Radical downhill boarding in Belgium

Life Style
by Thomas Mertens, Belgium | July 16, 2016
Young man riding a skateboard down a ramp

For those about to ride…we salute you.

Belgium is one of those countries which often gets overlooked when people look for street sports or activities like the X-games, but Belgium has a sweet number of skate spots for all abilities. From way back in the early 1990’s when the likes of Tony Hawk, Neal Hendrix and Mike Frazier competed for the Skateboard World Cup at Air Attack in Antwerp, Belgium’s skate scene has been kept alive by true believers in the skater’s ethos.

Outdoor skate parks can be found all over the country with some great rides available at Poperinge, Lokeren and Londerzeel and a brand new park in Luxembourg called Peitruss. There are also a few indoor skate parks that cater for all levels of rider; the one to look out for in Brussels is Byrrh and Skate which is a self funded collective that has managed to turn an old factory into a great indoor skate park using salvaged materials and the designs of local artists who are also skate crazy.

If you are into freeriding then head for Leuven where the long open pavements and straight lines between the houses attracts huge amounts of skaters from all over Belgium. If speed is your deal there are two sites that stand out from the crowd; the Tumuli Forest in Brussels and the Houyet hills.

a young man heading down a slide on a skateboard

The Tumuli Forest has a smooth kilometre of descent where you can reach speeds of around 40 km/h, but if that is not fast enough for you then head for Houyet where top riders will reach 70 km/h with ease on the 3 kilometre hill. There are 6 turns on the descent of Houyet to test your skills and riding ability and it is essential you wear a helmet and protective gear here as wipe outs commonly occur. Houyet is also the location of the most famous freeride race that Belgium has to offer, the Wallonhill. Lots of riders, loads of action and plenty of contact keeps the crowds entertained.

The best thing about skating in Belgium is that you are never far from a great beer. We all know skating is thirsty work and to kick back with a glass of something cold and talk through your day with friends is a great way to finish off a hard day’s riding. A cold beer also soothes those bruises and pavement rashes that occur on occasions, although remember that this is not medical advice, but I am sure it is true!

Do a quick Facebook search for Belgium’s skate parks and you will be pleasantly surprised by the variety on offer and with Belgium being a relatively small country it makes it fairly easy to travel around and try out each one.

So what are you waiting for? Get that flight booked or plan a road trip with your boarding friends and visit the best skate scene that Belgium has to offer.

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