Skateboarding and property damage

Hi all, so I used to skateboard a lot but at some point maybe about a year ago I started to worry that what we call “street skating” might be immoral since it causes some degree of property damage (among other things, but I’ll just focus on this issue for the time being). The property damage I’m referring to is that when you do what’s called “grinding ledges”, or sliding on the corners of ledges with the steel axle that holds the wheels together on the board (i.e. the trucks), it can erode the ledge. See image- (note that the “damage” in this image might not seem problematic since it is behind a shopping complex and thus not a focal point, but skaters will also often grind more visible/ artful ledges) And business owners often get upset that ledges on their property are being so eroded, and will even install what are called “skate stoppers” on them.

Maybe the right thing to do is only to grind ledges where it does not seem that the owners will be upset? Or just keep it at the skatepark? In any case, some advice on the morality of the issue from a Catholic perspective would be helpful. I am open to consider the suggestion that I am being somewhat scrupulous about the issue, as I’m sure most skateboarders would be eager to suggest.


As a practising Catholic, you should not damage property, or indulge in behaviour that you think might damage property. “Do to others as you would have others do to you.”

But it would be another matter to convince other skateboarders of this policy.

I didn’t get on with my father as I’ve made quite clear elsewhere, but he did sometimes come out with relevant sayings. One of them was “You’ll never put an old head on young shoulders.”

When I was young, other young blokes were doing wheelies in their cars, speeding if they could get away with it, riding push bikes dangerously, doing stupid stunts.

A lifetime later, young blokes are still doing wheelies in their cars, speeding if they can get away with it, riding push bikes dangerously, and doing stupid stunts.

Even if authorities banned skate boarding due to property damage, the “young shoulders” would find some other risky behaviour to indulge in.

If it’s not your property, don’t do things that will result in damage - period. If you do, be prepared to pay for the repairs. Damaging public property will likely garner a ticket or a fine. But damaging a business owners property will get you sued or jailed.

Keep your “grinding” to skate parks or your own property. Anything else is vandalism. And vandalism is immoral according to a “Catholic perspective” and any other moral code I have ever heard of.

Would you think it’s OK to ride a motorcycle through a flowerbed, if you just trampled the flowers at the back?

Or would you think it’s OK to throw beer bottles into the bushes, if you made sure the bottles were hidden by the branches?

Or would you think it’s OK to paint graffiti and carve your initials on a fence if you only marked up the back side?


Same problem with skateboarding and scarring up the concrete. Front or back, visible or hidden, you’re still intentionally damaging someone else’s property.

I’ll tell you something about those back-of-property structures which you’re damaging that may not have occurred to you. Typically those are associated with retention walls, water run-off channels, and safety precautions for company delivery and service vehicles. That makes them every bit as important as the structures in the front of the building. “Grinding” compromises the integrity of the structures and can lead to premature failure.

Still think it’s OK to do your “grinding” on places less visible to the general public? I hope not.

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