Skillfully Skateboarding at Premises Park

Jack Gramins and James Schuster
Picture of James, Ian, and Jack

Imagine the sound of children’s laughter, creaks, thuds echoing throughout the place that bring a friendly and safe feeling throughout the place. Can you picture yourself gliding from one point of a room to the other at fast speeds on a skateboard, scooter or a bike and doing cool stunts until you get tired. Wouldn’t it be cool to have different rooms in the park that match with your skill level and that you can have fun despite falling down multiple times. What if I told you that all of this is local in Tucson.

We chose Premises Park to explore because Jack has been skateboarding most of his life and we wanted to explore a local skateboarding park and I, James agreed. I had done similar sports such as snowboarding and surfing but was always scared of skateboarding and decided this would be an opportunity to face those fears and overcome them. When we walked into the lobby there were some wooden tables to the right creating a seating area, the front counter a little to the left of us flanked by two walls to the far left covered with merchandise. 

When we walked up the front counter we were greeted by a tall, friendly guy named Ian Abbott. We greeted him and told him we were there to skate and that we had a project to interview a local Tucson business which he told us was fine as he ringed me up first for skate time, rental boards and helmets. While he was ringing me up I asked him where the best place a complete newbie like me should go in the park and he told us the streetskate room. After we were done we thanked him, grabbed our boards, and walked through the door to the left of the counter that led us to the first room of the park, the “vert room” (vertical room). Pictures of the vert room

Into the Park We Go…

We then walked through the door and entered the vert room, we were greeted by a warehouse filled with gigantic ramps of different heights and difficulty levels. It felt like we were at an XGames event from TV. There were some scooter kids, two adult roller skaters, and a few kids on skateboards in different areas riding on the ramps of the vert- room with some parents watching from the balcony that overlooked the room.

We walked through the room, up some stairs, and through a door that opened into the streetskate room. A much smaller room greeted our eyes that felt less intimidating than the vert room and at first we had the place to ourselves. There were smaller ramps on the left and right wall with the center having rails and objects to skate on or over. We skated around, well Jack skated around doing tricks like the ollie and shove-it, while I was busy trying not to fall over every time I stood on the board

After a bit of time had passed a few kids on skateboards and scooters started to trickle in as we all were riding around. A little while later a kid with a skateboard and an older skateboarder came in with him and we watched with awe as he demonstrated with the confidence and skill from a lifetime of skateboarding, what he wanted the kid to do and then walked him through it.

Jack’s Take: Overcoming My Fear of Heights

A picture of the streetskate roomI, Jack, have had many fears throughout my life that are still with me today, one of them being heights. As I have progressed over the years, it seemed impossible for me to overcome one fear that was with me; drop-ins are where the skateboarder goes from a flat platform to a steep and high drop that starts at the beginning of a ramp (or bowl) by initially resting on the ledge. Imagine placing a board at the edge of a cliff and being told to “jump,” that was the hard part as previously, I would always fall attempting to do a drop-in.

However, that would change as I would be helped by Isaiah, a skateboarder who goes to the park to teach, but he is not an employee.

I saw Isaiah help other kids with similar things such as drop-ins, with their form and teaching techniques for tricks. While I was skateboarding, I saw him help James stand and eventually push forward on the board. I decided to attempt a trick and I landed it first. Isaiah, who noticed me landing my trick one try, replied “Nice man!” I immediately knew that Isaiah would be very helpful in overcoming my fear of dropping in.

I realized that If I want to be better at skateparks, drop-ins were one of the first techniques I needed to learn and master. At first, I decided to straight shot it by going to the top and doing it myself but I would soon realize that it was harder than I thought. The thought of me falling and attempts at other skateparks were racing through my mind and I didn’t want a repeat of that here. After deciding that I definitely needed to get a warm-up, I decided that the best option for me was to go off the ramp area and I continued to do so to practice the technique until I mastered the technique with both James and Isaiah saying “you can do it” and “you got this” throughout the process.

After a lot of motivation from both James and Isaiah, I decided to attempt the drop-in and there was no backing down. At first, I was still hesitant on dropping in as I believed that I was going to fall once I started moving forward but Isaiah eventually helped me with my form, consisting of my left foot on top of the front truck screws and my right foot on the other end of the board, and made me more comfortable by telling me “don’t look down, just keep looking straight ahead.”

He then demonstrated the example by dropping in and looking straight ahead while giving me another tip: “Imagine smashing a bottle of glass on your board but lean forward as you do it.” He then followed the tips and dropped in, does a lap around and comes back to watch me do the same. At that moment, I believed that I was going to keep my positioning and not fall, keeping my momentum.

Jack doing a drop in

As I felt more confident, I decided to try it out and overcome my fear of dropping in. I positioned myself on the ramp’s coping, where the flat platform and the steep drop meet that has a metal touch to it, and I began to take into account what Isaiah said earlier. After several “you got this Jack” from James and Isaiah, I went for it, I stomped my board down and I kept the forward momentum, looking straight ahead. At first, I expected to fall but I managed to keep my positioning on the board and eventually, I made it down the ramp, gliding at a fast speed. The motivation from James and the techniques Isaiah taught me were beginning to pay off.

