Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Skateboarding News

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Polar Bear skate park in Venice?

Written by Xavier Lannes

Original Blog: 07-16 Updated 07-28
The 1st time I came to California that was for a contest at Big O. That was in 1978. I stayed in a hotel in Santa Monica, close to the beach. Oddly enough, the hotel still exists and has not changed, 31 years after. Oh, well, if you insist, yes, Santa Monica is not anymore the place for hippies but for yuppies, just a 2 letter change, not a big deal if you consider that yuppies are old hippies of the baby boom generation that got rich… But, back to my old hotel, not even the name has changed. Another place that has not changed is Venice Beach. The city which hosted an odd “Polar Bear” for a time still has a fundamental place in the history of skateboarding.

Along side Santa Monica, it was in Venice Beach where “sidewalk surfing” was born and became trendy in the 60’s and 70’s; in the late 80’s and early 90’s, it was the stage for legendary sessions that kept the sport alive in its decline.
But now, big change has arrived to Venice beach: the new Venice Beach Skate Park, the only park entirely built on sand in the US, is poised to redeem the reputation the spot deserves.

Built nearby the area formerly known as “The Pit”, on the beach at the end of Windward, the design credits go to RRM Design Group (of San Luis Obispo, CA) in collaboration with Zack Wormhoudt, Inc. (of Santa Cruz, CA); while California Skateparks, Inc. (of Upland, CA) is the building contractor.

At the end of December 2008, construction began on the new 16,000 sq ft skate park. According to the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the price tag for the new 16,000-square-foot facility is $3.5 million.
The park is now being built. Construction was expected to take about ten months after persistent efforts from the skateboarding community, with the decisive and continuous involvement of local Jesse Martinez and the Venice Surf & Skate Association (VSA). VSA is working towards naming the park after Dennis “Polar Bear” Agnew, renowned 70’s skater who appeared several times in SkateBoarder Magazine. In November 1979, Glen Friedman wrote about Dennis: “His name has only surfaced in the pro skating scene within the last 9 months, but Dennis “Polar Bear” Agnew has been a highly respected skate talent in the Venice/Dogtown area for quite a few years”. He was riding for Z-Flex at the time and passed away in 2005.

Until now, everything looked OK and the park was even about to open with the 3rd annual SuperGirl Jam, an all-female contest featuring surf, snowboard and skate. But things got heated when on July 24th Warner Bros. Consumer Products and action sports event producer, ASA Entertainment, announced that they have teamed up to produce the Supergirl Jam, the industry's only large-scale, all-girls action sports competition without concerting with VSA.
According to Super Girl Website, “This unique event features more than 100 of the top female action sports athletes in a competition series designed to promote and celebrate female strength, independence and empowerment. This year, the Supergirl Jam is expanding and will be held over three separate dates to better showcase the best female pros in surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding”. (…) “The Supergirl Jam kicks off Labor Day weekend when, on September 6, the Snowboard Rail Jam and Skateboard Street elements of the Supergirl Jam will hit Venice Beach in conjunction with the opening of Venice's amazing new beachside skatepark. The skateboarders will be the first to compete in Venice's brand new skatepark, christening the unique course with their skill and finesse. Some of the top skaters expected to compete include Vanessa Torres (Anaheim, CA), Elissa Steamer (Fort Myers, FL) and Amy Caron (Huntington Beach, CA). The Supergirl Jam will also feature a demo by some of the world's best inline skaters competing for a $2,000 prize for best trick”. The answer of VSA was swift. On a press release through the Venice Website dated 07/26, Ger-I Lewis is stating: “Let it be known that the members of the VSA will not tolerate this event or any others that have not been approved by VSA. (…) We will not allow L.A City Recreation and Parks to usurp the VSA's efforts and or steal the VSA's RIGHT to celebrate organize and produce the Grand Opening of the Dennis Agnew Memorial Skatepark (…) The Recreation and Parks is conniving and scheming as all the depart sees is $ signs. (…) It is truly unfortunate that the Department of Recreation and Parks has chosen to snub the VSA”.


I skate therefore I am: skateboard pools, pipes, parks, bowls and vert, daily skateboarding news...
posted by Xavier Lannes @ Thursday, July 16, 2009 


Skate Quote of the Day