What Is a Skate Demo? An Insider’s Look at Skateboarding’s Showcase Events

Master skate demo etiquette! Get the lowdown on what a skate demo is, tips to enjoy it, and common dos and don'ts to follow.

Have you ever gone to a skatepark and seen a big crowd gathered around skaters you didn’t recognize? Or wondered what those temporary ramps and rails were for? If so, you may have stumbled upon a skate demo. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll go over what demos typically entail, who attends them, and how they benefit both skaters and brands.

Whether you’re an aspiring amateur looking to get sponsored or just curious about the world of competitive skateboarding, learning the ins and outs of demos is essential. By the end, you’ll know exactly what goes down at these energetic events that bring the hype to skateparks worldwide.

What is a skate demo? Skateboarding demos, or demonstrations, are events where pros and amateurs showcase their skills on ramps, rails, and other custom-built obstacles. Demos give skaters a chance to hype up spectators with their best tricks and brands an opportunity to promote new products.

What happens at a skate demo?

Skate demos are held at skateparks and draw crowds to watch talented skaters take over the park with their skills. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect:

Image of a skater doing tricks during a skate demo. Source: unsplash
Image of a skater doing tricks during a skate demo. Source: unsplash
  • Installation of temporary features – In the days leading up to a demo, you’ll see specialized ramps, rails, and obstacles brought into the skatepark just for the event. Features are designed to enable big tricks.
  • Appearances by pro skaters – Demos usually involve pros and elite amateurs sponsored by skate brands. They get to demo new products, too. Seeing your favorite pros in person is a highlight!
  • Skill demonstrations – Skaters will put on a show by doing difficult tricks on the demo features. Expect to see moves like boardslides, lip tricks, manuals, and huge ollies.
  • Giveaways and promotions – Brands often do raffles contests, and give away free merchandise to get people hyped on their products. Come ready to score swag!
  • Autograph signings – You’ll usually have a chance to meet the skaters and get autographed decks, shoes, and more at a demo. Snag that selfie!
  • Afterparties – Many demos continue the fun with an afterparty at a local venue once the skating wraps up. They might have music, drinks, games, or other entertainment.
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

What is a skate demo? An insider’s look at skateboarding’s showcase events | 61vn95mf7ql. Ac sl1184 | skateboard salad
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

I had my board stolen a few years ago and was forced to quickly replace it with a complete. I got one with an Enjoi deck and loved it so much that I still buy the Whitey Panda deck each time I need a new deck. This complete with budget-friendly, beginner-friendly parts, but I still swear by it.

Who attends skateboarding demos?

Demos bring together skaters of all levels, fans, and brands for these big events:

  • Sponsored skaters – The main athletes shredding it up are sponsored professionals and promising up-and-comers looking to get noticed.
  • Spectators – Skate demos are open to the public so tons of skate fans come out to watch the action and support the brands/skaters.
  • Brand representatives – You’ll see company team managers, marketing reps, and owners onsite to build hype around their brand.
  • Photographers/videographers – It’s common to see media people capturing footage of tricks and the crowd to spread on social media.
  • Volunteers – Local skate shops and organizations help run demos behind the scenes. Score volunteering gigs to attend for free!

“At a skate demo, we’re all skateboarders, first and foremost. Remember, respect gets respect! “

Why do skate brands host demos?

For skate companies, demos serve multiple marketing purposes:

  • Promote products – Demos give brands a chance to show off new boards, wheels, shoes, apparel, and gear in front of their target market.
  • Build hype and awareness – With exciting skating and swag giveaways, demos generate buzz and recognition for brands in the skate community.
  • Identify new talent – By evaluating amateurs, sponsors can spot up-and-coming skaters to add to their team.
  • Reward loyal customers – Brands show appreciation for their supporters by inviting them to demos with free entertainment, gifts, and access to pros.
  • Generate content – From live streams to Instagram videos, demos offer lots of opportunities to produce engaging social media content.

What are some tips for attending your first skateboarding demo?

If you want to make the most of your first demo experience, keep these tips in mind:

  • Arrive early – Get there before the crowds so you can scope out spots right beside the demo course.
  • Bring supplies – Carry water, portable phone chargers, sunscreen, posters to get signed, etc. You’ll be there for hours.
  • Capture moments – Don’t forget your phone/camera to snap pics and videos capturing the action. Share on social media.
  • Engage with brands – Visit sponsor tents to learn about products and enter raffles and contests. Rep your favorites.
  • Introduce yourself – Respectfully meet the skaters and ask for autographs. Prove you’re a true fan.
  • Study tricks – Pay attention to techniques and styles the pros use so you can apply them during your own park sessions.
  • Check socials – Follow the brands and demos attendees on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and more to see highlights after the event.
Image of a skater in midair with a skateboard. Source: unsplash
What is a skate demo? An insider’s look at skateboarding’s showcase events | image of a skater in midair with a skateboard unsplash | skateboard salad

While skate demos are largely informal, there is an unspoken code of conduct you should stick to. Let’s roll through a quick table of “dos and don’ts” to help you shred through the etiquette chaos like a pro!

