Anyone who has visited Rampfest will know that our park isn't the smallest... in fact, most of our indoor ramps are 6ft tall or bigger (the largest is 10ft tall)!
With this, we get asked a lot if our park is too big to learn on... Well, as someone what has been coaching kids in Skate Parks for almost a decade, I can say that I believe big ramps to be far easier and safer to teach kids on.
Now - this sounds somewhat counter-intuitive, but stick with me on this... here is why:
1. Big Ramps give you room to build up.
In a big ramp, you start at the bottom and work your way up. For example, anyone who has seen me coach beginners in our bowl (which is 6ft tall), we start in the bowl, and work our way up from the bottom. This way, we can teach the key skills like pumping, carving and even airing - which a low risk as the rider can stay as low as they want.
This is possible because the ramp is tall enough - it gives you the room to do this. The 6ft tall ramp has an transition face of 8-9ft to work up on, depending on how steep it is. A 3ft ramp for example, gives you only 4ft of room to practice on - giving you little option rather than going straight down it.
2. Big Ramps are more forgiving.
As I mentioned above, they have a larger face - this provides far more room for error when your learning a trick - a 3ft or 4ft ramp has very little room to get something wrong.
3. Big Ramps are smoother to ride.
This again comes down to the surface area and the length of the transition in comparison to the wheel base of the bike / scooter / skateboard. A small ramp has a small surface, and particularly on a bike, feels very jerky to ride as often the bikes wheel base is longer than the transition (meaning your front wheel is in the air before you back wheel has gone up the ramp) - this give a very jerky ride and can often jolt a rider into a nosedive (not something you want).
4. Learning Big makes Progression Easier.
If you learn to ride on Big Ramps, you'll find that your progression comes much easier - you'll be use to bigger ramps and understand how to use them. Someone who learns on big ramps can easily use a small ramp - but it doesn't work the other way.
Big ramps give you a nice smooth take off - because the whole wheel base is on the ramp at once - letting you go off it nice and even.
Now - with this is mind, I'm not suggesting that you go down and try to ride into a 10ft ramp first go. Remember - most of what I've said involves starting at the bottom of the ramp AND learning with the proper instruction - from a coach or friend who knows what they are doing.
A big factor in learning is the fear factor - and big ramps are definitely scary initially. It's critical to always start at the bottom and work your way up.
Perfecting your base skills and working your way up is the best way to learn any action sport. Have fun!