Located in the picturesque Alexandra Gardens, Riverslide Skate Park is not just one of Melbourne’s most iconic skate spots, it’s also a safe and welcoming space for anyone interested in skating.
Australia’s only full-time managed and staffed public skate facility, Riverslide is owned by the City of Melbourne, and run by YMCA.
Riverslide’s on-site staff facilitate a wide range of skate programs that promote diversity and inclusion, increase participation, encourage healthy exercise and build community connections.
Travis Giles, Riverslide’s Acting Centre Director, said ‘Riverslide provides skate lessons, sessions and competitions to engage with the broader community and help people participate in skating.’
Travis – who has been skating most of his life and working at Riverslide for more than 10 years - says skating is a fun way to get out and be active, even for beginners.
‘It’s an activity that you can participate in on your own terms, and what’s great is that you can progress at your own pace and level,’ Travis explained. ‘You can go out skating with friends or just do it for yourself.’
Riverslide provides a supportive environment for girls and young women to learn to skate.
‘There’s also the ‘Go Girls’ beginner class for girls aged 14 and under, which is a regular group lesson that’s held on the weekends,’ said Travis.
Travis loves being part of the skating community, which he’s always found to be really welcoming.
‘Skating is fun, even for people learning, and I often see the skate community celebrating people who just participate and give it a go,’ said Travis.
Travis came to work for the YMCA at Riverslide after regularly using the space himself.
‘I'd come to skate and see the work YMCA was doing here, and the community programs they offer. I thought what they were doing was great and I wanted to get involved.’
Although skating is renowned for being popular with younger people, there are a growing number of adults taking part.
‘We’ve always had a lot of young people participate in our programs, but we’re seeing more adults get involved now,’ Travis revealed.
Riverslide also supports the inclusion of people with a disability through facilitating partnerships between schools and disability support services.
‘We have a weekly program where people with disability buddy-up with a group of Year 10 students, to have a shared skate experience,’ explained Travis.
Travis also shared how Riverslide partners with a number of local youth services and community organisations, for the good of the whole community.
‘We’ve worked with Signal creative studio to facilitate skate and arts programs at Riverslide. Youth groups from Signal have visited the skate park to participate in mural painting lessons, as well as skate sessions,’ Travis said.
‘We’ve also partnered with Drum Youth Services to run activities for their school holiday programs, both here at Riverslide and in other spaces around the city, including Neil St Reserve. We provide lesson-based sessions with local schools in the area as well.’
Travis encourages anyone who has ever wanted to skate to give it a go, and says Riverslide is a great place to come try it out for the first time.
‘Everybody is welcome at Riverslide. If you want to know more about getting involved, please feel free to speak to skate park staff or check out our website to see the lessons and programs that are available.’
Riverslide Skate Park redevelopment
The City of Melbourne has recently begun a project to redevelop Riverslide Skate Park, based on extensive ideas and feedback from the skate community.
We’ve set up a Skate Reference Group to help with the project, made up of people from across the skate community, to provide advice and feedback on the redesign.