no-go zone between business hours. The best time to skate there is either after 7pm on a weeknight or on the weekend. Personally, I prefer it on a weeknight when the numbers have dwindled and I can poorly-execute my extensive three trick repertoire in the comfort of my immediate circle of friends. Wade “unofficial mayor of Martin Place” Thompson has been nonchalantly navigating the marble-like ground of Martin Place for the better part of a decade. According to Wade “Sydney skateboarding without Martin wouldn’t be the same, if Martin Place was to vanish tomorrow it would leave a massive void not only in the Sydney skateboarding scene but also my existence.”
In terms of skateboard-friendly terrain, Martin offers a range of obstacles catering for skateboarders of all types and skill levels, offering ample opportunities for the avid stair leaper to utilize stairs for reasons other than walking. The “Martin 10”, Sydney’s infamous “Pit” and Prudential Double Set can all be found within the vicinity. For those of us that don’t feel like limping home there's still an array of low-impact spots for you to get your fix. Manual pads, smooth ground, smaller sets of stairs, curbs and wedge-like statues can be found littered throughout.
If after a hard days skating or sitting around you find yourself parched, head to the cleverly-titled Martin Place Bar for a beverage of your choice. However, if being surrounded by suit-clad briefcase warriors isn’t for you, skate a few blocks down the road to Bar Century for thrifty refreshments.
The best way to get to Waterloo, or “Fernside” as the locals call it, is by walking up to Surry Hills, heading to Crown St and jumping on the 301 which will get you nearby in about 10 minutes. If you’re looking for a little pre-skate energy burst you should definitely pop into one of the many eateries on Crown St to refuel.
Should the park look super crowded upon arrival, don’t fret. Waterloo's resident ripper Gwyn Evelyn says the good thing about Waterloo is that “it has about a million different lines, so even when it may appear busy you can still show up with a carload of your friends, find a line and have a really good time”. Waterloo is a superbly built, really well set out street style plaza. The skatepark consists of rails, stairs, ledges, manual pads, banked ledges, a steep wall, a mini ramp and more and is easily one of the best parks in Sydney. Everyone’s favourite gourmet burger joint McDonald's is a 2 minute skate away, as is the local pub.
Photo via skateboard.com.au
FIVE DOCK SKATEBOARD
The better looking younger bowl is much more personable, well-groomed and welcoming. The park consists of a series of bowls ranging from 5-8 feet, intertwined by spines and bowled corners. Five Dock has endless lines; hours of fun can be spent simply carving from bowl to bowl, pretending you could do more tricks if you actually felt like trying. The park also contains an awkwardly placed flat bar and a super fun baby sized quarter pipe. I’d recommend bringing your own food and beverages because there aren't any shops nearby, which is all part of Five Dock’s charm. The skatepark is surrounded by lush green grass and native Australian trees, making for a pleasant on-board experience. Like any skatepark, the best time to visit is during business hours throughout the week to avoid the masses.
Photo via skateboard.com.au
Photo via skateboard.com.au
Somewhere amidst the sea of tourists is some seriously skateable terrain, the most recognizable of all being the Darling Harbour banks - a series of pyramid-like brick banks that end in a hip. The banks have been heavily documented by the skate paparazzi over the years and can be skated as a manual pad, a bank or a hip. Ledges, gaps, stairs, manual pads and kickers are all hidden throughout Darling Harbour, waiting to be uncovered by an adventurous soul searcher like you.
The presence of security in Darling Harbour is heavy. These security guards have been known to apply excessive force and fabricate stories to people in positions of actual authority. Should you have any run-ins with security, it's in your best interest to be polite and keep it moving. When the novelty of playing hide and seek with middle aged men carrying walkie-talkies and driving golf buggies wears thin, head to any of the dumpling houses in nearby China Town to consume a well-priced banquet of steamed delicacies and figure out how to get that miniature train drivers job you’ve always dreamed of.
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Photos by Cameron Spencer via Getty