Skateboarding in North Korea (Panskating Pyongyang)
After almost two years of planning, last September I went on a trip with some mates to experience Bizarro Korea. A few months before leaving we heard about the recently-opened Ryugyong Health Complex and its attached skatepark, so we brought along a couple boards in the hopes that we might get a chance to bust some gnarly moves on the pavement of Pyongyang. After a lot of negotiation and some excellent ‘managing’ from our guide to get it organised (our guide would offer to “manage” any time we had a request), eventually successful in our attempt to visit I’m pretty sure we can lay claim to being the first outsiders to do so.
Having never seen or heard of skateboarding before, our main guide gave it his own name and took to calling them Panskates. While most of the time they toed the party line and were more like robots than humans, every time the boards came out they were about as excited as kids on
Christmas Day Kim Jong Il’s birthday.
On the day we departed DPRK it was time to offer the obligatory gratuities, so seeing how much they enjoyed a bit of the old kick-push, we offered our boards to our guide and driver. Here’s to you, Mr Kim and Mr Lee: May you kick
startflip a panskating revolution!