Skateboarding is a low-tech and human-powered sport that sometimes gets a bad wrap because its enthusiasts are mainly young, mainly guys, and mainly doing it on the streets. Hooligans, say some. Just having fun, say others. Whichever – skateboarding has had the largest boost in participation with people 7 and older of ANY action sport (a 700% increase over the last decade).

Skateboarding should get a better rap – it’s not only far less expensive than most other team and individual sports. Skateboarders are also in fewer injury accidents than basketball, baseball, or soccer players. Skaters are even safer if they are wearing a helmet, especially in the first few weeks of skating – studies find 1/3 of injuries happen in a skater’s first weeks of boarding.

skate boarding at the park
Skateboarding has lots of under-10 enthusiasts.

While not exactly a team sport, skateboarding is getting more attention as a pro activity. It is estimated there are 30 million skateboarders worldwide. And the Street League Skateboarding project has helped build or design at least a handful of skate parks around the U.S. and is hosting a world championship.

Skate parks are one of the best ways to let people into skating practice their art and incidentally, learn the lingo and etiquette of skateboarding.

And here’s the best news about skateboarding: while male-dominated, it’s not male exclusive. Watch skateboarder Natalie Wrestling show some skateboarding basics here. Skate Like A Girl is getting more females into it, too.

So don’t hate the skaters – they are part of the human-powered revolution – choosing muscles over motors.