I attempted the drop-in a second time and I achieved it with less hesitation. Taking into account the tips that Isaiah told from earlier decided to attempt the bigger ramp, copying the same technique for the drop-in on the lower ramp. It became easier and easier each time I attempted a drop in. Each one I completed made me less and less hesitant each time I attempted it, eventually overcoming my fear.

James’ Take: Enjoying My Fall!

When I, James, first stepped on the board at the park a sense of uneasiness came over me as my reasons for avoiding learning how to skate sprang into my mind. These thoughts whispered to me that falling on concrete will hurt much more than water or snow. As I began peddling (standing on the board with one foot and kicking off with the other) a sense of joy started to replace the earlier feelings  I had as I took my first unsteady push on the board trying to not run into Jack and objects in the middle.A picture of James at the park

Isaiah must have seen how unsteady and nervous I looked on the board and came over and taught me how to stand and kick off properly as well as tips on how to turn. I got on my board and tried out what he suggested and that initial feeling of joy began to fill inside me until eventually I tried to turn too hard and fell and all that joy escaped in a great burst of laughter as I hit the ground.

I was feeling confident as I used what I learned from Isaiah to glide around the room and when Jack went to the bathroom I decided to give the drop-in a try. I know someone reading this is asking “Why would someone on their first day try something like that!” and my answer is it looked fun and I wasn’t thinking about consequences. So I got up the ramp and stood on the edge trying to copy what I had seen Jack do and as soon as I stepped on the board and tilted down I crashed straight onto the wooden floor.

With a painful groan, I got up and decided that as a first day that was good enough and sat in some chairs and watched everyone else riding around. A little while later our hour was up and we asked Ian and Isaih if we could interview them later and left for the day.

The Last Trip

Our third time visiting the park we met Isaiah there before walking in and seeing Ian at the front desk we greeted him. After renting our equipment and paying for an hour we talked with Isaiah, who said he wanted to skate a bit before the interview and Ian said he couldn’t leave the front desk so Jack and I went to follow Isaiah into the park, but as I was going through the door I turned around and on whim asked Ian if i could interview him at the desk and he said that was fine with him. So as Jack and Isaiah went into the park to skate I, James, interviewed Ian.

Ian, James, and Jack I had thought he was an employee so after asking him his name and how long he worked there he replied that he was actually the owner and they were in their 13th year, which made me happy since that’s who I wanted to chat with to learn about the park. I asked him what made him want to start a place like this and he joked “I lost a bet” which he followed up by explaining that the city was bringing in more skateparks such as the Santa Rita skatepark but that they weren’t really designed to accommodate anyone other than skateboarders even though skateboarders, BMX ( riders, scooters, and roller skaters all end up using those parks.) 

After realizing that the city wasn’t going to build a place for everyone to enjoy, he decided to build his own, starting with a 5,000 square foot building they expanded rapidly and are now on their third location with the current Premises park in a 32,000 square foot warehouse. 

We ended up talking about the origins of the park, his history with BMX riding, and the purpose of the park for about an hour, giving me a glimpse into a world I didn’t know anything about. One of the main takeaways I got from him was about why places like Premises Park are so important in that “they are serving a need in the community as somewhere safe these kids can ride.” While being  a safe place for these kids they are also trying to grow the different cultures skateboarders, scooterers, BMX riders, and even roller skaters have. “The goal is to serve them as long as we can. Unfortunately just like with all of these skate parks it’s only a matter of time.” 

I started off asking Isaiah about the park and what he liked about it. “The reason why I like it the most, is the Park style of skating. Lately it’s been really fun for me to skate here.” We had been talking earlier in the lobby and he had mentioned how can read people’s energy so I wanted to get his opinion on the environment he has seen or felt there. He replied that “it’s always positive. The energy is always positive and uplifting”. We talked some more about his relationship with the park, how its positive energy is why he comes back. 

Picture of Isiah, Jack and JamesWe then moved on to the culture of skateboarding and a bit about his history with skateboarding growing up in the 80’s and 90’s with it. We spoke a bit about how his brothers and neighborhood had developed his style growing up and that wanting to feel the adrenaline by going faster had further developed how he skateboards now. “Every time I step on my skateboard, I’m instantly alive.”

It’s so fun to me, and it was brought to me.” “Why don’t you try and teach some kids how to do it too?” He explained to me that he has a 2 year old who loves to skateboard and that’s a big reason why he decided to teach. Isaiah had been a big help to me and was crucial in Jack overcoming his fear of drop-ins so I wanted to learn more about him and get his insight on the park which was very welcome. 

After we interviewed Ian and Isaiah we got pictures with them both and left Premises Park feeling grateful for choosing such a fun and interesting place to do our project on. I just want to end this by saying thank you to Ian Abbot of Premises Park for letting us do our article there and for your time that you gave us. As well as a thank you to Isaiah for all your help and also for sitting down with us.


Jack Gramins is a freshman at the University of Arizona with an undeclared major. James Schuster is freshman at the University of Arizona majoring in early childhood education.