The weather is great, and there are lots of happy posts on the Twitface sites about how lucky we are to live in beachside Brevard. This luck extends to all of us in the skateboard world as well. Brevard has blossomed into a skate park-rich county. It doesn’t seem to stop growing, and there’s plenty of action with something for everyone. There are skate parks in Sebastian, Satellite Beach, Melbourne, Palm Bay (two there), Rockledge (another two), Merritt Island, and Cocoa Beach. If you’re lucky, you can skate Keith Baldassare’s private backyard concrete park. Plus, there’s a Titusville park currently under construction, and a petition for another park in Melbourne has been going around. Then add up the many backyard ramps and street spots (not that there are a lot of them, but they exist). If the Space Program disappears, we may want to consider “The Skate Coast” as our new buzz phrase.
We’re seeing way more parks than there were during the 1970’s skate park boom. Will they all eventually disappear with parks of the past like IHB and Pave Wave? Will “free” parks create more problems than positivity? Will private parks start to work together more with their neighboring parks? As a park operator, these are some questions that pop up from time to time. Then, on the other side of things: Will you not skate a park because of a helmet rule? Do you only skate street or backyard pools and feel that skate parks are not “pure” skateboarding? Or do you look the opposite direction when it comes to industry pros and company hype? There are so many ways to exist as a skater.
Well, first off, the parks are most likely here to stay. Each year, more kids are reaching the age of learning to skate — and more often it’s with their parents, who also skate. Skateboarding is accepted now as part of American culture and it’s in our faces all the time, from a popular, substandard food commercial to a tooth-rotting, heart-stomping energy drink advertisement, which is too bad. I always laugh when I see ads geared toward “athletic activities” that are powered by a “Royale with Cheese.”
I’d like to call on all locals who skate the “free” parks. Without management and staffing, it can become a free-for-all, sometimes. Please police your parks and respect them! Do not allow strangers to come in and vandalize or take away a good vibe. It’s disheartening to hear that there was a fight or problem because of this or that. Take care of each other and respect what little there is to skate at these places. Hopefully private parks can work more with other private parks and contracted city parks. It’s time to regroup and lead our scene with pride. I will commit to reaching out more as well. I’m also guilty of getting caught up in the day-to-day activities with the Park. I want to make a new 1/3rd-of-the-way-through New Year’s resolution: to be more in touch with all skate parks listed above.
As far as the helmet thing goes, I understand all sides. I was given a skateboard at three-years-old and never even had a helmet until I was 14. (In fact, Bloody Bill stole that very helmet over 15 years ago… I think he still has it.) Anyway, they’re most likely one of the single most needed pieces of equipment, while also being the most frowned-upon by most industry magazines when it comes to pictures of a kid “smith-grinding” on a 19-stair handrail. But as stated before, I get it. There’s something about the raw danger of skateboarding that’s appealing to us. And if you avoid parks altogether, that’s also a respectful way to skate as well. Skateboarding didn’t come along because someone built a skate park. And I think that a world without exposure to the business side — or “pro” side — of skateboarding would be a mentally balanced journey. Oftentimes these companies use the likeness and images of these skaters and shortchange them when it comes to compensation and benefits. Then there are the “over-the-top” pros who flash everything about their moneymaking lifestyle, boasting a resume of toys and travel. It’s kind of a turnoff, and to say the least, unprofessional.
The truth, reality, and fact of the matter is that the direction of skateboarding relies on the kids and in the heart and spirit of those kids who skate. It’s the kids who skate to and from school, or from here to there, who make skateboarding alive. It relies on the kids who make up their own names of tricks while skating with friends in their driveways as the smell of dinner begins to interrupt the session. It depends on the ones old enough to drive to the next town with their crew and skate the next contest or just hit up a new park or spot. It would also fall apart without the parents of skaters, who drive the kids to contests, parks, and skate shops and keep the kids supplied with quality gear. The future of skateboarding is in your hands; not in how many times Sean White has been in a bloody Target commercial.
April 23: Grind for Life Contest held at the Cocoa Beach Skatepark. Check www.grindforlife.org for details.
Keith Baldassare won the New Smyrna stop of the Bowlrider’s Cup, and Clive Dixon has the most Gatorade out of any of us thanks to a recent sponsorship.
Dakota Hunt won Sponsored Division in the two-park series held by Graffiti on March 26. For full results, check out www.graffitiskatezone.com or just Facebook ’em. There’s also another new change to the street course.
Matt Call recently got photo coverage in FTK East Coast Skate Magazine.
Sebastian Skate Park just built new onsite offices.
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