With the opening of the new skateboard park in Yorkton last summer, a local entrepreneur has established a business to help teach the sport to young boarders.
Last week Nate's Skateboard School opened its doors with Nathan Grayston as owner and instructor.
The idea for the school actually goes back before the new park was launched.
"It actually started about three years ago," said Grayston, who said a school was actually offered at B3 Xtreme Skate Shop, and he was involved.
"After one year of that they stopped doing it," he said, noting lead instructor Tucker Chornomud "got busy with school."
Fast forward to the summer of the new park and Grayston said he found himself talking about a school once more.
"So I decided to start it up again," he said.
Grayston said he knew of the space, (144 1st Ave N/Suite #2) and one time car bay, and went to work. He actually opened his doors late last year, and then quickly learned about the hurdles an entrepreneur faces.
There were fire alarms to install, gyproc on the walls, again for fire codes, exit lights and wiring to deal with.
The doors closed as quickly as they had opened as he undertook the work to meet codes and City bylaws.
Grayston said it was definitely a business learning curve.
"I didn't think I would have to do anything. I just thought it would be smooth going," he said. "I definitely learned a lot about opening a business."
The business is a natural for Grayston 21, since he became interested in the sport at a young age.
"When I was growing up some guys across the street used to skate," he said, adding he was in Grade 3, and they were in high school. "… They showed me how to roll and some other stuff."
The school space Grayston has created is geared to teaching.
"The ramps are geared toward teaching basics from a beginner to an intermediate," said Grayston.
Grayston said the teaching space makes it easier for newcomers to the sport to learn the basics of riding and doing simple tricks away from the larger, more crowded park.
"This provides a much easier environment for them to learn in, to get comfortable on their skateboards," he said.
Most of Grayston's young clients so far are between 10 and 12, "but our youngest skater just turned seven," he said.
Grayston said it's not so much a case of an ideal age to learn, but rather an interest to put in the time and effort.
"I won't take anyone younger than seven," he said, but quickly added the seven-year-old he is teaching "is awesome. He skates hard. He wants to learn.
"It's not as much about the age. It's more about the attitude."
Grayston said he keeps classes small, three to five skaters, working in two-hour sessions.
Teaching takes on a varied approach, said Grayston.
"I give a verbal explanation of a trick," he said, adding he also performs the trick so students can see what takes place.
"Then I watch them try it, and give them feedback on what they're doing."
Grayston said as students become comfortable with one trick, he moves on to teach another.
"You can teach them more and more and more," he said.
Grayston said a big part of the sport is how confident a skater is in accomplishing a trick.
"It's almost all in the head," he said, although he added it does take some natural balance to be a skateboarder.
That said, like most sports it takes practice.
"It's not an easy thing to learn right off the bat," said Grayston, adding "most of the kids have really good attitudes. They're eager to learn."
If students are willing to practice what lessons provide.
"It's definitely a sport you've got to put your time into," said Grayston.
The classes are based on a monthly fee of $150, with lessons weekly. Grayston said he has also worked with some local businesses to provide lessons to students who could not afford the full fees. He has arranged sponsorships with Cornerstone Credit Union, Farrell Agencies, Home Hardware and BG Denture Clinic.
"So far I've got nothing but a positive response to it," he said.
At present Grayston runs classes two days a week, but hopes numbers grow until he teaches five days a week.
In addition to providing lessons Grayston said the space does allow time for just having fun.
"Every day of the week it's open to the public in the evenings," he said, noting operational hours are 6-10 week days and 1-5 and 6-10 on weekends. There is a fee for open skating sessions as well.
You can check out the programming at www.natesskateschool.com