Whether you are new to the sport or in a new town, the first time you go to a skatepark can feel overwhelming. It’s kind of like the first day of school; you may not know anyone, you don’t have a handle on the ins and outs of the culture, and you aren’t sure how to get to the lunchroom.

Luckily, we’ve put together a guide for you. Understanding skatepark etiquette will help you feel more confident at skateparks all over the country. Wearing cool skater boy shirts or girls skate apparel can help you look the part, but knowing the rules of the park will see you fit in even if you’ve never touched a board.

1. Look Both Ways

One of the most important rules of skatepark etiquette is to respect lines. A line is the path a skateboarder takes on a board. It is crucial to understand where your board is going and where others are heading as well. Cutting someone off or stealing their line is a major skatepark no no and can also be dangerous.

Stealing lines can also be called “snaking.” Make sure you ride with your head up and on a swivel. Be aware of your path and other riders’ paths to prevent collisions and accidental snaking. Purposefully cutting someone off, even a friend, might seem funny at the moment, but it shows a lack of respect for your fellow skaters and may make it more difficult to make friends at a new park.

2. Wait Your Turn

Similarly, if you are waiting to use the halfpipe, quarterpipe, or drop into the bowl, respect your turn and don’t cut in front of others. If the park is busy, make sure that those who have been waiting the longest go first.

If you are new to a park, you may notice a certain hierarchy already established. While it can be intimidating, just be aware that there may be a system in place for turns. Take notice of the pecking order and follow suit.

3. Fall Fast

Everyone wipes out every once in a while; it’s a natural part of skateboarding. When you’re at a busy park and fall, you must get up quickly to get out of the way. Of course, if you’re really hurt, definitely ask for help. However, if it’s just a little scrape or a bruised ego, it’s important to get up fast and move out of the way to prevent more spills.

Pro tip: If you fall and your skateboard goes flying into the air, yell “board!” so those around you don’t get nailed in the head with your projectile deck.

4. Respect Fails

Whether it’s your own or someone else’s, remember that the skatepark is like a gym or any other sports training facility. If you don’t land a trick, don’t beat yourself up about it. Keep trying because the more you practice, the better you will get at it.

The same goes for those around you. Don’t laugh at someone for failing at a skill they are attempting. They may have been working on that trick for months and are getting frustrated. Laughing at them won’t make them feel any better. Encouragement goes a long way towards making friends and building a skater community.

5. Ask Before You Wax

Always ask before waxing. When trying out a new skill on an obstacle like a rail, even if no one else is using it at the time, talking to others at the park before waxing is a common courtesy. It is also crucial for skatepark safety. Using an unexpectedly waxed rail can add speed or change the level of friction, which can be dangerous and cause a wipeout. Be smart, be safe, and ask before you wax.

6. Skate or Move

If you aren’t actively using an obstacle or skating the bowl, move to the sides of the skatepark. Especially at busy times, moving out of the way clears space and prevents collisions. Plus, if you are waiting to the side with other people, it’s a great opportunity to start talking to the other skaters at your new park and possibly make some new friends.

7. Try Not To Copycat

As a newer rider, it can be tempting to try and follow or copy what a more advanced rider is doing. This is called comping, and it is typically a no-go at the skatepark. It can be insulting to the other rider and put both of you in a dangerous position. If you follow along right behind another rider, any sudden change in lines could end up with both of you off your boards and on the ground. Comping is the skater equivalent of trying to cheat on a test, and it’s not cool.

8. Respect the Park

Skateparks are like a second home for a lot of skaters. Respect the park by picking up any trash you have and not vandalizing the space. Skateparks represent the local skater community.

9. Kindness Goes a Long Way

At the end of the day, everyone is at the park to get better at skating and to enjoy the sport. Everyone deserves respect no matter what board they’re using, what trick they are trying, what skill level they’re at, or what brand they are repping on their oversized skater shirt. People will want to be friends with those who are kind.