A look at skateboarding around the world

Girls skate with Megabiskate in Ethiopia (Photo: Megabiskate)

Girls skate with Megabiskate in Ethiopia (Photo: Megabiskate)

Check out these five talks for insights into kickflips, nosegrinds, ollies and tail grabs from Ethiopia to Mongolia.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

TEDxNTUA speaker Israel Dejene with members of his skating group Megabiskate in Ethiopia (Photo: Megabiskate)

TEDxNTUA speaker Israel Dejene with members of his skating group Megabiskate in Ethiopia (Photo: Megabiskate)

Megabiskate is group of university students, volunteers and young skaters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia working to combine skateboarding with education, community activism and fun. Musician Israel Dejene founded the group after returning to his old neighborhood after time spent abroad; he saw his young neighbors struggling, he says at TEDxNTUA, and wasn’t sure how to help, until it hit him: skateboarding might just be the answer.

Bangalore, India

TEDxPESITBSC speaker Atita Verghese with a young rider at a Girl Skate India workshop (Photo: Girl Skate India)

TEDxPESITBSC speaker Atita Verghese with a young rider at a Girl Skate India workshop (Photo: Girl Skate India)

At TEDxPESITBSC, Atita Verghese explains how she launched Girl Skate India — an initiative to teach girls in India how to skateboard. Skateboarding, she says, not only gets girls into athletics, but also teaches perseverance, teamwork, confidence, balance, coordination and endurance — “things that can help women grow stronger mentally and physically.”

West Bank, Palestine

Kids in Palestine skate at night (Photo: Maen Hammad)

Kids in Palestine skate at night with the SkatePal organization (Photo: Maen Hammad)

When Maen Hammad traveled from Michigan to Palestine in order to reconnect with his heritage, he brought his skateboard along, not sure if he’d get to use it. Little did he know that the West Bank had a rich skateboarding culture, one that far exceeded his expectations, and soon he was giving lessons with SkatePal, a local skateboarding organization. The Palestinian skate culture fascinated and inspired him — and soon he was on his way to making a documentary about these skaters that go against the status quo.

Philadelphia, U.S.

Paine's Park skatepark in Philadelphia (Photo: Gary G. Schempp)

A skater in Paine’s Park skatepark in Philadelphia (Photo: Gary G. Schempp)

Josh Nims was attending law school in Philadelphia when skateboarding in the city’s famous LOVE Park was banned, despite its fame as a skateboarding Mecca. “[Thousands] of skateboarders cut their teeth at LOVE Park,” Nims says at TEDxPhiladelphia. “LOVE Park is known all over the world for its skateboarding culture.” Nims, a skateboarder himself, used his law school know-how to try and figure out how to create a compromise between skateboarders and the government, which helped in the opening of several different skateparks in the city.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Skateboarders in the Mongolian Uukhai Skateboarding Association (Photo: Uukhai)

Skateboarders in the Mongolian Uukhai Skateboarding Association (Photo: Uukhai)

Erdenedalai “Eddie” Purev founded the Mongolia Uukhai Skateboard Association to foster skateboarding culture in Mongolia. At TEDxUlaanbaatar, he talk about how Uukhai came to be and their mission to provide lessons and free skateboards, as well as to build the country’s first skatepark and hopefully launch the career of the first Mongolian professional skateboarder.

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