Skateboarding Turkey: Meet the Pros and Learn Their Tricks
Skateboarding Turkey: A Guide to the Thriving Scene and Culture
Skateboarding is more than just a sport or a hobby. It is a way of life, a form of expression, and a source of inspiration for many people around the world. And Turkey is no exception. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history, culture, and community of skateboarding in Turkey, as well as the challenges and opportunities that it presents. Whether you are a seasoned skater, a beginner, or just curious, you will find something interesting and useful in this guide. So, let's get started!
What is skateboarding and why is it popular in Turkey?
Skateboarding is an activity that involves riding and performing tricks on a skateboard, which is a wooden board with four wheels attached to it. Skateboarders use their feet to propel themselves, balance, steer, and manipulate the board in various ways. Skateboarding can be done on any smooth surface, such as streets, sidewalks, parks, ramps, stairs, rails, or specially designed skateparks.
Skateboarding is popular in Turkey for many reasons. First of all, it is fun and exciting. Skateboarding allows people to express themselves creatively, challenge themselves physically and mentally, and experience a sense of freedom and adventure. Second, it is accessible and affordable. Skateboarding does not require much equipment or space, and anyone can learn it regardless of their age, gender, or background. Third, it is social and supportive. Skateboarding creates a sense of community and camaraderie among skaters, who share their passion, skills, tips, and stories with each other.
How did skateboarding develop in Turkey?
Skateboarding was introduced to Turkey in the late 1970s and early 1980s by foreign tourists and expatriates who brought their boards with them. The first Turkish skaters were mostly influenced by American and European styles and magazines. They started to skate in places like Taksim Square, Beşiktaş Pier, Kadıköy Moda Park, and Ankara Kızılay Square. They also formed the first skate clubs and teams, such as SBC (Skate Board Community), SBT (Skate Boarding Turkey), Horn Skateboards, Zoo York Turkey, and Speed Demons.
Skateboarding gained more popularity and recognition in Turkey in the 1990s and 2000s, thanks to the emergence of local skaters who developed their own style and identity. They also organized events, competitions, festivals, exhibitions, workshops, and media projects to promote skateboarding culture and awareness. Some of the most notable ones were SBT City Tours, SBT Chilly Series, SBT/Horn Skateboards Videos, SBT How To Series, Kazanda Bir Gün Daha Festival, Rastgele Festival, Harbiye Takılmacalar Series, İzmir Skatepark VS Series, SBT Shorts Series, and SBT YouTube Channel.
What are some of the best places to skate in Turkey?
Turkey offers a variety of spots and locations for skateboarding enthusiasts. Some of them are natural or urban environments that skaters have adapted to their needs. Others are dedicated facilities that have been designed or built for skateboarding purposes. Here are some examples:
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Taksim Square: This is one of the most iconic and historic places in Istanbul, and also one of the most popular skate spots in Turkey. It has a large open space with smooth marble floor, stairs, ledges, rails, and benches. It is also surrounded by shops, cafes, restaurants, and hotels, making it a lively and vibrant place to skate and hang out.
Kadıköy Moda Park: This is a beautiful park located on the Asian side of Istanbul, overlooking the sea. It has a skatepark with ramps, bowls, quarter pipes, banks, and rails. It also has a grassy area, trees, benches, and a playground. It is a great place to skate for all levels and enjoy the nature and the view.
İzmir Skatepark: This is the largest and most modern skatepark in Turkey, located in the coastal city of İzmir. It covers an area of 3,000 square meters and has a variety of features, such as a street course, a bowl, a snake run, a mini ramp, and a vert ramp. It also has lights, music, security, and a cafe. It is open to the public for free and hosts many events and competitions throughout the year.
Ankara Skate Plaza: This is a skate plaza located in the capital city of Ankara. It has a street-style layout with stairs, ledges, rails, gaps, and curbs. It also has some artistic elements, such as sculptures and graffiti. It is open to the public for free and attracts many skaters from different cities.
Antalya Skatepark: This is a skatepark located in the southern city of Antalya, which is famous for its beaches and resorts. It has a street course with ramps, boxes, rails, and pyramids. It also has a mini ramp and a foam pit. It is open to the public for free and offers skate lessons and rentals.
Skateboarding Turkey: The Community and the Brands
How is the skateboarding community in Turkey organized and supported?
The skateboarding community in Turkey is organized and supported by various groups and individuals who share a common passion and vision for skateboarding. Some of them are:
SBT (Skate Boarding Turkey): This is the oldest and most active skateboarding organization in Turkey. It was founded in 1987 by Cenk Kulişoğlu, who is considered as the father of Turkish skateboarding. SBT organizes events, competitions, tours, workshops, media projects, and social activities to promote skateboarding culture and awareness in Turkey. SBT also supports skaters with sponsorships, scholarships, equipment donations, and legal assistance.
Horn Skateboards: This is the first and most successful skateboarding brand in Turkey. It was founded in 1994 by Cem Akaydın, who is also a professional skater and a pioneer of Turkish skateboarding. Horn Skateboards produces high-quality skateboards, clothing, accessories, and media. Horn Skateboards also sponsors and supports many skaters, events, and projects in Turkey.
Skateistan Turkey: This is a branch of Skateistan, an international non-profit organization that uses skateboarding and education to empower children and youth in Afghanistan, Cambodia, South Africa, and Turkey. Skateistan Turkey was launched in 2015 in Istanbul, and it operates a skate school and a community center that offer free skate lessons, creative education, and leadership opportunities to children from low-income and marginalized backgrounds.
Skateboard Magazines and Websites: There are several skateboard magazines and websites that cover the news, stories, interviews, photos, videos, and tips related to skateboarding in Turkey. Some of them are SBT Magazine, Horn Magazine, Zoo York Turkey Magazine, Rastgele Magazine, SBT YouTube Channel, Horn YouTube Channel, Zoo York Turkey YouTube Channel, SBT Website, Horn Website, Zoo York Turkey Website, Rastgele Website, and Skateistan Turkey Website.
Who are some of the most influential and talented skateboarders in Turkey?
There are many influential and talented skateboarders in Turkey who have contributed to the development and recognition of skateboarding in the country and abroad. Some of them are:
Cenk Kulişoğlu: He is the founder of SBT and the father of Turkish skateboarding. He started skating in 1979 and has been promoting skateboarding culture and awareness in Turkey ever since. He is also a photographer, filmmaker, writer, and activist who has documented and supported many skateboarding events and projects.
Cem Akaydın: He is the founder of Horn Skateboards and a professional skater. He started skating in 1986 and has been competing and performing in national and international events. He is also a designer, producer, director, and editor who has created many skateboarding videos and media.
Burak Karakaş: He is a professional skater who started skating in 1994. He is known for his technical skills and style. He has won many competitions and awards in Turkey and abroad. He is also a coach, judge, organizer, and ambassador who has been involved in many skateboarding events and projects.