With cobblestone-laden sidewalks and narrow, winding paths, Prague is not a city known for its wheel-friendliness. Although the picturesque yet impractical ground and tiny streets seem to disappear once you begin to travel outward from the center, there are still quite a few daunting hills that those wheels must confront. Nonetheless, there still exists quite a population of skateboarders who inconspicuously glide around hidden corners and skate parks.
In a city as culturally diverse as Prague, it’s easy for things to slip under the radar. However, a prominent, yet underrated scene found in the Czech capital is its skateboarding culture. Not only does Prague host one of the world’s biggest skateboarding competitions, skaters also have the choice of practicing in a myriad of places around the city. From typical to world-renowned skate parks, hidden streets, and even by national monuments, Prague offers this subculture a multitude of wheel-friendly gems.
Among the popular skateboarding spots is Štvanice, a concrete park with many bowls, which is where Mystic Sk8 Cup is held. Another common skateboarding space is by the National Theater. Although the skaters tend to get thrown out a lot, they can still be found skating the rails and smooth pavement after the sun has set because the National Theater is always lit up.
Stalin Square, up by the Metronome in Letná Park , is one of the skateboarding meccas of the world, comparable to the MACBA in Barcelona and Pier 7 in San Francisco.
Skateboarders from all over the world flock to this concrete jungle to graze their wheels along the pavement where the largest statue of Stalin once stood. In place of the statue now sits a huge Metronome that attracts many tourists.
These tourists would never suspect that the square is a legendary skate park among the international skateboarding crowd. The park is made of marble and has stairs, many different kinds of curves, and manual pads that allow all sorts of possibilities for wheel enthusiasts. Skaters can often be found building ramps and jumps to facilitate new tricks and moves. The square also offers a very scenic view of all of Prague. On a sunny day, it’s every skater’s dream—and there’s also great draft beer just around the corner.
Located just by the Metronome is a long wire that stretches horizontally across the park. Dozens of sneakers can be found strewn over the wire.
The shoes have been a tradition for twenty-some years, and skaters always throw their shoes over the wire. People will travel from all over the world just to skate the park and leave their mark with their shoes. All sorts of familiar skate brands can be found there—DC, Converse, Vans and the like, with the occasional average shoe of a curious tourist. It’s an interesting tradition that shows that the skateboarding scene in Prague is internationally recognized.
Yet another popular international tradition is the Mystic Sk8 Cup. It is the most famous world cup for skateboarding that started its annual run in 2002. Located on Štvanice Island in Prague in the middle of July, pro riders from Asia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United States, and various European countries gather here for one of the world’s biggest skateboarding competitions. Event categories include street-style, bowl, and tricks. Each year there is a newly built street course for the two hundred international riders who compete for a $30,000 prize.
This year, the competition will take place from July 13th to the 15th. Skaters, sponsors, and fans gather for a two-day showcase of amazing skateboarding talent as well as entertainment by DJs. Sponsored by Volcom, the event attracts a huge crowd. Other sponsors this year include Pilsner Urquell, Pepsi, Vice, Rebel, Freeride, and more.
Among these famous brands and names are also local, smaller stores in Prague that support the scene. The Mystic Cup also has its own skate shop, Mystic Sk8 Shop, in Prague 1. Stores like El Nino Snow and Skate Shop, one of the first skate shops in Prague, provide equipment. Nonetheless, even though there are quite a few skateboarding shops all around the city, they rarely stock up on hardware and sell mostly fashion and street-wear.
Regardless, many Czechs are still able to fuel their desire to skate. Whether it’s during a stroll through a random Prague neighborhood, dodging tourists near old town square, or while casually drinking a beer up in Letná Park, skateboarders can be found all throughout the city. With their distinct fashion style—baseball caps, DC shoes, cut-offs—and easy to spot boards covered in stickers, they’re impossible to miss. The culture is definitely yet another one of Prague’s many underrated scenes that are often overshadowed by all the beer.