Chicago Dad Opens Indoor Skate Park in Jefferson Park

Update (4/28/21): Enrico Hufana, creator of Little Ripper Skateboarding, has started a GoFundMe campaign for his foundation.

Lockdown was a very, very, very long time.

To make it pass by quickly as well as run out some pent-up energy, Logan Square dad Enrico Hufana taught his 6-year-old son, Rue, how to skateboard at a local park. Hufana was eager to see the sport he loved in high school through Rue’s eyes.

Impressed by Rue’s skills, one mom approached Hufana and asked him to teach her son to skate.

“I gave her son a lesson, and she posted the video to a local Facebook group,” Hufana says. “Then I was getting inundated with requests to teach other kids how to skate.”

Hufana has since given more than 150 lessons to kids at local parks. In January, he opened up a pop-up indoor skate park – Little Ripper Skateboarding – in Jefferson Park.

“Skating keeps kids active during a time where they can’t do much,” he says. “So many activities are cancelled, and they’ve been cooped up indoors.”

What Is Little Ripper Skateboarding?

Little Ripper Skateboarding, geared towards kids ages 3-14, is designed for beginners. They can learn to push, cruise, gain board control and about proper skate park etiquette in group settings of up to six kids, or one-on-one lessons.

Kids are encouraged to bring a skateboard (they can also be rented) and protective gear consisting of knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet. COVID-19 procedures, which include masks and frequent hand sanitization, are strictly followed.

During the class, the instructors assess each child’s starting point, demonstrate what they would like to see, and encourage them to take it slow. Instructors also review skateboard basics and talk about safety.

“We aren’t looking to teach all of the tricks,” says Hufana. “We just want to start out by getting them comfortable on a board and giving them confidence to skate. This should be fun for them without any pressure.”

Hufana says skateboarding has changed over the years, and parents are starting to see it as a way to see kids remain active versus a dangerous sport.

“If a child is showing interest in skateboarding, we would like to get them in and teach them how to skate safely,” Hufana says.

Hufana also notes that more girls are starting to show interest in the sport, as pro female skateboarders are making headlines.

A one-hour lesson is $50, and a 5-lesson package is $225.

The pop-up space, adorned with ramps and graffiti, will be open through the spring, and when the weather gets nicer, classes will resume at local parks.

When asked if Hufana will eventually teach adults — a request he frequently gets — he replied “For now, we’re sticking with kids. They’re easier to teach.”

Details

Little Ripper Skateboarding

  • Address: 5394 North Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
  • Cost: Lessons start at $50; must make appointments in advance
  • For more information, follow Little Ripper Skateboarding on Facebook and Instagram.

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Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is an award-winning journalist and bestselling children's book author. She is the mom of three little ladies who keep her on her toes.

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