What Is Ditch Riding in Skateboarding?

by Roger DelVenado
Dtich riding takes skateboarding to urban concrete culverts.

Dtich riding takes skateboarding to urban concrete culverts.

Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

The sport of skateboarding has inspired the use of a variety of urban surfaces as skating venues. Curbs, stairwells, empty pools and streets are all popular places to skateboard. Concrete ditches, too, have attracted skaters with their angled sides that seem to invite skateboarders to ride them. Ditch riding is exactly what the name implies -- riding your skateboard through a concrete ditch.

The Gear

Ostensibly, all you need to ride a ditch is your skateboard and your guts. This might work for the pros, but the neophyte ditch rider should wear full, protective getup. This includes helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist protectors at a minimum. Because ditch riding takes place on high-angle concrete, falls can cause a cheese-grater effect as your body bounces over the rough surface. Long pants and long-sleeve shirts are recommended.

The Board

Ditch riding requires confidence, so the skateboard on which you feel most assured is the skateboard you want for riding ditches. Longboards, new-school or old-school skateboards will all do the trick as long as you have the requisite mastery of the skill required to ride a ditch. That means dropping in on the ditch, switching back on a slope and staying on long enough to make it up the other side of the ditch. Choose what works for you.


Events such as the Ditch Slap in Albuquerque, N.M., feature skateboard races through sections of urban concrete ditches. Competitors run the section multiple times, with their best time used in determining a winner. Slalom cones may be added to the ditch to make the course more challenging. Clipping a cone or falling means that attempt's time will not count in the competition.

The Outlaw Vibe

Most concrete ditches, with the exception of those found in skate parks, are not designed with skateboarders in mind. In fact, in many areas, ditch riding may be illegal except in certain designated spaces. Riders in the Albuquerque Ditch Slap, for example, had to take precautions to avoid police because no permits could be issued authorizing the event.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images