Skateboarding in Reykjavík: What Are the Rules?

Skateboarding in Reykjavík

Recently, Iceland Review sent an email to the City of Reykjavík inquiring – on behalf of one of our readers – whether there were any, “explicit rules governing the sport of skateboarding in Reykjavík?” While the responding official did not address the question directly, he did mention that Reykjavík offers a few designated skate areas, including outdoor ramps and two skate parks.

A Skateboarding Task Force

The aforementioned skateboarding areas are outlined in a recent report submitted by a Reykjavík city task force, established to assess the state of skateboarding in Reykjavík.

Formed on November 9, 2017, by Mayor of Reykjavík Dagur B. Eggertsson, the task force was assembled to generate proposals regarding the city of Reykjavík’s policy on skateboarding. The task force convened a total of ten times – meeting with representatives of the Reykjavík Skateboarding Association (Brettafélag Reykjavíkur), the Jaðar Association, and others – before finally submitting its report in April 2018.

According to the report, the state of indoor and outdoor skateboarding facilities in the Greater Reykjavík Area is “far from being acceptable,” and not on a par with what is required for extreme sports in Iceland to thrive, as they do in many places abroad.

The report broadly outlines the main places to skate in Reykjavík, which includes indoor parks, outdoor ramps, and popular places within the city. 

Indoor Parks:

*Organised practices are scheduled in both skateparks, along with open houses for different kinds of extreme sports.

Outdoor Ramps*:

  • Laugardalur
  • Gufunesbær 
  • Jafnasel
  • A moveable pump track that is relocated to different places in Reykjavík
  • Ársel
  • Mosfellsbær

* The condition of the abovementioned ramps varies greatly.

Popular Places in the City:

  • Ingólfstorg Square
  • Harpa Concert Hall

Authors of the report propose the construction of a new skatepark somewhere in central Reykjavík. As far as we know, no such skatepark is currently under construction.

An Insightful BA Essay

In a BA essay published in 2013, Anton Svanur Guðmundsson – a then student of the Department of Design and Architecture at the Iceland University of the Arts – traces the origins of skateboarding in Iceland to the late 1970s. The essay also sheds some light on the rules of skateboarding in Reykjavík, vis-a-vis a paragraph on Ingólfstorg square: “The police cannot interfere with the activity of the skaters as the square belongs to the city of Reykjavík, and as there are no laws that forbid skateboarders to skate on or around the square, just as there are no laws that forbid them from skating in other public spaces in the city. Police regulations state, however, that skateboarders should not skateboard in or around streets in a manner hazardous to pedestrians or motorists.”

For further information on skateboarding in Reykjavík, you can also review this article from Grapevine published in 2012.

Parking Lot Becomes Harbourside Park

Miðbakkinn, a former parking lot along the Reykjavík waterfront that has been converted into a public space for families, was opened during a public ceremony on Friday, Vísir reports.

Miðbakkinn includes a children’s cycling area, a skate park, and a basketball court. Its skate park was designed in collaboration with Steinar Fjeldsted, a skateboarder and graffiti artist who runs a skateboarding school in Reykjavík, and Sesselja Traustadóttir, a cycling educator and activist, designed the cycling area. Young artists were commissioned to paint the ground murals, which feature a giant crab, fish, and a sailor’s knot.

Friday’s celebration featured musical performances and food trucks, both of which will return for Iceland’s first street fair, which will take place at Miðbakkinn from July 19 – 21. The fair will also have pop-up shops, coffee stalls, and scheduled entertainment.

“I think this will be a very lively and fun area which was, of course, a parking lot, but has now become part of city residents’ public space” remarked Sigurborg Ósk Haraldsdóttir, the chair of the City of Reykjavík’s planning committee. “Because it’s not going to go back to being a parking lot…the idea is that, over time, it will have permanent facilities for these kinds of sports and other kinds of harbourside activities.”