Do Czechs Belong in the Skateboarding Scene?


Since 1997, Mystic Skates Limited has been the organiser of the Czech Skateboarding Cup, which took place over the weekend on Stvanice Island in Prague. It is the final contest from a professional series, which begins in May in ten cities around the country. Though a relatively new event, close to a thousand spectators came daily this year to see athletes achieve astonishing tricks and take in skateboarder culture.

The Ollie, the BS Smith Grind, and the kickflip transfer are just some of the tricks you could see at the Czech National Skateboarding Cup. In the streetstyle category, skaters were judged on the use of obstacles, difficulty in skill, speed, and of course you can't fall. But the word "free" is often used to describe the sport. I spoke with Jana Bartakova one of just two girls who participated in the contest, the other girl being her sister, and asked her why she likes skateboarding?

"Because it's very free. You can skate where you want and when you want. You don't have to train at specific times like regular sports."

So you have never taken a lesson, you just learned on your own?

"Yeah, there is no such thing as lessons in skateboarding."

But skateboarding has not been practiced widely in the Czech Republic for a very long time. The Stvanice Skate Park has been a key factor in its development. Though only founded 1994, it has become an international venue for skateboarding competitions.

"My name is Mark Litinsky. I am 23 years old and I have been skateboarding for 13 years."

Mark is a part of Mystic Construction and literally lives in the park. He is one of the builders and designers of the skatepark, which is modernized every year for the Mystic Skate Cup International Contest. Mark explains that skateboarding is not just a sport it's a lifestyle. I asked Mark if fashion and music are a big part of skateboarding.

"Absolutely, it's a big part of business and a lot of people are making money out of it. A lot of cool people are making money out it and are able to earn their living, but there are a lot of posers or people who just want to make money. So, to people on the outside skateboarding can seem like a pretty commercial sport."

Commercial or not, the Czech Republic has not only picked up on the business aspects of the sport but has produced athletes who rank in the top ten in the international standings. You can find out more about the major producer of Czech skateboarding, Mystic Skates, on the internet.

As such it seems that Czechs in the skateboarding scene, truly do belong.