Since the dawn of time (well, maybe since the dawn of the new millennium), there has been a rivalry between skateboarders and scooters. Skateboarders the world over have turned their respective noses up at scooters, and the people who ride them. This article will help answer this age old question.
The main reason skateboarders don’t like scooters is because kids on scooters often don’t pay attention and cause accidents. Not only the kids, but also some parents can act entitled and fail to supervise their kids.
Historically, skateboarders have had a distaste for other “factions” of the action sports world, and things that aren’t skateboarding. Generally speaking, skaters don’t like inline skates, they don’t like team sports, they don’t like Rip-Sticks, they may even hate on long boards (even though it is technically a skateboard).
But there is one thing in which all skaters of the world unite in their total dislike; their universal disgust; their shared hatred: Skateboarders hate scooters!
So why the hatred by skaters toward scooters? Let’s dig deeper, and really examine the cause of this enigma.
Scooter Kids Lack Situational Awareness
This is something is see every time when I visit a public skatepark. Scooter kids are not aware of their surroundings. Now, not all of them but many often just don’t have a clue which line to follow or await their turn.
They just drop in while you’re in the middle of a run without regards for safety. This has to do with them often being very young and the lack of supervision.
I weigh a lot more than the average kid and probably they get hurt more than me when things go south, but I don’t want to injure a kid. Accidents happen, even among skateboarders and something things are just out of my control but reducing risk is important.
Parents need to watch their kids and correct them, not berate the skaters that tell these kids to be careful. Some entitled parents won’t hesitate to cause a scene because someone corrected their special snow flake.
Many of them are just looking at their phones and don’t supervise their kids like they’re supposed to. If a skateboarder collides with a scooter kid, you can assure they will take it out on the skateboarder.
Fortunately it isn’t all black and white, not all parents act like this. The problem is if there’s just one that doesn’t take responsibility it can cause a nasty accident.
Scooters Are for Kids
How many adults do you know that ride scooters? Probably none. I, being an adult, don’t personally know any adults that own scooters. How many adults do you know who ride skateboards? Probably many.
I have many friends that skate, and when I go to the skatepark in the early morning or later at night, it is all adults on skateboards, and a couple old guys on BMXs. But no scooters.
That is probably the reason us old guys go to the park at those hours. The oldest person I have met with a scooter is 14 years old, but most of the time he is riding his skateboard, not his scooter.
On the other side, how many kids do you know that ride scooters? Probably too many. My kid is in the 3rd grade, and pretty much every kid she knows owns and rides a scooter.
They may not be hardcore, but they cruise around on them all over our town. Although, a few of the boys in her class also ride skateboards. At the skatepark, the number of kids under 16 on scooters, far out number the skaters in the same demographic.
Scooter kids also tend not to be aware of their surroundings. I often have to tell them to not drop in when I’m skating a ramp cause they just don’t see how dangerous is can be. When you have 10 kids on a ramp it becomes frustrating at some point, sometimes I actually just leave to prevent accidents.
Skaters might hate scooters because of an age difference. It’s not necessarily that skateboarders hate kids, I certainly don’t. But it would be pretty weird, and maybe creepy, for a 20 year old to become friends with a 10 year old. But at the same time, when I was skating at 16, I remember my parents saying that skateboards were kids toys.
Scooters Are Too Easy
Skateboarding is a very difficult sport. Forget about how difficult it is to get really good, and up to pro levels; it is incredibly difficult to even get mediocre at skateboarding. It requires a great deal of practice to develop the balance to even be able to push comfortably and ollie, let alone to do a fakie big flip over a picnic table.
At the most, you have 2 points of contact when riding a skateboard, and that is only when you have both feet on the deck. Given skateboardings level of difficulty, very few people reach levels of greatness on a contraption that you manipulate (mostly) using your feet.
Scooters on the other hand, have handle bars, like a bicycle. Most people in the world, can ride a bike, and so by (bad) logic, most people could probably ride a scooter. When you ride a scooter, you always (with the exception of doing no handers/footers) you always have at the least 3 points of contact on your scooter; two hands on the handle bars, and 2 feet on the deck.
Let us examine what is (often) considered the most basic easiest of tricks to do on a skateboard and a scooter: the jumping maneuver (AKA: Ollie on a skateboard vs Bunnyhop on a scooter). Basically, the trick involves jumping off the ground with your skateboard or scooter.
To ollie a skateboard: you push the tail down to the ground with your back foot (pop), slide your front foot up and out toward the nose (slide), both while pushing off with both legs (jumping). All three actions must take place very quickly with the proper timing to make your skateboard jump off the ground (Pop, Slide, Jump)
To Bunnyhop a scooter: jump and pull the handlebars up at the same time.
While the timing is critical to get off the ground, on a scooter the actions are very simple, and similar to bunnyhopping on a bike, except on a scooter you don’t have to “squeeze” the pedals with your feet. On a scooter, basically, you just pull up and jump.
Doing an ollie on a skateboard is like no other action that a person does in their life. The only action that might be similar, is doing a jumping side kick in martial arts (Ninja Kick).
The ollie is considered the most basic trick, but is also the a hard trick to learn in skateboarding. All three of the movements, which are required to get off the ground, are not normal movements, and require a great deal of focus and practice to get the timing right, even pull off a badly executed “rocket ollie”.
