The company is called Rubicon Skateboards, and it?s a new concept. Rubicon Skateboards, currently in the United Kingdom, is a travelling skateboarding school. The name comes from when Julius Caesar crossed the river Rubicon and committed himself to a course of action. The die was cast and he was past a point of no return. (see the Team Rubicon website, and the School Website)
You can see where this is a unique company.
I had the opportunity to ask the guys at Rubicon a few questions about how their company works, what they do exactly, and what their plans are. Rubicon Skateboards has hopes to expand to the US, throughout Europe and into Asia, so read up and see what might be invading a school near you!
How and when did it come about?
Full time training began only 9 months ago although the idea began around 4 years ago. At the time, my brother Geoff was a sponsored skateboarder and I was leading a sponsored snowboarding team at University. Both of us have always been passionate about these two extreme sports and our success in competitions led to us make many useful industry contacts and friends. The teaching aspect really appealed to us as it was not only a chance to give something back into the sport but also a lot of fun, helping develop the next generation of skateboarders. When we sent out the first mail shot to schools in the South of England and found ourselves fully booked for the Spring term within a few weeks, we knew that it was a great opportunity and that we should go for it.
What kinds of equipment do you set up?
When we come to a teaching class, we bring skateboards, helmets and protective clothing for all the children to use. This is important as we do not want children (or parents) to feel they have to go out and buy an expensive setup just so their children can learn or try out a new sport. It also gives confidence to schools and parents to know that the child will be safe with helmet and protective gear.
We also bring along as a minimum, a grind box, a rail and two manual fun boxes. Obviously the ability level of the class will dictate to what extent these are used and for more advanced classes we bring a long a couple of 4 ft quarter jumps. Depending on the event, we will also take children to local skateparks and introduce them to new features and riding techniques.
For demonstrations and larger events, we will bring along less equipment but of a far higher riding ability - mobile quarters, half pipes, kinked rails etc.
How does teaching work?
We aim to have no more than 20 children in a class and always prefer to establish a regular weekly timeslot as this gives the children the greatest opportunity to progress. As mentioned, we will turn up at the school with equipment for them to use and the majority of classes follow a lesson plan. i.e. week 1 and 2 will be learning the basics, week 3 and 4 will be learning the ollie, week 5 and 6 will be moving tricks and so on. Obviously the lesson plans are always flexible and depending on the progress of the children, future classes will be structured accordingly. Lessons will involve demonstrations and assisted teaching at the beginning - i.e. an instructor will hold the child while they are moving around or walk along side. Parts of the class will be one to one, other parts will involve mimicking what the instructor does as a group. Lessons can often include group games and competitions that put into practice what has been learnt in that class.
Having provided lessons to well over 1,000 children aged 6 to 18 in the last 3 months alone, we have learnt a lot of useful ways to approach classes and people with different learning styles. One school, Shaftsbury School in Dorset wanted the entire school of 300 to have lessons ... read more on page 2!