Bring Your SkateboardJump on the course uninvited
Ask For Pro AutographsAsk a Pro For His Skateboard
Gain Info About the DemoAsk for Civilian Autographs
Bring The Right Friends and FamilyBring problematic acquaintances
Stay respectful and Enjoy the DemoTrash Talk
Share Local SpotsInvade the Skating Area to film
Understand Everyone’s There to EnjoyTry to be the center of attention
Demo Etiquette – Dos and Don’ts.

My take on skate demos

Okay, guys, bear with me. This is purely my viewpoint, alright? Having been to a handful of skate demos myself, I’ve come to grasp there’s an unspoken demo etiquette that exists, pretty much like at the dinner table. It’s all about respect, mutual admiration, celebrating skateboarding, and definitely not about free gear or trying to steal the limelight.

If you are a visual learner, check out the video below from YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Alright then, let’s dive into some FAQs. You may have additional queries that were not explicitly covered in the main content. Let’s hit those tight corners, shall we?

Why should I bring my skateboard to a demo?

Yeah, you read that right; not a big fan of passive spectating. Then, bring your board to a skate demo! It’s a safe bet, and you might catch an impromptu game of SKATE or have a session before or after the demo. However, it’s crucial to remember: When the pros hit the arena, kite your board to the sideline. You might be stoked about your frontside flip, but don’t sail into the course uninvited – it might get pretty sketchy.

Why shouldn’t I ask for a pro’s skateboard?

You might be thinking, “Hey, these dudes get tons of free skate gear, why shouldn’t they share a little with a fan?” Really? Cut the chase and scrape that idea off your noggin. Asking a pro for their board at a demo is pretty much the dumbest thing you can do.

It’s viewed as annoying and, well, downright selfish. Remember, these pros are at the demo to skate, not dish out freebies. So, might want to check out our guide on how much skateboards cost before you make a fool of yourself.

Can I film the demo?

Well, yeah, sure. But don’t for a second think you’re filming for the next Transworld Video. Owning a Hi-Def Panasonic and a death lens doesn’t give you unlimited access to the action zone. Keep the meddling to a bare minimum and stick to your long lens from a safe distance, alright?

Can I take part in the demo?

As much as you’d love to be part of the actual action, the truth is pretty wack – you can’t. Demos are typically conducted by pro skaters sponsored by their respective brands. As a spectator, your role is to soak in the action, cheer for the pros, and make the most of the energy around you.

What can I do beyond watching the demo?

Sure, you might not be able to kickflip on the demo course, but there’s still so much to do! You could bring your board for a fun session pre or post-the-demo. Pro skaters are usually excited about meeting their fans, so you could get your board, shirt, or hat autographed. Sharing local skate spots or generally talking shops with the pros is another great way to make the most of your time. If you need ideas on what to chat about, here’s a guide on how to do a barley grind.

What’s the etiquette for filming the demo?

If you have a fancy Hi-Def Panasonic and a death lens, you might be tempted to film the demo. While you can, there’s some etiquette to follow. Basically, don’t step into the skating zone uninvited or obstruct the view of others. Always maintain a respectful distance and film from the sidelines. Using a long lens can help you capture the action without interfering with the actual demo or bothering others.

Final thoughts

So there you have it, the gnarly-toothed lowdown on skate demos. In essence, they’re extreme sports circuses, where the stars of the show are those board-flipping, grind-sliding pros, but the real thrills? They’re in the energy, the rush, and the camaraderie.

Are you stoked to check out a skate demo near you now, or are you even planning to host your own? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below. I read and reply to every comment. If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend, and check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on skate demos. Thanks for reading, and safe shredding!

Key takeaways

This article tore through the wild world of skate demos. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Skate demos are professional showcases where pro skaters exhibit their skills.
  • Attendees should bring their boards, but stay off the demo course during the event.
  • Asking a pro skater for their board is a big no-no.
  • Attendees can, however, ask for autographs politely.
  • Be mindful of who you bring to a skate demo.
  • As an attendee, you can film the event but respect the skaters’ space.
  • Sharing local skate spots with pros is cool.
  • Absolutely no trash talking at a skate demo. Respect gets respect.

Helpful resources

Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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