ARDSLEY, N.Y. – A dozen beginner skateboarders and their parents gathered Wednesday afternoon at Ardsley's skatepark for the first in a six-week series of skateboard lessons sponsored by the village.
While experience levels varied, all the children had one thing in common – excitement.
“I really want to learn how to jump off a ramp,” said Matthew Casey, 10. “I’m not a pro, but I know how to skateboard. I can do an ollie.”
Matthew’s brother, nine-year-old Ryan, set his sights on a more basic skill. “I’ve tried to skateboard, but I can’t turn,” said Ryan. “I at least want to learn to turn.”
Ardsley partnered with 2nd Nature, which sells skate gear and offers lessons, to create the program, aimed at teaching beginners how to skate and perform basic tricks, said Lorraine Kuhn, skatepark administrator. Expert instructors from 2nd Nature have been teaching the lessons since the program began four years ago, Kuhn said.
The skatepark has a half-pipe, several moveable ramps and grind rails to help the learners practice their skills.
Kuhn first became involved with the skatepark almost a decade ago after she was inspired to create a safe place for children and teenagers to skate. Kuhn said she watched her son get chased out of other areas of the village while skating and wanted to change that.
While the Casey brothers began the lesson with some experience under their belts, others started as true beginners. Prajin Uttamchaudani, 8, said he had never skated before, but was eager to learn after watching a friend skate.
“We’re excited,” said Prajin’s mother, Divya. “We have high hopes.”
As the lesson began, the 12 enthusiastic learners lined up and took turns going up a ramp while instructors offered words of encouragement and advice. Some children shakily rolled up the ramp, trying their best to keep both feet on the board, while others easily rolled up and over the ramp with complete confidence. The more advanced skaters quickly moved on to the half-pipe and other larger ramps.
When the park isn’t being used for lessons, it’s open for free skating. Local high school students work as CPR-trained park lieutenants to make sure everything runs smoothly.
“We have a lot of pride in the park,” Kuhn said. “I tell the kids it’s their park; they have to take care of it.”
The park is open weekdays from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.