Looking for a place to skate? At first glance, with its overcrowded
sidewalks and busy roads, Beijing doesn't present itself as the best place to
ollie, grind or kick-flip. However, an article in Transworld Skateboarding
observed that because of the financial growth and the incredible amount of
construction using materials such as locally mined marble, China is
fast-becoming the world's "ledge-Mecca." Xiao agrees and says this is true of
many of BeijingĄ¯'s top skating locations. Here are a few of his favorites:
The Catholic East Church (Wangfujing)
A place of
worship for Catholics and skaters alike. And if you happen to be a Catholic
skater, all the better. Though they are occasionally moved on by guards, skaters
will flock here on weekends to hang out and showcase a few new
Jianguomen Subway Station
Head out of
Exit A and keep your eyes open for the skaters taking advantage of the
surrounding urban landscape, which can be utilized in a number of ways by
The Police Hospital (Kai Yong Qiao)
South Third Ring Road, the Police Hospital perhaps isn't the most obvious place
to skate. However, the extensive railings outside the hospital provide a good
place for skaters to grind and slide... until they get moved on.
The "Black Banks" (Wanda Plaza, Jianguomen Lu)
The angular casing (which
can't be better described than "black banks") of the steeped flowerbeds of the
Wanda complex double as great ramps for skaters to build up speed and pull off
jumps. Guards stationed around the center of Wanda will promptly move you on,
but go behind the buildings on the north of the plaza (closer to Guanghua Lu)
and they're less concerned-some are even happy to stop and gawp as the
funny-looking fellows with baggy pants and wooden planks defy gravity. Nearest
subway station is Dawanglu.
Where to Buy?
A good place to
shop for cheap boards and skater equipment for beginners and younger children. A
good price for a deck is about RMB 60 (don't forget to bargain!) and you might
be able to track down some spare parts when your board is in need of repair.
You'll find it four blocks west of the Fuchengmen subway stop, on
Location: 259 Fuchengmenwai Dajie, Xicheng District
The man to know for all your
skateboarding needs, Xiao Long is an official distributor for Chinese board
brand Society/The People's Skateboards and also stocks highly coveted American
brands. Decks range from RMB 280-400.
Location: 48 Jiaodaokou Nandajie,
Demokratic Snowboard , Skate and Surf Shop
Specializing in the skater look, this newly opened shop is an official
outlet for Burton, Oakley and DC among other brands. Check it out for apparel,
shoes and accessories. When the snowy months roll around, Demokratic also
provides snowboarding gear.
Location: Upper East Side Complex, 8, Section
A Central Plaza Dongsihuan, Chaoyang District
Two sites, www.3xchina.com and www.sheuskisk8.com, specialize in Chinese
skate brands and offer doorstep delivery. The 3X website also includes
comprehensive board maintenance tips and the latest skating news in China.