Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Skating the city

Whether its weaving in and out of taxis, buses and cars or hanging off the back of them and letting the vehicle do the hard work, in Rio more than most cities, skateboarding is not for the faint-hearted. Here are the best off-road places to ride.

Carioca boarders are infamous for their bravado, taking over tunnels like Rebouças late at night when the traffic dies down armed with nought but a pair of shorts and their steed in case the bandits come looking. It’s fast, dangerous and of course thrilling, but to try and lure riders off the street the Prefeitura has installed some equally good dedicated skate parks.

Aterro do Flamengo
In the heart of Flamengo Park, with the sea breeze to keep things nice and cool, sits a great set of ramps and rails to do battle with. A street skate area, vert wall and mini ramps are all at the disposal of the skating massive.

Rio Sul bowl, Botafogo
This is a hardcore vert bowl, deep, steep and unforgiving, right in front of the Rio Sul shopping centre. Definitely not one for amateurs, it has claimed the knees and chins of some hardened locals so think before you leap.

Vista Chinesa, Alto da Boa Vista
Anyone after even more adrenaline with their daily grind needs to look no further than the downhill ‘course’ at Vista Chinesa up in the Tijuca Forest. While romancing couples gaze out across the city, speed freaks fly down the hill behind them trying to dodge cars, buses and bikes, often with little success.

Praça Quinze, Centro
Not an official skate spot, but offers up a wealth of smooth concrete in the heart of Centro to get the freestylers juices flowing. The Guarda Municipal might have something to say about it, but keep yourself to yourself and there should be no problems.

Citta America, Barra
Okay, so skateboarding in a mall isn’t quite the same if its not late at night and the security guards are chasing after you, but Citta America have pre-empted the whole problem by providing their own skate park. It might be dominated by kids waiting for their parents to finish wielding their credit cards, but what the hell, a skate ramp is a skate ramp.

Parque dos Patins, Lagoa
The annual world championship is hosted here, but the rest of the year it is mainly devoted to the rollerskaters. However just the other side of the tennis courts is a kidney-shaped bowl frequented by skaters and BMX riders alike, and there is a disused 5 aside football pitch that has been taken over by the freestyling crews, littered with junk to rail and ollie.

Parque Garota de Ipanema, Arpoador
Perched up the hill overlooking Arpoador is this killer skate spot that is so secluded you would be hard pushed to know you were surrounded by beautiful beaches if it weren’t for the sound of crashing waves. Two bowls that tend to be pretty popular with those for whom carving up the promenade is just a little too sedate.

Largo da Segunda-Feira, Tijuca
In the middle of Tijuca just a quick ride from São Francisco Xavier metro station is this well-known locals hang out. In the same vein as Praça Quinze its all about the freestyle and street skating and at the weekends the area fills up nicely with trick-pulling riders.

Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors

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