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Skateboards? Check. Passion? Check. Grenades? Check That Too

Documentary about the birth of skateboarding in Czechoslovakia shows the lengths passion and creativity can go to.

4 July 2018

The documentary “King Skate” premiered on Monday during the 2018 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The film focuses on skateboarding during the communist era, and on the evolution of the scene from a tiny cluster of around 100 individuals to a large and connected community where bonds forged between skaters in the 1980s are still alive today.


With the lack of access to skates during the 1980s, local skaters in then-Czechoslovakia had to either buy them from the West, or build their own. “They were constructing them themselves from these originals – they tried to copy them,” said film director Simon Safranek in an interview with Radio Praha. “Then there were some schemes and plans in magazines, these do-it-yourself kind of things.”



While the board itself was relatively easy to build, the wheels were more problematic, since local skaters did not have access to polyurethane, a component applied to skateboarding wheels for durability purposes. So, they turned their attention to what supplies they could find at the time, including rubber training grenades or ice hockey pucks.


It kind of shows the passion – that you want to do it, no matter what,” Safranek told Radio Praha.



  • The initiative Czech on Board with Myanmar led by Jiri Pasz has been supporting a skateboarding community in the Southeast Asian country, which has been in a period of transition from a military dictatorship. As the local skating scene is just starting there, the initiative has resulted in the creation of the first skate park of its kind in the capital Rangoon, and has been sending skateboarding equipment there.  


Compiled by Tyler Haughn

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