Most competitors are already familiar with the facility's layout, since a majority are among the more than 700 Skate Park members. Avid South Florida riders and skaters flock to the west Broward skate spot, most of them in their early to mid teens. If you're not, you may need a lingo lesson in order to understand exactly what they're up to out there.
The skating Shangri-la features two main components: The "half pipe" and the street course. The pipe is the bottom section of a wooden tube with walls 11 feet tall. Riders gain momentum as they sling back and forth across it, then catch "air" as they leap out of gravity's grasp to perform tricks such as the "bio grab," in which a skater grabs the outside of a skate in midair with the hand on the same side of his or her body. Judges award points for the difficulty of tricks and the flair with which they're performed.
Riders on the street course navigate a collection of ramps, railings, box jumps, and other obstacles, linking moves into flowing routines. On a railing, for example, skaters might pull off a "fast slide," jumping onto the rail and sliding down, or "grinding," balancing on one foot.
Half-pipe and street competitions are held in both skating and boarding in divisions broken down by age group, with qualifying rounds Saturday and finals Sunday. Equipment manufacturers and local skate shops have donated merchandise prizes, and winning riders and skaters will also receive plaques and cash -- or whatever skate-punks call money.