Scooting is More Dangerous
Slamming on a scooter has a higher potential for injury than slamming on a skateboard, because a scooter has more parts, and hence more potential things to poke, crush, pinch, hit, bounce off your body and get tangled up in.
Because scooters have handlebars, and you are basically attached to it, like a bike, you need to be able to slam differently than on a skateboard.
Let’s use a pop shuv-it on a skateboard as an example, because the execution and catch are similar to doing a tail whip on a scooter. The basic pop shuv-it is scooping the tail with your back foot, causing the board to rotate 180 degrees, and you land on it with both feet.
A tail whip on a scooter is also scooped with the back foot, rotated 180 degrees, around the stem, and landed with both feet.
On a skateboard, you can “kick out” or bail on the trick. This is where you scoop, and then literally kick the board out and away from you and you land with both feet on the ground and your board not near you.
On a scooter, you cannot simply kick out, you would have to kick out, and throw the handle bars away from you. With that, comes a whole other bunch of problems.
The handle bars and stem create a whole new axis for your scooter to bounce around. To keep the scooter from bouncing back, you have to keep it with you and control it while you control your body and try not to slam on your scooter.
There are huge potentials to land on the deck, or stab a handlebar end through your liver, AND still get credit carded, which is about the worst feeling slam on a skateboard.
Skaters are Elite
Skaters are elite. Not necessarily in an asshole kind of way; more of “elite” in a “not everyone can skate” kind of way.
As has been mentioned in many articles here on skateboardersHQ, skateboarding is difficult to progress in. It takes time, practice, patience, persistence, and dedication to achieve your personal skating goals.
And this is made very apparent, to every skater, when they try to learn their first trick: the ollie. It took me a couple months (cause old people learn slowly), and way too many bruises and swollen elbows, to be able to ollie to a decent height, with the board nicely levelled out.
The amount of dedication and time it took me to achieve that one goal is not something that I am willing to let go of lightly. And now that I can ollie, I have opened my skateboarding world up to every technical trick in the book. Some of those will definitely take as much, if not more, time than learning the ollie, but from there it will expand into other tricks.
The same can be said for scooting, or anything else you do. If you put a lot of yourself into something, you don’t want to give it up, but you want to keep progressing, and seeing it through to the end. Skateboarding doesn’t have an end. Everyday people are pushing the envelope. I see at least one skate clip on Instagram every day that blows my mind.
When I skate, I try and do something new each session, even if it is something small like picking up my board differently. I could see scooting in the same regard. There is no end to the progression you can make scooting. However, I do feel that the first basic maneuver in scooting (the bunnyhop) can probably be mastered in a few tries, not a few months.
With the amount of dedication that skaters put into achieving their goals, why would they want to switch to scooting? In the same regard, why would someone that dedicated themselves to progressing in scooting want to stop? I am not sure, but as mentioned before, I don’t see anyone over the age of 14 riding a scooter.
What Scooters and Skateboarders Have in Common
Skateboards and scooters have many things in common. They both have a deck that you stand on. They both have wheels attached to the deck. Both are propelled by pushing with your foot. You can do tricks on both of them.
Both of them can be used on the same obstacles, and in the same spots. Both can be used to do grinds, slides, jumps, stalls, rotations, manuals and flip tricks. You can rip bowls, ledges, get tech, or just cruise on either a skateboard or a scooter. Both are featured in contests, videos, and huge showcases, like Nitro Circus.
Why do skateboarders hate scooters? Skateboarders might hate on scooters because they don’t pay attention and cause accidents. On top of that the lack of supervision by the parents is a big problem.
Secondary reason is that they seem to be easier to ride, the slams might be worse, only little kids ride them, and because they have dedicated so much time to developing their skating.
They have worked at the craft, and joined the elite few that can skate, and they can’t give it up. Skaters identify as skaters, and often hate on things that aren’t related to skateboarding, and scooters fall into that category.
Also, and probably the most simple explanation is: Nobody at the skatepark likes scooter kids. (The topic of “scooter kids” will have to be saved for another, far, far, far, far, longer article)
Have You Ever Even Ridden a Scooter?
Here is a guilty confession: When I was a kid, maybe 12, I had a scooter. This was back in the early 90’s, so Razor style scooters with the little 4 inch wheels didn’t exist yet (as far as I knew). My scooter had 8 inch pneumatic wheels with studs (like small mountain bike tires), frame tubing like a bike, and stem and handle bars like a BMX.
I even put pegs and a gyro on it, because it had front and back brakes. I used to take that thing on the bike trails in my town, which were through a dried out, deep river bed. I had so much fun, and did crazy big jumps (that scare me to look at now).
I used to ride that scooter like a BMX, which I also rode a lot of at the time. It was way easier for me to learn tricks on the scooter than it was for me to learn tricks on my skateboard.
I could bunnyhop pretty high, do dirt jump tricks, and a lot of flatland BMX tricks on the scooter, almost the first try with every scooter trick I learned. It was fun and I enjoyed it until it broke, as it wasn’t built for the punishment I put it through.
Note: This article was written by William who is no longer writing for SkateboardersHQ