Getting 'stoked'-A A +A
Monday, October 22, 2012
WHEN the waves were too “flat” to surf on, surfers in California had a way of getting their fix by taking it to the streets. Using wooden boards with wheels, they would “surf” there instead, then calling it “sidewalk surfing.” This was back in the 1950s and what is known at present as skateboarding was in its inception.
Skateboarding has, indeed, gone a long way since then. Tricks were invented and better boards were created.
Back when it simply meant gliding along the sidewalk or going downhill, the board looked more like a ski, as compared to today’s board that now has concaves and upturned edges more suited for doing stunts. Polyutherane wheels replaced metal ones, which apparently makes the board lighter and its inertia faster.
Skateboarding has now become a subculture—with specialty shops, clothing brands, footwear, publications and parks solely catering to this niche.
Skaters have even fashioned for themselves their own lingo, an example of such is “stoked” meaning happy or excited.
In Cebu, the rise of skateboarding’s popularity began in early 2000 when there was a surge in specialty shops as well as the entry of skateboard lifestyle brands in the market. According to one of Cebu’s pioneer skaters, Eugene Neri, prior to that, they would get their gear from relatives and friends living abroad.
Highlighting the growing popularity of skateboarding in Cebu is the surfacing of skate parks in the metro.
Founded by Neri back in February of 2009 is the Visioneri Skate Park in Mohon, Talisay City; while the second one is Concave Skate Park along Echavez St., Cebu City.
Concave was started by a band of students from the University of San Carlos who saw the need for such kind of park within city limits. Bearing the essentials of a skate park—handrails, ramps, roll-ins—coupled with a laidback atmosphere and graffiti walls, Concave has proven to be a perfect avenue for riders to polish their skills, in stage competitions and create camaraderie among themselves.
Concave will be celebrating its first anniversary in November and its founders could not be any prouder. The team running the skate park is composed of Gierome Magnanao, Bernadette Meñoso, Prospero Degula Jr., Neslene Mendoza, Theresa Ramirez, Catherine Blanco and Carlos Castro Jr.
According to Gierome, they are in the process of putting more obstacles. He also cited that the obstacles already in place are actually smaller than standard size, gearing more towards inviting beginners to join in.
Learning how to skate has also become much easier with the Internet. Before, local skaters would get ideas from magazines like Transworld Skateboarding and Thrasher, which again they would order abroad. Nowadays one can easily get tips on how to do an ‘ollie’ by viewing a video tutorial on the web.
Skateboarding was recognized as an action sport when it was included in the first ESPN X Games in 1995. This eventually paved way to other competitions where pro skateboarders infuse physical stamina, agility and creativity as they execute their impressive moves. In Cebu, both Concave and Visioneri hold skateboarding exhibition events and contests regularly in their sites.
In recent years, local skaters have also taken part in the worldwide event Go Skateboarding Day celebrated every June 21. This year’s Go Skateboarding Day in Cebu was joined by over 500 riders.
One of Concave’s regulars—and part-time caretaker when the owners are away—is Juanito Pogado Jr., who has been into skateboarding for almost eight years. He shared: “I started learning it because I got curious and I guess somewhere along the way, I fell in love with the sport and the lifestyle. What motivates me is the thrill and the freedom that I feel riding the board, and that’s something I have never felt in other sports.”
What started out as a pacifier for boredom has since been transformed into an edgy mode of self-expression—that is, of course, neither defined by fashion nor stereotypes. The art of skateboarding lies in the act itself, in which a combination of movement, ingenuity and style are in full blast with every kick of the board .
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 23, 2012.