Skate Rising – Too Cool for Phoenix Heat

Photo: Trisha Gulbin, Still Rad

Have you heard the news? It’s hot in Phoenix. Like, airplanes can’t fly in the sky hot. Like, plastic garbage can melting, fry an egg on the sidewalk hot.

But even with extreme heat warnings, girls from all over Phoenix are still coming out to 91 West, an indoor skatepark, for Skate Rising’s service project and FREE skateboard clinic on the third Saturday of each month!

In the past two months Skate Rising Phoenix has donated 84 lbs. of food to St. Mary’s Food Bank AND 123 hygiene kits and thank you cards to homeless veterans.

Skate Rising is Exposure Skate’s community program for girls between the ages of 4 and 18 years old which teaches compassion through service and empowerment through skateboarding. Always a FREE event, Skate Rising takes place the second Saturday of each month in Encinitas, California, and the third Saturday of each month in Peoria, AZ.

These girls may be small, but they are making a BIG difference in their community, learning valuable lessons, and they’re having fun doing it with friends.

Photo: Trisha Gulbin, Still Rad

Shortly after a news segment aired on the needs of St. Mary’s Food Bank, Skate Rising announced that their May event would support them with a food drive. Thirty girls came out to skateboard with food donations in hand, making it Phoenix’s biggest event yet!

There was delicious food sponsored by Flower Child, Raffles, MyIntent Bracelet making with Ivivva, and Kelsey from Alive Fitness and Wellness talked to the girls about doing all things with intention.

Photo: Trisha Gulbin, Still Rad

After the event a few girls came together to make the delivery to the food bank. Not only was it a great experience seeing where all the food is stored, the kids had a blast standing on the giant scale they weight the donations on, taking photos popping out of boxes, and they even let us take a quick skate run down their loading dock!

As we rolled into June the temperatures soared to nearly 122 degrees. IT WAS HOT! The hottest it’s been since I moved to Phoenix. People all over the valley were dragging their feet, the air was heavy and getting in your car seemed like the worst possible idea.

Still, supportive parents and passionate kids came out to skate, create thank you cards for the veterans and donate personal care products for the US Veterans Initiative.

It was a small but fun event that ended in a game of limbo! There was food from Holi Kid’s Meals, raffles, and of course a whole lot of skating.

Photo: Trisha Gulbin, Still Rad

With a whole lot of help from the community and from Backpacks 4 Kidz, Skate Rising provided 123 hygiene kits for homeless and transitioning veterans in Phoenix.

A few days later, two car-loads of hygiene kits and two very eager girls paid a visit to the veterans and took a tour of their facility which was once a hotel but now provides free and affordable housing to homeless veterans. Here they can also find financial advice, job placement services, mental health counseling, and preparation for independent living.

The next Skate Rising event in Phoenix is happening on July 15. My Grey Matterz will be sharing skateboard safety tips and the event will benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital. For complete event details visit or follow Skate Rising on Facebook and Instagram.

Your First Skateboard Purchase – A Guide for Parents of Littles

Making Your First Skateboard Purchase

Buying your kids first skateboard can be a pretty hefty investment, especially for parents of little ones. You never know if they are going to give it up within a week’s time, so it’s hard to justify spending $100 or more dollars to get a decent setup. Add in the helmet and pads and you’ve spent a small fortune on something that may end up on Craigslist next month.

My daughter asked for her Pink Helmet Posse mermaid board for over a year before she got one. But shortly after starting skateboard lessons we had to replace our bearings, bushings, trucks and wheels, all which came from Amazon. Essentially everything that makes the board go.

The board itself was the perfect size and a great quality, but the other items, all very important to skateboarding, weren’t working very well. Her board kept veering off to one side, which at first I thought was just because she didn’t know how to ride it, but after her coach tried out and realized it was doing the same for him, we moved on to our upgrades. Starting that day her riding improved a lot! She was skating faster, turning better, her frustration was gone and she was back in the game.

Before making your first legit skateboard purchase, BORROW ONE!

Whether you borrow from a friend a few times or rent a board at a local indoor park, you want to make sure your child actually wants to do this before dropping cash. For the most part every kid I’ve met has stepped on a board once and fell in love, but there have been a few who knew, even just looking at the board, it wasn’t for them. Don’t push them into it, it’s not helping you, or them! This is definitely something you need to have a passion for.

Your First Skateboard Purchase

Buy the right board and set them up for success.

If your kiddo is serious about wanting to skateboard, buying the first thing you see at Target or Walmart is not the way to go. Buying an inexpensive board can, and will, lead to frustration and potentially make your child want to give up.

“Boards from Target or Walmart have plastic trucks and stiff bushings that don’t allow for proper rotation or carving. They don’t have the proper bearings for the wheels causing them to move slow.” – Greg Dwyer @theprofessoraz

Visit your local skate shop.

Before shopping online, shop a local skateboard shop. Shipping on a skateboard deck can sometimes cost more than the deck alone. A local shop will have people who can tell you exactly what you need and if they have it in stock before going online.

You can sometimes save money by buying a blank deck (a skateboard deck without art on it) and letting your kiddo sticker it up because let’s face it, the board will get covered in stickers whether or not it already has art on it. Just look at that mermaid board we HAD to have.

If you do choose to purchase online I highly recommend shopping Pink Helmet Posse or Skate XS. Even if you aren’t purchasing there, visit both sites to determine the best size board for your child before taking the leap. Size does matter friends! I had planned on covering size on this post, but I think I’ll leave that to the experts.

Complete or build your own?

Skate shops typically offer some styles of “complete” skateboards that are already built. Just pay and play, nice and simple. But if you’ve got a creative kid on your hands who wants clear grip tape, pink wheels and HAS to have independent trucks you’ll probably want to “build your own” meaning, pick out all the parts and have the shop build it for you, unless you are experienced and have the right tools.

Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of all this skate lingo one of these days.

What’s your skate style?

How will your kid use their board once they have it? Will they just be cruising through the neighborhood, dropping in on ramps, or speeding down hills?

Here are a few of the most common board styles and how they are used.

Short Board – Ramps and street skating (by street skating I mean tricks on stairs, ledges, etc, not just cruising)

Cruisers / Longboards – Just as the name describes, these are great for just cruising around using your board as transportation. These can be plastic (like a Penny Board) or wood and often use larger wheels

Downhill Longboards – This is a whole other world of skateboarding I don’t know much about other than that you need to wear gloves so you can turn with your hands on the pavement.

Warehouse Skateboards has a great reference guide for choosing the right board, and they offer free shipping for orders over $89 so that’s a win! Take a peek and drop any questions you have below.

*None of the links in this article are sponsored or affiliate links, they are just great references I like to use when helping parents pick the perfect skateboard.


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