The skateboard is not very popular in Nepal. There aren’t a lot of skateboarders nor followers of the sport. However, for those who are into skateboarding, it is a way of life. There is no shortage of passion or skills. Moreover, like every other element of the urban culture, the sport is slowly developing in the Himalayan nation. There have been some significant strides in the last half-decade.
When Did Skateboarding First Start in Nepal?
The wooden plank with wheels has been around Kathmandu since the time it was ‘Hippie Haven.’ About three decades ago, tourists used to bring their skateboards with them to show off their skills.
The sport grew gradually from there, slowly catching the attention of the locals. During the early days, the only way to get a skateboard was to order from abroad.
Eventually, local furniture shops and even stationaries started selling skateboards, and that was until 2015 when the first official Skateboard shop was opened in Nepal.
Skateboarding in Nepal: Current Scenario
The first official skateboarding store, ‘Hamro Skate Shop,’ started the same year Nepal Skating and Skateboarding Association (NSSA) was established. The NSSA is the official government authority of the sport in Nepal. Since then, the trend has really taken off, and the growth is good, as said by a pioneer Nepali skateboarder Milan Shah aka Pagal Xora in the Urban Diaries radio show.
The same person who started Hamro Skate Shop, Ujwal Dangol, also runs a skate park in Nayabazaar in Kathmandu. Apart from that, there are two other skateparks; both in Pokhara. They include the Pokhara Skate Park and the Annapurna Skate Park. Annapurna Skate Park was opened by Mr. Ram C. Koirala, who is another pioneer and respected figure in the skateboarding society of Nepal.
There also used to be Nepal National Skatepark in Lalitpur, but it is no longer open.
As you can see, skateboarding has just officially started in Nepal, and it is on the developing stage. Due to the scene being comparatively small, most of the people in the field know about each other, and they have been working together for the uplifting of the sport.
Events are happening, and local talents have represented Nepal in international tournaments. Sponsors are increasing as well.
As of now, the society is planning to send a skateboarder to represent Nepal in the 2020 Olympics.
Skateboarding: Challenges in Nepal
Skateboarding is a risky sport. The person on the skate is always prone to injuries. The risk is even more in Nepal, where there are no enough skate parks. People are forced to skate on the streets, and especially in city areas’ terrain, which is not smooth, including bumps, the risk is multiplied.
The skate parks which exist are good, but they don’t have enough infrastructures as you see in an Olympic arena. So, Nepal could take players abroad, but they can’t perform their best. Also, the Association has been criticized for not giving enough attention to the scene. Building a government-based skate park could be the stepping stone for the sport to reach another level.
After all, more people will be intrigued, and the costs to skate in a government park would be lower than in a private commercial one.
This will also decrease the number of parents complaining; if a kid gets injured while skating in the street, the entre skateboarding society is blamed.
Also, national players need insurance. This is an important aspect that the association should take care of.
Skateboarding is a relatively new sport in Nepal if you look at it formally. However, it has been here for a long time. These days, the popularity is increasing, and steps have been taken to develop the sport. Yet, we still have a lot to work on; and also, many talented players deserve more from the authorities and commercial sponsors.