Bay Skate, on Marine Parade in Napier, is a home away from home for 25-year-old professional scooter rider Alexandra (Alex) Madsen.
Overlooking the East Coast, the venue caters for skateboarding, BMX, rollerblading, inline hockey and more but for Madsen, who was raised in the region, it’s where she has developed her scooter rider skills to a world class level over the past decade.
“I got into scootering about 12 years ago. I was at the skate park on a skateboard actually and I saw at the time everyone was getting into scootering so I tried it out and haven’t actually stopped since,” she says.
Madsen, who was attending Taradale High School at the time, has seen first-hand scootering’s development since.
“It was very popular when I started, but now we’ve got more and more people that are at a professional level rather than just having a bit of fun with it, so that’s quite cool as well to see it develop in that way,” she says.
In June this year, Madsen took second in the Women’s Park category at the 2023 Skate Scootering World Championships, held in Madrid. The event spanned five days, with six race categories and 150 riders from 20 countries.
Park and Street are the sport’s two disciplines. Park involves performing tricks and stunts on obstacles such as half pipes, quarter pipes, rails, boxes, and bowls. These obstacles are designed to provide a smooth and consistent surface for riders’ tricks. Street performers compete with tricks and stunts on urban terrain such as street obstacles, rails, ledges, and stairs.
“Park is more airtime, street is more technical,” says Madsen.
“When I’m in the World Championships I just focus on Park. When we have the New Zealand nationals, I’ll mainly focus on the Park but I will enter the Street just for a bit of fun and to inspire other people to ride as well,” she says.
Madsen has won numerous events and titles nationally and internationally, including the pro-women’s title at the Australasian Scooter Championships in Melbourne in April.
“Once a year we have the New Zealand Scooter nationals and that’s our qualifier which can either qualify us to go to the World Championships, or it qualifies us to go to [the] Australasians where we then can get a golden ticket to go the Worlds. Each year we see a few new faces but over the past four years of competing internationally, there’s definitely the same riders that head down and there’s a friendly rivalry I’d say,” says Madsen.
“I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of us girls in New Zealand but there’s a few good women riders coming through. We’ve got Lucy Davis who’s from Auckland. She’s 18. I’ve watched her over the past few years develop as a professional scooter rider so that’s really cool. We’ve got a few younger riders in Wellington as well.”
After her success in Melbourne, Madsen and her partner Lulu Bejot travelled to France to compete in a competition there. Madsen competed in a scootering competition as part of her build up to the Madrid worlds, while Bejot, a BMX rider, was in a BMX competition at the same time. With international competitions available, Madsen is lucky to have the support of key sponsors such as Lucky Pro Scooters, C4 Energy Drinks and Bay Skate, as well as the ongoing help of loved ones.
““Over the years it’s definitely been my mum Sandy helping me get to competitions and all my friends and family and sponsors as well,” she says.
World Skate is the governing body which oversees all sports performed on skating wheels, such as skateboarding, inline hockey, rink hockey, skate cross and scootering.
With skateboarding having made its Olympic debut at Tokyo’s delayed 2020 games, and with its Park and Street events also confirmed for Paris in 2024, there is potential for scootering to capitalise on that exposure.
“The long-term plan for scooters is to get it into the Olympics. We are partnered up with World Skate which I believe is the best step to make that happen in the future, so that’s really cool to see,” says Madsen.
Madsen will travel again shortly, with her first stop the Extreme Barcelona event between September 15-17 in the Catalonia capital. The competition will also mark the first stop on the inaugural scootering Pro Tour. After that, will be the International Scooter Federation (ISF) World Championships in Sydney, between October 19-22. Back in Napier in the new year, Bay Skate will host the 2024 New Zealand Scooter Nationals.
With minimal barriers to entry and with skate parks accessible around the country, scootering is another of the new breed of sports growing in appeal.
Madsen encourages anyone just to give it a go like she did all those years ago.
“I definitely think if you’ve got a scooter, it doesn’t have to be the best scooter ever. Just take it down to the local skate park, give it a go. I’m sure you’ll make plenty of friends and pretty much just have fun really. That’s how I got into it, I had fun and continued to.”