Rachel Grunwell

Rachel Grunwell is a fitness writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Fitness Challenge: Dialled Indoor SkatePark

Each week intrepid reporter Rachel Grunwell will try out a new form of exercise to bring you the lowdown

Rachel Grunwell tries her hand at extreme scootering at Dialled Indoor Skate Park. Photo / Natalie Slade
Rachel Grunwell tries her hand at extreme scootering at Dialled Indoor Skate Park. Photo / Natalie Slade

What is it? An indoor park, with skate ramps and jumps, where you can ride scooters, BMX bikes or skateboards. The course gets changed regularly and has an indoor pit full of foam to practice tricks in (like flips). It's called after the phrase "dialled" which describes a "solid" scooter that doesn't rattle.

What's needed? Bring your own wheels and helmet, or hire gear.

The experience: I'm at the Dialled Indoor SkatePark in Albany with my seven-year-old son Zach and everywhere I look there's boys, boys, boys.

I think it's safe to say this is a boy hangout, rather than a princess pit. But Wayne Roberts, a part-owner of this park, says the odd girl shows up sometimes. He tells me it's a safe place for kids to catch up, burn off energy and learn tricks.

Zach and I watch riders of BMX bikes, skateboards and scooters. They're grinding down rails, dropping into giant bowls and half and quarter pipes. There's also a scooter-rider practicing flips and then landing in the foam pit with a bounce.

One skate-boarder flies past my nose as I stand in between two half pipes. He falls off mid-flight, but is quickly back on his feet and apologising for coming "a bit close", never minds his new bruise.

By the way, these boys are no "bruisers". They're mostly young and sweet kids who are slick on their wheels and respectful of each other's space.

They watch each other and learn new stunts, hang out, sometimes chat, and are often "snaking it" (just missing each other on the course).

Zach and I lock our eyes on Jasper Russell-Dennis as he flings himself out of a quarter-pipe and lands his scooter squarely on a wall (called a wall-ride). He's at 45-degrees for a few moments, before dropping back into the quarter-pipe to ride up its other side. He's literally "hitting the wall" and it looks crazy and cool. It's almost a form of "flying".

However, Jasper prefers to call it "art".

Stunt scootering, or freestyle scootering, is about "self expression", he says. Some people play musical instruments or paint; his forte is a two-wheel performance.

This scare-hungry and high-flying guy has spent seven-years perfecting his "art". So he's got a killer trick bag. He can do a 360 (a 360-degree spin in mid-air), backflips and likes to turn his world upside down with somersaults (called a flair). He can spin the deck and do double tail whips too. He digs "the freedom that I feel".

The 21-year-old admits that nailing a new trick still sometimes scares him silly - "hell yeah, that's what makes me land it!" He tells me he's not in the habit of "eating it" - as in eating concrete if a trick goes bad. Although once he did end up with a cut-up nose and fractured thumb. And he's grated the odd bit of skin about the city...

"If it was easy it wouldn't be satisfying," he reasons.

You might spot him out in public riding ledges, stairs, handrails or doing 30kms down Queen St.

But he likes practicing at the Albany park during breaks while working here. He also loves teaching young kids in the park how to do basic tricks.

Jasper tries to teach this "kid at heart". He tells me to "shred the gnar" ie not care what other people might think of me and to just give it a go.

So I try out a quarter pipe and when I get a bit brave after a bit I almost shred my pants, rather than "shred the gnar"! So I then hang out scootering around the park with Zach, and enjoy watching the pros. I ask Zach to rate the park because this is his kinda world. He tells me "I've gotta say it's pretty fun" and he hands it a top score (see below).

How much? $12 entry, $20 for 2 consecutive sessions, $99 for 10 entry pass, $199 month pass, $499 year pass. Hire gear costs may also apply.

Worth it? Wheely great spot for boys, particularly on a rainy day.

Try it: Dialled Indoor SkatePark, 36 Parkway Drive, Albany, Auckland, OR at 6 Triton Ave, Mount Maunganui, dialledindoorskatepark.co.nz

Rating: 9/10

Rachel wears:

adidas by Stella McCartney
'Ararauna Dance' Trainers $180
'Weekender Tank' $70
'STU Metal Jacket' $280

adidas Women's Training
Ess Tight - $50

Stockists number: 09 523 5005 or 0508 ADIDAS (0508 234 327)

- Herald on Sunday

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